Does God Care How We Worship?
The past twenty-five years has seen the corporate worship of the evangelical church radically transformed. Throughout the years, the liturgy of the early church and the liturgy of the modern church had been very similar. But that all changed with the arrival of the seeker-sensitive movement that the church has largely embraced. The modern seeker-sensitive church meeting bares very little resemblance to the historical church…
Today we have very talented “rock band” style worship teams, impressive light shows, great visuals, fog machines and spinning lights. Change the lyrics and you could be at a Brad Paisley concert. Did I mention it has to be loud, really loud? If a person is under 30, or has been a Christian for 15 years or less, you would think this is the way is was meant to be. The reason being, you would have known nothing else. “Of course this is how church should be, that’s all I have ever known.”
But this begs the question: “Does God Care How We Worship?”
To give perspective on this, I have solicited the help of J. Ligon Duncan III. The following quotation is from his chapter of the same name, in a very excellent book called “Give Praise To God, A Vision for Reforming Worship”“God makes it amply clear throughout the Bible that he does indeed care very much about how we worship. The bible’s answer to this query “Does God care about the how of worship?” – is an emphatic yes, not only in the Old Testament but also in the new Testament…. God’s worship is to be carefully ordered according to his instructions. God’s initiative is prime in the design of the tabernacle. God demanded that the tabernacle and all its furnishings be made “after the pattern…shown to you on the mountain.” Exodus 25:40 God’s plan, not the people’s creativity, nor even that of the artisans who would build it, was to be determinative in the making of the place where his people would meet him (and indeed, in all the actions of the priests who would serve in this worship). This is in essence, what the Reformers saw as a fundamental principle for Christian worship (an approach known as the regulative principle). This principle, in short, states that worship in its content, motivation, and aim is to be determined by God alone. He teaches us how to think about him and how to approach him. The further we get away, then, from his directions the less we actually worship.” pp 26-27
A few questions to spark discussion: Do you agree with Duncan’s argument that God determines how we are to worship him or do you believe we can worship him in our own way? Do you think the church in on the right course or the wrong track when it comes to the corporate worship meeting? UPDATE: There are now several comments. Make sure you read what others have said before you comment.
Those are my thoughts. Leave a comment and join the discussion. You may also find this article “When Did Worship Become the Singing of a Song?”
Check out the result of 4 different polls and the challenging conclusions arrived at in our post It’s Official: People Don’t Want To Sing So Much On Sundays
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Posted on November 27, 2010, in Christianity, Contemporary Church Culture, The Seeker-Sensitive Church Model, Worship and tagged christianity, Give Praise To God, J. Ligon Duncan III, John Piper, seeker-sensitive, worship. Bookmark the permalink. 25 Comments.