Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Jamming for Jesus: Giving Him My Everything

The video advertisement for the upcoming New Jersey Jam contemporary worship workshop starts out with Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod Pastors Greg Bearss and Matt Peeples asking
So what does it look like to really worship God? As we fix our eyes on Jesus, can I worship God with electric drums? Can we worship Him with electric guitar, or via Skype from Knoxville, Tennessee? Can we worship God on a makeshift football field with a makeshift goal? What does it mean for us as we lead others to fix their eyes on Jesus, and to worship Him with everything they are, everything that is within them. Where can we worship Jesus? Can we worship in a movie theater, a football field, a makeshift grocery store? Can we worship in a bar? What can we use to worship God? Can we use our cell phones to shoot texts? What is it to worship in today’s culture, authentically, truly?
After hearing that, a good reciprocal question would be
Is worship primarily about me and my commitment to God, me giving Him everything within me, or is worship primarily about God and everything He’s giving me?
Certainly, there is an element of action on our part in worship, but that work is in response to the Gospel, and ultimately energizes us to serve our fellow man, not God. Article V of the Apology of the Augsburg Confession points us to the primary purpose of worship, which goes unmentioned in the video:
…The chief worship of the Gospel is to desire to receive the forgiveness of sins, grace, and righteousness (Concordia : The Lutheran Confessions, CPH, p. 193).
Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt that somewhere in this workshop which includes modules on “worship dance” and prayer stations, there’s also a module on the Apology’s definition of worship. Dr. Martin Noland provides a helpful set of principles which can be used to determine if our worship practices conform to our Confession:

1) WORD PRINCIPLE – In worship Lutherans teach, preach, read, hear, and seriously ponder the Word of God (LC 1st part, 92).

2) SACRAMENTAL PRINCIPLE – In worship Lutherans receive the sacraments and confess their sins publicly (LC 4th part, 1; LC Brief Exhortation, 10).

3) REVERENCE PRINCIPLE – In worship Lutherans show respect to God with songs and prayer (LC 1st part, 84).

4) PETITION PRINCIPLE – In worship Lutherans ask God for blessings, help, and comfort (LC 1st part, 17).

5) PRESCRIPTIVE PRINCIPLE – In worship Lutherans obey what is commanded by God’s Word, and avoid what is forbidden therein (FC SD X, 1).

6) INTEGRITY PRINCIPLE – In worship Lutherans avoid practices that are deceptive, i.e., which portray themselves as being something different than their true character (FC SD X, 5).

7) SYNCRETISTIC PRINCIPLE – In worship Lutherans avoid practices that give the impression that Lutherans have no serious disagreements with another faith, or that Lutherans are getting close to coming to agreement with that faith tradition (FC SD X, 5).

8) SPECTACLE PRINCIPLE – In worship Lutherans avoid useless or foolish spectacles (FC SD X, 7).

9) CHANGE PRINCIPLE – When change is being considered in worship, Lutherans will avoid frivolity and offense, and use the criteria of good order, Christian discipline, evangelical decorum, and the edification of the church; and they will consider such change as a community of faith, not as isolated congregations or as “lone wolf” pastors (FC SD X, 9).
The New Jersey Jam contemporary worship workshop seems like it doesn’t line up with Dr. Noland’s list. When the goal is to create a “worship experience,” the underlying foundation can’t be the Book of Concord, but a foundation more akin with those whose theological tradition espouses making a decision for Christ. Maybe it’s time to reevaluate.


Anonymous said...

I'll be out in the woods shooting deer on November 19th.

Can I worship God with a jelly donut on my head? Can I worship God on a tricyle? A unicycle? Can I play the noseflute and worship God while on my unicycle via skype?

Why are they asking all these questions, when they obviously think the answers are all "yes"? Why are they insinuating that those who worship in a "normal" way aren't authentic? I mean, why insinuate?

Do they think that we sinners can do anything with "everything that we are"? Like love God and love our neighbor? Do they think it's possible to fulfill this command?

Do they think fixing our eyes on Jesus means giving him something, when it really means receiving from him?

Here's an honest question. How did the LCMS in New Jersey get so far down this road?

Scott Diekmann said...

The questioner in Dr. Seuss's "Green Eggs and Ham" makes as much sense as the nonsensical questions these pastors ask:

Would you like them
in a house?
Would you like them
with a mouse?

dakotapastor said...

What can we use to worship God?

As an experience church planter, who had to ask this question myself a few years ago, I went with the simple answer: A Bible and a stack of Lutheran Service Books.

Dakotapam said...

Who ordained these goofballs?

Anonymous said...

Is it just me, or does the drummer look a little deranged? Also, why does the music have to always be so bad?

Anonymous said...

Why did Pastors Bearss and Peeples bother to spend tens of thousands of dollars on an M.Div to become LCMS pastors. Getting an easy BA in "Religious Studies" or "Christian Leadership" from a tiny, crappy Christian college would have been a lot easier and cheaper for them.

Andrew said...

Why do these people continue to act like these kinds of rhetorical questions are fresh, innovative, and clever? This sort of thing over shot boring at a gallop a long, long time ago.

James said...

We have seen this all before:

The Southern Baptists have recognized the Church Growth Movement as a scam. When will the leaders of the LCMS do the same? How long must we wait?