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Vale Hughes Oliphant Old

Hughes Oliphant Old was a significant scholar of the history of Christian worship.
His death means that what he knew in part, he know experiences in power.

A quote:
Christian worship is in the name of Christ because worship is a function of the body of Christ and as Christians we are all one body. All of our worship must be in him! What an important New Testament concept this is that the church is the body of Christ, and how vividly the first Christians understood that they were all together one body, the body of Christ. They understood their worship to be part of the worship that the ascended Christ performed in the heavenly sanctuary to the glory of the Father (Heb. 7:23-25; 9:25; 10:19-22; 13:15).
If reformed theology is concerned that worship be according to God’s Word and in obedience to God’s Word and if Reformed theology has made a point of worship being in the name of Christ and in the body of Christ, it is most surely because of us realised that worship is far more than a human work. Worship is the work of the Holy Spirit.

Worship, Hughes Oliphant Old, WJK, 2002, pp 4-5.


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The Praise Of God’s Glory, Not Pragmatic Purpose

From Hughes Oliphant Old:

Some people today justify worship for any number of other reasons. We are told that we should worship because it brings us happiness. Sometimes worship does make us happy, but not always. We are told that we should worship because it will give us a sense of self-fulfillment. Surely worship does fulfill the purpose of our existence, but we do not worship BECAUSE it brings us self-fulfillment. We are often told that we should worship in order to build family solidarity: “The family that prays together stays together.” The priests of the Canaanite fertility religions said much the same thing. All kinds of politicians have insisted on participation in various religious rites in order to develop national unity or ethnic identity. Queen Elizabeth I was not the first or the last who tried to consolidate her realm by insisting that the worship be in some way English. One can always find medicine men and gurus who advocate religious rites for the sake of good health, financial success, or peace of mind. True worship, however, is distinguished from all of these in that it serves, above all, the praise of God’s glory.

— Hughes Oliphant Old, Worship: Reformed According To Scripture, Rev & Exp Ed, Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002, pp. 1-2.


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Worship As God’s Work Of Building Up The Church (via Hughes Oliphant Old)

Corporate worship: a divine work, a saving work of God.

It is the Holy Spirit who purifies our worship by his continual work of sanctification. As the Spirit purifies the worshippers, the worship is made pure. When we worship, having our minds enlightened by the Spirit, our lives cleansed by the Spirit, our wills moved by the Spirit, and our hearts warmed by the Spirit, then our worship is transformed from being merely a human work into being a divine work.
Hughes Oliphant Old, Worship, Westminster John Knox Press, 2002, pg 6.