Monday, August 15, 2005

Worship at a price

I saw a poster yesterday advertising a worship experience with someone called Ross Parsley. At this worship event that is happening this coming Friday, there will also be several "well-known" South African worship leaders. What really bothered me about this poster is that there is a price tag linked to this worship experience. There is an entry fee of R30 (South African money).
Do I have to pay to worship God? Admittedly, this is a youth event, so I will not be there anyhow. I find it strange that God nowhere put a price tag on worship in the Bible. At least, not a price that we have to pay out of our pockets. Christ paid the ultimate price so that we could approach God with boldness.
We need to worship God in spirit and in truth. It doesn't say that we need to worship Him in spirit and in truth and with money in hand!
What seems so clear to me is that this is not necessarily a youth event for worship as much as it is for worshitainment. Thus, I suppose a fee for such worshitainment would be fine. Yet, to coax people into coming by adding a tag of worship to the event, I believe, is misleading! Then, to advertise it as a worship experience makes it very clear that God is not the main focus here, but rather the individual and his modern religious idol, experience! It seems to me these days that what is called worship in the modern church is more worship of self than worship of God! The search for an experience of God has become the ultimate search and God Himself has been sidelined!
Truth about God is no longer important in modern worship, rather than the experience we have of 'god' which is not the Almighty God, Creator of the universe, but rather the self. In his book, Love God with all your mind, the Christian philosopher J.P. Moreland writes that one of the reasons Christians are not experiencing spiritual maturity is that they are the victims of what he calls the "Empty-Self Syndrome." In my humble opinion, this is a syndrome that is revealing itself more and more in the church these days. Especially when we see things like worshitainment! The fact is we are entertaining ourselves to death by putting more importance on style and rhythms than Biblical substance.
The modern church has a disease called self-infatuation where personal fulfillment becomes the goal of life. It has little to live for beyond personal pleasure. In short, it has become a religious version of the world! Simply put, it is religious narcissism. Searching for this constant experience is infantile and shows a deep lack of maturity.
The central truths of Christianity are being brushed aside for experiences and what I would call pop-sermons that last long but says desperately little. Again, if this worshitainment and pop-sermons leave us with a good experience, then we are happy. No matter that experiences come and experiences go, and that objective truth cannot be found in an experience in and of itself, this narcissism is deeply entrenched in the psyche of the modern church.
It is time for a re-Reformation! Time to return to the Scriptures. Not with pop-ideas already envisioned, but with proper exegesis of the Scriptures, which I find so sadly lacking in the modern church today!
Just thinking...

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