It is not uncommon to hear someone say that he or she adheres to or knows someone who adheres to a religion that is "better felt than told." What this statement says is that the teaching of the Bible is not the thing that is of the greatest importance but the emotional experience that one receives is. It says that one's personal feelings and emotional commitment are more important than God's word. How is this achieved? The answer is simple, it is found in the word "inner-tainment."
"Inner-tainment" is found in many forms, some of which include hand clapping, arm waving, foot stomping, "oohing" and "aahing," humming, whistling, and imitating mechanical instruments. If this is not enough to get the job done, we will throw in some drama and add a praise team to the mix. Now that we have those emotions fired up and running on high power, what are we going to do next week and the week after and next month to keep them at an all time high?
The "new church" for the coming millennium in many cases may well be a "snap, crackle, and pop" church. Feel good, be "laid back," play it cool. A church in Amarillo, Texas, has what they call a "casual" dress, "high energy" Sunday morning service, with lots of "testimonies." Do you dig it, dude? They claim 800 members 300 of whom have been baptized! (You do the math.)
This is not how God intended for us to worship. This type of worship has become "us-focused" instead of God-focused and is far from the New Testament pattern of faith and practice. Paul refers to this as "self-imposed religion." These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh. (Colossians 2:23)
The only worship God will accept is "true worship." (John 4:24) It is sinful to introduce into worship anything, good or bad, that is not ordained by God. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. (2 Corinthians 4:7) For we walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7) "True worshipers are those who worship God sincerely, genuinely, and intelligently, as opposed to those who worship mechanically, ceremonially, and ritualistically. True worship has as its object the Father and is rendered "in spirit and truth," sincerely and in harmony with His will. Only those who thus do are acceptable." (Commentary on John by Guy N. Woods)
Hand clapping and other forms of acknowledgment may be acceptable in some areas of entertainment but show a great lack of reverence for God in our worship. God's Son went to the cross, suffered, and died a slow, painful death for us. The picture of Christ on the cross should bring a tear to our eyes, not clapping to our hands. How can we sing "The Old Rugged Cross" and "ooh" and "aah," make sounds like mechanical instruments, stomp our feet, clap our hands, or sway in the breeze and make rhythmic movements? The singing of this song should bring about an air of solemnity and reverence. We should worship in awe of a great and wonderful God. Take a moment and paint a picture in your mind of Christ on the cross. This He did for you. Do we honor God in the way we worship? We do if we worship God's way instead of our way. Do we show respect to God in our worship? We do if we worship God's way instead of our way. Do we stand in awe and show reverence to God in our worship? We do if we worship God's way instead of our way. Let us be careful that we do not add to or take away from the word of God by adding to and taking away from worship. Let us make sure that all that we do in word or deed is in the name of or by the authority of God. 30 Village St., Waldorf, MD 20602-1837.
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