Dr. Peter Masters
Wakeman Trust, London, UK
Paperback: 150 pages
This is a great book! Although it might appear that Dr. Masters wrote this book primarily as a call to pastors and other church leaders to return to the biblical worship of the Protestant Reformation, what he writes is without doubt applicable to all Christians everywhere. He firmly believes that worship is the most important issue facing Bible churches today. His style is marvelously simple, but hardly simplistic, thus this book is very easy reading. Once I began reading I just couldn’t put it down. It is short enough to be read in one sitting, which allows the reader to grasp the totality of what the author is setting forth and to see the details as well as the big picture.
Peter Masters is rightfully concerned over what has happened in the Protestant churches today. There is widespread change taking place in the area of worship which crosses denominational boundaries. “New Worship”, as he chooses to call this phenomena is a blight on the church and he cogently shows why this is so. He first lists “Three Broken Principles” which are shared, albeit to varying degrees, by those who have departed from the traditional worship that came out of the Protestant Reformation to this “New Worship”.
- Spiritual or Aesthetic Worship?
- Rational or Ecstatic Worship?
- Sacred or Profane Worship?
I found his insights refreshing and most informative in this initial section. The reader is not disappointed as the author doesn’t limit himself to basic principles which are most necessary to deal with as they are the foundation upon which most derive their views of acceptable worship. He does deal with specifics, for example, music; style, lyrics, etc. There is even a section devoted to hymn writing. And he also has some marvelous things to say in regard to instrumentation that is used in the worship of God. Dr. Masters’ views are solidly grounded in the Scriptures, from which he frequently quotes and expounds.
For me, the most impressive section was chapter 13, “Reverence Begins in the Place of Worship”. Although he makes mention of reverence and the need for biblical sobriety in worship throughout the book, this chapter is dedicated to the discussion of this topic specifically and in detail. He shows not only that God requires that we be reverent in our worship but also the benefits of it and the consequences, which are spatial, if it is lacking.
The Appendix at the end of the book, I believe, reveals much about the spirituality of the author himself in addition to the depth of knowledge of the subject he has written about. The title of this chapter is: “Practical Rules for Public Prayer”. He offers 20 suggestions to those who are responsible to offer up prayers in public; i.e., in public worship, although there is much that is applicable to both informal prayer meetings and our own private prayers. Included are some examples of worship and prayer from both the Old Testament and the New Testament.
In the near future, D.v., we will be putting a few of the chapters from this book online, having received permission to do so from the author. This is a definite “must read”!
Jeffrey C. Nesbitt
Dr. Peter Masters has been the minister of the Metropolitan Tabernacle (Spurgeon’s) in Central London since 1970.
For further information:
Elephant & Castle
London SE1 6SD
Tel: 020-7735 7076
Fax: 020-7735 7989
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