Michael Horton on the Focus of Worship

To tell the truth, the focus in most conservative and contemporary services is similar. Often, both focus on what we are doing as the congregation (praising, giving our gifts), rather than accenting what God is doing for us. Thus, both traditional and contemporary forms have more in common than either has with historic Reformed worship. Arguments over which songs to use, for instance, often fail to get to deeper issues, partly because our chief interest is in what we are doing instead of in God’s activity in the service. Our answer has been to center our services on God.

Many of our people know their way around so-called contemporary forms of entertainment and worship much better than do those who have just recently determined to enlist these forms in Reformed worship. They therefore hardly fit the stereotypical image of the fuddy-duddy who resists worship change in principle. For them, in fact, the singing of praise songs is old news, and the singing of the Psalter is fresh and bracing. Like someone who is used to fast food but then sits down at an elegant feast, those who are drenched in popular mass culture often, at the very least, find rich communities of faith more interesting.

From Recovering the Substance of Worship


2 thoughts on “Michael Horton on the Focus of Worship

  1. Great quotation from Horton, Kyle! The ‘liturgical reversal’ is indeed present all across the conservative-contemporary divide. I wonder how you would identify the root of the problem, given it is not unique to any particular theological or ideological movement?

    • Ah, the root of the problem is so simple 🙂 It is sin! It’s our own sinfulness. Our own reliance on our works in all aspects. It’s breaking the first commandment, too.

      We must be baptized in the name of the trinity to see this!

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