As you know, most of our Reformed brethren frown on the more expressive forms of worship in church, clinging to something called the “Regulative Principle“, of which I am clearly no fan, which limits, in my view, the believers’ liberty to worship God like King David (all through the Psalms), and to enjoy the full array and variety of worship expression. Which brings me to an article I read in Christianity Today yesterday by James K.A. Smith titled, “Teaching a Calvinist to Dance“. Is it really possible to be a Reformed Calvinist AND worship like a pentecostal or a charismatic?
This has been a topic of debate over in Daniel’s Den , on Blogorrhea, and, at some length on Who Owes Me Three Dollars? (although comments were closed after discussion got too tough), which caused me to read Smith’s article with interest. Here are some excerpts:
I think most Reformed folk have learned habits of worship that effectively constrain the sovereignty of God by adopting highly defined and narrow expectations of the Spirit’s operations. I long for a kind of “Pentecostalized” Reformed spirituality that expects the sovereign Lord to show up in ways that might surprise us.
But that’s precisely why I’ve always found it a bit strange that Reformed worship so often treats human beings as if we’re brains-on-a-stick. All week long we talk about how good creation is, how good embodiment is. But then we have habits of worship that merely deposit great ideas in our heads, making us rather cerebral disciples. Despite all our talk about the goodness of creation and embodiment, in Reformed worship the body doesn’t show up that much.
Because Pentecostals live out the Reformed affirmation of both the sovereignty of God and the goodness of embodiment, I don’t experience much tension between these core aspects of Reformed identity and Pentecostal spirituality.
What do you think?