Spirit-filled Worship

[I]f we were to examine a worship service to see if the Holy Spirit were active in it, what would we be looking for? In the current rage for expressive and spontaneous worship, most people look for the Spirit’s presence in the style of song, the emotions and posture of worshipers, and whether people feel blessed upon leaving the service. But this reflects a radical misunderstanding of the work of the Holy Spirit, as if the Spirit is involved with only the experiential or emotional aspects of the Christian life. In fact, the bible teaches that the principal work of the Holy Spirit is to reveal the truth of God. … [T]he purpose of the revelatory work of the Spirit is to yield proper understanding, not warm feelings. This means that a Spirit-filled worship service will be one that conforms to the revelation of the Bible.

Looking at the work of the Holy Spirit this way means that so-called traditional worship, as opposed to contemporary forms, has the greatest claim to being Spirit-filled. This statement will likely startle many readers because worship in the Calvinist tradition has not been known for its zeal and intimacy. Instead, the words cold, formal, and stodgy come to mind most often. … Yet this impression reveals how much contemporary Protestant thinking equates the work of the Spirit with emotions, not with understanding and believing the Bible. It also shows how much contemporary Protestant thought has separated the work of the Spirit from the teaching of God’s Word. -D.G. Hart, from Recovering Mother Kirk, “Spirit-Filled Worship”

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