Approach to Worship

Character of Worship at East Gate Presbyterian

At the heart of true worship lies a fearful and wonderful encounter with the King of Glory. True worship not only glorifies God, it ennobles and enriches the lives of men. However, worship is not a casual act. Nowhere in life do human beings draw nearer the flame of God’s eternal character than in worship, thus true worship is characterized by glory, honor and blessing, yet danger and wrath are equally present in worship which falls short of the standards for worship established in God’s Word.

Would you give your child a car without teaching him the rules of the road? Would you embark on an airplane with a pilot ignorant of air traffic procedures? Never, right? Why then, do we so often ignore God’s instructions on worship? Great power demands great respect; though the rewards of worship are great, so also are its risks. Paul warns the Corinthians that some of them are sick and others have died because of inappropriate worship.

We at East Gate Presbyterian believe it is vitally important that our worship be governed by the Word of God. Our primary concern in worship is to worship God in a manner pleasing to Him. We believe that worship which pleases God will naturally lead those who do not know Jesus as Saviour to seek Him. We do not believe the lost are truly benefited by worship which focuses on man, but that worship which focuses on Christ, lifting Him up in praise and honoring Him as the Groom who gave His life for the Church, His Bride, is naturally attractive to those who do not yet know Jesus as Saviour.

Our approach to worship seeks to avoid man-made rules while honoring Scripture’s clear teaching on the holiness of worship and faithfully considering what might be necessary and logical extensions of such teaching.

Though there are many ways to worship God appropriately, true worship is always an encounter with the God of eternity, thus, reverence and awe must never be far from us when we enter the house of God. We seek reverence and humility as our overarching our guides in all we do in worship.

What does this mean in practice?

Instruments: Scripture reveals a great variety of instruments employed to assist worshippers in the praise of God. We do not believe organs, drums, pianos, guitars, or almost any other instrument to be ipso facto contrary to a spirit of true worship (although, for a worthy opposing view from Sword and Trowel magazine see here). Instead, we believe that the appropriateness of instruments to worship is determined by their method of use. Every instrument known to man can be employed in a manner which seeks more to gratify man than to honor God. Our goal for instrumental accompaniment is to maintain performance characteristics consistent with congregational praise–in general, we seek instrumentation which will assist the congregation in singing. This is the primary goal for instruments employed in worship at East Gate Presbyterian. Current worship accompaniment includes piano and organ with the occasional addition of a keyboard or guitar.

Scripture Versions: East Gate Presbyterian encourages the use of a faithful translation of God’s Word without specifying what translation that should be. We do not believe that the King James (or “Authorized”) Version is necessarily more faithful or reliable than more modern translations–though we sympathize to a degree with those who question the text-critical approach of most recent translations. We believe it is important that whatever translation is used avoid human reinterpretation of words divinely inspired, thus, we discourage the use of translations which employ “gender neutral” language or which do not faithfully translate certain words (such as terms for the Jewish people in the New Testament) in order to avoid offending modern sensibilities. A variety of versions will be found in our hands on any given Sunday morning, ranging from the King James Version to the New International Version to the English Standard Version to the New King James Version to the New American Standard Bible.

The Lord’s Supper: East Gate Presbyterian practices open communion. However, we do ask that visitors be under the authority of a Bible-believing church when they join with us in celebrating the Lord’s Supper. We ask this for the sake of our visitors’ own spiritual welfare and to guard our worship from the dangers spelled out in 1 Corinthians 11.

For a more in-depth view of our thinking about worship, see the Philosophy of Worship.

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