Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop Black Friday Deals Week in Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Amazon Fire TV Shop now DIYED Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Paperwhite Listen in Prime Shop Now Shop now
FREE Delivery in the UK on orders with at least £10 of books.
Only 2 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
Worship in Spirit and Tru... has been added to your Basket
+ £2.80 UK delivery
Used: Very Good | Details
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Great condition for a used book! Minimal wear. 100% Money Back Guarantee. Shipped to over one million happy customers. Your purchase benefits world literacy!
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Worship in Spirit and Truth, A Refreshing Study of the Principles and Practice of Biblical Worship Paperback – 17 Apr 2012

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
"Please retry"
£3.62 £2.14
Note: This item is eligible for click and collect. Details
Pick up your parcel at a time and place that suits you.
  • Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
  • Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
How to order to an Amazon Pickup Location?
  1. Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
  2. Dispatch to this address when you check out
Learn more

Black Friday Deals Week in Books
Visit our Deals in Books store to discover Amazon's greatest ever deals. Shop now
£8.99 FREE Delivery in the UK on orders with at least £10 of books. Only 2 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

  • Worship in Spirit and Truth, A Refreshing Study of the Principles and Practice of Biblical Worship
  • +
  • Contemporary Worship Music - A Biblical Defence
Total price: £18.98
Buy the selected items together

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone

To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.

Product details

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

Title: Worship in Spirit and Truth <>Binding: Paperback <>Author: JohnM.Frame <>Publisher: P&RPublishing

Customer Reviews

There are no customer reviews yet on
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 18 reviews
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
straightforward interesting low-keyed useful introduction 25 Mar. 2006
By R. M. Williams - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A few preliminaries:

I know the author, he was my favorite prof at Westminister West, i think he is a significant and important theologian in the conservative reformed church and i appreciate both his wisdom and his writings. We were members of the church spoken about in the book. The book is a re-read for me, being the primary reading for a PCA Sunday School class on Worship, several more reviews of books for this class ought to follow, for i have about 10 on the table for this class. I am not unaware of the controversy over worship in the conservative reformed churches in the US, i know the book caused a big stir on the right, and J.Frame faced a lot of criticism over the way he handled the issues in the book.

It is written to be a Sunday School class on Worship in the Church. It is secondarily an entry into these worship wars fought primarily over music with the exclusive psalmody guys to the far right, traditional hymn singers just to the left of them against anyone who dares try to make worship more spontaneous, more contemporary or forbid introduce dancing in the aisles or drama into the morning worship service. I like to think of J.Frame as the overhead projector and Praise song defender, but his position is far more nuanced and justified then this, however i would not be surprised if that is what most people walk away from the book believing. He includes thinking questions to address as a group and short footnotes with each chapter.

The book is written to that general reader, interested party with just barely a high school education. There are not theological terms to look up, no sophisticated reasoning that requires a table or flowchart to follow, but rather a gentle introduction trying to lead people through the maze of the discussion without setting off either their internal explosives nor the mines in the worship wars. For that alone JFrame ought to be commended, it is a good introduction, he touches on all the major issues, and even adds a few important ideas to use to grasp what are the real issues.

What does God require of us in our worship of Him? How to answer the question? on pg xiv he says there are 3 types of literature on the subject of worship: historical, ideological, practical. His contribution will be to look at Scripture and interpret tradition through it, looking mostly at the issues in modern conservative Presbyterianism. He introduces the idea that meaningful worship is to do as God commands in language that expresses our worship to God and our edification of each other. His major point throughout the book will be that God leaves us a lot of flexibility on the issues and that theological traditionalists will try to minimize both freedom and flexibility.

Chapter 1 is "Some Basic Principles" and it starts with "What is Worship?"

Our first concern is to please God. He introduces his useful triad of: authority control and presence. Worship is to be: God centered, Christ centered and Gospel centered. It is vertical, people to God, God to people and horizontal, people to each other. It is broad and narrow and it is important.

Chapter 2 is "Worship in the Old Testament"

The distinction of tabernacle and Temple worship, and later synagogue worship.

Chapter 3 is "Worship in the New Testament"

This chapter mirrors the one before it and shows how Jesus is the fulfillment of the elements of O.T. worship. Jesus is God's dwelling among men. Worship in the broad sense is effected by the ideas of Christ fulfilling the rules and regulations of the O.T. ceremonial law.

Chapter 4 is "The Rules for Worship"

God regulates our dealings with the holy. The regulative principle is do only what God commands, versus the converse, it is allowed if not prohibited. The distinction of circumstances which he calls application, which i think is culturally determined things that are not transcultural and required to be transmitted to all new believers in all cultures until the end of time. His rejection of the regulative principle as applicable only to corporate and formal worship and the historical Puritan principles anchored in their battles with a state controlled church. "We must be both more conservaive and more liberal than most students of Christian worship: conservative in holding exclusively to God's commands in Scripture as our rule of worship, and liberal in defending the liberty of those who apply those commandments in legitimate, though nontraditional, ways." pg 46

Chapter 5 is "What to Do in Worship"

The elements of worship which he lists as: greetings and benedictions, reading of Scripture, Preaching and Teaching, Charismatic Prophecy and Speaking in Tongues, Prayer, Song, Vows, Confession of Faith, Sacraments, Church Discipline, Collections and offerings, expressions of Fellowship. note: he is cessionist.

Chapter 6 is "Arrangements for Worship"

Doing all in a fitting and orderly way. Worship must be intelligible, understanding is essential for those in the pews, this requires contemporaneity. Service stresses primarily the joy in the resurrection of Jesus. pg 69 Scripture nowhere orders plainness as a matter of principle, contra the Puritans. pg 73 We live in a sacramental universe and can not escape the complex usage of symbols.

Chapter 7 is "The Tone of Worship"

Reformed theology is uncomfortable with emotions, often advocating the primacy of the intellect, the view that truth comes first to the intellect and is subsequently applied to the emotions and the will. pg 77 How the worshipper should feel: reverance, joy, sorrow for sin, participation, faith, love, boldness, family intimacy. People's taste and worship styles. authenticity, meeting God in the experience of worship.

Chapter 8 is "God speaks to us: the Word and the Sacraments"

We encounter God Himself in the Word, both read and preached. Sacraments as visible words.

Chapter 9 is "We speak to God: Our Response to God's Word"

prayer, confessions of faith, congregational responses, individual participation. the extension of intelligibility to meaningful and alert participation by everyone.

Chapter 10 is "Music in Worship"

note. the author is a very good musican. music as vivid and memorable, driving the Word into our hearts. what does music do, why is it controversial? traditional Christian ambivalence to popular worship, Presbyterian history of suspicion of revival, aesthetic concerns about the quality of music, and the generation gap. Music criticised as being too popular, too subjective, and not doctrinally reliable. pg 116 The concern to accommodate the brethren, to hold each other in higher regard then concern for one's own preferences.

Chapter 11 is "Music in Worship: some controversies"

exclusive psalmody, instruments, choirs, solos, music of the body.

Chapter 12 is "Music in Worship: Choosing Hymns"

Scriptural and understandable to the congregation. the chief rule for music is that it reinforce rather than detract from the words. pg 139 cultural differences, not to cater to human taste but to honor God in his desire to edify the people in worship, sacrifice our own preferences as we look outward in the Great Commission to reach out to those ignorant of our traditions. the idea that the weaker brethen needs extra help and instruction but not to allow the church to be captive to their false or excessive scruples. they may have to seek their own fellowships. pg 142 the potential answer to the worship wars. such divisions are defeats not triumphs as lack of love, unity and peace lose out to judgement.

Chapter 12 is "Putting it all together"

is a step by step analysis of one Sunday in his church.

So is he successful? Did he introduce the topic and keep people going to his Sunday School class? What are his motivations and goals in the discussion?

The book is interesting and i think it holds people's attention, you can pick it up and start reading anywhere for an idea of what he is talking about, it is even in tone and writing throughout.

To know if he is successful we have to figure out what he is attempting to do. First, it looks like a justification of his worship service and style of worship. His motivations appear to be to defuse the EP and anti-praise song people and allow him the freedom to worship this way and still be able to justify everything with the regulative principle. His major goal appears to be the peace and unity of not just this individual congregation but the denominations this effects as well. Is the solution to have 3 or 4 similiar denominations, with the rightmost EP, then another traditional hymns with the left using praise songs and overheads, like he says, this is a defeat for the unity and peace of the body of Christ, although that is what appears to be happening in the country.

He has several distinctions that are under fire, mostly from the right. Broad and narrow worship, the church as modeled after the synagogue rather than the temple, the need for spontenaity in worship versus the Puritan pursuit of plainness. I need to do more study before i am able to make an educated guess at what i think is the right way to do things. I appreciate the author and hope his book gets the wider attention it desires as in this class at my church.

thanks for reading this short review. email me at rwilliam2 at yahoo dot com subject worship class if you can help with these issues. i will send the url to the worship class notes on request as well.
25 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Overall my favorite on worship 13 Aug. 2001
By Kathy F. Cannata - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are familiar with John Frame, you know that he is one of the best Christian theological writers around. With degrees from Princeton and Yale and thirty years of teaching at the seminary and graduate level (Westminister Sem. and Reformed Sem.), he is a very sharp guy and a deep thinker. But his talent comes in the way he is able to synthesize difficult concepts and place them in accessible and easily understood language.

This is a good book. He is coming from a Reformed perspective, with a broad commitment to the regulative principle of worship. But he has an openness which enables him to see beyond the social accidents of his tradition and go back to Scripture for correction and guidance. He is able to sort out what is inconsistent in his tradition with the main impulses that have driven it. He also is good at sorting out the modern equivalents to ancient Biblical directives.

This book discusses the proper elemenst of worship, various styles, and content. It is always fresh, accessible, challenging, and insightful, even when you disagree with the author. I highly recommend it.

If you are looking for other approaches somewhat at varience with Frame, you might try: Hughes O. Old (more liturgically rich; extremely good), or Robert Rayburn (a generation older and sometimes wiser). I also like Jeff Meyers, The Lord's Service (on covenant renewal).
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Great Overview to an Important Topic 5 Jun. 2011
By Adam Smith - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Two words I can confidently say describe all of John Frame's writings. They are "irenic" and "balanced". John Frame is one of the most irenic writers that I have ever read. His tone is always friendly and warm. John always has a kind word to say about others, even those that he disagrees with. He points out the positives and the negatives. Part of that irenic tone is also his use of humor. John Frame is a very humorous writer. It makes his writing very light hearted. On the other hand he can also be serious when the need arises, and it often does in dealing with controversial topics such as church worship.

John Frame is also balanced. He always takes a look at an issue from both perspectives. This is one of my favorite aspects of his writing. This book on worship is no exception. Where Christians disagree, Frame explains the differences and why each position is held. He then thoroughly and biblically explains his own position. He never attacks or denigrates the opposing view, but is always kind and charitable.

In this book on worship in the church, John explains what worship ought to look like in the New Testament church. He contrasts the way it is different from the Old Testament worship. Frame also compares the worship styles: congregational, puritan, Baptist, Presbyterian, etc. He points out the strengths and weaknesses of each.

Since Frame comes from a Presbyterian background he discusses the so-called "regulative principle of worship". This is basically biblical guidelines for worship. Even among Presbyterians, this is more or less strictly adhered to.

Frame is a strong supporter of customizing the worship service to a particular social context, while at the same time maintaining biblical integrity in the worship. I really appreciated that because it shows his heart to reach out to the lost. We ought not get stuck in tradition for tradition's sake. We need to be willing to branch out and try new things.

I learned a lot from this book. It made me reflect seriously on the way I have experienced worship and the way I am now. One thing that I appreciated from Frame is his support of having the congregation participate more fully in the service. Even so far as to offer testimony or insight from the Word of God. I think churches would do well to take his suggestions seriously.

I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in deepening their appreciation and understanding of Christian worship. John Frame really does encourage us to worship the Lord in Spirit and Truth.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Stretching the principle 2 Mar. 2013
By Doug Erlandson - Published on
Format: Paperback
Like many Reformed thinkers, John Frame claims to accept the Regulative Principle of Worship. The problem that everyone who accepts this principle faces is in figuring out exactly how to apply it to specific practices. When reading "Worship in Spirit and Truth," I repeatedly found myself thinking that the author had stretched the principle almost to the breaking point. Not that this is necessarily bad. But it's also important to be honest. If we want to, we can somehow justify almost (though not quite) any and every practice as being in conformity to this principle. And this is what Frame has done.

Even so, "Worship in Spirit and Truth" is a thought-provoking book and is useful in getting the reader to ask the question, "Can this practice be justified on the basis of the regulative principle?" For instance, what about videos? What about mini-dramas? What about Powerpoint presentations? All these and many other questions are covered in this book. While the reader may or may not agree with Frame's conclusions (again, he has an extremely broad interpretation of the principle), what he says will certainly challenge the reader to think and perhaps even to question his own presuppositions. Given the plethora of practices found in today's contemporary-style worship services, Frame's book provides a helpful introduction in analyzing them, even if he is more than a bit generous in placing many of them under the umbrella of the regulative principle.
Good analysis; weak proposal. 4 Dec. 2014
By Jacob - Published on
Format: Paperback
Frame surveys the worship options as they confront the Presbyterian and Reformed Churches. He is appreciative of the gains made by the regulative principle (hereafter RPW), but he is not afraid to offer tough, logical analyses. The book, like most of Frame's, is part "scripture-bath" and part examination of topic.

The first 40 pages or so is a basic review of Covenantal history. This is familiar topic to most reformed readers, and while quite good, is probably not why people are reading this text. He then analyzes the RPW. He agrees with the claim that worship must be regulated by the Bible, but is concerned that RPW advocates have painted themselves in the corner. Per the RPW, Frame asks

1. What are these “circumstances” (WCF 21.1)? The Confession doesn’t say, except to note “light of nature.” I’m open to general revelation, and I would agree with the WCF on this point, but general revelation by its very definition resists specificity.
2. Saying “circumstances” are secular elements (also common to ordinary life--time, place) isn’t quite accurate. Frame notes, “There seem to be some matters in worship which are ‘not common to human actions and societies,” concerning which we must use our judgment (Frame 41; e.g., what precise words to use in our prayers?). Prayer is not “common to society,” yet aside from repeating the psalms as prayers (and one could do far worse), it appears that we will have to use our own judgment.
3. Frame suggests we use “application” instead of “circumstance” (41). This avoids the Aristotelianism of earlier language. Can one use the language without adopting the concepts? Probably, but it’s hard and eventually something must change.

(P1) We may only perform what Scripture commands.

We must add another premise:

(P2) In the end God only commands broad generalities (52).

Frame develops (2): Where does Scripture bifurcate worship into elements and circumstances? Scripture (a) nowhere divides worship into independent elements and (b) then brings them together. Which activity is elemental in character and which is simply an application of carrying out certain elements (53).

(P3) For example, per the above view, the Scripture prescribes singing psalms, whose content is identified. Scripture also prescribes public prayer and preaching, whose content is not really identified.

(P4) The things we do in worship are not always easily separated into elements and circumstances. Singing and teaching are not always distinct. When we sing a hymn, we teach other people (Col. 3:16).

In pp. 56-60 Frame gives his own list of a worship service, which is basically what you will find in any Reformed, non-covenanter service.

Analysis and Criticisms

I think Frame's analysis of the hyper-RPW is beyond critique. With Frame I agree that Scripture must regulate worship, and with Frame I agree that Scripture really doesn't command much that is specific for the New Covenant Christian. This leads to the conclusion that we may exercise our own judgment on how to apply Scripture's generalized commands.


Frame doesn’t seem give weight to a particular sequential format of worship. To be fair, Scripture is not explicit on this point, but if there are biblical patterns of God’s redemption, should not our worship incorporate that?

On another point, I understand his concerns about needing to express God’s truth in contemporary language, but it’s really hard to separate the medium from the message on this point. Frame acknowledges the point concerning “thrash metal” music in the service (141). Some forms of entertainment are so thoroughly identified with the most degenerate elements of culture that it is not wise to import them.

And Frame is very aware that worship is “not to cater to unbelievers” (146). Being a Christian has a grammar and a way of living. Yes, it should be intelligible to others--and this is my main criticism of Greek Orthodox in America--but the Christian life is also one of growth and maturity. It's okay to move to more complex patterns of worship that reflect the richness of God's redemption.
Were these reviews helpful? Let us know