Thursday, February 16, 2006

Juxtapose and Consider

Two Johns on worship. First Dr. Frame:

Worshipers should not take a passive attitude toward worship, such as we usually take toward entertainment. As we have seen, worship is a priestly service. It is latreia, "labor, service." Therefore, we should go to church to do something: to bring praise to God and to minister to one another. This perspective should make us less concerned about what we "get out of" worship and more concerned about what we contribute to God and to our brothers and sisters. It should encourage us to sing from the heart, to pray fervently, to hear God's word with the expectation that we will change our behavior in response, and to be a grateful guest at the Lord's Table. It should encourage us toward the relatively "democratic" structure of worship in 1 Corinthians 14, in which many people suggest things for the congregation to do, within a structure of decency and order.

And now we shall hear from Dr. Piper:

This is a subtle thing. We strive against God's all-sufficient glory if we think we can become a means to his end without making joy in him our end. Christian Hedonism does not put us above God when it makes the joy of worship its goal. It is precisely in confessing our frustrated, hopeless condition without him that we honor him. A patient is not greater than his doctor because he longs to be made well. A child is not greater than his father when he wants the fun of playing together with him.

On the contrary, the one who actually sets himself above God is the person who presumes to come to God to give rather than get. With a pretense of self-denial he positions himself as God's benefactor - as if the world and all it contans were not already God's (Psalm 50:12)!

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