Psalm 96:1-2

Bible 101

Oh sing to the LORD a new song;

sing to the LORD, all the earth!

Sing to the LORD, bless his name;


Deuteronomy 12:4-6

Bible 101

Where do you go to worship God? Muslims face east in prayer, and may go on the Hajj (The Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca.); Jews might go to the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem; you go… to church? (more…)

The role of singing in the life of the church


Now there are all sorts of reasons why Christianity is a singing faith; for the practice of making melody to the Lord, and of hymn singing in particular, has many purposes. My intention in this article is to focus specifically on congregational singing and to open up its three principal purposes. (more…)

Church architecture matters


In recent decades, the fights that many churches have had over musical styles have been termed the ‘worship wars’—typically cast as a battle between traditionalists on one side, who wish to retain the noble beauty and heritage of historic church practice, particularly in music; and modernizers on the other, who want church services to be contemporary, relevant, engaging, and so on. (more…)

Worship and Relationship

Thought, Sola Panel

From what I understand, I am one of the few who have been convinced by Tony Payne and Phillip Jensen’s assertion that you don’t come to church for the purpose of worship. Call me a company man or, as I like to think of it, a person who recognizes biblical correction. Either way, I know that I am in the minority. (more…)

The gospel according to Piper


Like the eagerly-awaited visit of Apollos to Corinth (1 Cor 16), John Piper’s visit to Sydney in August brought great excitement to many local Christians. David Starling examines Piper’s theology to see what kind of fruit this visit may bear. (more…)

OK, you win

Everyday Ministry, Sola Panel

I’ve been following the discussion of Philip Percival’s last two posts on ‘worship’ with interest (here and here). And having once more heard some of the points in favour of retaining ‘worship’ language to describe singing and/or church, and also having gone back and read some of the best arguments that are made to justify the practice, I’ve decided to throw in the towel. You guys win. I’ll stop trying to convince you of the complete folly of labelling our church services as ‘worship services’ or our song-leaders as ‘worship leaders’. Your arguments are just too clever. (more…)

Worship and an affectionate evangelicalism 2

Everyday Ministry

In my last post I challenged the widely held view that ‘worship’ is an all-of-life activity. That assertion was not at all denying the call of God for his people to live lives of complete obedience to him in heart, mind and action—the right and proper response to being saved. Rather, I was contending that the Bible does not see such obedience as ‘worship’ so much as ‘service’. (more…)

Worship and an affectionate evangelicalism 1

Everyday Ministry

Thanks Tony, for dumping me in it to revive the debate on ‘worship’ language! I guess I am happy to put my neck on the block because I believe this to be an issue that is still current—whether people think it is or not. I would like, eventually, to get to discuss whether there can be such a thing as an affectionate evangelicalism without being charismatic. But understanding the worship thing is, I think, fairly foundational to getting to that point. I apologize in advance that it will take more than one post to unravel my thoughts on all this. (more…)

Thinking about emotions

Thought, Sola Panel

I’ve been thinking a lot about emotions recently. This, of course, may be precisely my problem. I shouldn’t be thinking about emotions; I should just be feeling them. (more…)

What is Christ-centred worship?

Up front

In a number of Thai churches, I have noticed that the songs fall into three general categories: 1. “I offer you my life”, 2. “Pour out your Spirit”, and 3. “I want to be close to you”. This emphasis is hardly unique to Thailand; much of what we sing here is heavily influenced by the West. These type of songs have a time and place, yet it seems that in some churches, these are almost the only type of songs that are sung. As we sing the same basic things over and over again, I have begun to wonder, “Where is Christ? Where is the cross?” It seems a glaring oversight not to have songs about Christ and his finished work on the cross as the mainstay of Christian worship. (more…)

The slow death of congregational singing

Everyday Ministry

It seems like genuine, heartfelt congregational singing is experiencing its dying gasps. But why does it matter and why should we care? Mike Raiter brings us back to the Bible to inject our singing with new life.

I was at a convention recently, seated near the rear of the auditorium. The music team at the front were ‘leading’ (and I use that word advisedly) and we were singing. Well, we were meant to be singing. And so I did what I’ve done quite often lately: I closed my eyes and listened to the singing. The song leaders with their microphones were clear and distinct. I could identify each of the several instruments accompanying the singers. But if you blocked out the ‘worship team’, all that was left around the building was a barely audible murmur. I opened my eyes and looked around. Most folk were either standing silently, not even making a pretence of singing, or were little engaged in the activity. (more…)