13 April 2007

John Frame on 1 Corinthians 14

In studying worship in the church I have found John Frame’s book Worship In Spirit & Truth most helpful, reasonable and very balanced. Many answers to the "how & why" of worship can be answered in 1 Cor. 14 &, in fact, it is the most quoted passage in the book. The book on the whole was very refreshing.
On page 8 he writes ...And we should make sure that our worship is edifying to believers (1 Cor. 14:26). First Corinthians 14 emphasizes the importance of conducting worship, not in unintelligible "tongues," but in language understandable to all. Even an unbeliever, when he enters the assembly, should be able to understand what is taking place, so that he will fall down and worship, exclaiming, "God is really among you" (vs. 25). So, worship has a horizontal dimension as well as vertical focus. It is to be God-centered, but also to be both edifying and evangelistic. Worship that is unedifying or unevangelistic may not properly claim to be God-centered.
On page 67 we read, ...Scripture also tells us, and more explicitly and emphatically, that worship should be intelligible, It should be understandable to the worshipers, and even to non-Christian visitors (1 Cor 14, especially vv. 24-25). And intelligibilty requires contemporaneity. When churches use archaic language and follow practices that are little understood today, they compromise that biblical priciple.
Referring to contemporary Christian worship music Frame asserts on page 117...To a certain extent, these developments in church music legitimately reflect the biblical and Reformation principle that worship is to be intelligible, and therefore vernacular, and in one sense "popular" (1 Cor. 14).
Again referring again to music he states ...If we are to pursue the biblical goal of intelligible worship (1 Cor. 14), we should seek musical settings that speak the musical languages of our congregation and community. To do this is not to cater to human taste, but to honor in his desire to edify people in his worship. (page 140)
May we all spend some time rethinking our traditions and preconceived notions and seek out what Scripture truly teaches concerning worship.

Worship in Spirit and Truth

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