Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Called to Worship by Vernon Whaley Book Review

Whaley says there is a prevalent lack of biblical understanding of worship. “People all over, from pew to pulpit, have heads full of misguided notions on the kind of worship that pleases God.” (Page xvi) This generation of evangelicals needs a firm grasp on the principles of genuine worship.
Whaley travels through the Bible to identify the guidelines of worship that pleases God. The creation narrative reminds us man was created for worship. From Israel’s history and the writings of the prophets we find brokenness is a prerequisite for genuine worship, obedience is at the very center of worship and real worshippers demonstrate personal integrity. From the New Testament we find that true worship embraces love for the people of God, shown by service.
At the end of each chapter, Whaley offers practical suggestions to guide the reader to a lifestyle of worship. He reminds us we are in a battle as we fight idols seeking our worship. Our practice of God pleasing worship will culminate in the perfect worship of heaven as seen in the book of Revelation.
A couple of positive aspects of the book include Whaley’s knowledge of Hebrew and Greek. He helps the reader see the many aspects of true worship through the various words used to describe it. Also, if you have even wondered how to use the Psalms in daily worship, Whaley gives a week of devotions as an example.
There were two aspects of the book I found negative. As Whaley goes through the Bible, he quotes or retells biblical narratives, often for several pages. For someone familiar with the stories in the Bible, I would have preferred a synopsis of the account and then the lesson to be learned. I disagree with Whaley in his use of Deut. 28. He believes the curse found in that chapter is still in effect today. He is “certain” the “return of so many epidemic diseases today is the direct result of mankind’s disobedience” is worshipping other gods. (See pp. 204-5.)
Overall, I would recommend this book as sorely needed to get to the foundation of what it means to truly worship God in a manner He finds pleasing. This book would make a great study tool for worship leaders, pastoral staff, Sunday School classes or small groups.
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