What comes to your mind when you hear the word “WORSHIP?” There are many possibilities and through the years people shared the following answers with me:
- Communion (The Lord’s Supper, Eucharist)
- Drama / Interpretive dance
- A praise team or praise band
- An exciting atmosphere
- A solemn hour
- Lights and smoke machines
- The Holy Spirit
- Collection plates – always asking for money
- Noisy children (babies)
I recently read a revealing article from Mike Livingstone entitled The Heresy of Worshiptainment. I encourage you to take time to click on the title and read that article. (Be sure to come back here and finish this one too.) He has a lot to say and his words will cause you to think.
More importantly, if we as Christians claim that God’s Word, the Bible, is our standard, we must go to that Standard as our guide for what we do in worship. The Reformed Baptists doctrine contains a theological statement concerning worship. I do not ascribe to all that the Reformed Baptist teach, but there is validity in “The Regulative Principle of Worship.” The Regulative Principle of Worship states that God’s Word sets specific directives (commands) that order cooperate worship. That is, the church can only worship God in ways that He demands, defines, directs, and desires. In more understandable terms, God tell us in scripture what He requires for worship and anything else that He does not demand is not to be an activity of worship as it offends God’s will.
We see this principle during the time of Israel. God specified what animals, grains, days, and fire He chose as acceptable. When His people ignored or subverted any one of these specifics there were sever consequences, including instantaneous death. God wants what He wants and only what He wants.
Similarly, God specifies worship today.
As the only object and audience of our worship, as the One worthy of our praise, He tells us what is acceptable and pleasing to Him. Notice what we want, like, prefer, enjoy, desire, or what draws people in is not requisite and if our preference is not a part of God’s specifics then what we want is not valid as worship. We see God’s desire (will) in the both commands and examples.
Let’s look to the Standard, the historical record in Acts and the letters to churches to find what God demands, defines, directs, and desires as worship:
Acts 20:7-9 demonstrates the role of proclaiming God’s message or preaching.
Colossians 3:16 defines the style of praise (singing) God desires.
For a little more insight on how the early church understood worship, go back and read Church Assemblies Circa 150 A.D.
How are we living and worshipping compared to the Standard?