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3 Stars Out Of 5
a CAN read not a MUST read
July 18, 2013
This is a republishing of Sproul's original book A Taste of Heaven. It's been repackaged with a new title, but the content is the same with the exception of an added study guide, which is extensive and useful.
When I saw this title, I was eager read it and mine all the nuggets from it. RC Sproul is a master teacher and even though I hold to a different ecclesiology and eschatology than Dr. Sproul, there is still much to be learned, even when his theology disagrees with mine.
The book is intended to be a brief introduction the principles of worship and I think Dr. Sproul accomplished this goal.
He spent a lot of time on baptism (3 chapters) and doesn't shrink away from letting you know paedobaptism is the best way to go, while at the same time admitting that the New Testament doesn't explicitly teach or command the practice of infant baptism and that "there is no extrabiblical information that mentions infant baptism until the middle of the second century.
His writing confused me sometimes as he took pot-shots out of nowhere at people or systems of theology without further explanation. For instance, here under a section entitled "baptism is a sign of rebirth" he derogatorily mentions dispensationalism and assumes the reader will know how it departed from orthodoxy.
"The way in which regeneration is understood differs from church to church in subtle, sometimes insignificant, ways. But apart from dispensationalism, which was a nineteenth-century departure from orthodoxy, the rest of the Christian world agrees at least on this: the essential point of regeneration is that God works internally on the soul of a person and changes the disposition of his or her heart."
I don't disagree with that last sentence, yet I'm a dispensationalist. I scratched my head here because dispensationalism is primarily concerned with ecclesiology (church) and eschatology (end times), but there is no inherent relation to soteriology (salvation). I was ready to learn, but Dr. Sproul left me wanting here.
On a positive note, I enjoyed when Dr. Sproul got pastoral. Check out this gem,
"I tell my students in the seminary that there is an art to greeting people at the door after the church service. It is vitally important for the pastor to extend his hand and at least offer to shake hands with every person who comes by. Some will walk right by, but the vast majority of people want to stop and shake the pastor's hand. If that person is an elderly man or woman, and especially if it is an elderly widow, the pastor should never, ever shake with one hand. He must take that woman's hand in both of his hands. Why? It is because she needs that special touch, because she experiences loneliness. In giving that tender, loving touch, the pastor is being Christ to the people giving the Master's touch in His name to people who are afraid, lonely, or hurting."
This is where this book excelled. In the small pastoral contributions.
Otherwise, this is not a must read, but a can read book.
R. C. Sproul in his new book, "How Then Shall We Worship?" part of the Classic Theology series published by David C. Cook shows us Biblical Principles to Guide Us Today.
From the Back Cover: Discover God's design for worship
From the back cover: Worship can mean many things to many people. Even the Church cannot seem to agree on how worship should look. We can choose from contemporary music, traditional services, and everything in between. Yet while we often take our cues from pop culture or Church history, the true nature of worship is found in God's Word.
Dr. R. C. Sproul believes that God intends for worship to be a taste of Heaven on earth. A trusted teacher and theologian for more than fifty years, Dr. Sproul takes a profound look at the divine design, art and call of worship. Filled with rich insights and fresh perspectives, all built on a solid foundation of Scripture, "How Then Shall We Worship?" will inspire and encourage you to embrace a deeper, richer worship experience.
Man was meant to worship. Because of our Sin nature it is easier to worship a golden calf that God. And once we accept Jesus as Lord it doesn't seem to get easier. In thirteen chapters Dr. Sproul gives us the problem and works to bring us into how we should worship. Obviously Dr. Sproul does a magnificent job in explaining how worship should be a sensory experience, one filled with music, communion to smell and taste and more which is one of the reasons why you need to have this book. "How Then Shall We Worship? is a must have book. It is a must have for you because you will read it once, stash it on your bookshelf and come back to it again and again for refreshing. It is a must have for your friends and family so that they can do the exact same thing. We all need to learn and understand and who better than Dr. Sproul to help us with that understanding. I recommend this book highly!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for free from David C. Cook for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Sproul notes it is the nature of man to worship God. But since the Fall, this nature has been damaged. We tend to idolatry. We cannot just follow our desires for worship. We must direct ourselves, he argues, to worship following the instructions in Scripture.
With that introduction, Sproul sets out to give the basic principles of worship found in Scripture as well as the models displayed there. Our overriding concern needs to be what is pleasing to God. We cannot neglect the Old Testament. There we can discern patterns of worship God has revealed. Worship for Israel was understood basically as praise, prayer, and sacrifice. Sproul explores the attitude of the worshiper as well as the meaning of spiritual worship.
He then examines the sacraments of the New Testament church, baptism and the Lord's Supper. After beginning with why God gave sacraments, he explores the meaning of baptism and defends infant baptism as the biblical view (by inference). He explains the various views of Christ's presence, or lack of it, in the Lord's Supper.
Sproul speaks of the desire to sense the presence of God in worship. He shows how Israel's worship involved all the senses. He then gives examples of how worship today can also involve all the senses.
There is an extensive study guide at the end of the book is nearly eighty pages long. It could be used by a person with the aim of teaching a class on worship or used by a group for discussion. This book would a good choice for Sunday School class or a church board discussion.
I encourage Christians to read this book. Even if you do not agree with all Sproul teaches, such as infant baptism, there is much important material in this book. I you truly want to understand how to please God in your worship, this is a good place to begin.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.