Elements of Corporate Worship (Edmund Clowney)

Corporate Worship

The following is taken from “Presbyterian Worship” by Edmund Clowney in Worship: Adoration and Action (page 117), edited by D.A. Carson. Although some may skibble over certain aspects of this composition, Clowney provides a succinct summary of the elements of corporate worship according to the New Testament’s testimony. (I have reformatted his collection into a bulleted list.) He states, “The New Testament indicates, by precept and example [emphasis mine], what the elements of [corporate] worship are.” According to Clowney, they are the following.

  • Corporate prayer is offered (Acts 2:42; 1 Tim 2:1; 1 Cor 14:16).
  • Scripture is read (1 Tim 4:13; 1 Thes 5:27; 2 Thes 3:14; Col 4:15-16; 2 Pet 3:15-16.
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The New Testament’s Interpretation of the Old Testament–Hermeneutical Model or Inspired “Answer Key”

Edmund Clowney

In a lecture on Biblical theology,[1] Dr. Edmund Clowney states the following,

Now…I was taught that…you can’t find any type in the New Testament that’s not identified as a type in the New Testament. But…that’s certainly safe. You know, it’s like you got a book of math or something; and you can’t solve any problem if it’s not given in the back of the book. I mean, you know the answer’s right ’cause it’s in the back of the book; but you say [conclude], “you can’t work any of the problems yourself; you can only look in the back of the book.” It’s kind of a confession of hermeneutical bankruptcy from one perspective. It’s saying, “the New Testament writers can interpret these things; but we don’t have a clue on how they did it. If we knew how they did it, we could do it. But we don’t know how they did it, so we can’t do it. So to play safe, we won’t identify anything as a type if it’s not already identified as a type.” And see, my argument is that they [the New Testament authors] have taught us a lot by the way they identify types.

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