A service for worship & nothing else?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by 12strings, Nov 7, 2012.

  1. 12strings

    12strings
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    In another thread, Luke said this:


    My question is: Is there Biblical warrant for this? Is there biblical command to take one service each week and devote it to worship, to the exclusion of teaching, fellowship, evangelism...etc.

    Certainly Worship will be the primary focus of God's throne in heaven, but here on earth, in the NT Church, Does Paul or the other Epistles give us reason to think we are to focus one service on creating an "atmosphere" of awe, reverence, majesty?

    Or, should our services, while seeking always to bring/give glory & worship to God, be marked by (as Acts 2 says) teaching, prayer, fellowship, breaking of the bread?

    I suppose a follow-up question would be: Is it really accurate to say that the worship service is for God, not for us? Does God need something from us, or do we need something from him? Paul instructs us to sing songs "to one another" not necessarily just to God...that we may be admonished and taught.
     
  2. mont974x4

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    This begs the question, what is worship?

    I define it, in thinking of my whole life as being one of worship, as a life lived in response to God, who He is and what He has done throughout history and in my life.

    So, when we gather for "corporate worship" it is a time of joining together with brothers and sisters to collectively "go hard after God" (to steal a line from John Piper). Whether that be singing, praying, or preaching it should all be worship. It should all be about glorifying God. Regardless of the specific action being done at a given moment it is about seeing Him and hearing from Him as the one who is worthy of all fear, praise, honor, and glory.


    Now, if you are talking about a service devoted entirely to singing? I'll have to pass. The Word of God must be proclaimed for faith comes from hearing and hearing comes from the Word of the Lord. How can we sing His praises if we do not know Him. How can we truly worship Him, that is truly live a life fully devoted to Him, without constantly growing in our knowledge of Him?
     
  3. MB

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    Personally for my self; Every service is for worship. Even Bible study. We open with prayer and close with prayer and prayer is the highest form of worship. We realize that when we gather we are in His presence. We praise Him and learn about Him this is all worship.
    I'd like to know what Luke believes worship is if not all that I've mentioned.
    MB
     
  4. Jerome

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    I too am puzzled at what Luke's "ideal worship service" consists of, if evangelism and teaching must be excluded in favor of the "atmosphere" he's found in all these Presbyterian churches.

    "We care nothing for gorgeous architecture or grand music in the worship of God! Our true building is composed of our converts—our best music is their confession of faith. May God give us more of it!" —Charles Spurgeon, "Harvest Joy"
     
    #4 Jerome, Nov 7, 2012
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  5. MB

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    Maybe it's the anouncements he doesn't like or the testamonies.
    MB
     
  6. Tom Butler

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    I don't remember where I read this, but I once saw worship defined as "telling God the truth about Himself."

    That's pretty good, to me. But I also think worship encompasses telling each others the truth about God. Those two definitions give us wide latitude to direct our worship to God in different ways.

    I will have to say that some of the greatest worship experiences I have ever had were when believers rose to give personal testimonies. To tell others about what God has done is a wonderful privilege, and I believe can be counted as worship.
     
  7. HeirofSalvation

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    I'll stick up for Luke here....While I don't think that there is a "Biblical Warrant" for devoting a "specific service" to "worship" every week (as a calendrical event per se.....I ostensibly agree. I don't think any gathering of the Church should intentionally exclude any of the other facets of our Commission...however, it stands to reason that in a service wherein there are presumed to be none but established (and subsequently presumed re-generate church-members) a passionate plea for the gospel in an Evangelistic fervour may be un-warranted....and a PARTICULAR focus on worship specifically is.

    Unless I am mistaken...both in the Hebrew of the OT and the Greek of the NT the word translated for "worship" literally or at least conotatively means "To prostrate oneself before" or something very closely akin to that....While I love my "PETRA" <---best Rock Band ever Secular OR Christian in the History of the Universe...
    I do agree that we are SADLY lacking in the average modern Baptist Church for truly "Christ-focused" worship with a Spirit of Awe and Reverence...and indeed, I suppose I would say...FEAR. We play a little fast and loose I think.

    While we are all here and since my foot is already completely engulfed by my own mouth...I'm also a little tired of this: "The Bible only says 'sing a joyful noise' therefore no effort or work or attempt at quality is expected when we sing to the Almighty Creator of the Universe" nonsense.
    Consider, then, choir, that we bring a SACRIFICE of PRAISE into the house of the Lord...not merely a "dress however you feel like/we practiced for a sum-total of 1.5 hours this week....whether we have a smidgen of talent or have worked sufficiently to even stay in tune...sing-away trash.... We wouldn't DARE...sing to the Queen of England the way we haphazardly slime away marginally in melodic form to the God of the Universe... We take license, folks, with our effort in worship the way we despise those who take license with sin. We will instantly and roundly condemn any who think that since we are all saved by "grace" that we should sin all the more that "grace may abound"...but we don't condemn our own sloth and laziness in worship....

    We all know too well the verse which admonishes us to "approach BOLDLY the Throne of Grace"...but we have translated it into the modern Parlance of:

    "Go ahead and always 'ditty-bop'- hands in pocket, chewing-gum.-whistling Elvis tunes every time you make free with approaching the God of Heaven and Earth who hath the power to destroy both body and soul in Hell". 'Cause he ain't nothin to be 'fraid of now that we're all "graced-up" and what-not...

    For SHAME!!!! All of us!!! FOR SHAME!!....
    We ditty-bop into every old Chuch service with a "whores fore-head"....we refuse to be ashamed.

    I also think that God has inspired 100-some-odd songs in a Divine hymnbook (sometimes called Psalms) which are ostensibly ignored by his Church.....

    Style isn't the sole arbitter by any means...but, I do think it makes a statement. I wish that the normal Baptist Church choir would occassionally sing something (Or...at least try to.)
    like this rendition of Psalm 23 by John Rutter
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovPbeXYUD-g&feature=related

    What sickens me personally....is that secular Universities have a truly better grasp of Divine Music than the Average Baptist Church does...and I really mean that. I have little better opinion of the concept of worshipful music concieved of in most of the Fundamentalist "Universities" we "Educate ourselves" at. I sang that particular song at The University of Florida (of all places)...and yes, we were required to wear robes....

    I Must be honest....If I had a talented Son who asked me whether he ought to study Music at a Secular State University or Baptist Bible College in Springfield....I would send him to the State University....

    Off of soap-box.
     
    #7 HeirofSalvation, Nov 7, 2012
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  8. mont974x4

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    Read the letters of the NT again. Time and time again Paul, Peter, and others write to church members to address a variety of issues. What is a common occurrence? The Gospel being presented...and that is with an presumably regenerated audience.


    May we never outgrow our need for hearing the Gospel!


    Yes worship means to prostrate oneself. It is positional. Whatever you bow to is your god. Whatever you invest your time and treasure in is your god. We must always in all ways acknowledge that Christ is on His throne. You talk about people go about their religion without the fear of God? Imagine a service without the Word!

    I am not against music. I love music. We go to a 2 day Christian music festival every August. We have enjoyed many bands from KJ52 to Newsboys to Thousand Foot Krutch and Jeremy Camp. The bands vary year to year. What does not vary is the inclusion of prayer and preaching. We homeschool our boys. My 9 year old is learning to play drums. Our 13 year plays the tenor sax and is now learning the bass and keyboard.
     
  9. 12strings

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    Well here goes nothing...

    I did not intend this to be a Luke-bashing thread. I'm hoping he will see this and respond to the arguments.

    I believe Monty is correct in pointing out that while an Evangelistic plea may not be the #1 thing needed at every service...A passioned, clear, God-Exalting preaching/teaching of the Gospel should be there, since it is the #1 reason that we worship God, lifting up Jesus' name above every name...and it is also the power for discipleship, edification, evangelism, church unity, and everything else...I would place emphasis on the Gospel as a higher priority than creating a "worshipful" atmosphere. A people who are gripped by the Gospel will not approach God in a flippant way...even if there is a drum set somewhere in the sanctuary.

    Good point, but what's the application? Should smaller churches without really good musicians simply not sing, or at least not have choirs, since they cannot measure up? Or should they strive for excellence in their own context, even if excellence for them means allowing that bass who just sings melody to continue in the choir?

    I like this, I may use it!

    I'm not familiar with that expression...

    Good point. That's why we sing "Better is One Day"

    See note above about small-church music quality: Get really good first, or stop doing it completely? Or recognize that some music is beyond our ability.

    I would agree that secular groups do perform Divine music at a higher musical level...but it is generally in context that is devoid of the Gospel...For Example, On our honeymoon, my wife & I went to a show that was basically a really loose plot as an excuse to sing a song from every style imaginable: Swing, 50's, disco, classic rock, country, bluegrass, hip-hop...and near the end was the "Gospel" number...it was done very well, had words about Jesus & heaven, and they even wore robes! But it was just about the opposite of what I would want in a church, because I knew they just threw it in because it is the country south, and they know that will appeal to lots of cultural Christians.

    -me too, but if was going into music ministry, I'd suggest he got to Seminary after that.

    No apology needed...that was quite a whirl-wind to read!
     
  10. Luke2427

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    That there should be services devoted primarily to worship is without question.

    That does not mean that all we should do in those services are the things that are commonly thought of as worship (most think it is all about praise- of course this is not the case. We worship through giving, heeding the Word of God, etc...)
     
  11. HeirofSalvation

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    #11 HeirofSalvation, Nov 7, 2012
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  12. HeirofSalvation

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    And I think you do well...but, I think that the Scriptures describe three types of sacred music..."Psalms", "Hymns", and "Spiritual Songs"...I actually think that they are three distinct forms of expression...and that we should focus on them much much more...I think the modern error is "Spiritual Songs"...with little expression of the Psalms...and an ignorance sometimes of the "HYMNS" (which I would describe as songs based specifically on Theology)...but the Psalms actually have preserved musical instructions such as "for ALMAH" or "upon Neginoth" etc....and they are NOT IMO to be ignored...I think we do them too little.
    What if I said that....what I mean is that we take a very SERIOUS and measured response to how to appropriately gell all three of those questions......Find a maximal balance between them and strive to our utmost towards complete excellence...You are correct that not EVERYONE is super-gifted...but, you know what?????? I have NO, NON, ZERO, natural talent or ear for music...but, in college...I signed up for every course I could find...and I worked my buns off...and now, I am only half-bad. I can't always hear the difference between when I am supposed to harmonize a "fifth" or whether I am to octave (I am a TRUE bass)...but I can hear the harmonial difference between obvious thirds and fifths or octaves....I worked at it. Lemme repeat that...I worked at it....Before I ever studied music at all...I could barely have hit the G below C....I can confidently now hit the E Above C...but someone put the effort into teaching me how to breath...How to lift the eyebrows on higher notes...how to sing "down-to" a high note and not "up" to it...and I spent countless hours "Me-may-maw-mo-moo-ing"...IF "KJV-ONLY BAPTIST FUNDAMENTAL-U"....NO longer has the expertise to teach that way....then so be it.....They deserve to crumble and fall into obscurity due to their failure at excellence.
    I understand this....but I would only disagree with your last sentence...They didn't do it as a cheap shameless plug towards Christians...they actually did it because of respect for Music in toto and it USED to be the case that it was the "CHURCH" that dominated the science, the skill, and the art of Music....So much so, that, secular artists cannot yet divorce themselves from the sacred roots of music in order to present an eclectic show.
    -
    LOL!!! Well.....Me too! but at this point, he has to pay for it himself! :laugh:
    It was....and I would apologize if I were truly repentant....but, I'm not :D Thank you for your wonderful responses...you have a great thread here!!
     
  13. 12strings

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    Thanks for the kind words, I am a Minister of Music & Youth at my current church...been here 5 years.

    I was simply saying all those things (and the list could be much longer) would not be possible without the Gospel, so any efforts toward those goals must be rooted in the Gospel...ie, having a worship service without referring to the Gospel would be like planning and event to honor Abraham Lincoln without mentioning the Civil War...missing the main point.

    Good point. I suppose I was thinking of a few things here:
    1. Someone who was a mature Believer would be able to tell when something was done in a way that belittled God, and filter that in their mind.
    2. A Mature believer could attend a church with a bad ladies trio singing off-key, and truly worship as he thanked God for the sincerity of the ladies hearts, asked God to guard his heart against pride and feelings of musical superiority, and concentrated on the lyrics being sung. (now I think we would both agree, that musical situation is not the ideal for worship).
    3. Further, I would simply say that I believe it is possible to use a guitar and drum set to lead worship in a reverent, joyful way (Ps. 2:11 - "Rejoice with trembling").

    I think I can agree that we can confidently pray for things God has already promised...but I don't believe I can say that God dropping 10 well-trained singers into my choir, evenly spaced among all four parts, is something God has promised to do.
     
  14. 12strings

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    1. I would say that there is still debate as to what exactly defines a hymn and Spiritual Song. Biblical definitions are difficult to find. Some actually believe all 3 are different types of the psalms (the Strict Regulative "psalms only" people). Some believe the Spiritual songs were spontaneous...and I've seen those done well, on occasion (rarely).
    2. I think many people would love to "not ignore" those musical instructions...except that we have no idea what they mean...I personally believe it was intentional that we don't know the tunes for the psalms...So we don't idolize one style of music.


    You are the exception to the rule. The majority of choir members are not going to go take singing lessons. Perhaps they should.

    This is probably a topic for another thread, but there are some who believe it should be the church's goal to regain such a standing in the world of the arts...I don't hold this position. The church's rise to dominate the arts came during the middle ages when doctrine was secondary...creating an atmosphere was more important than imparting truth. Today, the churches that value classical sacred music are generally (not all) liberal in theology.

    I would say the atmosphere created by the music is less important than truth being clearly communicated in a way that facilitates the words sinking into the brain & heart.
     
  15. 12strings

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    I used to think so too, but I'm questioning it...is there a New Testament example or command of this? What is described in Acts 2 does not seem to be it...it isn't even mentioned, in fact...Teaching, prayer, fellowship, & breaking bread are mentioned...in 1 Corinthians, words spoken for mutual edification of the believers are mentioned.

    I'm not even saying all of these are not expressions of worship...but I don't see a "service devoted to worship" in the New Testament. I'm not saying its not there...perhaps someone can point it out to me.

    But should we seek to, as you say "simulate the atmosphere" describe in heavenly scenes before God's Throne? Where is the Biblical warrant for this?
     
  16. nodak

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    Although the author is not Baptist, the book "Christless Christianity" by Michael Horton is very thought provoking.

    As to who is the worship service for, us or God, I believe it is God's gift to us, not the other way round.

    So it should focus on Jesus Christ and what He has done and is doing, and move us to response.

    I don't see it as something we bring to God or something we do for an audience of One.

    My personal take is that is just paganism, us appeasing God.

    Totally misses the point of Christ.
     
  17. convicted1

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    We should be praising God all the time, but we don't. If we are praising Him, wouldn't that be worship also? Wouldn't even a simple "thank you Lord" from the heart be worship?
     
  18. OldRegular

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    Albert Mohler in his book He Is Not Silent writes: "The heart of Christian worship is the authentic preaching of the Word of God." I believe that comports with what you say. In my opinion there is nothing that will move the heart of the true believer to awe and reverence for God than preaching the Word of God. Similarly nothing is as evangelical as the preaching of the Word of God. That is certainly what God tells us in Isaiah 55:11.

    I believe that the cause of problems in the Church today, particularly doctrinal error, is that preachers simply refuse to preach the Word of God but instead preach little 15 minute sermons I call Rotary talks. Have to beat the church crowd to the restaurant don't you know!:tear: And then I suspect many preachers simply don't believe the Bible or consider it irrelevant in today's world.
     
  19. Luke2427

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    Heir of Salvation said something about you that I want to agree with.

    He is right, imo. You are very gracious and thoughtful in these discussions.

    I am learning from you. Keep it up!

    Now, let me tell you where I disagree with your comments quoted above.

    I think the error that you are making here and that is common today is to think that the New Testament is all we should look to for indications of how we should worship.

    I don't think we should JUST look to the New Testament for JUST ABOUT any instruction.

    Even where the New Testament "abolishes" (not the best word but for sake of brevity...) some teaching of the Old Testament we still NEED the OT teaching to put the NT teaching in its proper context.

    But MOST of what we learn about corporate worship comes from the OT.

    I honestly think it would be a TRAGIC mistake to snuff at the OT here.

    Keep in mind that in the NT the church is young, mostly poor, politcally impotent and persecuted.

    The NT Christians were in much the same shape as the OT Jews in Egypt- at least politically.

    How did the Jews worship in Egypt? You see, this is the error you're making. When they were free, prospered and able they built the tabernacle and then later the Temple. God was FOR THAT. God commanded them to do it.

    How did the Jews worship in Babylon? This is the error you're making.





    The entire OT which we should not haphazardly cast aside.
    And, I think some thoughtful common sense. We were made to do what we will do in heaven forever. Church is obviously a foreshadowing of that.
     
  20. Luke2427

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    It is not corporate worship which God commands to be done ALONG WITH "thanksliving".

    We don't get to do the latter to replace the former. We don't get to kill two birds with one stone when it comes to what God expects of us in the matter of worship.

    We are to do the best we can at both. Not focus on one and leave the other half done.

    Sloppy worship services are blasphemy. Read the book of Malachi to see how God feels about this.
     

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