White Horse Inn on the meaning of worship

Listened to last week’s broadcast of the White Horse Inn. I used to listen to it every week freshman year, but after a while, some of the content became repetitive, so now I only listen to it occasionally. In this one they had a guest speaker, Harold Senkbeil, professor at Concordia Theological Seminary, who had a very calm demeanor and voice and did not rail against evangelical Christianity like Horton and the crew sometimes do. Some good points which stuck out to me:

  • Worship is often defined as worth-ship. Worship as an ascribing of value to something. This isn’t quite right, as the biblical word is service. What the point of worship is is to respond to the invitation of God to come and receive what He has to give. We come primarily to receive what God gives. We have nothing to give to God until we receive what God has given us.
  • There has been a shift from worship service to worship experience, where the emphasis shifts from God to us, where what we do matters more than what God does. So many songs are all about what we do (I love you, I want to know you, I give you my heart, I will live for you).
  • In our quest to be relevant and contemporary, the church has become like Israel at Mount Sinai, who took the golden calf and used it in front of the altar during the holy feast in an effort to appropriate some visual tool–one that was not prescribed by God as a proper means of worship. Were God and Moses pleased? No!
  • Worship is rest (Sabbath). We don’t have to stress out and try so hard to give God all our best. Remember the story of Mary and Martha? Don’t just do something, sit there! There is nothing wrong with sitting in the pews receiving the gospel. In fact, that must happen before we can respond to God in praise and prayer.
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