Ever since I found myself apart of the confessional reformed church, I have always been struck by the reversal of roles that often occurs in the “liturgies” of contemporary evangelicalism, more so that I have been removed from the Sabbath practices of American Evangelicalism, specifically. Dr. Horton, more succinctly than I, identifies the unintentional estrangement from the historic worshipping church that results from the reorientation of biblical anthropology and ecclesiology.
Even with contemporary praise choruses that versify or paraphrase a psalm, the response section of the text is often separated out from the indicative section, which proclaims who God is and what he has done. Thus, the focus of worship these days seems to be on what we are doing, how we are feeling, and how we intend to respond: “I just want to praise you”; “We will lift you up”; “Let’s just praise the Lord”; “I am joyful,” etc. But this is to separate the law from the gospel, the imperative (what we are to do) from the indicative (what God has already done, is doing, and will complete for us in Christ). Vagueness about the object of our praise inevitably leads to making our own praise the object. Praise therefore becomes an end in itself, and we are caught up in our own “worship experience” rather than in the God whose character and acts are the only proper focus.
Michael Horton, A Better Way: Rediscovering the Drama of God-Centered Worship (Baker Books: 2003), pg 27