Worship

Course Outline & Assessment Information

Objectives

By exploring the rich biblical view of worship, this course equips students to more fully comprehend and enter into a life of worship! A life that fully participates in the life, worship and mission of Jesus Christ.

By starting with the “who” question—first seeking to understand who God is, and who we are in the light of God’s self-revelation in the scriptures and most fully through the incarnation—we learn that our triune God created us to share in a living relationship with God which would in turn transform our relationships with one another and the entire created order. All of this we experience in Christ! Sharing in the life of the risen Son, we find ourselves included in, and participating with him, in his communion with the Father through the Spirit.

This course is built on such a foundation. It will emphasise and explore this underlying theology of worship—that Jesus is the one True Worshipper, and that we share in his perfect worship offered to the Father on our behalf, both as persons and as congregations.

The scriptural narrative testifies that in Christ, we share in all of the operations of the Trinity. As the Spirit binds us to Christ, we share in his life! And, as we offer our bodies—as our appropriate and intelligent act of worship—we participate in his worship and mission.

As a result, we will explore the ways in which our intertwined life of worship and mission flows out of our inclusion in Christ’s worship and mission. We will focus together primarily on the “who question” - what he is doing, and only in a secondary way address the “how” and “what” - matters of service format, liturgy, prayer, music, conduct of services and so on.

Each class will provide regular opportunities for prayerful personal and/or group reflection.

Content

Introduction

A reflection on Rom 12:1-2 – living sacrifices
We receive gifts from a good God!
The starting point—the “Who” question

Class 1 - Who is this God we see Revealed in Jesus?

God is eternal love
God is relational
God Is Triune
God’s intention: New Creation!
The Incarnation: fulfilling and illuminating the Biblical narrative
The shape of Jesus’ incarnate life
Our response!
Living in relationship with this good God who loves his creation!

Class 2 - Who Are We in the Light of God’s Revealing?

A “good” creation!
The creation—God’s dwelling, God’s Temple
Human failure to care appropriately for the creation
In Christ, we bear the true image of God!
Co-lovers of the world
The Spirit enables us to share what Jesus has accomplished on our behalf

Class 3 - Christ Our Worship Leader

We share in the true worship of the One True Man
Jesus’ life—a life of worship!
Jesus—God’s Word to us; Jesus—Our response to God
Our eternal High Priest
We participate in Jesus’ priesthood
We are invited to share in Jesus’ worship
Communion, not simply communication
Transformed to love the other as God loves the other

Class 4 - The Church as Worshipping Community

Christian community: Christ in the midst!
The “ekklesia” —persons in communion
The Church – the living presence of Christ!
But the Church Is full of hypocritical sinners!
Laying down our lives in responsiveness to God
Jesus, the one true human!
Coming together as the congregation
The written Word of God – the Scriptures
The Sacraments of Eucharist and Baptism
Music—the songs of faith

Class 5 - The Church as Missional Community

The worshipping Church goes hand in hand with the missional Church— distinct but not separate
Torrance and Hastings on John 20
Called to be caught up into the ongoing work of God!
We exist for others!
Our mission in union with Christ
The Church— a non-coercive presence offering glimpses of God’s future, now
God’s mission, not ours!
Three congregational examples – discerning God at work in the communities where they meet
Living in relationship with God enlivens our capacity to discern his working
In the world but not of it!
Becoming fully human includes becoming channels for God’s gift of self-giving love for God and others
Christ’s self-giving love shapes the way we respond to others!
The Church in the political arena
But! There are ways for the Church and Christians to do these things!

Appendix - The Arts and the Church

The arts in the life and work of the Church
Do the arts have a place within a Christian worldview?
Good Creator God, good creation
Good God, good creation – and the incarnation
The incarnation and the arts
Human creativity in the scriptures
The Arts in service of the Gospel
Does non-Christian art have a role in serving the gospel?
The arts providing theological insight and illumination
Importance of a theology of the arts
Conclusion

Texts and Supporting Materials

Provided Readings

Peterson, Eugene H. Eat This Book. A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. 2006: Chapter 3: Scripture As Text: Learning What God Reveals pp. 23-36.

Begbie, Jeremy S. Resounding Truth. Christian Wisdom in the World of Music. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007 Chapter 8: A Christian Ecology pp. 185-209.

Torrance, James B. The Place of Jesus Christ in Worship in: Anderson, Ray S, ed. Theological Foundations for Ministry. Selected Readings for a Theology of the Church in Ministry. Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. and Edinburgh: T and T Clark. Ltd., 1979 pp. 348-369.

Peterson, Eugene H. Practice Resurrection: A Conversation on Growing Up in Christ. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. 2010 Chapter 6: Peace and the Broken Wall, Chapter 7: Church and God’s Manifold Wisdom pp. 109-146.

Harper, Brad and Metzger, Paul Louis. Exploring Ecclesiology. An Evangelical and Ecumenical Introduction. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2009 Chapter 5: The Church as a Worshipping Community, Chapter 6: The Worshipping Church Engages Culture pp. 85-120.

Hastings, Ross. Missional God, Missional Church. Hope For Re-evangelizing the West. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2012 Chapter 4: Greatest Co-Mission: The Missional Trinity pp.80-117.

Recommended Reading

  • Dawson, Gerrit Scott. An Introduction To Torrance Theology. Discovering the Incarnate Saviour. London and New York: T & T Clark, 2007
  • Hastings, Ross. Missional God, Missional Church. Hope For Re-evangelizing the West. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2012.
  • Torrance, James B. Worship, Community and the Triune God of Grace. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1996

Assessment

The components of assessment for this class are all listed in this document for ease of access. You are encouraged to work through the class notes and readings before launching into the assessments. You do not need to submit the assessments in numerical order, but in most cases this will be the best way to approach it. The assessments are as follows:

Assessment

Assessment 1

Choose one of the following and write a paper (800-1000 words):

  1. Contrast and compare trinitarian worship – the sharing in Christ’s prayer, Christ’s worship, Christ’s mission to the world – with human centred worship flowing out of what Peterson calls the “replacement Trinity”.
  2. What guidelines would help you in “making worship more culturally relevant without compromising scripture?”
  3. Discuss how your ideas about worship have been challenged by this course.
  4. Select five quotes from the class readings that have particularly impacted you in regard to Christian worship.
    • Include the quote, author and source
    • Reflect on each and discuss the implications for you and your congregation (around 200 words each).
  5. Read through some of the High Priest passages in Hebrews. Discuss some of the differences between the role of Israel’s High Priest and the work of Jesus, our sole High Priest and how Jesus’ high-priesthood plays out in the life of the local congregation.
  6. Discuss your understanding that the church is to reflect something of the rich fellowship, love and mutuality of purpose of the triune God.
Assessment

Assessment 2

Choose one of the following and write a paper (500-800 words):

  1. Reflect on how might our pride cause us to resist the notion that we share in Christ’s prayer, Christ’s worship, Christ’s mission to the world?
  2. Reflect on the differences (personally and congregationally) between “working for God” and “working with God”.
  3. Describe the process involved in the congregation discerning God at work in their neighbourhood and finding ways to participate. Give examples.
  4. Reflect on and discuss your journey from seeing church as a responsibility to seeing church as your identity.
  5. Has your experience in the church been one of being present “at the place where the world is in pain”? If so, give examples. If not, where might there be small opportunities for your congregation to live incarnationally in the community where you meet?
  6. Discuss how our sharing in Jesus’ perfect image bearing plays out in the entirety of the life of the church and of ourselves as ecclesial persons.
Assessment

Assessment 3

Choose one of the following: (500-800 words):

  1. Compare the texts of 3 worship songs from different historical periods and evaluate the strengths and weakness of each from a trinitarian, ecclesial and incarnational perspective.
  2. Put together an order of service for congregational worship (including such things as prayers, songs, readings, sermon subject, eucharist etc) and explain how it reflects a trinitarian approach to worship. You may want to comment on how you might have approached the same task before you took this course.
  3. Discuss why you believe it important to incorporate the arts in the life of the congregation. Has your congregation been able to usefully do so? If so, give examples.
  4. Select and answer an additional question from Questions 2 or 3.

Flexible Dates for Assessment

Lecturer

More about the Lecturer and Assessor, Randall Bourchier.

Grading System

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Copyright

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Class Notes - Conventions

As you work through the class notes, you'll have opportunities to complete exercises, reflect on particular points and take special note. These are clearly indicated, with relevant instructions alongside

How Long Do I Have to Complete the Class?

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Queries

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ALL THE BEST WITH YOUR LEARNING JOURNEY!

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