Traditional Reformed worship is dialogical, meaning God and the worshippers are in a kind of conversation. But the agenda for the conversation is set by God’s declarations. This is why, traditionally, Reformed worship begins with a call to worship and ends with a benediction. God gets the first word and the last word. Our singing, confession, and prayers are a response to God’s Word. God’s Word also takes center stage in the high point of a Reformed service, which is the preaching of the Word of God.
The following post is part of our ‘Principles of Reformation’ series. For the first post in the series, please click here.
In order to make progress in a course of reformation, it is necessary to define the goal of any efforts that proceed under the Reformed banner. As Reformed believers, what is our target? What is the ultimate goal of our reformation?
Is our goal an increase in Bible knowledge and theological acumen? It must be said that many today who use the label Reformed or who discover Reformed theology find it intellectually stimulating and satisfying. For some, Reformed teaching answers basic questions and opens vistas for further intellectual exploration. This is a wonderful thing. Reformed churches have always insisted that pastors be educated and skilled in sound doctrine, and the best theologians in the Reformed tradition have tried to engage with the leading intellectual movements of their day. They do so drawing on a clear and realistic understanding of the nature of man and the sovereignty of our Creator God.
This means that Reformed theology can offer someone who is intellectually inclined much to study and talk about. At its core, though, Reformed theology is a balanced and thoughtful declaration of the teaching of Scripture. It is meant to shape lives and cultivate churches that are centered on the glorious gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a theology for life – not just the life of the mind, but the life of the whole person dedicated to God completely. This complete dedication to God is regularly expressed in the worship which God’s people render wholeheartedly to Him.
Meeting with God in Worship
Reformed theology has a high view of God. He is the sovereign Creator of all things, and He rules over His creation. This should provoke us to praise Him in a way that acknowledges His holiness. Because God is so majestic, so powerful, so great, our praise to Him ought to reflect this. The Bible says, “Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised” (Ps. 145:3). The ultimate goal of reformation is to glorify our great God as He is, as He deserves, and as He decrees.