Tuesday, March 22, 2011

True worship

TODAY'S SPECIAL: John 4:1-24

TO CHEW ON: "But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him." John 4:24

There is at this time in Protestant church circles, a range of opinions on the best way to worship God. On one hand there are those who are discovering new-to-them practices of worship by exploring and reintroducing the old ways. A return to liturgy and various methods of contemplative prayer are gaining popularity. Here, for example, is an article by a former Baptist pastor explaining how he uses a rosary in prayer.

On the other side there are those who caution against any and all whiffs of the contemplative, warning that even though these things were modeled and taught by the early church fathers and mothers, they were influenced by paganism and thus tainted and suspect.

Personally, I understand the need for caution but also wonder if we're not going overboard when we label as dangerous everyone with whom we don't agree on every detail. I find myself siding with A. W. Tozer who, when he was criticized for reading and quoting Catholic writers like Julian of Norwich, Augustine, Francis of Assissi, and Michale De Molinos "...handled these naysayers in the same way he dealt with negative comments from his frequent references to the Ante-Nicene Church Fathers, or moderns such as Thomas Merton. These saints, from Tozer's angle of vision, knew the Lord intimately and he learned from their writings about drawing closer to Christ — even if he did not agree with everything they believed" - Lyle Dorset,  A Passion for God: The Spiritual Journey of A. W. Tozer , Moody Publishers 2008,  Kindle location 2074.

But how does one decide what to use, and what to throw out? Worship leader LeMar Boschman writes, in a sidebar article in my Bible:

"It is the believer's responsibility to discover how the Lord wants to be worshiped and to explore and cultivate a relationship with Him out of which sincere, Holy Spirit-enabled worship will flow. Jesus instructs it:
Worship in "spirit" — that is alive through new birth (John 1:12-13; 3:6-7) and aglow with holy Spirit enablement (1 Corinthians 14:14-15). This is not mechanical, rote or merely human activity but dynamically capacitated spiritual action.
"In truth" emphasizes biblical integrity joined to personal honesty, manifest in a heart of sincerity, a humble manner of transparency and a relational integrity. Meaning and being what we say, as well as being spiritually energized in our worship, opens the way to that worship the Father seeks" - New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1449.
With the Bible as our plum line, we won't go wrong.

PRAYER: Dear God, direct me to true worship through Your word. Please warn me by Your Spirit against any practice or method of prayer or meditation that is dangerous, forbidden, or will do me harm. Amen.

MORE: "Heart of Worship" - Matt Redman

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