Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The worship of money-changers

Last night while I was putting our children to bed, I read them the story of Jesus cleansing the temple. I found it to be a very interesting story. It somewhat relates to one of my previous blogs called Worship at a price.
"The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, "Take these things away; do not make my Father's house a house of trade." His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for your house will consume me."" (Joh 2:13-17 ESV)
It suddenly hit me. The temple was the place of worship for the Jews. However, they had turned their place of worship into a commercial enterprise. Now, I know we cannot correlate the temple to our own places of worship since Paul explicitly states that while the physical building was the temple in the Old Testament, we as individuals and as the church are now the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 3:16; 6:19). So, while we cannot draw a direct line between the places of worship in the Old and New Testaments, I would like to make a point.
While the Jews in reality scrapped worship for material gain in the temple by their commercial endeavours in the temple, I find it very disconcerting that in today's church worship itself has become a major money maker. It is the in-thing for bands these days to be into "worship!" Bands who previously simply attempted to sing the gospel have now suddenly jumped on the worship bandwagon. I suppose money does talk! While today's modern church has not scrapped worship for material gain, it has gone much further and is using worship directly for material gain. Worship music has become a major commercial product for the church. Go into almost any Christian book store, and you will find that worship music has grown in leaps and bounds. And..., almost all of them are marketed either by their superior labels or their superior "worship" leaders.
If worship music doesn't exist for financial gain, I wonder why we have to pay such a high price to worship? If the worship music marketing engine has such good intentions, why don't they drop the price on worship music? I wonder why not.....?
The fact is, Jesus said in John 4:24 that "God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth." With today's worship bands all over the world, and in many churches, it seems that worship music has become much of a status symbol. You have to be following the right label or worship group. "Have you heard of so-and-so?" "Isn't so-and-so great?" Jesus did not say that "God is a method with an amazingly distinct style with excellent modern rhythms and by this method or that group we must worship!" SPIRIT AND TRUTH! Spirit and truth! What has happened to spirit and truth?
All of this is geared towards giving the "worshipper" this amazing feeling which is called the "anointing!" What amazes me is that 99% of the time this anointing comes when the song is good according to modern standards. That means that it may or may not contain truth, but it is "good."
It is time the "worship" marketers must re-evaluate their motives and so must those who create the music.
Maybe this new commercial "worship" is all part of what PYROMANIAC calls New-model Christianity. Is this worship merely part of the modern Christian's Fad-Driven Life? It would seem so when you walk into such a Fad-Driven worship session! Modern Christians are trying so hard to be relevant to the world with its music and its worshitainment, that there is simply nothing the world needs in the church because they have exactly the same in the world!
Christians are not called to be "in," but rather to be separate!
Just thinking...

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