Book Review: Acceptable Worship

Acceptable Worship:  What Kind of Worship Does God Accept?, by Dr. C.H. Snyder

[Note:  This book was provided free of charge by BookLook/WestBow Press in exchange for an honest review.]

There are many signposts that this short book exhibits that are common to self-published writers who engage in thorny aspects of discussion about Christian faith and practice.  For one, the author shows a high degree of dependence on better and on better-known authors like A.W. Tozer, John McArthur, and Warren Wiersbe, among many others.  The author’s work is thankfully short, but as is often the case he bites off more than he can chew by critiquing both the tendency of people to remain rigid in their view of proper liturgical worship as well as not being emotionally connected as well as rationally convicted of the truths of biblical doctrine.  It is the author’s aim to present a biblical view of acceptable worship, but this task is hindered in no small part by the fact that he includes an idolatrous cross on the cover of the book and nowhere discusses among the most important aspects of what the Bible defines as acceptable worship–namely that worship which conforms to the fourth commandment of the Bible, which is nowhere discussed in the book.  Discussing a book on biblically acceptable worship without dealing with the issue of the Sabbath as defined in scripture [1] and as ignored by many who falsely profess to be Christians is a stunning act of ignorance, which the author states is not bliss when dealing with the commandments and instructions of God.

The contents of this short book are divided into seven chapters.  These chapters deal with the following contents:  the mystery of worship, the meaning of worship, the method of worship, the enemies of worship, the examples of worship, the experience of worship, and the results of worship.  From the text and the sources the author cites, it is clear that the author is of the reformed tradition and is highly critical of the desire of many people for worship that is easy and the tendencies of many speakers to desire praise for their speaking ability and to view the pulpit as theirs to use as they wish.  The author seeks to be a bridge to unity while also being intensely critical of others within the camp of professed Christians.  Although it is a short book, it is possible that the author is attempting to do too much at the same time in quoting so many other authors, in seeking to wrestle with the issue of liturgy within Churches, and in adopting a tone that is alternatively ecumenical and stridently harsh.  Perhaps had the author worked out his intents in a bit more depth, he could have delivered content that was more clear and less muddled.  Beginning with an ode to the mystery of worship was probably not the right plan, given the connotations of the extensive Chrisitan syncretism with the elements of Babylon mystery religion [2].  Unfortunately, throughout the book the author appears to be in a state of deliberate ignorance about the distance between his own traditional form of worship and that worship which is claimed in the scriptures to be acceptable worship.

When reading and examining this book, a wide gulf exists between the sort of worship that is practiced by the author and those he cites and the claims he makes for demanding of his readers that their worship be in accordance with the Bible.  The only resolutions of the contradiction at the heart of this book is that the author either abandon the claims that his own heathen-influenced worship is itself biblical in nature or that he change his own worship, which like most others he is probably rigidly attached to, his feet set in concrete that had hardened during his youth.  In many cases, the author makes claims that are quite appropriate–that the Bible must be our guide to the way we worship and practice, that we are all very attached to traditions that we are raised up in even when they are not strictly biblical in nature, and that many believers practice in ungodly ways and think that their worship is acceptable to God.  Unfortunately, the author fails to apply his statements and insights to himself, nor does he acknowledge the elephants in the room when it comes to barriers to acceptable worship, such as the tendency of many people to accept longstanding compromises with ancient paganism and the hostility many people who claim to follow Christ have with the Sabbath laws of the Bible.  Ultimately, this is a book that must be praised for its intent and aims but faulted for its deeply flawed execution.

[1] See, for example:

[2] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Bible, Biblical History, Book Reviews, Christianity, Church of God, History and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Book Review: Acceptable Worship

  1. Pingback: Book Review: The Ten Commandments | Edge Induced Cohesion

  2. Pingback: Book Review: Consuming The Word | Edge Induced Cohesion

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