Daniel Block provides a fresh perspective on the theology of worship

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Daniel Block Daniel Block lectured on at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) on Feb. 10 and 11 as a part of the Adams lecture series.

Block is a professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College. He is also the author and editor of several books and publications including “For the Glory of God: Recovering a Biblical Theology of Worship.”

Block’s first lecture was on the theology of worship and focused on the Christian’s object of worship: God.

He reflected on worship trends in the past half-century and raised the question “what is worship?” Block thinks that people often “equate worship with a type of music,” but biblically, “music is rarely associated with worship.”

He believes true worship involves all of life, action, reverence and awe of God. “The reward of true and authentic worship is the divine gift of rest,” he said.

Block said that to worship is to ascribe worth to someone or something, but it is different than praise. “Worship is far bigger than praise,” he said. “Everyone worships, but not everyone worships rightly.”

Block stated that, “the Scriptures call for worship that is true rather than false.” He challenged the audience to be consistent in worship by confession and practice. “True worship comes from hearts totally devoted to God and determined to please him.”

Block reminded the audience that only God is worthy of worship as “the source and sustainer of all things.”

He highlighted Psalm 95 and 23, exploring God’s terms for worship and why God is worthy of all worship. “If that’s true, how can worship be casual?” he said. “A covenant relationship is not a call to casualness.”

Block noted that “the more we talk about worship, the less we do it,” and there is often a lack of reverence and submission before God.

Pleasing worship is joyful obedience motivated by the glory of God’s gracious actions and awe “why me?”

According to Block, Christians should respond to God’s invitation to worship with unrestrained celebration, gestures of humiliation and submission and open ears and tender hearts.

Block’s Wednesday lecture was titled, “Fire on the Mountain: A Call for True and Transforming Worship.” He challenged the audience to refine their worship practices in light of the God they worship.

“There is a vast difference between the One who calls for the audience and the audience,” he said.

He reminded listeners that, “the gospel always precedes commands” which should lead one to worship God.

Block taught from Exodus 19 and highlighted the external and formal prerequisites to acceptable worship by recognizing God’s holiness and consecrating oneself. He believes that it is sinful to be trivial in the worship of God.

He encouraged listeners to take a fresh look at the “awesome and glorious God we serve” by focusing on genuine worship. “We don’t have to [worship]; we get to by his grace,” Block said.

The dimensions of covenant relationship found in Deuteronomy 10:12-13 include fearing God, walking in all his ways, serving wholeheartedly and keeping God’s commands.

“What the Lord says to the worshipper is more important than what we say to him,” he added.

Moral prerequisites to acceptable worship involve a clean heart and uncompromising devotion. “If anything other than God is the object of my allegiance, my worship will not be accepted,” Block said.

To view photos from these lectures, please click here.

To watch these messages online, please click here.

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