Dr. Edmund Clowney was an influential pastor, theologian, and educator, serving many churches and seminaries. He served as president of Westminster Theological Seminary from 1966-1982. Clowney authored ten books including Called to the Ministry, Christian Meditation, The Unfolding Mystery: Discovering Christ in the Old Testament, and The Church. Dr. Clowney completed How Jesus Transforms the Ten Commandments shortly before his death in 2005.
Following are selected worship quotes from his writing and teaching:
“Praise his name, we are called to doxological evangelism: Salvation is of the Lord! Let that song die and we have nothing to sing to the nations. They don’t want to hear those old patronizing songs of missionary colonialism and they don’t need our help in learning the chants of revolutionary violence. But when the people of God sing his praises, then the nations listen.”
“Growth in true holiness is always growth together; it takes place through the nurture, the work and worship of the church.”
“Reverent corporate worship, then, is not optional for the church of God. It is not a form of group behavior to be accepted just because of its long tradition or its acceptability in many cultures. Rather, it brings to expression the very being of the church. It manifests on earth the reality of the heavenly assembly. The glory of God is that to which and for which the church is called.”
“When Protestants speak of going to church… they are not thinking of a building but of a congregation. The congregation, not the building is holy… The church is holy because the congregation is the house of God. They are not merely an audience; they are a congregation assembled by the call of the Holy One.”
“Our preaching is an act of worship but often lacks the punctuation of the exclamation point of praise. Unlike the Scriptures, our sermons are so centered on men that they neglect to bless God.”
“Worship is always an echo, reflecting the word of grace with the cry of praise.”
“The pulpit is not a psychiatrist’s couch or a seminar room. The preacher is a herald, an announcer, not a pollster.”
The following quotes are taken from an Edmund Clowney sermon titled John 4: The Worship God Seeks, preached at Christ the King Presbyterian Church, Houston, Texas. Transcript available online: http://www.edmundclowney.com.
Jesus does not start with the worshipers’ quest for God, but with God’s quest for worshipers. Our media culture disdains arguments about religion. Well it may. If worship is man’s invention to fill his needs, then let everyone make his own idol. There is no point in arguing about taste in idols. But if worship bows before the living God, then it cannot be shaped by what we want. It must be shaped by what God wants, yes, by what he is. God’s Word, not our traditions, must decide all questions of worship.
True worship is not temple-less worship. It is worship in the true temple: Jesus Christ. All worship of the true God must be brought to the feet of Jesus. Only Christ is the true worshiper, with clean hands and a pure heart; only by being united to Christ may we ascend God’s holy hill (Psalm 24). Only he is the true Priest, who can minister in the heavenly sanctuary, the only Mediator between God and man. Only he is the final sacrifice, God’s own “Isaac” offered on Mount Moriah. Only he is the Way of approach to God, the true Temple where God meets with man.
Our worship is heavenly because it is real. When we gather with God’s people here, we join the festival assembly there. By faith, not by sight, we see Jesus. But because we do see him by faith, we must cast aside not only the idols of the heathen, but every prop that would substitute the imaginations of men for the realized glory of God. Jesus is our only Mediator and therefore we must come to him directly.
Most Americans are not that philosophical about worship. They rather suspect that God can’t afford to be so choosey. Given the competition of business, sports, and television, God should be grateful for any worship he can get. That attitude is plainly the exact opposite of worship. It assumes that God is there for man’s sake, not man for God’s sake.
 Edmund P. Clowney, Declare His Glory Among the Nations, Article: InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, 1976.
 Clowney, The Church (Downers Grove: Intervarsity, 1995), 89.
 Clowney, The Biblical Theology of the Church, from Beginning with Moses: The Biblical Theology Briefings, http://beginningwithmoses.org.
 Clowney, One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, from Ligonier Ministries and R. C. Sproul, Tabletalk Magazine, www.ligonier.org/tabletalk.
 Clowney, Preaching and Biblical Theology (Phillipsburg: P & R Publishing, 2002), 73.
 Clowney, Called to Ministry (Phillipsburg: P & R Publishing, 1964), 58.
 Ibid., 59.