Posted by: AJ the Irish Lass | September 12, 2007

Is Charismatic/Pentecostal Worship the Only True Way to Worship?

Christianity is a wonderful faith, and one of the best parts of it, IMO, is its diversity. However, that diversity often accounts for a lot of misunderstanding between the different faith traditions. One cause of division is between those who prefer traditional, liturgically-inclined worship and those who prefer newer, more spontaneous forms of worship.

Many Pentecostals/charismatics have a misunderstanding of what  constitutes worship and how Christians have worshiped in the past. One lady I’ve encountered believes that Christians *must* have lifted hands during worship (drawing on 1 Timothy 2:8) or they aren’t worshiping.  A man seeking a new congregation was put off by one because they didn’t practice speaking in tongues during the main service. One charge I’ve heard quite commonly is that liturgical (and other) Christians who prefer more contemplative worship aren’t worshiping at all! Clearly, there are some serious misunderstandings going on.

The Bible is not a liturgical manual. Indeed, if the Bible had included an “order of service” to use, it’s doubtful that worship would be as diverse as it is. The Scriptures are more concerned with the sincerity  and object of our worship than which form we prefer. While the New Testament gives us some commentary about worship, it’s often taken out of context to criticise those who worship differently.

Some parts of charismatic/Pentecostal worship, such as uplifted hands; shouting and clapping; and  dancing, are rooted in Jewish worship during the time of King David. Such forms of worship should not be compulsory for Christians, just as traditional Christian gestures such as genuflecting and signing the Cross should not be compulsory.

While 1 Corinthians 14 addresses tongues and prophecy in much detail, it doesn’t seem as though  there is any reason to believe that liturgical, structured worship is prohibited. To believe so is to believe in something that’s not implied. After all, God is not a God of confusion and desires things to be done in decency and good order (14:33, 14:40)

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