All people were created by God to worship. In fact, all people do worship, even if they never attend church. The question is – who do we worship and how? There is nothing more fundamental and important in our lives than this question. Below is a summary of who and how we worship at Holy Trinity Presbyterian Church.
Our Worship is God-Centered
God’s Word plainly tells us that the chief purpose of every person in every activity is to glorify God (1 Cor. 10:31). The same is certainly true in worship. The triune God of the Bible – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit – is the one, living and true God whom we gather to worship. When we assemble as God’s people each Lord’s Day, it is not so that we can be entertained but in order to “sing to the Lord” (Ps. 98:1). In worship, the author of Hebrews says that “you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” (Heb. 12:22). Therefore, we are to “offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire” (Heb. 12:28).
Our Worship is Scripture-Directed
If we are to glorify God and keep Him central in our worship, we must allow His Word to direct our worship. We refer to this teaching as the regulative principle, for the simple reason that God ‘regulates’ (i.e. directs) what we do in worship. To go beyond the Protestant Reformation teaching of sola Scriptura in this matter is to suggest that we know better than God and to invite His punishment (Lev. 10:1-3; Heb. 12:18-25). We believe that including only those elements in our worship that God explicitly commands or implicitly approves in the Bible protects true Christian freedom to worship in the Spirit and in the truth of God’s Word (Jn. 4:23-24). For this reason, our worship services include the same elements as the New Testament church who devoted themselves to the reading and preaching of God’s Word, to prayer and singing praises, to the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, to giving of tithes, and to fellowship (Acts 2:41-47).
Our Worship is Covenant-Structured
In striving to allow God’s Word to direct our worship, we find that the only way sinful people can approach a holy God is through God graciously condescending to enter into covenant with them (Gen. 17:7; Ezek. 37:26-27; Heb. 8:10). Characteristic of the covenant of grace is God initiating relationship with His people by revealing Himself and in turn His people responding to Him in worship (Isa. 6:1-8). We refer to this teaching as the dialogical principle, because there is a dialogue between God and His people in worship. This covenantal structure found in the Bible shapes our worship – God speaks to us through the reading and preaching of His Word and the sacraments, and we respond in praying, singing, and giving.
The covenantal structure of our worship also leads us to welcome entire families to participate in corporate worship. When God entered into covenant with His people, He entered into covenant with both parents and their children (Gen. 17:7; Acts 2:39; 1 Cor. 7:12-14). Therefore, we believe that children should be included in our worship services as much as possible, because this time of hearing from God’s Word and of responding in worship is not just for adults but for young people as well.