Author: JONATHAN LANDRY CRUSE
Publisher: Reformation Heritage Books
I knew I would enjoy this book before I started reading it! The comments on the back cover told me that.
However, those comments from the great and good were all from Americans save one. Did it read across to the scene in UK? There are differences: one service on Sunday is the US norm, and that is often followed by a restaurant meal. First-time prayer meetings can be disconcerting as there are sometimes no ‘amens’ between prayers! But despite these and other differences, I thought the book equally applicable to the UK.
My next question was whether it represented a polemic in the so-called ‘worship wars’ debate. I needn’t have worried. The approach is measured, balanced, and biblical. Like many American publications, this one has questions at the end of each chapter. When done badly, they can be an unhelpful appendage, but the ones in this book are thought-provoking and provide a useful resume.
My final thought related to Covid-19 and the radical impact it has had on how services are conducted. This book is a timely reminder of how important gathered worship is.
So what is it all about? Cruse’s overriding burden is for us to be awed by the sheer privilege of meeting with the triune God. Our ‘ordinary’ church service is a supernatural event.
‘When we worship God, we are drawn by His Holy Spirit into His very presence to have a personal encounter with Him. What would otherwise be a terrifying thought becomes a joyful experience as we learn that we are covered in the perfection of Jesus Christ and fully accepted in the Beloved’ (p.185).