Project Documents

Date of Award

1982

Document Type

Project Report

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Doctor of Ministry DMin

First Advisor

Steven P. Vitrano

Second Advisor

Robert M. Johnston

Third Advisor

Arnold A. Kurtz

Abstract

It is the thesis of this research project that the theological foundation for Christian worship was laid in the beginning chapters of Genesis in the context of the Creation, the Fail of Man, and the subsequent gospel covenant of Gen 3:15. The basic structure of worship which involves God, man, and their relationship is present at the beginning. Through this basic structure, worship is seen as an intentional act of man's adoration and commitment to God and is always in response to divine initiative.

As an intentional act of adoration of God, man's worship is circumscribed by the theological presuppositions of the nature and character of Cod, the nature of man, and man's relationship with God. These theological presuppositions are discernible in Genesis, in it God revealed Himself in His divine reality, sovereignty, transcendence, charity, righteousness, and holiness. Genesis also discloses the fact of man created in God's image, in His image, man in his religious nature is equipped with a capacity to know his divine origin, to relate to God in terms of responsible living through faith, love, and obedience to divine law, and to understand through revelation his depraved nature and need of salvation in the light of the Fall of Man. Worship in this context requires an articulation of theological truth which in turn is to inform the spirit, form, and content of worship.

Worship as a response to divine initiative is further circumscribed by divine activities because of God's nature and character. He manifests Himself in a continuous revelation that culminates in the Incarnation of Christ. He establishes the original, gracious covenant that finds fulfillment on the Cross. He ministers to mankind through both a divine mediation and judgment that leads to the Cross, to the heavenly ministry of Christ, and to the imminent parousia. He promises reconciliation and restoration through the symbol of the Sabbath both as a sign of divine Lordship and as an assurance of divine rest from the power and tyranny of sin. These basic theological presuppositions of divine nature, character, initiative, and ministry are seen to guide man's worship of God throughout the biblical era, through an adaptation according to different time and context. The Christian churches of the post-biblical era, however, are observed to have gradually deviated from the concept of the authority of the whole Bible. Biblical prophecy points to a movement in the end time that will recover a true concept of God and His worship through the proclamation of the gospel found in the Three Angels' Messages of Rev 14:6-12. The Seventh-day Adventist Church earnestly believes itself to have been raised by God to carry out this gospel mission in this end time. At the very heart of the Three Angels' Message of Rev 14 is a call to worship God as Creator, Redeemer, and Lord. The Seventh-day Adventist Church, though zealously proclaiming the gospel message of Rev 14 through a world-wide evangelization, has yet fully to proclaim that gospel truth of the end time in its very worship service.

It is the burden of this study to direct the attention of the church to its historical and biblical root and continuity from the beginning of time on earth. The message which the church is mandated to preach to the world finds its root in the Creation, the Fall of Man, and the redemptive covenant. Its worship in this light must also find its theological foundation in the beginning. To that end this study concludes with a proposed order of a worship service that attempts to articulate these theological beliefs and which theological imperatives, in turn, inform the worship of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Subject Area

Worship; Public worship

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