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PMIN527_MOD Pre-Assignment_2 Mike Spindler

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REGENT UNIVERSITY

Critical Book Review of

Created For Worship: From Genesis to Revelation to You

Noel Due

(Scotland: Christian Focus Publications, Ltd., 2005)

A Book Review Submitted to

Dr. Pete Sanchez

School of Divinity

 

 

by

 Michael A. Spindler

 

Rio Rancho, NM

August 8, 2008


OUTLINE

 

Title:  Critical Book Review of Created for Worship: From Genesis to Revelation to You

I.      INTRODUCTION

II.      CREATED FOR WORSHIP

III.      CONNECTED ELEMENTS

A.     Adoration of God

B.     The Public Worship of the Assembled People of God

C.     The Private Religious Expressions of Devotion to God of Families or Individuals

D.     Worship as a Whole of Life Activity

IV.      CONCLUSION

A.     Comments on Author’s Conclusions

                                                   i.      Idols and Their Influence

                                                 ii.      Worship in the Day-to-Day

                                                iii.      Worship in Public Assembly

                                               iv.      Worship in the World to Come

B.     Reader Conclusions


 

I.      INTRODUCTION

“Created for Worship” is the work of Rev. Dr. Noel Due.  Rev. Due was previously a Pastoral Theology Lecturer at the Highland Theological College.[1]  He is currently the Senior Pastor of Coromandel Baptist Church, Blackwood, South Australia.  According to their website “Coromandel Baptist has some 80 members and is a member of the South Australian Baptist Union.”[2]

    “God is to be worshipped, not simply because he demands to be, but because this is the proper destiny of his creation.  Anything less dishonours him and disfigures it” (p 39.)

The author carries several threads of discussion regarding worship through a chronological progression with stops in selected books through the Bible that reflect on his thesis – all creation exists wholly to worship God.

Much of this review returned to pages 232-235 and the conclusions made for day-to-day and public worship.  Described therein is the Greek word koinonia[3] which translates into English as a noun for fellowship, association, community, communion, joint participation.  The reviewer’s use of the word will infer a close active community of believers sharing the communion and fellowship of the Triune God.

 

II.      CREATED FOR WORSHIP

To give a critical review of a biblical thesis requires that it stand within the context of God’s Word.  The author provides scripture references to reinforce the major themes:  Worship predates man (Ps 148:1-5, etc.)  Despite the fall and man’s idolatry, God has been pursuing him for intimate worship since Genesis (Gen 12:8, Gen 6:9, Ps 115, etc.)  God’s redemption through Christ offered a complete answer for man to reach and attain full Trinitarian worship (I Thes 1:9-10, I Thes 2:13-14, Mt 28:19, I Tim 2:5, etc.)  And, that worship of God for us is intended to continue well after this life (Rev 22:3-5, etc.)

To complement Dr. Due’s work the reader went in search of a contemporary definition for worship:

    Worship aims to unite the believer with the Deity. Worship is not a mere celebration, not a horizontal rite in which people relate to one another for sociological reasons; it is a vertical rite in which the individual can get caught up in the very presence—feared, beloved, dreaded, or eagerly awaited—of God.[4]

III.      CONNECTED ELEMENTS

Dr. Due states his purpose at the end of the opening chapter “The aim of this book is to highlight the interconnections between these elements…” (p 34.)  The four elements he uses are borrowed from Cranfield[5]: adoration of God; the public worship of the assembled people of God; the private religious expressions of devotion to God of families or individuals; and worship as a whole of life activity.  This review analyzes those stated elements, differing or adjacent views, and their connections.

  1. Adoration of God

tasksgsses,rs is one!Lordis our lity to  a requirement that we as those sanctified.  C.J. Mahaney od.  iping then rather than Hitasksgsses,rs is one!Lordis our lity to  a requirement that we as those sanctified.  C.J. Mahaney od.  iping then rather than Hi“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”[6]  (Deut 6:5)1  The author presents a general understanding that loving God is akin to seeking Him and choosing to worship Him.  There is not a major thread or topic on loving God.

  1. The Public Worship of the Assembled People of God

Biblical worship under the new covenant has at its core a koinonia or fellowship personally with the Triune God and publically among other believers.   Dr. Due’s major content in this area deals with building a core understanding of how not to approach public worship.  “Had the Lord given a set pattern for the gathering of the new covenant people of God we would be worshiping them rather than Him, to this day!”  (p 234)  We could add to this, by using the analogy of Peter at the transfiguration:  ‘Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here;  if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”’ (Mt 17:4)[7]   Amazingly we love processes and tasks of our creation or handed to us that we can control, cherish, and own.

  1. The Private Religious Expressions of Devotion to God of Families or Individuals

There is virtually no distinction of individual old covenant worship in this work except to note that idolatry was not only a problem by kings and  judges – but the choice and consequences of individuals. 

among believers God and publicallyelievers who have a stake in n Sunday is not koinonia. new covenant relationship with

Dr. Due introduces the need for mediation through the old covenant priest and perhaps to a greater degree how the kings and judges had profound effect on the nations.  Contrasted in the new covenant:  “‘There is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus’ (I Tim 2:5), a fact that excludes any form of human priestcraft” (p. 236.)  All access is given to us, and all responsibility of how we then live under His loving lordship is also ours.  Dr. Due weaves a thread through his journey from Genesis to Revelation to expose the key hinderance or antithesis to worship as idolatry.  God has been consistent in His pursuit of man.  Man has been consistent at one thing – idolatry, replacing worship of God with worship of just about anything else – even in the new covenant Church.  In a Roman Catholic encyclopedia defining Snd slluminated to me.  First iss writingractical application.  But that was discarded from this work so to lay a solid foundatiChristian Worship:

    In accordance with [these] principles it will readily be understood that a certain worship may be offered even to inanimate objects, such as the relics of a martyr, the Cross of Christ, the Crown of Thorns, or even the statue or picture of a saint. There is here no confusion or danger of idolatry, for this worship is subordinate or dependent.[8]

Subordinate worship?  The reviewer is not singling out Roman Catholicism.  Similar statements could be made in other credal statements.  But, idolatry is idolatry.  God was very clear on this – discussed in Conclusions.

Researching elsewhere for theological and practical expressions of public new covenant worship that complemented Dr. Due’s thesis.    We want a-16) NASB) You wish,  "p of actionering of the new convenant people of God we would be worshiping then rather than HiD.A. Carson presents a start of what God worship looks like:

 In thanking, blessing or praising God, a person expresses his or her own relation toward the God he or she is adoring: joyous gratitude for what God has done and reverent alignment with God’s character from which God’s actions spring forth. It is here that the significance of adoration for action becomes visible. First, by aligning with God’s character and purposes in adoration one aligns oneself also with God’s projects in the world… Second, in adoration a person names and celebrates the context of meaning that gives significance to his or her action in the world and indicates the highest value that gives that action binding direction.[9]

  1. Worship as a Whole of Life Activity

Our lives are to reflect the God that owns us.  And we owe Him everything in all that we do.  “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.  And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” (Heb 13:15-16)[10]  Bob Kauflin brings together public worship and life as a whole this way:

    Corporate worship is about exalting, encountering, and responding to God. Now we’ll take a look at one last goal of corporate worship: preparing us for life.  It’s easy to think of the time we spend in congregational worship as unrelated to everyday life. Have you ever experienced a moving time of worship, only to find yourself immediately after the service griping about the lunch menu or coveting someone’s new car?  How quickly we forget being in the presence of God.  The truth is, we’re always in the presence of God.  We just don’t realize it. The time we spend praising God together is not meant to be an escape from reality, or a time to forget about our troubles and our cares.  Quite the opposite. When we worship God, we are gaining a truer picture of reality than we’ll ever have. That is the time to look directly at our problems and say, “God is bigger than you!” We aren’t meant to forget our troubles; we’re meant to overcome them by the Word and the Spirit of God.[11]

IV.      CONCLUSION

1.      Comments on Author’s Conclusions

                                                   i.            Idols and Their Influence

Due accomplishes his goal of exposing idolatry.  The bondage and deceitfulness of idolatry must be removed, to be replaced by the truth of God and the liberty of His worship (p 29.)  This will impact my life probably more than anything else I read.  He could have balanced the discussion with the alternative to idolatry – a small discussion on the theology of the intense love of God.  Exposing God’s heart about idolatry would have been richer and not only exposes the problem, but the true depth of its disgust.  I did appreciate his inclusion and explanation of the Greek words when discussing “Jesus: The New Priest-King”:  Jesus uses the two most important words for worship in the New Testament.  The first verb, proskynéō, means ‘I worship, do obeisance to, prostrate myself’, and it is commonly agreed that its most basic meaning is ‘to kiss’… The second verb, latreúō, means ‘I serve, I worship’… the first encompasses outward actions of worship, while the second relates to the disposition of one’s heart and life. (pp 42-43)

 

                                                 ii.            Worship in the Day-to-Day

The power of worship in the public assembly will be proportional to the authenticity of worship in the relationships of the congregation (p 233.)

This was again another revelation for the reader or perhaps a “Wow, forgot about that!” moment.  But Due set out in this book to show the interconnections.  He did not attempt to accomplish that in the body of the book itself, but did draw them together in the conclusion.

n for others to then exploit.ding more practical application.  But that was discarded from this work so to lay a solid foundati

                                                iii.            Worship in Public Assembly 

In order to be fully Christian, fellowship with the Father, Jesus, and Holy Spirit requires worship is not institutional, but relational.  Corporate worship is not the Body of Christ coming to Church, but the Church coming to a building. (p 234 paraphrased.) 

Biblical history shows that there can be no doubt that the moral, ethical, spiritual, and political future of the nations is closely tied with their sincere worship.  The author accomplished this over and over by simply outlining the historical cause and effect accounts of the kings and judges to understand that these nations lived generation-to-generation as their leaders chose worship of God –or- idolatry.

                                               iv.            Worship in the World to Come

We have been created for worship, not just in this world, but in the world to come (p 238.)

             In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.  “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.   “And you know the way where I am going.  –Jesus Christ  (John 14:2-4)[12]

  “Keith Green sang it succinctly.  “In six days You created everything, but You've been working on Heaven two thousand years.”[13]

2.      Reader Conclusions

The connections Dr. Due promises to make between the four elements indeed uses scripture references in context with their original meanings.  The author contrasts idolatry from true worship and then compares that in both covenants as he proceeds from Genesis into Revelation.  He accomplishes his presentation to the reader that worship is the primary theme from Genesis to Revelation.  Dr. Due also described in detail the difference, for the perspective of both God and man, in dealing with worship through the veiled redemption of the old covenant and the new covenant reality of total access to Father, the total redemption through his Son, and with total fellowship in the Spirit.  He continually points out the threads through the Old and New Testaments showing that while there was the need for mediators with rules of communication and worship, now there is no mediator and the rules are relational based on love, integrity, and character.  For we now have direct access to the Father.  Where special places; special methods; and formulas were required for old covenant access to the Father, it is Christ in the minute and Christ overall that we now not only can worship, but fellowship and worship with.  The author made clear that our relationship is not an overlay to the old covenant - it is a total replacement.

“The battle for worship lies at the heart of the very meaning of the biblical narrative itself” (p. 34)  While I’ve known of God’s pursuit of His people generation to generation, and the completed work of Christ in the new covenant - I have not seen inside it to the extent of understanding three things that God illuminated.  First, the total definition of idolatry and its impact.  It is certainly sin that separates us from God – but a far more reaching situation exists in the depth of my understanding.  A hermit could live without sinning as contemporary man defines it, and spend all his time in idolatry.  But they are equal.  Second, worship is relationally in Christ with the Triune God and with man.  That will have a huge impact on this reader in the short-term.  And thirdly, that Christ has obliterated the old covenant, and to think otherwise would be to dishonor Him (Mt 27:51-53.)

I would have suggested the inclusion in this work, along with the chronological threads he already has focusing on worship (or idolatry,) how the scriptures show God’s heart of love and longing for his people.

While I have been greatly encouraged in my walk by being in a city-wide body of believers, it is time to get back to the koinonia of our past and build strong ‘worshipful’ relationships again.  Congregational worship that does not contain koinonia is not entering into new covenant relationship with God.  That point alone would close or put on probation most local churches.  Greeting someone sitting next to you on Sunday is not koinonia.  I have no direct influence over local changes – but it will be even harder to walk into a worship meeting and sing songs like “You are the One We’ve Been Waiting For.”[14]  WHO has been waiting!?

The book delivered on its goal in persuading this reader, through scripture and detailed exposition, that all creation exists wholly to worship God.  It could have erred on providing more practical application.  But that could have been excluded from his writing in order to lay the clear, strong theological foundation for others to then exploit in practice.


 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

The Bible.  New American Standard Bible – 1995 Update, 1995.

Coromandel Baptist Church. Information about the Church and its life, 2008.  Online:

http://www.corobaptist.org.au/html/information.htm.  [31 May 2008]

Cranfield, C.E.B. Divine and Human Action: The Biblical Concept of Worship, 1958.  Interpretation, vol. 12 (4), p 387.

Due, Noel, Created For Worship: From Genesis to Revelation to You, Christian Focus Publications, Mentor Imprint, Glasgow, Scotland, 2005.

Green, Keith, The Prodigal Son, Last Days Ministries, 1983.  Recording.

Hayford, J. W., Killinger, J., and Stevenson, H., Mastering Ministry: Mastering Worship,  Multnomah Press; Christianity Today, Inc., Portland, Or.; Carol Stream, Ill, 1990.

Kauflin, Bob, The Goals of Corporate Worship. Sovereign Grace Ministries, Germantown, MD, 1999.  Online:

http://www.sovereigngraceministries.org/Worship/WorshipMatters.aspx.  [31 May 2008]

New Advent Encyclopedia, Christian Worship: Notion and characteristics. No date.  Online: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15710a.htm.  [31 May 2008]

Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon, Woodside Bible Fellowship (1995).


----

[1] Created for Worship: From Genesis to Revelation to You: About Noel Due [book information on-line] (accessed 24 May 2008);  available from http://www.christianfocus.com/item/show/186/-; Internet

[2] Coromandel Baptist Church: Information about the Church and its life [Church website]  (accessed 24 May 2008); available from http://www.corobaptist.org.au/html/information.htm; Internet

[3] Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon, Woodside Bible Fellowship (1995)  κοινωνία [koinonia /koy·nohn·ee·ah/] n f.  1 fellowship, association, community, communion, joint participation, intercourse.

[4] Hayford, J. W., Killinger, J., & Stevenson, H. (1990). Mastering worship. Series statement from jacket. Mastering ministry (71). Portland, Or.; Carol Stream, Ill.: Multnomah Press; Christianity Today, Inc.

[5] Cranfield, C.E.B. (1958, October), ‘Divine and Human Action: The Biblical Concept of Worship,’ Interpretation, 12 (4), 387

[6]New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995 (Dt 6:5). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

[7]New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995 (Mt 17:4). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

[8] New Advent Encyclopedia, “Christian Worship: Notion and characteristics,” [encyclopedia online] (accessed 28 May 2008); available from: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15710a.htm; Internet.

[9] D.A. Carson, Worship: Adoration and Action, Wipf & Stock Publishers, Eugene , OR 2002., p 210

[10]New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995 (Heb 13:15-16). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

[11] Bob Kauflin, “The Goals of Corporate Worship,” Sovereign Grace Ministries Article (Nov 1999); available http://www.sovereigngraceministries.org/Worship/WorshipMatters.aspx; Internet.tasksgsses,rs is one!Lordis our lity to  a requirement that we as those sanctified.  C.J. Mahaney od.  iping then rather than Hi

[12] New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995 (John 14:2-4). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

[13] Google Music: Keith Green > The Prodigal Son: 1983 & 1991 [music information online] (accessed 26 May 2008); available at http://www.google.com/musicl?lid=F9z6MiexpcI&aid=oE7EGWBMrCP&sa=X&oi=music&ct=result; Internet.

[14] Song was sung 25 May 2008 in a local New Mexico congregation.  No author or source information noted.

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