Doxology and Theology exhorts Reformed worship

Originally published at Southern Seminary –

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (SBTS) — Like Paul in Romans 11, the worship leader’s doxology should be a response to the gospel and drenched in humility, said worship pastor Matt Boswell at the third Doxology and Theology conference Nov. 3-5, held at The Southern Baptist Theology Seminary.

The theme of the 2016 conference was “Worship Reformed,” which leaders said would  demonstrate how the Reformation impacted the worship of the church. Drawing from the Five Solas of the Reformation, Boswell exhorted attendees to stand on and under the Word of God, marvel at the grace of God, cultivate their faith, trust in Christ alone, and seek the glory of God alone.

“Our only job and responsibility is to marvel at the grace of God, the sufficiency of God, the wisdom of God,” said Boswell, pastor of ministries and worship at Providence Church in Frisco, Texas.

Explaining the purpose of the conference, Boswell shared how many Reformers, theologians, and “preacher heroes” emphasized the importance of music in their ministries. Even Luther himself wrote hymns, while others compiled hymnbooks.

“It’s really interesting to find out when we sing, that if a philosopher came to our worship services, in much of what is called evangelicalism, there would be no theology to report,” Mohler said.In the opening session of the three-day conference, SBTS President R. Albert Mohler Jr. preached from Nehemiah 8:1-8 on the topic “Worship and Scripture Alone.” He referenced once-secular British philosopher Roger Scruton’s observation that “if you really want to know what people believe, listen to them worship.”

The importance of the doctrine of Scripture alone lies in the question, “Is there one source of revelation or are there two?” Mohler posed. He argued that if there is another source of revelation, it is adding to or correcting what is found in Scripture. This, Mohler said, was one of the key points of the Protestant Reformation.

Mohler said another central question of the Reformation was on the nature of Scripture, whether it is “inspired and without error and authoritative.” Luther and the other Reformers agreed “it was absolutely necessary to speak of the total truthfulness and total authority of Scripture,” Mohler said.

“It is God’s Word. Because of God’s own character which he revealed in the Scripture, if it is God’s Word, it is perfect,” he added.

Mohler also noted John Calvin’s observation that true reform in the church can only happen when it is “reformed by the Word of God.”

“The reformers came to the understanding that where you find the true church you find right worship and where you find right worship, you find the true church,” Mohler said.

In a session on “Christ Alone,” Atlanta pastor and hip-hop artist Trip Lee said worship must demonstrate the greatness of Jesus. Writing Christ-centered songs like “The Solid Rock,” “Nothing but the Blood,” and “Before the Throne of God Above” are among the ways worship leaders can accomplish this, he said.

“If we want the people that we have the opportunity to lead in worship to see Jesus as surpassingly greater than things that we build our life around instead, then we might want to magnify and lift up this Jesus as if he’s actually great,” Lee said.

Equating good works to a resumé, Lee told attendees that their “resumé” was not good enough. Preaching from Philippians 3, he challenged them to “lose your resumé, and receive Christ’s resumé.”

“Our only hope is the sacrifice of Jesus. Our only hope is the resurrection of Jesus. All we have is Christ, and that’s plenty,” he said.

Scotty Smith, teacher in residence at West End Community Church in Nashville, Tennessee, spoke on “Grace Alone.” Sola Gratia, he said, means, “Grace at the start, grace in the middle and grace till the end. Grace without mixture, grace without qualification.”

From Ephesians 2:1-14, he drew three conclusions on grace alone: “the gravity of our condition, the grandeur of God’s grace, and the greatness of our calling.”

Worship leaders are first and foremost “lead worshippers,” he continued.  “Dear brothers and sisters, the alone greatness, the alone grace of the gospel that runs through our theology, may it change us.”

The other main sessions covered “Faith Alone” and “Glory to God Alone.” More information about Doxology and Theology’s biennial conference is available online at