As Christians, when we think about our faith or our worship, we often sink into thoughts or discussions about secondary doctrines or modes of worship. While there is surely a time and place for those discussions, I have been a bit dismayed of late with the relative proportion that is spent on what I would consider tertiary topics, or points of debate that are less than central.
I have heard it said far too often (and sadly said it myself) when referring to a pastor or teacher, the constant self-protective caveat of “You know, I don’t agree with him about ‘X’ but that was a good point he made about ‘Y’” I understand diversity of beliefs in the body, but why must we feel this incredible need to preface any compliment with a statement of disagreement? If we did that every time we complimented our children, what would be the effect on our relationship with them, or how they viewed God as their Father?
Turning Gifts to Curses
In my particular Reformed, Presbyterian, grid, I see this more often than most. I believe it due to our desire for precision and scriptural accuracy in any and all things where it is possible. It is simultaneously one of our greatest gifts to the broader church, and our greatest curse upon it.
I deeply desire to honor God in my worship, and I want my worship to point to Him alone. However, my primary desire is to worship Him, and know Him, not the means by which I do so. Focusing too much on the means can obscure the true object of our worship as much as not thinking about it enough. This relates to teaching or preaching styles, how the pastor dresses, how we use instruments in worship, the specific order of the worship service, or even the architecture of the building (if you are even in one at all). The list is pretty much endless.
The Bread of Life
Again, I am not saying that these subjects are not open for discussion. However, when we worship, we worship Christ, not merely things about Him. As my friend R.C. has often said, we are justified by faith, not the doctrine of justification by faith.
Jesus is not a doctrine. He is God. He is our Savior. He is the bread of life, not the plate it comes on. Even if the plate on which He is presented might not be perfectly clean or in the pattern that we think is right, the bread is still the same. The bread is still the bread. And it will always satisfy.