In Spirit and Truth

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photo © Sarah Klockars-Clauser for

This was written some time ago in response to a guest article and the blogger's response to that article. The point I'm trying to make is that worship is a gift of God and, like the gift horse, should not be examined clinically. What should be tested is not the attitude of worshippers but attitudes towards worship. At one extreme some worship is viewed as entertainment or merely emotional and at the other that worshipping in spirit and in truth necessitates informality or freedom from constraint.

We are in danger of being guests at the party arguing over who has given the best gift. The following is the main body of my response:

I feel sad that the author feels we "must be very careful how we worship". It was for freedom that Christ set us free, no longer to be tied to customs, obligations and ritual. I also find it pompous to suggest that it is all about God. In corporate worship we are to build up the body of Christ, his bride. It should be edifying and mutually encouraging. Even the Levites partook of meat that was sacrificed to God. If we are to offer ourselves as living sacrifices then we must give God everything including our pleasures, ambitions and shared enjoyment. A life lived according to the Spirit, (i.e. exhibiting joy, peace, patience, self-control etc.) is glorifying to God. The author seems very pleased with himself for being a true worshipper and discerner of wolves - verging on the smug. The parable of the publican and Pharisee springs to mind.

I believe that God is utterly holy and that he demands perfection. Therefore if we fall short even very slightly we will incur God's wrath. Anyone who claims to be without sin is a liar, therefore anyone claiming to worship God in the right way is also a liar and the truth is not in him. You are either under the Law, in which case the Law will condemn you, or you are under grace which means Jesus is your righteousness and he will cover your failings even when your attitude is not quite right. Its not mix and match.

"Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence."


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