THEOLOGY OF WORSHIP
The Primacy & Importance of Worship
God alone is worthy of worship and delights in His own glory, and so creates, seeks, saves, and commands His people to worship Him. Though believers’ entire lives are to be characterized by spiritual service of worship, God is present and blesses His people in a special way in corporate worship. Our greatest duty and delight is in worshiping the triune God in the beauty of holiness (1 Chron. 16:29; Ps. 29:2; 96:9).
"Liturgy" is the name given to one's custom of public worship; that is, how one regularly worships God. A biblical liturgy demonstrates that God’s people are His treasured possession, called and separated from the world to be assembled in His presence before the holy of holies. Our liturgy is designed to reflect historic, classical worship in the Reformed tradition. We strive for decency, order, and excellence in every part of our liturgy to reflect God’s beauty, holiness, and majesty. Though Scripture does not prescribe a specific liturgy, it reveals its content and shape, which includes reading and preaching of God’s Word; prayer; psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; confession; offerings; sacraments; and the benediction. These elements are patterned after the Covenant of Grace, in which God initiates worship, reveals His will and graciously works through His Word. God’s people accordingly respond by humbly, reverently, and boldly calling upon Him in faith, joyfully offering thanksgiving and praise, giving to God what has been received from His gracious hand. A biblical liturgy manifests God’s saving work among His people. Such a dialogical pattern is fulfilled in Christ, through Whom we have access to the Father and receive His blessings.
Reformed Worship as Word Centered
Since worship is of utmost importance, it must be protected by ordained ministers entrusted to guard the Gospel, lead worship, and train those under their care to offer acceptable worship, in spirit and truth. We adhere to the principle of Sola Scriptura (by Scripture Alone). God commands to be worshiped according to His revealed will alone, not according to personal preferences and cultural fads. The very content of God’s Word also should hold a prominent place within virtually every liturgical element. The preaching at First Cumberland Presbyterian Church is expository in nature and holds a central place in our worship services.