Saturday, June 16, 2018

Everyday Doxology

“Theology should always result in doxology; the study of God should always result in praise”1 – Rebecca Stark

Every morning Robert and I read a Puritan classic aloud together before reading the Scriptures and praying.    We love the Puritans because their writings are so rich in doctrine and consistently Christocentric.   Whether it’s John Owen or “The Heavenly Doctor Sibbes”, we’re always challenged to think deeply about Biblical truth and rekindle our affections for the Lord Jesus.  The Puritans were so completely saturated in the Word of God that Spurgeon once said of John Bunyan,  “If you cut him, he’d bleed Scripture”.  
Reading the Puritans has been a great way for us to warm-up before diving into the Scriptures because invariably, the Bible will speak to something we had just read.    
But theology that doesn’t result in repentance and praise to God becomes little more than an intellectual exercise that can lead to spiritual pride.   In his book How to Worship Jesus Christ Joseph Carrol writes,
“One of the dangers of our time is permitting the academic to displace the spiritual, that is, thinking that academic attainment qualifies us for spiritual revelation.   Nothing could be further from the truth.  The only thing that qualifies a man for spiritual revelation is moral fitness:  a holy life, a life under the control of the Spirit, who alone can reveal to him the will of God and enlighten and illumine the Word of God.” 2.
 In other words, studying the Bible won’t help us spiritually unless we have  surrendered ourselves to God because He’s the only one who can help us to truly understand and apply it.   According to Romans 12:1, a life that has been offered as a sacrifice to God is worship in the truest sense.   
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” 
Theology + Sacrifice = Doxology (Praise) 
Our expressions of praise to God, whether individually or corporately, is known as doxology.   The word isn’t found in the Bible and first appeared in English around 1645, coming from the Latin term doxoligia, which was derived from the Greek. 
Various formal corporate expressions recognized in Christian traditions include the one most familiar to Protestants which was written by the Anglican Bishop Thomas Ken in 1709: 
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise him, all creatures here below; 
Praise him above, ye heavenly host: 
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. 
 But doxology should never be viewed as strictly a liturgical expression of worship.   Our walk with God is one in which our hearts need to be continually strengthened by grace through our great High Priest.   As a result, we will be daily engaged in the praise of His glory.  
Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.” Hebrews 13:5

1 The Good Portion:  God—the Doctrine of God for Every Woman;  Rebecca Stark; Christian Focus Publications; 2018; pg 208
 2  How to Worship Jesus Christ;  Joseph F. Carrol;  Moody Publishers; 1984 Pg 67 

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