Tuesday, February 27, 2007

small god, small worship

a lot of my reading lately has been in the area of theologies and practices of worship, and the expectations or assumptions of our culture of what worship is or should be.
here are two quotes i have come across in the past couple of weeks that, upon reading were both refreshing (because it needs to be said) and painful (because it is so true).

the first from cornelius plantiga jr.

if we know the characteristic sins of the age, we can geuess its foolish and fashionable assumptions – that morality is simply a matter of personal taste, that all silence needs to be filled up with human chatter or background music, that 760 percent of the american people are “victims”, that it is better to feel than to think, that rights are more important than responsibilities, that even for children the right to choose supercedes all other rights, that real liberty can be enjoyed without virtue, that self- reproach is for fogies, that god is a chum or even a gofer whose job is to make us rich or happy or religiously excited, that it is more satisfying to be envied than respected, that it is better for politicians and preachers to be cheerful than truthful, that christian worship fails unles it is fun.(1)

and from a.w. tozer

we have the breezy, self-confident christians with little affinity for christ and his cross. we have the joy-bell boys that can bounce out there and look as much like a game show host as possible. yet, they are doing it for jesus’ sake?! the hypocrites! they’re not doing it for jesus’ sake at all; they are doing it in their own carnal flesh and are using the church as a theater because they haven’t yet reached the place where the legitimate theater would take them. (2)


it is now common practice in most evangelical churches to offer the people, especially the young people, a maximum of entertainment and a minimum of serious instruction. it is scarcely possible in most places to get anyone to attend the meeting where the only attraction is god. one can only conclude that god’s professed children are bored with him for they must be wooed to meeting with a stick of striped candy in the form of religious movies, games and refreshments.(3)

(1) cornelius plantiga jr., not the way it’s supposed to be: a breviary of sin (grand rapids:eerdmans,1995), 126 –127.; as quoted by d.a. carson in worship by the book (grand rapids:zondervan, 2002), 30.

(2)A.W. Tozer, Tozer on Worship and Entertainment: Selected Excerpts (Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications, 1997) 104-105.: as quoted by r. albert mohler in his convocation address at southern seminary The Whole Earth is Full of His Glory:The Recovery of Authentic Worship, January, 1998.
(3) Ibid. from tozer 120, 121.

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