29 December, 2006

Heartlessly Reformed

"Without the heart it is no worship. It is a stage play. It is an acting of a part without being that person, really. It is playing the hypocrite."
-Stephen Charnock

On this blog I talk a lot about the outward forms of worship and what constitutes worship according to the Word of God. In contemporary theology we use the term 'regulative principle of worship' to describe what God desires in worship. I have stated, and attempted to defend, what the Westminster Confession of Faith sets out as worship, and to some degree I have attempted to uphold the directory for publick worship as well.

Again, I believe that worship is strictly regulated by God and that he is to be approached only on his terms that are revealed in the Scriptures. Worship is also something that is internal and spiritual by nature. If worship is done strictly according to God's Word, but the heart is not in worship, then you are not worshiping.

The Apostle Paul tells us that worship is to be done with grace in the heart. Grace in the heart requires preparation for worship by prayer and meditation on the Word of God. Preparation is also being sure that no brothers or sisters have been offended by your behavior prior to coming to worship. Preparation requires a right frame of heart and mind and a desire to see Jesus Christ elevated in the lives of the saints.

Worship is regulated by Scripture, and part of the regulations require that Christians come to worship in a right frame of mind. Many of us 'RPW' types are quick to judge fellow believers who do not follow what Scripture says concerning the act of worship.
Are we as quick to judge our own hearts and minds when we knowingly come to worship unprepared, ill-prepared, or holding resentment in our hearts? Are we as quick to hold believers in our 'own camp' accountable for less-than-spiritual conversation on the Lord's Day, or using the day for self-fulfillment rather than complete devotion to God and Christ?
Do we desire to sacrifice the hypocrisy of our own hearts or just to make sure that every one only sings Psalms (as noble as that is)? Brothers and sisters, hold me accountable to my profession of faith, and, with the Lord's help, I will hold you accountable. Most of all, desire a right heart and mind as you approach a holy, all-consuming God in your public worship, family worship, and private worship. Do not play the hypocrite.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Excellent post, Nate. I've seen far, far too many Reformed/Presbyterian folks who can get get their theology right, but whose hearts just don't match. And I've done the same far, far too many times myself. It's far too easy (for me, anyway) to brush talk about the heart off as liberal phooey, but it needs to be heard.