Wednesday, April 09, 2008

...what is the answer? the worship of God

See to it that no one takes you captive
through philosophy and empty deception,
according to the tradition of men,
according to the (I)elementary principles of the world,
rather than according to Christ.

For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form,
and in Him you have been made complete,
and He is the head over all rule and authority;
-Colossians 2:8-10

by Ravi Zacharias
The greatest pursuit of philosophy has been to find unity in diversity.

You remember the early Greek philosophers said there were possibly four constituents to this world: earth, air, water, fire. The pre-Socratic philosophers talked of these four components, but they said that doesn’t answer the question unity in diversity.

What is the one thing that pulls the four of these together? That’s where we get the word quintessence from. What is the fifth essence that pulls these four essences together? So the greatest pursuit of philosophy has been to find unity in diversity - it still is philosophy’s pursuit. The greatest pursuit in culture is inscribed on most American coins which says, “e pluribus unum” = out of many, one; out of plurality, singularity; out of diversity, unity.

They are looking for a unity to bind cultures; things that will keep us from despising one another for race, or color, or creed, or gender. The greatest pursuit of philosophy has been unity in diversity; the greatest pursuit of culture has been unity in diversity; the greatest pursuit of education has been unity in diversity. That‘s what the word university means. It’s looking for unity in diversity. All of the disciplines, take the whole host of disciplines across history, they are desperately looking for that which would unify all of the disciplines. You go to philosophy, you go to culture, you go to academia; the desperate search is for unity in diversity.

Listen now to those magnificent words of late 19th early 20th century Archbishop William Temple (who was famous for saying: “the Church is the only society that exists for the benefit of those who are not its members”) when he defines what worship is all about:
“Worship is the submission of all of our nature to God. It’s the quickening of conscience by His holiness; nourishment of mind by His truth; purifying of imagination by His beauty; opening of the heart to His love; submission of will to His purpose; all this gathered up in adoration is the greatest expression of which we are capable. There is unity in diversity; finding worship to bind the diversity of the inclinations of your heart.”
Once we understand this; that this is that great binding.

That’s why I believe even in the Lord’s supper you don’t not only think of history or the past; you don’t only engage the truth in the present; you don’t only think of the Lord’s coming. While the mind is engaged and the head is bowed, the hand is holding and the mouth is tasting; all of every sense is converging into that act of the Lord’s supper.

Worship takes the diversity of our loves and abilities; coalesces them into a direction and life. Now we can see how worship responds to guilt for with reverence we come to Him for forgiveness. Now we can see why worship goes beyond the satisfaction of pleasure for even pleasure has its weariness. Now we can see how worship guides our feelings for even our feelings need to be bound and informed by the truth. Now we can see how worship needs to know who God is for we come to Him on His terms as Daddy, sir or holy Father. Now we can understand how worship counters the sense of loneliness, for loneliness cannot be dispelled by love alone--only worship can bind all our passions--something love alone cannot do.

This is the reason that worship is the supreme expression and life; the root from which life’s branches grow and its expressions flower.


gigantor1231 said...

And lest we forget worship is all of Spirit and Truth, all worship converges to one place, The Cross! If we can not find unity here in Spirit and Truth, then there is no hope of "TRUE" unity at all!!!

Terry Rayburn said...

Excellent reminder of the cleansing nature of worship.

To the extent that we truly worship, to that extent all the parts of our being -- our body, mind, emotions, will, and spirit -- are incapable of doing mischief.

The Spokesman said...

"Philosophy's vain pursuit to satisfy the longings of the human soul...what is the answer? the worship of God"

Amen brother Steve! Philosophy is a dangerous counterfeit of theology and that is why people are so easily taken captive through it. Philosophy is man's best thinking (which God does not accept) and theology is God's revealed wisdom.

Even our worship that unites us has to be in spirit and in truth. Worship has to be based on theology and not philosophy. Here in lies the danger of the ecumenical movements - they are seeking a unity that is not based on Truth as the quintessence but rather a unity at the expense of Truth with rejection of Truth as the quintessence.

Grace and peace,

Debbie said...

Wonderful piece! And what a great quote by Archbishop William Temple on worship. Ravi Zacharias is such a brilliant communicator and apologist whose writing is often marked by a refreshing economy of words but a wealth of wisdom. When philosophy is the topic of discussion, more often than not, it tends to be the other way around. Really good stuff!

This is why I try to make COT a daily stop in my reading because I know that what you post is always worth the investment of my time. Thank you, Steve!


SJ Camp said...

Good comments to all.

This issue of unity/diversity that Ravi addresses so powerfully here is very insightful. I believe it permeates the ecumenism that plagues much of the emerging church today where culture is elevated to a place of preeminence and the Scriptures are lowered as being less than the prime authority in ministry.

Thanks for the beginning of a good discussion on this important theme.

Grace and truth,
2 Cor. 4:5-7

ann_in_grace said...

I have recently started to listen to Ravi, and have benefited greatly. Great thoughts. Thank you for confirming the direction my listening habits are taking.

Noah said...

A link back to the original article, please?

SJ Camp said...

This was transcribed from an MP3 that a friend sent me of Ravi preaching. It did not originate from an article. I don't even know the original source for the audio or I would have listed it.

I am sorry I cannot help you...

Bernard Igbafen Izevbekhai Ph.D. said...

Neither the Bible nor Dr Raavi Zecharias condemns philosophy especially as such nobles as Johannes Kepler, Isaac Newton, Gamaliel, Apostle Paul, R.C. Sproul and Raavi Zacharias are de-facto philosophers. When certain ignoble minds use philosophy for subversion, those individuals invariably wield an innate propensity to use any tool at their disposal most unscrupulously. That is by no means a repudiation of the tools but of those ill-minded individuals. Otherwise we will indolently and inadvertently cast aspersions on the literary art and the spoken word just because some have used them ingloriously. Thank God for Raavi Zacharias' timely voice in a post-modern era.

--Bernard Igbafen Izevbekhai, Ph.D.