Proskuneo (2)

So many ideas on worship, and a few do have biblical foundation. . . .  (This post continues thoughts from a few days ago.)

Eighteen years ago, the Christian Chronicle surveyed a few American Restoration Movement leaders of various, shall we say, bents.  I retained at least one response that surprised me positively, on recent re-discovery:

. . .  Worship rings out of the fountain of the soul and heart–the springing out of adoration, praise and thanksgiving to God. . . .

The internal man must be involved. You can worship internally without doing anything external, but you can’t worship externally without involving the internal.

Worship is intentional. You cannot worship God accidentally. It must be an intended act. [editorial emphasis–bc]

We only worship vertically. It is something we do in communication, adoration and praise toward God. . . .

God is not our buddy. He is deity; we are human.  Let us go back to the fact of how awesome is the majesty, power, grace and love of God. . . .  We must beware turning the worship of God into more of a pep rally than the awe-inspiring worship of the Almighty God.

– Excerpted from  Roy Lanier Jr., “My Hope for the Church’s Worship” in “Worship Today: Six Leaders Express Their Views,” Christian Chronicle, 7/94. Reprinted by permission.

Mr. Lanier, if memory serves (and it well may not!), is someone with whom I would share a fair number of historical underpinnings, but whose ideas around church functionalities and Bible interpretation would often fall to the right of my own.  He does seem to have a good handle on worship, though!  Here, I particularly want to highlight that worship is vertical, i.e., between creature and Creator.  The horizontal “life” stuff is related, and does absolutely need to be harmonized, but is not worship per se.

Moreover, specifically on an expression that leads to much misunderstanding:  Paul did not write “spiritual act of worship” in Romans 12.  He didn’t write English words at all, and the Greek words he wrote aren’t normally, otherwise translated “spiritual” and “worship.”

May we get our ideas on all “God things” from the scriptures.

To be continued . . .

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5 thoughts on “Proskuneo (2)

  1. godschildrenorg 11/15/2012 / 4:37 pm

    Brian, Enlighten me please – what did the Greek words mean that Paul wrote which have been translated “spiritual worship.” Dan could read Greek fluently. I miss having him here to tell me what the Word was originally saying. Sometimes I ponder why God has not given us easy access to the true meaning of His original words. Speaking several foreign languages, I understand how difficult it is to translate exactly from one language to another. By putting their own interpretations into the translations from the Greek. translators have led some astray. What is the solution? Don’t tell me to learn to read Greek! I am struggling enough learning Hungarian and Romanian so I can serve better in Transylvania! — Anne B.

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    • Brian Casey 11/15/2012 / 8:37 pm

      Anne, I’m not surprised that Dan could read Greek. I’m taking courses now to learn more. As they say, “I know enough to get me in trouble. . . .”

      The expression in Rom. 12:1 is *logiken latreian; **logikan* is a relatively uncommon word and could be said to have spawned our word “logical.” *Latreian* is also uncommon in this particular form. Its basic meaning is “service rendered for hire, ministration,” and it further is said to related to the likes of Levitical priestly service. I don’t have this next part on good authority, but I have a hunch that *latreian *may be at least marginally related to other words such as *leitourgia,* which basically means “an office which one administers.”

      Robertson’s *Word Pictures* gives this further insight, and I’m not sure how the Gk. characters will be displayed here, but I trust you’ll be able to make out the words, either way:

      *Which is your reasonable service* (*thn logikhn umwn latreian*). “Your rational (spiritual) service (worship).” For *latreia*, see on Romans 9:4 . *Logiko* is from*logo*, reason. The phrase means here “worship rendered by the reason (or soul).”

      I think Robertson may be affected by church tradition here in linking “service” with “worship” and do not not see anything directly vertical, i.e., human-to-God, in Rom. 12:1. I rather think Paul is putting quote marks around “reasonable service” and suggesting that *offering ourselves becomes, rationally (or even figuratively?) speaking, the New equivalent of Old priestly service. *If I’m right, this verse is not about worship *per se* but is about Christian living much more generally. (Worship was never halted, but animal sacrifices were.) Robertson also may be unduly affected by Greek philosophical thought in relating reason to “worship” of the “soul,” which was the part of the self that linked the inner spirit and the body, if I remember correctly.

      Your other questions are a lot more difficult to answer, and I’m not sure either of us needs me to try. 🙂 I ponder similar things sometimes. Translation issues are thorny, and when one comes to understand, as I’m sure you have, that exact translation from language to language is quite impossible in most cases, the issues change color . . . . and then adherence to a single version (1611 or otherwise!) tends to go away. . . .

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    • Brian Casey 11/15/2012 / 8:39 pm

      By the way, my 3rd post on this general topical area was already dealing some with the words you ask about. Now that I’ve written this reply, I think I’ll adjust my 3rd post to include some of this information you made me look up! 🙂

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  2. godschildrenorg 11/15/2012 / 4:41 pm

    P.S. Why do people think the Bible was originally written in English in 1611? Why is language that was spoken in England in the 1600’s considered to be the actual words of God? I’m curious. — Anne B.

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