The Spiritual Enrichment program is devoted to the systematic exposition of the Christian Scriptures that demonstrates the relevance of the message of the Bible for people today and seeks to inspire devotion and obedience to the teachings of Scripture. Through the Program of Spiritual Enrichment the college encourages worship of Jesus Christ and submission to Him as Lord. It seeks to introduce students to the essentials of the Christian gospel. The program also strives to stir the passion of the campus family for carrying the gospel to the ends of the earth. The program is thus essential to the mission of Louisiana College and the institution’s goals for student attainment.
The Bible contains many instructions that guide Christian worship. The following considerations should define the approach to worship in chapel at Louisiana College.
The term from the Greek New Testament that is translated “worship” (proskuneo) originally meant “to kiss toward.” The term described the subject of a realm who approached the throne of his king by bowing down and kissing the ruler’s feet in a display of humble obeisance, submission, and devotion (Ps 2). True Christian worship seeks to express submission and devotion to the heavenly King.
True Christian worship is not a mere generic worship of the Creator God. Instead, Christian worship focuses specifically on the person of the God-Man, Jesus Christ. Although Jesus agreed with the OT that individuals were to “worship the Lord your God, and serve only Him” (Mt 4:10), Jesus was the object of the worship of many people during His earthly ministry and never discouraged this veneration (e.g., Mt 2:11; 8:2; 14:33; 17:14). In the New Testament church, Jesus was the focus of the apostles’ teaching and the hymnody in corporate worship. The Epistles of Paul record two early Christian hymns, both of which describe Jesus’ preeminence and exalt Him as God (Php 2:9-11; Col 1:15-20). Christian worship is distinctive from other forms of worship in that it is primarily directed toward the Second Person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ.
Christian worship seeks to incorporate the “message about the Messiah” in believers through teaching the Scriptures and by singing “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” (Col 3:16). Preaching and singing are powerful forms of communication that should instruct as well as inspire worshippers. Preaching and singing should be theologically sound and doctrinally rich in its content, informing believers about Jesus’ nature, identity, and saving work. Those who fail to reflect on the glories of Jesus and His grace are poorly prepared to worship Him in spirit and in truth.
Christian worship seeks to glorify God’s Son. True worshippers do not seek to call attention to themselves nor do they seek to glorify themselves. They are not guilty of self-aggrandizement. Their pure desire and sincere motive is to exalt Jesus with reverent fear, knowing that He alone is worthy of worship.
Paul’s admonition to the young spiritual leader Timothy was to “Preach the Word” (2 Tim 4:2) because that Word is: "God-breathed" (2 Tim 3:16) and "sufficient" (2 Tim 3:17). Paul exhorted Timothy to continue to preach the Word even in the last days when people would not put up with sounding teaching but instead craved teachers who would tell them exactly what they wanted to hear (2 Tim 4:3). Consequently, Christians must preserve the centrality of biblical preaching in Christian worship without regard for the audience’s response. Worshippers must not adopt a purely pragmatic approach which embraces any method that appears to be effective in reaching people. Worship leaders should resist the temptation to entertain the audience or to manipulate people. Paul exclaimed, “Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with clever words, so that the cross of Christ will not be emptied of its effect” (1 Cor 1:17). Dependence on human ingenuity to transform lives betrays lack of confidence in the power of the simple preaching of the message of the cross. True Christian worship centers on the faithful and reverent exposition of the Holy Scriptures. Faithful worship leaders trust the sufficiency of Scripture and the power of the Holy Spirit to draw people to Christ and to effect lasting change in them. Though many frown on preaching, God clearly has ordained and blesses the preached Word: He is "well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe" (1 Cor 1:21).
The Christian worshipper recognizes that Christ wants worshippers who have “clean hands and a pure heart” (Ps 24:3-6; Is 1:16; 1Tim 2:8; Jm 4:8). Worship that does not issue from the heart of one who seeks to live righteously is empty hypocritical ritual that God despises (Is 1:13-15; Am 5:21-24). The college should be diligent to ensure that those who lead in worship have proper Christian character and will be respected as spiritual leaders.
Since “God is not a God of disorder,” the Christian worshipper should seek to conduct worship in a manner that is decent and orderly (1Cor 14:40). Worship should be well planned in order to ensure that Christ is appropriately honored.
God desires that people of every nation, tribe, and tongue should worship him and he finds pleasure in being worshipped by people from a variety of cultures and backgrounds. Unlike the pagan gods described in the Old Testament, the true God is not a local deity who belongs to people of just one culture or background and he receives his greatest glory when people of different cultures and backgrounds unite in their praise of him (Rev 7:9-10; Rom 3:30; Psa 96:3-4).
Approach to worship should be guided by the teachings of the Bible and not by the latest fads and fashions of the contemporary church. Certain aspects of the expression of Christian worship may change as cultures develop. However, the purpose of Christian worship and the centrality of biblical preaching in worship transcend culture and must neither be abandoned nor compromised. God’s people must never adulterate Christian worship by prioritizing the expectations of worshippers above the glory of Christ. Worship that honors and pleases the Lord will not please every person. When God’s people tailor worship to appease unregenerate or spiritually immature people, Christ will likely be dishonored in the process. All true worship of God seeks to please the heavenly audience rather than to pacify the human audience.
The worship services of a Christian college may define expectations of students for worship services in their own local churches. Consequently, the college should seek to model an approach to worship that will be healthy for the local church. The college should be cautious about adopting an approach to worship that might be attractive to college-age believers but might be considered irreverent or inappropriate by older adults.
The Dean of the Chapel is responsible for planning the chapel calendar, selecting speakers in consultation with the President, and planning all aspects of chapel services. The speaker for the annual Sanders Lectures will be chosen by the Chairman of Christian Studies in consultation with the President.