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Questions on Worship

In the following e-mail exchange, the e-mailer's questions and comments are in black and enclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My replies are in red.


>Pastor, I have several questions. The questions are: What is Worship?<

This question could take an entire book to answer adequately. But in short, worship is the praising, exalting, lifting up of God Almighty for who He is (His Person and attributes) and what He has done, in creation, redemption, and all other aspects of our existence (Rev 4:8-11; 5:9-14).

>How is Worship to be conducted?<

I personally do not believe the is one "correct" way to worship. There are general guidelines in the Scripture; but not a specific "liturgy" laid out that must be followed.

Some prefer more "liturgical" worships where everything is laid out step by step beforehand; others prefer "free" worship where the service flows "as the Sprit leads."

Some prefer services with traditional hymns; others prefer "contemporary" music; and some prefer Psalm singing without any musical accompaniment.

I would say that any one of these forms is appropriate. My only disagreement would be with any one group who says that you "must" worship the way they do. Or conversely, that it is ‘wrong" for me to worship as I do.

Personally, I prefer a service that is not strictly liturgical where the same liturgy is repeated week after week. To me, this can get rather boring.

On the other hand, I do prefer for there to be "order" within any particular service. A totally ‘free" service in my mind can get of control. Paul does tell us to "Let all things be done decently and in order" (1Cor 14:40).

Whatever type of service is followed, if it detracts from the focus on God then there is a problem. As C.S. Lewis put it in one of his books (I forget which one), a service should be like a good pair of shoes. You should not notice them. If you do, something is wrong with the shoes.

In the same way, the purpose of worship to focus our minds on God. If our minds are focused on the services itself, either because of how rowdy it is getting or because of how boring it is, then there is a problem.

But again, individuals will differ in this regard. Some best focus on God when they are sitting perfectly still; others find it necessary to stand up, clap or wave their hands, and shout. Either is fine, as long as the "shouter" does not tell the quiet person that he is not worshipping appropriately, and vice-a-versa.

As for me, I find the hand clapping and waving and shouting a distraction. But I also find "traditional" services with old-fashioned hymns to be rather boring. Modern, up-beat music, with the people sitting or standing basically still is what I prefer.

>Who is to be Worshipped?<

The one God in three Persons: God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. In Rev 4:8-11; 5:9-14 referred to above, the Father and the Son are both clearly being worship. As for the Holy Spirit, there is not direct Scriptural example as to His worship, but if the Spirit is God (and He is - 2Cor 3:17) then it would logically follow that He is to be worshipped.

On the other hand, it could be argued that the purpose of the Spirit is to glorify Christ (John 16:14). So direct worship of the Spirit would not be appropriate. In either case, the focus should be on Christ.

>What is the object of our Worship?<

To glorify God.

>I am asking these questions because of the way worship is conducted in the various youth fellowships in our United Church of Zambia, Mufulira Consistory. These youth fellowships have taken the Charismatic way of Worship and am fearing the youth fellowship which I attend and I am a Leader, some members want to copy this method.<

I am not sure what you mean by "the Charismatic way of Worship." If you mean a "rowdy" worship with modern-style music, then see my comments above. If you are talking about speaking in tongues, then see the following page recently posted on my site, Questions on Tongues.

>Another fear which I have is that those who conduct this type of worship (during time of prayer, all the people speaker at one time) may be sinning against God.<

Again, I discuss this potential problem on the above mentioned page.

>Please help. I have believed the Bible to be our only authority and rule. The bible says, " In the assembly of the saints God is to be given the reverence..." (Psalm 89:7) God is to be given the Honor and the Reverence which due to him. (Malachi 1:6).<

Agreed.

>By the way, What is praying in one Accord?<

I would assume it refers to each person in a prayer group agreeing on the same matter in a prayer; each praying silently at the same time or each praying out loud, one at a time.

>I am looking forward to hearing from you sir.
Jobson (Zambia).<

I hope the above helps.

Books and eBooks by Gary F. Zeolla, the Director of Darkness to Light

The above e-mail exchange was posted on this Web site in November 1997.

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