What Is Worship?

I am writing this blog for a class–I don’t believe it will stay that way, however. Multiple blogs will be guided by the Professor, just as this one will be (topics, structure, word limit, etc.). However, I want to tackle some of the big issues of the church today, in a manner for discussion–for thought and free speech. I am a 19 year old college student attending school for ministry and counseling. I read my Bible and have daily interaction with the Lord. I enjoy praying with others, counseling others, serving the Lord, and yes: worshiping in a contemporary fashion.

My love for contemporary worship, however, is not what necessarily offended me as I listened to three theologians discuss “worship” during their White Horse Inn podcast. In my opinion, the three men tackled the issue like USC’s secondary (thank you Carolina fans for the slight chuckle). It was obvious that they were only referring to music when they were discussing worship. Let’s get something straight, is music a part of worship? Yes–it is referred to several times in Scripture (Psalm 95:2; Psalm 98:5; Psalm 147:7; Eph. 5:19). Is worship music, however? No–I think the simplest answer is to point to Scripture which tells us to do all things for the glory of God by worshiping Him in Spirit and in truth (1 Corinth. 10:31; John 4:23). In speaking about the music, the gentlemen made it seem as though contemporary worship is simply a form of satisfaction and that all churches resemble a rock concert. Of course some people will idolize and overdue music, but are we not trusting in the Spirit enough to know that He will make straight the crooked path? And on that note, I believe that worship has evolved in the way that it has for a reason–being guided by God so that we may have the most intimate form of worship we have ever had.

Lastly, they all seemed to agree that churches today are too chaotic–that they allow worship, communion, prayer, tithing, all at the same time, showing no unity in the body. Can I just say that being a part of a service like that is incredibly moving and Spiritually fulfilling. We are not “seeking personal satisfaction as God reigns down Christmas presents of grace and blessings every Sunday,” as one man so greatly put it. We are coming together as a body, thankful for the grace and mercy God has poured out on us during the week, knowing that we are sinners, and thanking Him for His blessings as we pray, receive communion, sing, and have a gospel-centered message. We have received the Spirit of revival and that excitement always comes out in worship! Perhaps these men need to stop focusing on legalistic arguments and reading scripted prayers, and look to the One who is reigning and responding whether we acknowledge it or not.

Please feel free to listen to their podcast: http://www.whitehorseinn.org/blog/2012/05/20/whi-1102-the-worship-experience/

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This work is copyright 2012 Dylan Gunnels and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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3 Responses to What Is Worship?

  1. Dylan, I appreciate your perspective outlined here. One thing to think about, though, is the term “legalism.” Legalism is a heresy that denies the gospel of justification by grace alone through faith alone by requiring adherence to the law of Moses for a right standing before God. It is, thus, a pretty serious charge, as well as a specific one. Don’t throw it around too lightly. I think you mean that you see Scripture giving us more freedom in our forms of worship than the WHI hosts, but that doesn’t make them legalists; it just means you disagree on how you interpret Scripture on that point. Hope that makes sense.

    • Kris:
      I appreciate your response and certainly understand your point. You are correct in what you are saying, and in that sense I should not have used the term so lightly. I think it has just become so common today for people to speak of legalist churches and striving to get away from legalism so that we can reach people’s hearts, not give them a list of do’s and dont’s. Perhaps I–and many others–do no know the true meaning of legalism.

      • Dylan,
        We can definitely talk more about it in person if you like. I actually taught a Sunday school class this summer on the relationship between believers and the law, so I have a lot of Scripture and resources fresh in my head. 🙂 You’re right that the wrong use of the law (or the making up of new laws) can cloud the gospel, but as Paul says, “The law is good if one uses it lawfully” (1 Tim 1:8).

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