Evangelical Press. hb. 320pp.
How then Should We Worship? sets out guidelines for a distinctively Reformed pattern of worship, according to the regulative principle of the church.
I have taught seminary courses on worship for over two decades only to encounter resistance to the idea that God regulates how corporate worship should be done. Even those most committed to biblical and doctrinal accuracy suddenly become relativists when discussing public worship. Enter Sam Waldron! How should we worship on a Sunday? Dr. Waldron’s answer is Scriptural, sensible, systematic, and (sometimes) strong. Is there a case for a regulative principle of worship? Read this book and find out.
Derek W. H. Thomas, Senior Minister, First Presbyterian Church, Columbia SC, Chancellor’s Professor, Reformed Theological Seminary, Teaching Fellow, Ligonier Ministries
In the milieu of the worship wars that has taken place over the past three-four decades, a scriptural voice of sanctified reasoning calls out to the church today from Dr. Sam Waldron. With a masterly grasp of the Holy Scriptures and a keen understanding of the religious landscape, the reader is given a balanced and full-orbed prescription for worship from both the Old and New Testaments. It must be carefully noted that the triune God does not want worship of any sort or any kind! Instead, He wants worship that is acceptable (see Hebrews 12:28-29). I heartily commend How Then Should We Worship?, which will thoroughly instruct us in how to worship God acceptably.
Earl M. Blackburn, Senior Pastor, Heritage Baptist Church, Shreveport, Louisiana
Why do we care so much about how the church worships? Sam Waldron answers that question providing a strong defense of historic Reformed worship, its regulative principle, its authorized elements, and related issues. He writes for a Reformed Baptist audience, yet his argument is important for all serious disciples of Christ. We care, he answers, because it makes a difference if Scripture fills the elements of worship: if substantial portions are read; if whole books of the Bible are preached; if there is a full diet of Bible-filled prayer; if psalms are sung; if the Lord’s Supper is administered as a covenant meal. We care because it makes a difference if services are reverent rather than irreverent; God-centered rather than man-centered; gospel-structured rather than unstructured and random; Spirit-dependent rather than market driven; historically grounded rather than contemptuous of the past. It makes all the difference in the world if worship is conducted “according to Scripture” rather than “according to preference.” This is a work that deserves careful consideration from all those who wish their form of worship to be more, rather than less, pleasing to God.
Dr. Terry L. Johnson, Senior Minister, Independent Presbyterian Church, Savannah, GA
I highly commend your reading of Dr. Sam Waldron’s new book, How Then Should We Worship? With the biblical and exciting rediscovery of “the Doctrines of Grace” in the last sixty years, sola scriptura requires that reexamine more of the Bible’s truths. One of these truths is the modern debate about “the regulative principle of worship.” Is that principle biblical? If biblical, is it for all of life or especially for the worship and government of the church? Does the Bible make such a distinction or not? Even “reformed” people disagree between themselves (i. e., Frame, Gore vs. Waldron, Duncan).
Believing in the sufficiency of sola scriptura in all matters of faith and practice, Dr. Waldron brings a clarity to “the regulative principle of the church” which includes “the regulative principle of worship.” Worship debates have been raging for the past sixty years. Part of this is because biblical hermeneutics have been erroneous on certain texts as to their context and grammar. Dr. Waldron seeks to address such errors in an irenic and pastoral way. His applications go as far as the “Amen,” liturgical issues, the role of women in worship, worship music, and the difference between the circumstances of worship and the parts (elements) of worship.
I would want to use this text in a seminary level course yet for local church teaching as well. It is very readable and thorough. You will be well instructed, challenged, perhaps corrected, perhaps affirmed by this book. But you will have to read it to find out! As Dr. Waldron might ask: “Are you open to that?” This is a very needed work today for clarity between positions, for the hope of greater unity in Christ’s local church, and for a more irenic and civil discussion between parties involved. To God’s glory alone.
Pastor Fred A. Malone, Author of The Baptism of Disciples Alone, Professor of Pastoral Theology, CBTS, IRBS