Monday, February 11, 2013

New at Katekōmen: "The Benediction in Corporate Worship" and "The Christ of Genesis 3:15"

GPTS Alumnus Ryan M. McGraw shares an excerpt from his Th.M. thesis on a little examined element of corporate Christian worship: the benediction.

"Most people know what it is like to read a book or watch a movie in which the ending seems anticlimactic. The reader or viewer has been absorbed in the story and sitting on the edge of his seat wondering how all of the character’s problems would be resolved and how the story would culminate in a dramatic ending. Yet when the ending comes, he walks away confused and disappointed because what ought to have been the culmination of an exciting story fails to serve its purpose," Pastor McGraw says.

"God has designed the pronouncement of a Scriptural blessing or benediction to be the conclusion or culmination of the corporate worship of his people. By it the people who have gathered together in God’s name and with his presence among them depart with the assurance that God has indeed been in their midst and that he intends to bless his people. Yet in modern worship services, the benediction is often lost by confusing it with a doxology, treating it as a prayer, or omitting it altogether. However, the regulative principle of worship demonstrates that ministers of the Word ought to close corporate worship by pronouncing a benediction upon the congregation from Scripture. This is shown by the origins and purpose of benedictions in the Old Testament, the capacity and manner in which the priests administered benedictions, the example of the apostles of Jesus Christ, and the meaning and significance of benedictions. After demonstrating these things, I ... close with some observations regarding the content and proper use of benedictions in corporate worship."

Read the paper here.

Also new at Katekōmen: Pastor McGraw offers a chapter from his new book Christ’s Glory, Your Good: Salvation Planned, Promised, Accomplished, and Applied.

Genesis 3:15 is the thesis statement of the Bible: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel” (NKJV). This passage teaches us that the Lord Jesus Christ is the glorious Seed of the woman who both represented His seed and who defeated the serpent and his seed. Rather than merely expounding Genesis 3:15 in context, this chapter will briefly trace its importance throughout the Bible in four parts: first, the prequel to Genesis 3:15; second, the promise of Genesis 3:15; third, the progress of Genesis 3:15; and fourth, the fulfillment of Genesis 3:15. In this verse, the covenant of redemption finds historical expression in the first promise of the covenant of grace.

The covenant of grace and the gospel rest upon the covenant of works in the garden of Eden. In order to understand Genesis 3:15, it is necessary to understand the implications of Genesis 2:15–17 and 3:1–8. These verses present the introduction to the covenant of works, as well as the breach of this covenant by Adam and Eve. Although the term “covenant” is not present here, it is proper to refer to this arrangement as a covenant in the same manner as the covenant of redemption between the Father and the Son. Unless we understand the importance of this covenant and the manner in which it relates to the human race, we can grasp neither why redemption was necessary nor how it should be accomplished.

Read the full excerpt here.