Tuesday, July 21, 2009

all of life worship? part 2

Like all slogans, the phrase "all of life is worship" is based on an
element of truth but as a simplistic generalisation it is essentially
untrue. We are to glorify God in everything but worship is something
different. The Bible clearly teaches that worship has a beginning
point (Matt. 8:2; 9:18; 14:33; 15:25; 28:9,17; Mark 5:6; John 9:38;
Heb. 11:21) and an ending point (Luke 24:52) and that worship does
involve a "when" and a "where" (John 12:20; Acts 8:27; 24:11). Abraham
told his servants that he and Isaac would "go yonder and worship, and
we will come back to you" (Gen. 22:5). God told Moses to "come up to
the Lord ... and worship from afar" (Ex. 24:1).

There is a real difference between the activities of Colossians 3:16
and 3:17. The point is that the assembling of ourselves together in
public worship involves specific activities and is carefully
regulated. It is a corporate and not an individualistic activity -
individualism is part of the thinking behind "all-of-life-is-worship".
It's a way of making sabbath worship less important.

There is a distinction between a common meal at home and the Lord's
Supper in corporate worship in 1 Corinthians 11:18-34. Worship is
also distinct from home life in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35. The Larger
Catechism question 156 makes this distinction between the public
reading of the Word of God "to the congregation," which is only to be
done by those authorised, and the duty of all people "to read it apart
by themselves."

John Frame has a strange view of the regulative principle when he
says, "the regulative principle for worship is no different than the
principles by which God regulates all of our life." T. David Gordon
has pointed out in response to John Frame that the regulative
principle of worship deals with the limits of ecclesiastical power and
liberty of conscience. Either we have to make individual decisions
about worship or we are entirely regulated in our everyday decisions:

"The issue was not... 'worship' versus 'the rest of life,' but those
aspects of life governed by the church officers versus those aspects
of life not governed by the church officers.... Frame's attempt to put
'all of life' under one umbrella... is doomed to futility, because it
does not address the very issue the regulative principle was designed
to address, the limits of church power and the liberty of conscience."