Have you ever had that moment, where you unintentionally related with someone after stumbling across an article regarding Christian worship?
Can one be sensitive regarding the topic of Christian worship?
Some might say, “Why bother?” And yet, it is considered an important act (and response) of Christian worship in how we worship the LORD God, especially in corporate worship as a family of born-again believers in Christ. For the Church to truly function, the body of Christ needs to be “super-charged” so to speak with God’s Living Word, and through the anointing works of the Holy Spirit. A Trinitarian approach needs to be embodied in our inner selves as believers in Christ, if we are to be truly effective in building for the Kingdom of God – week in and week out.
These days, it seems that Church focuses more on the feel-good factor. My reflection isn’t intentionally a Reformed opinion, just something that I have been observing, and I am finding it hard to ignore the issue either!
Curiously, the article1 that I have withheld from reading (purely out of a lack of time in recent months) is by Al Mohler, which lately I have much respect, especially the work and ministry that he does behind the scenes to reaffirm the biblical foundations of the Southern Baptist Convention, and his leadership and role at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS), something I am serious in pursuing a Master of Divinity (M.Div) one day… provided that it’s God’s will for me.
With regards to pursuing yet another degree, I do believe that paper certificates these days are superficial to the extent that employers value experience above academic achievements. This newfound truth applies to both secular and charity / religious organisations alike. I understand the lingering effects, but when it comes down to studying theology, I feel like borrowing Pastor John Piper’s response and the need to continually think of the LORD God above all things, not only to keep me sane in my personal walk and faith in the LORD, but there is a longing desire to continue to examine what is biblical truth, and what does the Bible say in response to everyday issues. I believe it is also a healthy response.
Anyhow, back to this article by Al Mohler. In short, Dr Mohler makes a strong and convincing argument that God’s Word should be the central focus of Christian worship. I actually agree outright. After all, it is through God’s Living Word that we come to learn of the Triune God.
At the same time, I know Mohler’s writing brings out a subtle agenda to emphasise the need to focus on God’s Word, which in effect, aims to recruit prospective students to the SBTS. I say this respectively and sensitively, as I actually agree with Mohler’s position here.
I know today’s society is causing growing fear among certain pastors and preachers to withhold from boldly preaching the biblical truths of the Holy Scriptures. In the UK, we do not have the total freedom of speech, unlike our American brothers and sisters in Christ, who have the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, which I now recognise as a wonderful gift (although it does cause controversy too with other things, as there are two sides of every coin).
But yeah, even society and political change is causing tension among churches here in the UK. Some are choosing to make a stand, and are willing to come under-fire, as they make a public declaration to stand out from the crowd (i.e. standing on a soapbox in the streets of Glasgow as a street pastor, or a local church choosing to leave a denomination due to doctrinal differences in gender status, etc).
Here in Scotland, we have another element that is likely to cause tension, and it’s the political battle to see through an independent Scotland. Will a potential independent Scotland give freedom for churches in Scotland? How will the government support local churches, if the nation chooses to vote a break away from a United Kingdom?
At the end of the day with regards to politics, politicians have an incredible gift in twisting the powers of the law under the pressures of society, as to win favour and support. The minority is squeezed out, much like the Christian church.
I believe there is a lesson that we can still learn, while we have the time (though time isn’t exactly on our side).
It would be great to see a revival and focus of the biblical truths of the Holy Scriptures among local churches. A discipline and teaching, where believers in Christ can quote and memorise Scripture, as they can confidently use God’s Living Word to fend off and rebuke Satan in the spiritual attacks, but also use Scripture to evangelise to folk more effectively. Right now, we are waiting for society to dictate in how we should live our faith, and we are sure to slip away in the radar of society as a “religious” minority. And once that happens, some of those whom I call brothers and sisters in Christ, will simply fall away from God’s presence.