In the ongoing debate between form and freedom in worship, says the Rev. David Hall, there tends to be more emphasis on the freedom side. Yet, Hall believes, there is great value in the forms.

“The Reformers didn’t create or invent a style of worship,” said Hall. “The Reformation was a call back to scriptural worship, biblical Old and New Testament worship.”

Oct. 23-26, Midway Presbyterian Church in Powder Springs, Ga., will host the fifth annual Reformation Worship Conference. This national conference owes its origin to a grant awarded by the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Hall, Midway’s senior pastor, led the initiative to pursue the grant by gathering five like-minded congregations to form the Reformation Worship Association. The organization came together in worship and committed to using historic Reformed liturgies and creeds, singing historic hymns of the faith, and including at least one sung Psalm every Sunday.

The ecumenical event is designed for pastoral and music staff, seminary students, and lay people. The conference will offer seminars and lectures throughout the day as well as evening and morning services that model the characteristics and forms of Reformed worship. According to Hall, Reformed worship is characterized as Word-centered, Christ-centered, and reverent.

“Reverence is a lost art,” he said. “No institution in Western society teaches reverence except maybe the military. Yet Hebrews teaches ‘let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe.’”

Hall says that the Reformers’ emphasis on preaching Scripture focuses worship on the sovereignty of God, divine election, unmerited grace, the atoning work of Christ, and the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

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