Freedom to Worship?
Thursday, September 3, 2009


Psalm 95:6 "Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker;"

Every now and then, as I hear leaders of the churches pray, I hear the prayer, "Lord, thank You that I live in America where I still have the freedom to worship God."  And each time I hear it, I cringe.  Because when someone prays that prayer, they are demonstrating they have know idea what worship really is.  What they really mean is, "Lord, I praise you because I live where I have the freedom of assembly."  And there is a big difference between worship and assembly.

Worship by its very definition is an act of total surrender and humilty before God (not just on Sunday mornings) in every aspect of our lives.  Worship is transformational.  It takes who we were and transforms us into who God wants us to be.  Worship is all encompassing in our learning and the very direction of our lives.  And when worship is seen in its true light, then our culture begins to put constraints on it.  Whenever worship runs counter to a direction approved by society, that freedom is redirected.

There is a body of knowledge that culture says is truth which runs counter to the truth claims of Scripture.  Worship of God calls us to stand against such cultureal truth claims -- but we cannot.  Worship means surrendering to God all things He says are right.  And some things God says are right, are wrong according to our cultural norms and many of these norms have been capsulated in law.  And the law prohibits going against those norms -- so freedom of worship is curtailed.

Take for example the culturally accepted creation theory.  God is not allowed in that theory, nor in most of our schools.  Thus a student, worshiping God by denying this far-fetched theory and embracing God's Word as truth will be challenged at best and failed at worst.  The student does not have the freedom to worship in this case -- only the freedom to speak back to the professor (teacher) what the professor believes is truth.

The sad reality of this phenomenon is that it is bleeding over into our churches.  John Piper said, "God is not worshipped where He is not treasured and enjoyed."  Churches treasure and enjoy many things -- traditions of men, bulletins, announcements, furnishings, buildings, instruments, music styles, pews, and even charasmatic leaders.  But do they truly treasure God, His truth, His teaching, His character, and His love?  Some do, however most do not.  And in those churches which worship traditions, etc., God is not treasured.  And thus freedom of worship is restricted.

Great advances of humanity have taken place around true worship.  Slavery was disolved because worship transformed lives.   Maybe someday abortion will die in the same way.  And you see, therein lies the fear of culture.  True worship will destory its idols (of which abortion is one) and because they know that -- freedom of worship is constrained.

Kingdom Road Ministries
PO Box 503
10 South Main, Suite 201
Victor, ID 83455

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