Trinitarian, God-centered preaching and worship

Transformative preaching and worship is trinitarian and God-centered, facilitating joy-filled communion with the Father, Son and Spirit through our union with Jesus. Sadly, preaching and worship is often unitarian and person-centered. This is the concern of Michael J. Quicke in "Beware Tuneless Preaching." Following is an excerpt.
Too much contemporary preaching and worship misses out the Trinity. In a provocative analysis, James B. Torrance [in Worship, Community and the Triune God of Grace] sharply contrasts what he terms unitarian and trinitarian practices of worship. Of course, orthodox preachers rigorously reject any association with the formal teaching of Unitarianism, that God is one person only, with unacceptable denial of the divinity of Christ and of the Holy Spirit. However, Torrance demonstrates that ironically such preachers may actually practice forms of worship that are Unitarian, because they are closed to Christ’s continuing work and the Holy Spirit. Too much worship is made by human hands for all too human purposes

Much contemporary worship by its human orientation lacks awareness that it should be participating in God’s grace, flowing from the Father, through the Son by the Spirit, and returning by the Holy Spirit through the Son, to the Father. [According to Torrance], human 'unitarian' worship: "has no doctrine of the mediator or sole priesthood of Christ, is human-centered, has no proper doctrine of the Holy Spirit….we sit in the pew watching the minister 'doing his thing' exhorting us 'to do our thing' until we go home thinking we have done our duty for another week." 
If there is no conviction that God enables worship to happen through participation in relationships between Father, Son and Holy Spirit, preachers are likely to opt out of trinitarian language and exhort hearers 'to do their thing.' In some contemporary churches preaching does seem to offer moralizing sermons that concentrate on individual needs - giving good advice instead of Good News.


Anonymous said…
Hi there!

After reading the target article in question here, I am again struck by how well established templism is in the modern faith. What should be a 24/7 walk with the Triune God is relegated to an event at a building, which lasts for an hour or two once a week.

Furthermore, the message given in both what passes for worship and what passes for preaching is usually that, “You aren’t worthy, but by you doing certain action points, you might just be able to get God to throw a crumb of approval your way.”

I also often see that preachers tend to be advice givers, rather than conveyors of the wonders of belief in the name of Jesus Christ.

The best to you all!

J. Richard Parker
Jerome Ellard said…
Your post and Richard's response are are right-on in their reminder to us that preaching and worship need to bring us to recognize and focus on the wonder of our Triune God. I sometimes get the impression when this subject is raised that part of the motivation is to criticize contemporary worship music because of it's focus, many times, on the feelings of the believer rather than exclusively on the majesty of God. I would say that the feelings and experiences of the worshipper, in his or her relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are valid expressions of worship, however. Many of the Psalms reveal the heart of the worshipper in relationship with his God and are beautiful, meaningful reminders of the wonderful relationship that Triune God has always wanted to have with us. So, I celebrate that kind of worship.
Anonymous said…
A critical, but very important message. Thanks for telling the truth. The doctrine of the Trinity is key in Christian theology. Sadly though it seems few people care about it. This situation should be changed in the name of God the Father and in the name the true Christian faith.