Showing posts with label Theology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Theology. Show all posts

Monday, March 27, 2023

Thinking Right and Worship


Worship is an essential part of the Christian life. It is the act of recognizing and praising God for who He is and what He has done. Worship is not just singing songs or attending church services; it is a way of life that centers on the recognition of God's greatness and our utter dependence on Him.

N. T. Wright, in his book Simply Christian wrote,
"Worship is at the very center of all Christian living. One of the main reasons that theology (trying to think straight about who God is) matters is that we are called to love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. It matters that we learn more about who God is so that we can praise him more appropriately." (pp. 148-49)
In this quote Wright highlights the importance of theology in worship. He points out that the more we understand who God is, the more we can love and praise Him.

This idea is supported by Jesus' teach ing on the most important commandment found in Mark 12:30 (CSB):
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.
In other words, to mature in our worship of God, we must engage our entire being, including our intellect. Our love for God is not just an emotional response; it is grounded in a knowledge of who God is and what He has done for us.

Theology, the study of God and His character, helps us understand God's nature, His attributes, and His actions.

As we learn more about God, our worship becomes more meaningful and authentic. To properly worship God we need to grow in our understanding of who God is. This allows us to praise Him for His holiness, His love, His mercy, His justice, and His faithfulness. Theology informs our understanding of God so we can sing songs that reflect those truths and offer prayers that are in line with His character.

Good theology also helps us avoid false worship. It helps us discern between true and false teachings and helps us avoid worshipping idols. It reminds us that our worship is not just about what we want or feel but is primarily about honoring God.

Worship is not a passive activity but a vital aspect of the Christian life. To worship God fully, we must engage our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

Theology is not an activity reserved for academics, but it is a vital part of a Christian’s worship of God. Theology helps us understand who God is and what He has done, which empowers us to praise Him more fully and avoid worshipping a false god created in our own image.

As we continue to grow in our knowledge of God, our worship will become more authentic, meaningful, and life-giving. We shouldn’t neglect theology, but instead we need to let it inform our worship of God.

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Theology of Rights

I have had these three tweets from Skye Jethani rolling around in my head for a couple of weeks.

I follow Skye on Twitter because I occasionally listen to The Holy Post Podcast, which he cohosts. Even through I don't always agree with him, I do find his thoughts to be interesting.

That is how I feel about these tweets. I don't 100% agree with them, but they sure got me thinking.

The part I absolutely agree with Skye about is the need for a corporate theology. American Christianity has developed a very individualized faith. It is all about my personal relationship with God. 

I have written before how we don’t just have a personal relationship with God, but we have a covenant relationship with God. An understanding of the covenant nature of Christianity would go along way to help us grasp the truth that we are part of God’s Global Family, and that our relationship with God includes our relationships with other people.

With that being said, when it comes to the topic of masks and vaccinations more than a corporate theology we need a theology of rights.

The reason I say this is because Americans, even though our Constitution was created to protect rights, have a poor understanding of what rights are. 

This lack of understanding about rights is true for people inside and outside the church. We have many people who want to stand up and claim something as a right to justify what they want to do.

One of the reasons we need a proper understanding of rights is because it helps us navigate these type of conversations.

Do I have the right to choose to wear a mask or not to wear a mask? 
Do I have the right to choose to be vaccinated or not to be vaccinated?

We need a way to determine if something is really a right or if we are using freedom as a  justification for doing what we want to do.

A second reason why we need a proper understanding of rights is because it helps us understand the sacrifice we need to make so we can follow Jesus. 

In Philippians 2:7 (NLT) we read:
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.

Jesus gave up, in other words he sacrificed, his rights in order to save us. 

Looking at this passage through the lens of rights, Jesus saw his rights as something that he could set aside in order to love his Father and to love people. 

Our rights, like all of God’s blessings, are to be used for the good of His kingdom. That means there will be times when we have to set aside or sacrifice our rights in order to love people.

Remember, sacrifice is one of the primary ways we worship God.

For example, I am a big 2nd Amendment guy. I think we have the right to self-defense and to protect the lives of our family and friends. If we believe that, then we understand the sacrifice we make when we lay down our weapons for the sake of the Kingdom.

Having a proper understanding of rights allows us to have the conversation about how we properly use our rights, when we should work to protect our rights, and the when and why we should lay them down to follow the example Jesus.

Here is the bottom-line: A proper understanding of our rights helps us know when a sacrifice of our rights is needed in order to love people.

When it comes to these questions about masks and vaccinations here are a couple of thoughts I have.

It doesn’t matter what your position on masks are, whether they are effective or not, it is not a violation of your rights to wear a mask to spend time with a person who is more concerned about COVID than you are. In fact, wearing a masking is the loving thing to do because it is taking in to consideration the other person’s thoughts and feelings.

When it comes to vaccinations I think things are a little different. 

God created us to be good stewards, and being good stewards includes taking good care of our bodies. I don’t think it is wise or loving to tell a person unsure of the health benefits of a vaccine that they need to be vaccinated in order to show love to other people. This is especially true since there are other ways for a person to protect others, like practicing good hygiene and staying home when you are sick. 

Therefore, as long as a person is practicing good hygiene and staying home when not feeling well, they are not violating the command to “love your neighbor,” because they are doing other things to keep themselves and other people healthy.

Having a good theology of rights would help us know the proper use of our individual rights and us understand when to sacrifice those rights so we can love our neighbor.

The Spiritually Mature Life: Having the Fruit

On Sunday, April 7, 2024, I started a new sermon series at Bethlehem Church called A Spiritually Mature Life. This sermon series is focused ...