Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Is Gathered Worship for Edification or Evangelism?

For a long time, I used to argue that the Gathered Worship (aka, Sunday church services) were primarily for Christians. And to really show that I went to Bible College, I would argue that the main purpose for such meetings is for edification. And if evangelism took place, it would be because non-Christians saw a group of Jesus followers edifying each other well. I'm beginning to see that such a divorce between evangelism and edification is unnecessary and reveals a minimized view of the gospel.

Taking his cue from Tim Keller and summarizing Keller's paper, The Centrality of the Gospel, Mark Driscoll resonates what I too believe is the point of gathered worship.

"My articulation is, Sunday is for the worship and the adoration and the exaltation of Jesus, and if everything is about Jesus, then it works for Christians and non-Christians. Everyone needs Jesus, and the gospel is for Christians, too. It's not just something you believe and then move on with the rest of your life. The gospel of conviction of sin and repentance and trusting in the finished work of Christ is something that every Christian practices every moment of every day, and I think it's a truncated view of the gospel if it's a few laws, or a sales pitch we give to someone, they pray the prayer, and then we've concluded our evangelistic endeavor. I think it's a very reductionistic view of the gospel."

Mark Driscoll, Modern Reformation "Christless Christianity" May/June Vol. 16 No. 3 2007 Pages 39-42


Marc said...

Ouch, slighted from the "friends" links... That hurts, man... that hurts...

Josh said...

You're not slighted. I've just been lazy, and continue to forget to put you on.

Jonathan Dodson said...

Amen Bro.

The gospel--Christ--is exactly what believer and non need. We all seek acceptance and refuge in godless and good things, things that fall short of the triune God. So, we all need to hear that we are more sinful than we would ever believe and, in Christ, more accepted than we dare imagine.

The difference between in xn and non, however, is that followers of Christ persistently agree and confess and turn from their sinfulness, receiving grace, joy, and peace. Non believers remain content with godless forms of peace, joy, and acceptance, belittling all that God is for us in Christ through the Spirit.

Joshua Otte said...

Thanks for consistently bringing me back that we worship God the Father through the Son by the power of the Spirit. That the God we worship is a joyful, holy, overflowing in love towards us, Triune Community.

The difference you mention is right on with how we've been explaining the difference the gospel makes. The difference between Christians and non-Christians is that Christians are repentant sinners and non-Christians are non-repentant sinners. I think the more we get this as we follow Jesus in the real world, the more non believers will see the power of the gospel at work, rather than self-righteous, religious people.

Jonathan Dodson said...

amen, bro. that kind of living begins with how we read scripture and theologize. I was particularly struck by this reading barth recently.

He says that the movement from Text to theology, from Scripture to proclamation, the way is fraught with perilous precipices and breathtaking vistas. Therefore, theology should always be “an act of repentant humility, which is presented to men through this fact.”