Service, worship, and interests (1)

Service, worship, and interests:  response to comments

Having read a post a few days ago about worship, a friend took exception and probed a bit.  I hope to clarify and to continue the dialogue here; this is part 1 of my response.

Dear Bill,

I have appreciate always appreciated your interest in worship and other things of the Lord.  Since we are not necessarily coming from the same place right now, I’d first like another opportunity.  I want to try to say differently what I meant to say in the post you commented on. . . .

First, and most substantively, I was trying to say that it is both a logical and a hermeneutical mistake for folks to think that everything we do is worship.  In my estimation, lumping every thought and action into the worship category is not accurate — either in reality or in terms of the way things should be.  My point is that the biblical concept of worship is relatively specific, not broad.

I further submit that it is a mistaken (and way-common) misinterpretation of Romans 12:1-2 that leads to the idea that the whole life is worship.  The idea that the presentation of the Christian’s body is the sum total of “spiritual worship” weakens both the philosophy and the reality of Christian worship.  Paul was not speaking of worship per se when he wrote of logikan latreian; one better translation of this expression might be that which is logically considered to be spiritual service.  In an indirect sense, priestly sacrifice and service might be said to resemble — or become, in a figurative sense — worship, and I think that is what Paul was getting at in Romans 12.

If I’m reading between the lines correctly, you seem to be working now with a different/broader definition of worship; maybe we’re not on the same track on this.  [For more background on my vantage point:  go here and scroll down to the 11/12/2012 entry, that began a series on proskuneo and latreian.  Actually, this post here (#3 in the series) gets right to the point, and will take less of your time.]  A word is just a symbol, and the word “worship” is no exception.  Perhaps the referent is different for you than for me.

Secondarily (and I probably just should have left this part out of the post!), I did connect preachers’ interests to this misconception of worship and living as church.  When I heard a preacher in a friend’s church (back in June) suggest that everything is worship, it rang hollow for at least two reasons.  This part of my earlier post was understandably somewhat offensive, and I want to explain more where I was coming from.

I’ll pick up here in a second post tomorrow. . . .

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