Reconciling an apologetic approach with worship models

I presented a paper recently in Dallas suggesting that one can reconcile various apologetic approaches with particular worship models. In reality, I believe the worship gathering is to be primarily about worship but if we believe there is an evangelistic element in worship (or for those who believe this is the primary purpose of the Sunday morning gathering), the apologetic approach used should be a thoughtful one. I used Boa and Bowman’s taxonomy on apologetic approaches (classical, evidentialist, Reformed, and Fideist) as a mechanism for considering various worship approaches. One of my contentions is that many who seek to be evangelistic in their Sunday morning gathering take a Fideist approach (faith over reason), hoping that the artistic appeal of the service will be a primary draw. I certainly am a fan of doing worship art with excellence but Christian music used primarily for aesthetic appeal may not represent a sound apologetic (this view does not necessarily preclude the possibility of using Christian art that primarily has an aesthetic appeal  in non-woship venues). Furthermore I contend that the music portion of the service as well as the sermon can be part of a thoughtful apologetic, representing a reformed, evidentialist, or classical approach (or some combination of these). I have encouraged some of my students to comment on this topic but I’d like to hear your views regardless of your church minisry statas.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Dr. Woodward, I hope that the presentation went well in Dallas.


  2. Posted by Jason Brown on August 11, 2011 at 5:59 am

    This is an interesting concept, the intersection of worship and apologetics. Certainly an evidentialist appeal could be made using a “Credo” type song, one that declares the gospel and its historical foundations visa-vi the resurrection.

    Likewise, the classical two-step approach could be taken in which the progression of worship is to exalt God and confront idolatry(theistic proofs) then proclaim Christ as God (Christian evidences).

    Finally, a reformed approach could be taken in which the heart of the message presented in song would center around questions or statements essentially asking, “Where else could you turn?” “Who else can deliver?” The answer to the questions of course being the Father.

    Very interesting topic to discuss. What do you think of my suggestions, Doc?


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