True Worship… Or Doctrines of Men?

In a dialogue with a church leader regarding the worship experience in another place, I received the following “suggestion”…

“I would stay away from XYZ.”  A single sentence in an email. No explanation.

Having been to XYZ for numerous services and meetings over the years, I asked “Have you been there?”

Worship Defn
How we define worship for ourselves had better not become a tool for measuring the faith of others. Condemnation has no place in the church. “Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Mathew 7:5

The response: “No, but I have received video clips from there with young men and women sprawled all over each other on the floor groaning in the Holy Spirit. I’ve also listened to some clips from their pastor.”

I was astonished because the man had just two days prior had preached on 1 Corinthians 12 where Paul expresses the nature of Spiritual gifts and the unity of the church body. He asserts that completeness depends on diversity.

Evidently, whatever my brother had seen was shared with him by a gossip and it was intended to offend.  It accomplished that purpose.

I had preceded the discussion with the assertion that I disagree with “some of what goes on there.”  But does that mean XYZ isn’t authentic in their view of Christ?

We either accept:

“Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.” Cor 12:13

Or we condition our acceptance of other believers on our own presumptions.  If we presume, its the same Hypocrisy exposed by Christ:

“And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” Mathew 19:5

For my part, I WISH we could worship like Oregon Ducks fans. Boisterous worship is not in me (at least yet!) But I do know that worship with brothers (inmates) inside the gate is much more noisy and animated … than the rather sterile experience we sometimes endure on Sunday mornings. I see football fans, and I feel ashamed. I wonder if God is as well.

Which do you suppose the Lord finds more offensive… A group that can barely squeak out a song with a few hands raised no higher than just above head? (reaching too far might be offensive, it seems.) Or one where they’re dancing in the aisles like King David before the Arc of the Covenant on the road to Jerusalem?

“The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.” 1 Samuel 13:14

If that doesn’t cause the quiet, conservative (judgmental) worshiper to catch themselves … it’s blindness.  We simply must disagree with anyone who is revulsed by enthusiasm. Suppressing the Holy Spirit is extraordinarily dangerous.

When David was confronted regarding his “behavior” he said:

“I will make myself yet more contemptible than this, and I will be abased in your eyes.” 2 Samuel 6:22

On the other hand Paul also instructs that each gift has it’s place… see 1 Corinthians 14:26-40

“But all things should be done decently and in order.”

It’s a good point. I’ve heard it put this way: “What if someone, unfamiliar with a raucous service comes in?”  Another presumption prevails: that they would be offended.

It should come as no surprise then, that there exists a “natural” tension — between what men are comfortable with and what the Lord supplies. What comes from God is “Supernatural” — that is to say “Above Natural.”

It’s my experience that emotionalism in a church body is a “phase” and generally runs it’s course.  Emotion is something we bring to the occasion.  In King David’s case — the emotion of the event — caused his shameless semi-nude dancing in public.  There is no evidence he worshiped this way at other times. With maturity comes a certain gentle manner.  And so I expect this will happen at XYZ.  When? It could be soon. Or it could be much later. The point is — if they truly say “Jesus is Lord” He will direct the outcome.

A final thought on David. He was emotional about worship his entire life. Read any of his Psalms.

And so what place is there for condemnation between believers? Have we established little doctrines of “appropriate worship” simply to “keep things comfortable” for ourselves. (Heaven forbid we offend that wealthy donor!)

“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31

Where is condemnation in agape love? What is “True Worship” for us? If we’re “after Gods own heart” — worship needs to affect us, emotionally and otherwise.

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