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A Review of With Reverence and Awe: Returning to the Basics of Reformed Worship

This study reminds us that worship practice flows out of one's theology.

  • Byron Snapp,
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Every Christian should be concerned about the proper worship of God. The authors believe that worship is important. The first four commandments direct our attention to worshiping God correctly.

Early in this study, the reader is reminded that worship practice flows out of one's theology. The authors then show how Reformed theology provides a basis for leading and participating in worship.

When Christians worship God publicly, they gather together, separating themselves from the world, to hear God's Word read and proclaimed and to respond to Him in singing, prayer, and offering. This understanding of worship focuses our attention on pleasing God, not on how to make worship palatable to the non-Christian. The focus of worship is God, not man.

The authors properly teach that the Bible is to regulate our worship and that we are to see worship as a dialogue between God and His people. They write with a covenant consciousness against the backdrop of confessional and catechetical commitment, all of which is interwoven with Scripture.

The book also covers a number of ongoing debates among Christians who consider themselves Reformed. These issues include the type of music that should be selected for worship services and the role of females in worship leadership. Their answers are sound and scriptural. These answers provide the reader with basic principles useful in untangling future controversies.

This volume also reminds us that right worship is broader than merely a consideration of the focus of our worship and the forms and elements used within the worship service itself. It involves a right relationship between believers gathered for worship and a right understanding and use of the Lord's Day. The authors stress that in all of these, used properly, God is reminding His people in the world that they are a set-apart community that has been redeemed by God to serve Him and to grow in holiness.

The authors present their theme in a Biblical and pastoral manner. The chapters build upon one another. The writers do an excellent job of reviewing the material and digging deeper into the subject.

This is a good volume to gain a better understanding of how to worship God, or to read over a period of time in one's preparation for worship. It is well-written and quite useful to hand out to others who desire an explanation of Reformed worship.

For those who are in a church that practices Reformed worship, this helps them to treasure the gift they have and challenges them to work to maintain its continuity in a day when many are arguing against it.

  • Byron Snapp

Byron Snapp is a graduate of King College (B.A.) and Reformed Theological Seminary (M.Div.). He was Associate Pastor at Calvary Reformed Presbyterian Church, Hampton, Virginia, from 1994 until his retirement in December 2014. He is a native of Marion, Virginia.  He has had pastorates in Leakesville, Mississippi, and Gaffney, South Carolina.  He served as Assistant Pastor in Cedar Bluff, Virginia prior to his ministry at Calvary Reformed. He has served as editor of the Presbyterian Witness and was a contributor to A Comprehensive Faith and Election Day Sermons. He is currently a member of Westminster Presbytery in the PCA. He and his wife Janey have 3 children and several grandchildren. 

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