Monday, May 30, 2016
There is a motto which was introduced during the Restoration Movement in the 1800s, with the latter section stating, “Be silent where the Bible is silent.” In other words if it isn’t found in scripture, it isn’t condoned by God.
When speaking of “worship” a lot of dialogue is used to describe it, but scripture is silent on most of it! If you have a computer Bible program, do a search using the words “worship, worshiping, and worshiper. Then separate the number of passages, beginning with Acts 2 to see what is actually said about New Testament worship. You may be shocked?
We often inform others that there are “five acts of worship.” Yet God never does! We restrict the activity of (1) singing, (2) praying, (3) giving, (4) teaching, and (5) communion to worship. God never ties any of those five with the word “worship” in the New Testament from Acts to Jude. The only time inspiration uses the word “worship” in an assembly of the church is 1 Corinthians 14:23-25. There it is used by Paul to describe the worship of one who is an unbeliever, not the actions of the members. Paul’s description does not include any of the five acts within the parameters given. In John 4:23-24 Jesus used the word proskuneo which is translated 60 times in the New Testament as “worship” by the King James Version. Most do not know that the word meant “to kiss, like a dog licking his master’s hand; to fawn or crouch to, i.e. (literal or figurative) prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore).” I have never in my 59 years of preaching, seen anyone, bow, fawn, or crouch down, nor imitate a dog licking his master’s hand when we prayed, contributed, partook, taught, or sang a hymn, have you? We sing, “We bow down,” but never do! Do you hear the motto, “Be silent where the Bible is silent” used much now-a-days?
I am not saying the “five acts” aren’t worship, I’m just pointing out what God has never said. He is silent. We either have (1) a motto which we are inconsistent in applying, or one (2) that may not mirror the actual teaching of scripture. If we are inconsistent in application, repentance is needed. Wouldn’t that repentance require a cessation of all definitions which are not specifically written? If the motto is short of what God teaches, or more than He taught, wouldn’t that make it a useless man made creed?
If we put on paper the detailed activities which we do in our assemblies on Sunday morning and compare our actions with what we actually read first century Christians doing, we might be shocked. That surprise may come by discovering the differences between a “thus saith the Lord” and “here is the what we’ve always done” since the 1860s, the Protestant Reformation, or the second century!
If we restrict worship to a performance of five acts in one hour on Sunday morning and another hour on Sunday night, haven’t we sorely misunderstood Jesus’ words in John 4:23-24!