Hughes Oliphant Old on Worship

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about my teacher Dr. Hughes Oliphant Old and reflecting on his insights into Reformed worship.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from his writings.

What is worship?

We worship God because God created us to worship him. Worship is at the center of our existence, at the heart of our reason for being…. When the Westminster Shorter Catechism teaches us, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever,” it gives witness to the same basic principle; God created us to worship him. Surely it is here that we must begin when as Reformed theologians we ask what worship is. Worship must above all serve the glory of God (Worship Reformed According to Scripture).

Why study the Reformers?

One often asks why today we should study the Reformers. We study the Reformers for the same reason the Reformers studied the church fathers. They are witnesses to the authority of Scripture. The Reformers studied the patristic commentaries on Scripture because they enriched their own understanding of Scripture. Today we study the Reformers because they throw so much light on the pages of the Bible. They were passionately concerned to worship God truly, and they searched the Scriptures to learn how. We study the Reformers because their understanding of Scripture is so profound (Worship Reformed According to Scripture).

Worship and the Holy Spirit?

If there is one doctrine which is at the heart of Reformed worship it is the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. It is the belief that the Holy Spirit brings the Church into being, that the Holy Spirit dwells in the Church and sanctifies the Church. Worship is the manifestation of the creative and sanctifying presence of the Holy Spirit. If we are to understand the worship of the early Reformed Church we must recognize that they went to worship not to do something for God, nor even so much to get something from God, but far more to be something with God (The Patristic Roots of Reformed Worship).

 

 

The Lord’s Prayer in Reformed Worship, Pt. 2

The Lord’s Prayer may be divided into three sections (cf. LC 188).

It begins with an invocation, “Our Father in heaven.” The middle section consists of six petitions. It ends with a doxology, “For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.”[1]

The word invocation comes from the Latin word invocare, which means to call upon, to appeal to or to invoke in prayer. An invocation is when one calls on the name of the Lord. (more…)

The Lord’s Supper and Eschatology

 

Having seven children, I’ve seen a lot of cartoons. Every now and then, I’ll take them to the theater to see a new release that they’re dying to see.

Since one of my children is visually impaired (having vision in only one eye), we never watch 3D films. One needs both eyes for depth perception and both lenses for 3D glasses to work.

Several years ago, I realized that I had a deficient view of the Lord’s Supper because I was only looking at it through one lens. In order to perceive the depth of the significance of the Lord’s Supper, one needs to have two lenses. (more…)

Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi—A Reformed Perspective

The term “liturgical theology” refers both to theology of worship and theology from worship: the former meaning doctrines about worship; the latter, doctrines derived from liturgical texts.

More recently, however, some scholars have argued that the liturgy itself is theology, indeed, primary theology (theologia prima) from which is derived all secondary theology (theologia secunda), namely, subsequent theological reflection on the liturgy.[1]

Thus, the liturgy is primary, and formulated doctrines are secondary, derivative and subordinate.

This notion “challenges the common Reformed view that liturgy follows theology.”[2] (more…)

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