What Is Worship?
In a Los Angeles Times magazine article, titled “God for Sale,” Kathleen Neumeyer wrote, “It is no surprise that when today’s affluent young professionals return to church, they want to do it only on their own terms – what’s amazing is how far the churches are going to oblige.” In fact, George Barna, an advocate of market-driven approaches to church growth, writes, “This is what marketing the church is all about, providing our product as a solution to people’s felt need. It is critical,” he says, “that we keep in mind a fundamental principle of Christian communication – the audience, not the message, is sovereign.” The Apostle Paul found himself in a similar situation in 1st century Greek culture, where personal taste reigned and religion was seen as both a private quest and a ground for public morality. It was into this context that the Apostle to the Gentiles preached Christ. And yet, even after establishing churches among the Greeks, soon a group of super-apostles, as Paul sarcastically calls the enthusiasts, swept many of his emerging churches from their firm foundation. These super-apostles sought to make the gospel more relevant, the worship more exciting, the preaching more practical by blending the pagan craving for novelty and mysticism with Christ. And what was the Apostle’s response? Well, if people are stumbling over the offense of Christ’s cross, it’s because this message is foolishness to those who are perishing. To make the message more acceptable is to fashion the gospel into something other than the saving message of Jesus Christ. See, for those who know that the problem isn’t some invention of some Greek moral or speculative wisdom, but that they are sinners before a holy God, Paul says that this message, foolishness to Greeks and a stumbling block to Jews, is nevertheless embraced by believers as true wisdom – the most practical and relevant news as we learn that for us sinners. Christ has been made for us our righteousness, holiness, and redemption. What is the purpose of worship? Do we participate in order to serve God, or to be served? What are the implications of the shift from a “worship service” to “worship experience”? That’s the focus of this edition as the hosts talk with special guest Harold Senkbeil, author of Dying to Live and Sanctification: Christ in Action. Join us for this classic edition of the White Horse Inn.