Tackling a subject as broad as worship can be intimidating for anyone, but I think MacArthur has specific interests and firmly rooted in his perspective. That perspective guides the worship style and practice of his church on every front. Naturally, when I had the opportunity to hear an in-depth discourse on MacArthur's theology behind worship I had to pick up the book and read it. With the original book written almost thirty years ago it still came across as relevant in today's worship culture inside churches. It's a tribute to MacArthur's core value of basing his theology and practice when it comes to worship on scripture alone.
In the beginning of this book he takes time to build his case of what worship is supposed to be from the Bible and he tackles instances when worship is wrong. He describes how several stories about how the proper practices of worship without the proper heart in worship is still worship gone wrong.
A far more subtle kind of false worship than any of the three we have mentioned is the worship of the true God in the right way, with a wrong attitude."
Aren't we all guilty of this at one point or another in our walk with Christ? It's tremendously easy to go about worship, especially in a corporate church setting, simply going through the motions and never thinking about the state of our heart. As MacArthur states in this book, that's hypocrisy, not worship.
Throughout the book he dives into a rich study of who God is and why He alone is worthy of our worship. He takes a look at the attributes of God, the Holiness of God and several other directions to draw the reader's attention consistently back to God as the sole focus of worship. He also speaks to our response to this foundational truth in how we worship the Lord in spirit and truth and with our mind. He uses the encounter and exchange with the women at the well to drive this point home, which is one of the richest passages regarding worship theology in the New Testament.
I'll admit it from the outset that there were times I really struggled to push through this book. The bookends of this book I found really encouraging and convicting, but the middle chapters were seemed to be piling one central idea of God being worthy of worship. In my opinion, some of these ideas and well-intentioned focuses could have been condensed just a bit. With that said, I think it is one of the more scriptural founded and well-rounded book on worship that I have seen.
I also found it encouraging that there wasn't a lot of time spent on the culture war or worship styles. That probably has more to do with the time period this book was written in, but it's appreciated none the less. Worship isn't about style, it's about our focus on God and the attitude of our hearts.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Moody Publishers through their blogging for books program. 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 Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Unquestionably the best book I have ever studied on the subject of worship. Every Christian needs to study this book. Every pastor's ministry would be enhanced by studying "Worship, The Ultimate Priority". Dr. MacArthur has superbly explored the subject and presented it in a manner anyone can understand. My personal understanding of worshiping holy God in an acceptable manner has been greatly enhanced. What I knew about worship before reading this book is embarassing. I am forever grateful to Dr. MacArthur for teaching me how to open my mind and heart and give God the glory He deserves and is infinitely worthy of.