What Worship Is Not
INSTITUTE FOR CHRISTIAN WORSHIP LECTURES
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To fully understand what something is often includes knowing what it is not. Today’s WORSHIP QUOTE probes the flip side of a definition for "worship." The authors are Mark Driscoll (Mars Hill Church, Seattle) and Gerry Breshears (Western Seminary, Seattle).
WHAT WORSHIP IS NOT
We will define what worship is but must first define what worship is not. This is because there is a tendency among some Christians to define worship too narrowly and thereby overlook the fullness of what worship is according to Scripture.
First, worship is not something done solely by Christians or "spiritual" people. Rather, because everyone was made to worship God, everyone is in fact a worshiper whether or not he or she has any religious or spiritual devotion.
Second, worship is not merely a style of music. There have been so-called worship wars among various Christians in recent years, although the body count between those preferring hymns and those preferring prom songs to Jesus is rather low. Those wars are essentially battles over styles of music played in church for the purpose of corporate singing. Sadly, such conflicts can reduce the concept of worship to little more than a style of music or preferred kinds of instrumental accompaniment. When the Bible speaks of worship, it does include God's people gathering to sing praises to God, but worship is also something much bigger than simply singing or musical tastes.
Third, worship is not something that is connected to a time and place. In John 4 there is a discussion between Jesus and a woman who is uncertain of where and when worship is to occur. Jesus responds to her by stating that worship is an ongoing, unbroken life of communion with God empowered by the Holy Spirit and informed by the truth. . . . Furthermore, by using words such as "Holy Land," Christians can give the false impression that one part of the earth is somehow more sacred and appropriate for worship than others. Jesus' own words deny that.
Fourth, worship is not something that starts and stops. Church worship services may start and stop but the worshipful life of a Christian is to continue unceasingly. A. W. Tozer once said, "If you will not worship God seven days a week, you do not worship Him one day a week" (THE TOZER PULPIT, 1:52).
—Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears. VINTAGE JESUS: TIMELESS ANSWERS TO TIMELY QUESTIONS. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2007, pp. 165-66. ISBN 978-1-58134-975-7. [You can take a look at this book here: www.docstoc.com/docs/2886488/Vintage-Jesus .]
Have a great week,
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Music and Worship
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
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