The following comparisons are meant to be provocative and evocative. Even if stark statements like these generalize and absolutize a bit too much, one thing I have learned from reading the reformers is that the discipline of “dialectic,” as they called it (roughly, the practice of pitting ideas and statements against each other for the sake of disputation and dialogue), yields a lot of helpful clarifications. So, I encourage you to take these in that light.
These observations have overflowed from the boiling pot of my own wayward heart and ministry. Read one way, these are my personal confessions on public display. At one time or another, I have been guilty of crossing the line into all of these. Truth be told, for followers of Jesus, “worshiping God” versus “worshiping worship” is less an issue of either/or and more an issue of both/and–part of our lifelong journey of being simul justus et peccator. Christians who have the Holy Spirit dwelling within them and yet still fight the sin in our members know that even our best praise is mixed with some idolatry. As Coral Ridge’s weekly doxology sings, “My best good works are powerless to satisfy Your righteousness.” May the Spirit continue to root out our idolatry and beat back the flesh. Lord, have mercy.
Zac’s list functions as a heart check for worship leaders. When we worship the service, it leads to negativity, resentment, and unnecessary criticism. Read the whole list here.