Seeing Worship Through Three Lenses

My first memories of worship are laced with music. I held the hand of my Uncle Otis as we (and, I assume, the rest of the congregation) sang “Rock of Ages” during his Church of God services. My auntie told me to pipe down because my hymn singing, during her Hidenwood Presbyterian worship, was a little too loudly exuberant. I biked four miles uphill to sing my Seventh-day Adventist worship in a building that became our school’s roller-skating rink after sundown. Over the years, my internalized sense of what comprises worship has shifted as I have grown, studied, and experienced life.  With friends, with family, and for my own erudition, I have attended the worship of a few religions, several denominations, and cultures that span at least four continents and a few islands.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

A better definition of fear as used in worship would be awe. We sing How Great Thou Art. And we responded Christ invitation to come unto Me. Yes I was spanked at few time dut I was never Affairs of my dad or mother but I have great respect for both and still do.

The highlights for me in this article:

"We refuse to judge anyone because that is God’s role."
"We use our power and authority to serve, not compel."
"We focus on what God the Shepherd is like, by protecting, not repeatedly condemning or terrorizing the lambs who are straying."
"We do not put ourselves in the place of the Holy Spirit as an arbiter of conscience."



What use is authority if it is not exercised? It is a fact that as parents we made decisions for our children which they did not agree with. We exercised our authority to compel the children to comply with even those. As adults, we cannot then say we cannot accept human authority. That would be tantamount to saying we are now gods, and have no need to be told what to do by anyone. To me that could be childhood hangover where we chaffed under parental authority. We accept civil authority and we comply when a traffic officer orders us to stop, and we pay fines if found on the wrong side of the law. Why do we reject authority when it comes to worshiping God? Are we mistaking our equality in Christ for “authoritylessness”?

As for judging, I struggle each time when you say it is God’s prerogative. We also judge everyday. Before we buy clothes, we judge them. We select friends after judging them.

As for truth, we accept that ABC is truth and XYZ is false after judging. It is relativism that clouds our minds to think we cannot say something is right and something is wrong.

I think we raise such issues only when we want our views to be accepted, not because we do not believe in authority and judging. So we may disagree with the position taken by those in authority, but that should not make us rebellious.

"It is relativism that clouds our minds to think we cannot say something is right and something is wrong."

Sometimes we cannot say definitively whether or not something is “right/wrong”…we simply go with what we feel/think is best. No one lives in a perfectly black/white world because there are many shades of gray to contend with. These “shades of gray” are some of the difficulties of living in an imperfect world with imperfect people.


You know, we conveniently say so when we want to do as we please. I do not force anyone to believe that something is truth or falsehood. I choose the convincing route. Yes, some issues do not have straightforward answers but I am convinced that the Bible gives us dependable guidelines or principles through which we can apply what is right or wrong.

The problem in the modern world is that we seem to think we are educated so we can comment on anything authoritatively. An accountant can argue with a physicist on a field which he is a layman. In a way we have deified education and if someone comes along and says, “God spoke to me last night,” we call psychologists and consign that person to a mental hospital. The other reasons we give for rejecting EGW are that she was a mentally unbalanced due to her childhood injuries. In short, nowadays we do not expect God to speak to anyone, which is sad really.

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There is one unwritten/unsaid rule in Adventism (which goes against what EGW wrote) and that is there will NEVER be another SDA "prophet/light” again. I have known a few that have gone to pastors, conferences, unions, with the message that they “had a dream…God revealed” and they were told that it was nothing.

So…the issue is the church itself and not accepting anything more than what has already been accepted. It will continue past our life times.

“church” = ???

You don’t know what “church” means??

I think the question is a difference between congregation and organizational leadership.

There are plenty of people who follow the likes of David Gates from congregational POV. Of course, organization as a whole is much more careful about jumping on these bandwagons.

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