Saturday, September 8, 2012

Book Review. John Frame. Worship in Spirit and Truth.

Although Professor Frame has been no stranger to theological controversy in the last few years (see his recent Escondido Theology), this work is an irenic piece that is gentle, helpful, and unifying for the Body of Christ. I expected Frame to take a much harder stance on some contemporary issues related to corporate worship (i.e. contemporary musical forms) inasmuch as Frame has a renowned reputation as a gifted and traditional organist.

I was delighted to see a conservative writer (Frame is ordained in the PCA) express his desire to be generous regarding traditional versus contemporary issues and the "worship wars." Frame's interpretation of the Regulative Principle (the idea that only what is commanded in Scripture is permissible) is broad enough to bind together Reformed believers of various worship styles.

Frame spends much of the first half of the book guiding the reader through the theological underpinnings of gathered worship from both Old and New Testaments. He amply helps his audience draw conclusions from Scripture that lead to the conviction held by most in the Reformed tradition- that Scripture alone should guide worship. Yet in the second half of the work, Frame answers many practical questions (Is drama permissible? Should Psalms alone be sung? Should we lift our hands or dance with our bodies?) that often plague modern worship leaders. He kindly applies some degree of latitude to the strictness with which many others in our tradition apply the Regulative Principle.

As a pastor myself, I found this work to be very helpful as I endeavor to organize worship services for my own church.

Matthew Everhard is the Senior Pastor of Faith Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Brooksville, Florida.

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