Monday, June 01, 2009

DON'T WASTE YOUR TWEETS
...using technology to glorify the Lord and promote His truth - even if it's during worship services

updated

As the nation prepares itself for General Motors to become Government Motors by virtue of bankruptcy; as families are awaiting the less than hopeful news about Air France flight 447 that has gone missing over the ocean near the west coast of Africa; and as most of us are experiencing difficult times financially due to the economy - some prominent pastors in the Christian blogosphere have voiced concern about a possible trend on whether or not it is appropriate for believers to be "twittering" during worship services. On a scale of 1 to 10 this issue at face value is at best a 2. The only reason I address it here is because some have tried to make what is tertiary, primary.

Surprisingly, one of those pastors is a favorite of mine and maybe yours, Dr. John Piper. I like Piper - especially the books he has penned. He has spent most of his ministry consumed with calling the body of Christ to the supremacy of God in all things; to sound theology in life and practice; to biblical fidelity; to the gospel of sola fide; and to do so with an unmistakable joy and delight in the One Triune God of the Scriptures. It is a holy mission he has been about for which I support him and have benefited greatly. I have featured here recently his videos on President Obama on abortion; the prosperity gospel; and an interview that he did with Tim Keller and D.A. Carson. All excellent and worthy of your time and attention.

That is why it came as a surprise to read his recent words in relation to twittering during worship services.

Here is a portion of his words:
Preaching and hearing preaching are worship. Preaching is expository exultation. The preacher is explaining the Bible and applying the Bible and EXULTING over the truth in the Bible. The listener is understanding, and applying, and joining in the exultation. Hearing preaching is heart-felt engagement in the exposition and exultation of the Word of God.

This is a fragile bond. The fact that an electric cord is easily cut, does not mean that the power flowing through it is small. It produces bright and wonderful effects. So it is with preaching. Great power flows through fragile wires of spiritual focus.

Perfume can break it. A ruffled collar can break it. A cough can break it. A whisper can break it. Clipping fingernails, chewing gum, a memory, a stomach growl, a sunbeam, and a hundred other things can break it. The power that flows through the wire of spiritual attention is strong, but the wire is weak.
The first paragraph I agree with mostly. The last two are seem a bit odd to me.

Preaching God's Word
Preaching God's Word rightly divided and listening to it with a life desiring to obey its truth is foundational to one's Christian life (cp, 2 Tim. 2:15; 2 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 3:16-4:5; Luke 6:46). Preaching God's Word as a workman unashamed is very important and essential in the worship of our Lord publicly. But it is just as important to present ourselves as living sacrifices daily (Roms. 12:1-2). To eat and drink to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31). Confession of sin (Psalm 51; 66:18); unfeigned prayer (Eph. 6:18-21; Luke 18:1); singing a new song in our hearts to the Lord (Psalm 96; Col. 3:16-17; Eph. 5:17-20); or giving cheerfully to the Lord of our finances (2 Cor. 9) is also a valuable part of worship. So while the relationship between preaching and parishioner is valuable, it is only one aspect in biblical worship.

To illustrate, if you are not a preacher, but are doing your vocation or trade with excellence to the Lord, then it is an act of worship to God (Col. 3:17). This was Luther's point paraphrased: "the shoe-maker and the preacher have this in common." IOW, the pastor's work is not more holy than the average Joe doing his job well or the average Jenny investing her life in her home and children. Both are instruments of praise to God and bring exultation to the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, nowhere does Scripture teach that being filled with the Spirit begins with or finds itself solely in the act of preaching (read Eph. 5:17-20; Gal. 5:20-23). In fact, attitudes and actions such as meditating on God's Word (Psalm 1); craving God's Word (1 Peter 2:2); hiding His Word in your heart (Psalm 119:9-11); obeying God's Word (John 14:15) etc. might have a more important role than the one of preaching God's Word.

Electric Cords Can Be Cut by Whispers and Sunbeams
With that as a premise, where I would respectively and humbly take exception with brother Piper is the notion that the connection between the Word preached and the Word heard is a "fragile bond" that can be "easily cut" because "great power flows through fragile wires of spiritual focus." To suggest that that bond (if there is one) can be easily severed by things such as perfume, whispers, chewing gum, a cough, sunbeams, etc. is silly.

Now for a moment, take John's premise of "fragile wires" being severed by "whispers and sunbeams" and apply that to the preaching ministry of those we see in the Scriptures:
  • apply it to Elijah on Mt. Carmel who in front of 450 of Baal's prophets he calls down fire from heaven that consumes the water-drenched sacrifice upon the alter and then brought them down to the brook Kishon and slit their throats (1 Kings 18:20-40).
  • apply it to Stephen's last sermon where he is being stoned to death while delivering the gospel (Acts 7).
  • try applying that ruffling a collar and stomach noises are sufficient forces to disrupt the Holy Spirit in the ministry of the Word to His people in Sunday worship with the heated inquisition of Paul when preaching at Mars Hill or while he was preaching to the violent crowds at Lystra where the Jews from Antioch and Iconium seized Paul, stoned him, and left him for dead (Acts 17:16ff; 14:8-20).
  • bring that fragile axiom into the arena of Peter's great gospel message at Pentecost continuing to his two sermons at Solomon's portico where he was ultimately arrested (Acts 2-4).
  • or better yet, apply that to the preaching ministry of John the Baptist or our Lord Himself in their less than quiet, serene settings (Matt. 5-7; Matt. 23; Matt. 3).
The list goes on and on. Respectively, I believe that Piper's assertion that there are delicate cords in which the spiritual forces flow between pastor and pew sounds more like frustrated Monasticism than the biblical preaching of the Lord, the Apostles, the early church fathers, and the reformers of the 15th-18th centuries.

One last example:
Could you imagine the preaching ministry of George Whitefield being defined with fragile electric cords like this? Picture Whitefield fearlessly thundering aloud the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ while enduring insults both verbal and physical at his meetings. Picture fights breaking out at his meetings; unsavory disgusting things being thrown at him as an act of derision; where he is publicly mocked relentlessly for his severe cross-eyed handicap while he was heralding the gospel. Could you imagine him being concerned about the connection between the Word and the people being prohibited because of "sunbeams and whispers, someone clearing their throat or their stomach making noises", etc.? He would have laughed at the notion that those trite little things were powerful enough to stifle for even a moment the preaching of God's Word to those listening.

Beloved, have the "electric cords" of American Christianity really become that flimsy that pastors today fear they can be lacerated by "whispers and sunbeams?" So we see the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the lives of others while His Word is being proclaimed as so weak that we ourselves have to create an almost perfect atmosphere for Him to operate? For if we do, then I would suggest sleeping in on Sunday. Just stay home, download the best DVD or MP3 you can find on any given text of Scripture and listen to in the peaceful surroundings of your home. What the church in America maybe needs is a bit of sovereign interruption on Sunday morning... Sometimes our carefully cultivated programs and plans need to be shattered to crumble self-reliance, to humble us, and to cause our dependency for all things to be in the Lord alone and not ourselves. This is precisely the place where He will receive the greatest glory and praise (i.e. remember Gideon - Judges 7). If the spiritual forces of the Christian faith proclaimed in a worship service can so easily be cut by a cough or a stomach growl or fingernails being clipped, then what kind of faith are we really proclaiming?

Bring this same logic back to the theme of twittering. It is being suggested that if you "tweet" during a service you are disrupting worship - potentially "cutting the fragile cords." That you are no longer engaged in what the pastor is saying; you are not worshipping; you are too distracted to possibly be communing with God or your fellow believers in reverence to the Lord. Sounds a bit foolish doesn't it?

Under that principle, note taking would cause a similar disturbance along with watching a PowerPoint of the message. Video feeding the pastor's preaching to other campus sites would be as equally disruptive to worship. (You can see where this kind of logic leads).

Twitter Away to the Glory of God
Beloved, if you tweet, then I want to encourage you this week at church to take notes, type on your laptops, use your iPhones and Blackberrys and also tweet away. Use the technology wisely, but use it indeed, to share an encouraging word from His Word being preached. Live-blogging has been condoned by Piper and most evangelical leaders for the past 3 or 4 years. Not one concern was ever voiced about having several web-geeks typing full outlines with textual explanations of what the pastor has just said - in fact it has been praised as being an asset to the ministry not a detriment. So why then when it comes to micro-blogging with twitter has this crossed the line? I don't have the answer either.

May I offer a few helpful suggestions that when you tweet during a worship service (remember you only have 140 characters to use for each entry) you don't waste them:
1. May you seek to glorify the Lord by what you say and how you say it (1 Cor. 10:31; Col. 3:17)

2. Write to have your thoughts seasoned with grace, truth and humility (Eph. 4:29)

3. Seek to be redemptive; not just to be right, real, or relevant (Col. 3:8-13)

4. When posting during a worship service, post something that the Lord is teaching you through that service. Encourage someone else that couldn't be in church with a portion of a verse, a thought from the message, or an insight into a verse the pastor has given. Do your normal tweeting and follow up away from church. IOW, sanctify your tweets while in church. This way you honor your pastor and still can use twitter to benefit others (1 Thess. 5:12-14)

5. Don't use your tweets to vent against another, speak wrongly against another, or even sow seeds of discord against another. Take the high ground of Christian charity by not repaying evil for evil. Remember to bless those who curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for those that despitefully use you and persecute you (Matt. 5:44-48)

6. Be respectful of those around you. Just as with anything in a church service don't draw attention to yourself. Consider other people's needs greater than your own. Demonstrate humility and Christian charity. If you tweet, keep them very few in number so you can stay engaged in the service itself (just as with note-taking). (Phil. 2:1-4; Roms. 15:1-10)

7. Lastly, keep your tweets when posting from a worship service focused on what is happening in the service itself. Focus on the passage being preached or the gospel. You never know what follower you have on twitter that needs to be encouraged from the Word of God or in the hope of the gospel. And as you know, they may RT your tweet to hundreds of others on their list as well (Psalm 119:169-176)

Also, here are some real disturbance during a worship service to guard against:

1. Unbiblical, God is my girl-friend songs being offered as praise and worship

2. Pastor's who get raptured in their own stories and rhetoric rather than preaching the Word of God

3. Alliterations in sermon outlines. Please think hard before using them. Most are not good at it and done poorly can be prohibitive to your preaching and to the listeners to hear ten points forced so all can begin with the letter e

4. Mechanical prayers used for transition purposes

5. 30 minutes of tremendous Christ-centered worship in song followed by ten minutes of announcements

6. Using the famous of society to give credence and validity to the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ

7. Confusing patriotism with biblical Christianity where politicians are given pulpit time to promote moralism but not the gospel

8. And lastly, opinion elevated to biblical status because so and so affirms it. Truth by evangelical celebrity preference is a poor foundation to build ones Christian life upon
Twitter Is a Communication Tool - Let's Use it Wisely
Like PowerPoint, live video-feeds. etc. Use it for God and His glory. If the wires between preaching and hearing the Word preached are as weak as Piper might say it is, may I suggest - get better wire.

The initial problem is really not with the one twittering, but with the one behind the pulpit preaching. To the pastors, preach with such power and authority that hearing Christ-centered messages bring us to our faces before a holy God in worship, praise, prayer, reverence, contrition with brokenness and humility. If the Holy Spirit is truly working in that worship service, twittering would not be able break the strong cords of the anointing of the Holy Spirit in worship.

And it just might encourage others not at that service to be encouraged in their walk with the Lord as well.

I appreciate Dr. Piper and His Ministry Greatly
If any of you attend John Piper's church you are blessed. He is a godly man who is one of the finest preachers in the world today. His passion for God and His glory in all things is infectious and contagious. If I were a member of his church I would have one major problem in the worship on Sunday mornings: there is so many good insights that he unfolds in each sermon, it would be very difficult to not want to tweet throughout the entire service so others could be blessed as well :-).

May our worship not be feigned; may we be attentive as God's people to the preaching of His Word; may we be ready and available to minister a word of grace to others as the Lord gives opportunity (even through twitter); may we do so preferring others more than ourselves; and in all we do - do it solely for God and His glory alone through Jesus Christ our Lord in the power of the Holy Spirit!

Let us be both faithful hearers and doers of the Word this week. Amen?

61 comments:

Kevin Jones said...

Steve, well said. I respect Josh Harris and Dr. Piper greatly, but I'm not sure what the big deal is here.

It doesn't affect me personally, because I have no idea how to twitter from my mobile phone.

However, I do take notes and using twitter during services doesn't seem that it would be any more distracting than that.

Alice said...

There are certain behaviors that I find very distracting in church (some that aren't even listed in this post). However, when pastors or leaders start telling congregants what is and isn't acceptable in the service, that's where it gets a little odd. I mean, I think we can all agree that talking out loud when someone else is is rude. But taking notes during or sending notes re the service, however the mode--seems OK to me. How would you even be able to differentiate if someone is taking notes on a Blackberry or sending out a tweet (I feel stupid typing that word!) Are we now going to have ushers going up and down the aisles, monitoring people's behavior?

Sometimes I hear a sermon on Sunday, and the Holy Spirit then brings it back in pieces to me during the week: in the car, at work, whenever--even if I got distracted while I was hearing it on Sunday. And sometimes I listen to sermons online while I'm working around the kitchen, and suddenly it becomes a life-changing time.

I see this happen at my own church: too often the pastor gives little to no credence of the Holy Spirit in the believer's life.

I think God and His Word and His Spirit are bigger and more powerful than we give credit.

rodcarroll said...

I too respect John Piper and have benefited greatly from his preaching as well as his writing. But I agree with you Steve on all points. Knowing that we are all weak and able to think too highly of ourselves at times this seems to be a common line of thinking among many pastors. I know that proclaiming the Word of God on a Sunday morning is a sacred thing. But it is also a powerful thing. More powerful than we realize and more powerful than someone Twitting in a pew.

Mark | hereiblog said...

Right now, I certainly lean towards not twittering during worship.

Twitter has interaction. It's not a one-way communication like taking notes. It would be more like taking notes and every time you lifted your pen the person next to you would right something under your last line. If disciplined enough you could just ignore it I suppose.

Funny how Twitter has come up when we've been blogging for years. Why not update your blog during worship?

How about quietly talking on your cell phone? (Hey, it's possible!)

Mark

SJ Camp said...

Kevin
However, I do take notes and using twitter during services doesn't seem that it would be any more distracting than that.

Agreed. Anything in excess during a service can be a distraction. Considering other people's needs before our own is a good rule of thumb to follow. BUT, an occassional tweet during a service can be encouraging to others. Moderation... is the key.

Thx for your comment.

SJ Camp said...

Mark
Twitter has interaction. It's not a one-way communication like taking notes.

True. But it doesn't have to be automatically a two way communique. You can post a thought or two during a service that seeks to encourage someone else. And then afterwards, answer any feedback you might have received from your tweets.

IOW, it can be just a note if you are disciplined enough to do so. IMHO.

Thanks for "tweetback".
Campi

Samuel Bostock said...

Good thoughts, and although I broadly support Dr Piper's argument, I thought the 'fragile wire' idea was slightly over-wrought.

However, you didn't quote what I found to be most compelling about his argument: "don't tweet during sex, don't tweet while crying with a dying person etc." These, and preaching, Piper was saying, are all forms of worship, to be done to the glory of God, but where it's inappropriate to tweet.

Why is it inappropriate to tweet? Because in these events it is important to be focused on the moment. In hearing sermons we want to give all our attention to God and what he is saying through his Word by his Spirit, rather than communicating those things to others as we go along.

And why is Twitter in particular worse than writing notes? I'm not much of a note-taker either, but my tweeting takes more concentration than scrawling a few notes due to the character limit.

What do you think?

Tom Underhill said...

I'm with Sam (above). Though I think it really is just down to personal discernment - if it helps you concentrate and apply God's word to your life, do it; if it distracts you from that, then don't. For me it would certainly distract (understanding the point, seeing it from the text and applying it to my life towards repentance and obedience take all my powers of concentration already, and frequently they're not up to the job!).

Brian @ voiceofthesheep said...

I don't have a Twitter account yet, but I am usually an avid note taker during sermons. It would appear to me that, to be consistent, one would frown upon both if sending a twitter message was wrong to do during worship.

I do agree, though, that there should not be two-way communication taking place during the service. If someone is sending out a message with the purpose of getting something back (which would indicate his attention is really on the twittering and not on the worship), I would view that as something that should not be done.

Interesting topic. Good post as usual, Steve!

jennifer said...

I agree with samuel too. I thought John Piper's point was perfectly reasonable. Its ok to disagree with it - but I thought it was a bit of overkill for you to preface your disagreement with how you usually like Piper. Those sorts of things make me feel like - wow - Piper has done so much good stuff - so how could he possibly be saying THIS! As if it is somehow some serious error he is propounding. I can't really think of why you would need to be twittering in church. It could wait for an hour or so, surely.

reformer said...

The problem for me becomes not so much whether note-taking and twitter are on the same level or not, but that by opening the door to more and more personal technology within the church service, aren't we just inviting opportunities for distraction? Particularly if it may disturb the people trying to focus around us. To me twitter is so much like Facebook, always posting live what one is doing. Do I really need to know that right now? So if we encourage tweets during the service, what's next? Facebook status updates? I work with young adults in my church and I see how this type of thing can be mishandled so easily, particularly by this generation that has become so obsessed with technology. I don't think there is a concrete right or wrong answer to this, but I would lean more towards thinking if nothing else, just why bother? Can't you wait until the service is over to share what encouraged you?

donsands said...

I don't have knowledge of Twitter and Tweeting as of yet.

I'm learning. Thanks for this post.

I disagree with John Piper's electic wire analogy.

"So it is with preaching. Great power flows through fragile wires of spiritual focus.

Perfume can break it. A ruffled collar can break it. A cough can break it. A whisper can break it. Clipping fingernails, chewing gum, a memory, a stomach growl, a sunbeam, and a hundred other things can break it."

That's taking it too far I think as you do Campi.
Hey, we all have our God given personalities, and so we always must remember, only Christ is perfect. We surely want to become more and more like Christ, but we will never speak the truth in love to the degree Jesus Christ did. Though we can speak the truth, and preach the gospel in love, in the same manner as our Lord.

I remeber one time when my wife and I were attending a conference, and Sinclair Ferguson was preaching. We were able to sit right up front, and hear a wonderful teaching on the Triune God.
My wife's cell phone went off. Woe! She was going nuts digging through her purse to find it. And she was so embarrassed. I told her to leave it home, but she said she would bring it, but turn it off.

Sinclair looked down, and then he reached in his pocket, and said, in his great accent, "I thought perhaps it was my phone." He went on to preah and teach the Word with such humility and authority. He is a gracious man.

I think we surely need to oversee the worship service as elders and pastors, but remember it's the Holy Spirit of God who is sovereign.

John said...

Perfume is not a big deal unless your are allergic...We have a lady in our church who literally can't breathe when she is around perfume.

Unfortunately, one of the major differences between the preachers you mentioned and the sermons today is the culture. We have convinced ourselves that we need a comercial break every few minutes and I wonder if twitter isn't just another excuse to tune out for a moment.

I think one of the problems may be the danger of listening to a sermon thinking about what other people need to hear instead of listening to what God is saying to you...

I preach four times every Sunday (I average 45 minutes per sermon) and I'll be real honest--I'm not paying attention to what the person is doing on their blackberry, notepad, or .... I do notice people talking from time to time and it doesn't bother me unless it continues and I notice it becoming a distraction.

Anyway, thanks for offering something to make us think.

Dave Miller said...

Now you are meddling. I'm a southern Baptist and our national constitution requires that we alliterate all sermons down to at least the second sub-point!

Actually, I enjoyed this.

SJ Camp said...

John

I think one of the problems may be the danger of listening to a sermon thinking about what other people need to hear instead of listening to what God is saying to you...



Well said and I do agree. I guess personally, when I hear a great quote or an interesting insight I type it down in my iPhone. For me to simply post that thought as a note on Twitter is the same to me. I have only done it a few times, but when I say "i'm in church, the pastor made this great point..." it means something to others.

First of all that I am in church. Secondly, that I am listening and engaged in the message. Thirdly, that it IS ministering to me and my life. And fourthly that it can be an encouragement to others.

I certainly am not suggesting that people do normal twittering, web-updates, facebook posts etc. and treat church as background talk while going about your work. Far from it. But because Twitter is micro-blogging (only 140 characters allowed) the thoughts have to be succinct. Used properly, I think it can be a great tool for strengthening community within the church and with other believers too.

I appreciate your thoughts.
Steve

SJ Camp said...

Dave

Now you are meddling. I'm a southern Baptist and our national constitution requires that we alliterate all sermons down to at least the second sub-point!



I accept, acknowledge, affirm, agree, and apply what you have just posted. :-).

SJ Camp said...

John
Unfortunately, one of the major differences between the preachers you mentioned and the sermons today is the culture. We have convinced ourselves that we need a comercial break every few minutes and I wonder if twitter isn't just another excuse to tune out for a moment.

That is a danger too that we must all guard against.

SJ Camp said...

donsands
I have one better :-).

I was preaching and singing at a church a few years ago and it was my cell phone that went off that I carried with me into the pulpit. So embarrassing!

So pass on my blessing to your wife... She's not alone!

SJ Camp said...

reformer
The problem for me becomes not so much whether note-taking and twitter are on the same level or not, but that by opening the door to more and more personal technology within the church service, aren't we just inviting opportunities for distraction?

I fully agree. This is where we need to be careful and wise. All the technology can be a really good thing keeping control of it so that it doesn't control us.

Twitter is micro-blogging bits of ones day but also can be used for the gospel and encouraging one another in the Word as Christians using that social media. Our focus should be on the worship and the Word in any church service when we are there.

My biggest pet peeve in church? People falling asleep during the service and snoring. Talk about a distraction... It would have been better if they just slept in that week and watched Charles Stanley or John MacArthur on TV.

Thanks for your thoughts on this.

Kirby L. Wallace said...

What thing of real importance can you say to no one in particular, in 140 chars or less, without even so much as a feedback that anyone heard you?

I'm afraid I'm with Piper on this one. Maybe not the feeble electric wire anology, but the person's attention is still necessary, and (dare I say) a little effort is required on the part of the hearer. And a still small voice can be easily lost...

Serioulsy, Steve. I'm suprised at you. How many sermon excerpts have you posted of Spurgeon whose subject is the slighting of God's service, the inattention, the huffing-off of man's responsibility, the laziness of man? But a 140 character meaningless blather into empty air in the middle of God's service is OK?

I did see a competition a while back somewhere (Founders Blog???) with a Tweet challenge for the most action packed tweet possible. The winner did pretty much pack it all in there.

But I was left wondering... that's all the time they could afford me? That's how much I'm worth to them?


A 140 char message stripped of all spaces, punctuation, nonessential pronouns, and scarely a colorful adjective or simple conjuntive to be found?

I'm dyin' out here, and I you offer:

GOD created all good;MAN is its apex.man REBELLED;REJECTED God.man DIED.God became man JESUS,DIED,DEFEATED DEATH.man LIVES with God again...

What?

SJ Camp said...

SamuelHowever, you didn't quote what I found to be most compelling about his argument: "don't tweet during sex, don't tweet while crying with a dying person etc." These, and preaching, Piper was saying, are all forms of worship, to be done to the glory of God, but where it's inappropriate to tweet.I don't entirely disagree. But I do in this regard. The examples he mentioned are apples and oranges to me.

Intimacy between a husband and a wife should never be tweeted about. That is totally private. Before, during or after. Even crying with a dying friend is also not for public display. If you love that person at all, you wouldn't want to make public those intimate thoughts in a person's last moments here on earth.

However, preaching by its very nature IS public. Doctrine should be broadcast and truth discussed. Repeating a quote from a pastor's sermon or sharing a thought about a verse of Scripture that the man of God has just unfolded is a good thing and can be a tremendous blessing and encouragement to others. Whether that is done by leaning over to someone during the service and saying, "Man that was powerful.. did you hear what he just said?" Or writing down a note so you won't forget it later. Or even giving a tweet so others can see your note too.

Leave the interaction on follow up until after the service - I agree. But sharing a quick thought or note to me is different.

I'm all electronic. So when I am ministering in another church somewhere and not preaching that Sunday morning and doing only the music part of the worship, I will tell the pastor ahead of time that he will see me on my iPhone doing things throughout the entire service. But not to be offended. I have about 30 different versions of the Bible; a full Greek NT with parsing information; several commentaries, etc. And so I am busy listening and being a good Berean by looking up verses and checking out what he has to say. It is good to do so.

Afterward they thank me and I will show them my notes and things. When they realize I wasn't ignoring their message but was fully engaged in it, they are grateful. Technology is a good thing given its proper balance and propriety while with others.

Thanks Sam for your insights you shared. I appreciate them greatly.

SJ Camp said...

rod c
I know that proclaiming the Word of God on a Sunday morning is a sacred thing. But it is also a powerful thing. More powerful than we realize and more powerful than someone Twitting in a pew.

Amen my brother! Well said.

SJ Camp said...

Alice
But taking notes during or sending notes re the service, however the mode--seems OK to me. How would you even be able to differentiate if someone is taking notes on a Blackberry or sending out a tweet (I feel stupid typing that word!) Are we now going to have ushers going up and down the aisles, monitoring people's behavior?

Interesting way of putting it. I agree that what we are talking about here is individual responsibility and sensitivity to others. Both are excellent points and are biblical (Phil. 2:1-4). Humility, charity and grace - good to keep in mind when tweeting.

(I felt funny typing that word too :-)).

SJ Camp said...

Samuel
Why is it inappropriate to tweet? Because in these events it is important to be focused on the moment. In hearing sermons we want to give all our attention to God and what he is saying through his Word by his Spirit, rather than communicating those things to others as we go along.

One more quick thought to consider. I don't know about you, but when the Spirit of God is speaking to my heart during a worship service in response to the Word I am hearing preached, I usually will comment on it to someone sitting next to me. When I was serving with John MacArthur out at Grace ten years ago, I would even do that with John when another speaker was preaching.

To me, if I tweet that same thought it may take me about 2 minutes to write it and post it, I am preserving that thought and encouraging others by it as well. I think that can be a good thing done with moderation, sensitivity to others, and staying focused on the service as well.

When I am speaking at a church and someone comes up to me and tells me that they were taking notes all through the message, or tweeted a few of my thoughts on a verse, etc. it blesses me. If we think about it, for someone to do that means they really have to stay focused and engaged in the service.

Now if someone is just tweeting to tweet or drawing pictures on the bulletin because they are bored, etc. that is obviously not productive though the actions are revealing. Sometimes people are bored in church because we bore them with the truth. And we shouldn't.

Thanks again for listening.
Steve

Kirby L. Wallace said...

Moses is trying hard to console and comfort his brother, Aaron, whose two sons have just been struck dead - in the sanctuary, and on their very first day of service as priests, for bringing into the service something that God had not appointed. And without warning, and not even a clear command not to do what they did.

Because God expected them to know one thing, and one thing only:

I will be sanctified in all them that come near to me. And before all the people, I will be glorified."...


Though the lives of men are dear and precious to God, yet they are not so precious to Him as His glory. The glory of His name is a thousand thousand times more dear to God than the lives of thousands and thousands of people. The lives of Nadab and Abihu most go so that God may be sanctified. If it comes to be that the lives of men and the sanctifying of God's name [come into conflict], the glory of God must pass on and must have it's course, and let the lives of men go which way they will.

We think much to have the lives of men taken away, but if we knew what the glory of God meant, and what infinite reason there is that God should be glorified, we would not think it so much that the lives of men should be taken away for the glory of God to prevail. It is a mercy that our lives have not been taken many times for God glory.

How often might God have glorified Himself in taking away our lives? We have cause to bless Him that our lives have been preserved as long as they have.

The nearer any men are to God, the more need there is to take heed that they glorify Him...

Gospel Worship -- Jeremiah Burroughs. 1648

...

And Moses said to Aaron, "It is what the Lord spoke. 'I will be sanctified in them that draw near to me. And before all the people, I will be glorified.'"

And Aaron held his peace.


I tried to find a way to tweet this, but it just wasn't working out.

Sorry.

Kirby L. Wallace said...

However, I think I might could tweet this one:

"There is no fatigue so wearisome as that which comes from lack of effort... ---C.H. Spurgeon"

Kirby L. Wallace said...

The point of worship - whether in song or in preaching - is to attend to the service of God.Putting your hand to that plow, and then turning away, even for a moment... well... you know.

Kirby L. Wallace said...

More from "Gospel Worship" - Jeremiah Burroughs. (1648)

A Third thing is this: the prepration of the heart is the disentangling of the heart from the world, and from occasions and business in the world. I am to worship God, but how is my heart ensnared and entangled in this and the other business! Now, when I come to worship God, I must lay all aside; for the preparation of the heart for worship is the separating of it for such a work.

That's the nature of sanctification, separating something from a common use. I am to worship God. Now I must labour to separate my heart from common use. At other times, God gives me liberty to let out out my heart to common uses, but when I come to worship Him, I must spearate my heart from common uses so that my heart may be wholly for God.
...

Dang. Can't tweet that one either.

donsands said...

"At other times, God gives me liberty to let out out my heart to common uses.."

When we come to church, we are the sanctuary, not the building.

I agree with all your quotes, but worshipping God is a 24/7 thing for me.
Corporate worship on the Lord's Day is a speacial time, absoluely, but my heart is no different when I am working on the construction site. And I am able to pray, sing in my heart to the Lord, and even share the Gospel with unbelievers. That's when we have "food that others know not of".

Christ was always making His point to the Pharisees that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.

Some very good quotes though. Thanks for sharing them.
I thank the Lord for the Puritans. I am humbled by these incredible men of God, and need to listen to them. We really do need to hear from them more in our day.

John said...

Steve,
I Recognize the Wisdom of what you are Saying.
I React to the Wording with Support.
I Respond with Worship of our glorious Savior.

Wow, that hurts to just type it—I can’t imagine preaching like that. Let me just say I totally agree with what you are saying.

Elizabeth Davis said...

I confess: I fail often to recognize, appreciate and appropriate the awe-inspiring privilege of worshipping our Sovereign and Loving God in holy reverence corporately every Sunday (and at other gatherings as well). Hence, a hang nail, a munch, a daydream, a hunger pain, and even a tweet can distract this woman from exulting in our God as my pastor expounds from God's Word. I am convinced Piper wrote his words with the glory of Christ in mind (as you have respectfully affirmed in your kind words of his ministry on this blog entry); I am also convinced that there are some who tweet for the glory of God and some who tweet for the glory of self…and, as someone quite ignorant in the area of tweeting, I believe this truth readily applies to all the other areas of distractions one must fight against in a corporate worship service. However, what you have said concerning not "wasting your tweets" (or your neighbor’s whisper) is likewise well said for the glory of God – God is sovereign and there is not one tweet that can "disrupt the Holy Spirit in the ministry of His Word to His people." I say - if one can tweet for God’s glory…by all means tweet…but, if one’s tweet results in a hindered exultation of God…by all means twitter when it can bring glory to God.

SJ Camp said...

John
Steve,
I Recognize the Wisdom of what you are Saying.
I React to the Wording with Support.
I Respond with Worship of our glorious Savior.

Wow, that hurts to just type it—I can’t imagine preaching like that.


Simply marvelous;
Superbly meticulous; and
Sanguinely meaningful,

Right back at ya Dude. :-).

SJ Camp said...

donsands
but worshipping God is a 24/7 thing for me.
Corporate worship on the Lord's Day is a speacial time, absoluely, but my heart is no different when I am working on the construction site.


That is the soul of real worship. It IS a 24/7 thing - not a one hour on Sunday morning thing.

Well done my brother. Well done.

SJ Camp said...

Kirby
However, I think I might could tweet this one:

"There is no fatigue so wearisome as that which comes from lack of effort..." -C.H. Spurgeon


I just did for you.
Campi

Michele Rayburn said...

To tweet or not to tweet? That is the question. Or, another question would be "WWJT"?

I would think that if the preaching were worth anything spiritually, a person wouldn't be distracted from the message. And how the message changed you would speak louder through your life than all the tweets you could ever send.

I think in our desire for spiritual fulfillment, we can find ourselves obsessing over the sermon to the point of making it the focal point of the church service, and then even going so far as to pick it apart and, now, tweet about it. Plus, I'm afraid we are all becoming addicted to technology to the point where we're going to miss what life was all about...life in Christ, that is.

The church service isn't about the sermon, per se. The most memorable gatherings with believers that I have ever had were with humble, soft-spoken men of God, preaching or teaching in a warm friendly atmosphere, who would never become famous, and who no one would ever dream of tweeting, because their teaching could not easily be put into words, or adequately expressed, because you just had to be there.

brian said...

I do find this interesting at almost all the the "Church Services" I have attended in my "Christian Life" it was with people with developmental disabilities, I had little time to tweet or what ever, usually I was focused on any particular need, I E a seizure, choking, need for a drink, etc. One primary concern was not to interrupt, no matter what never interrupt. No noise, blocking isles, drooling, ticks, blocking view etc. People can get very frustrated very quick if you cause distraction, and I understand that, and this is not a condemnation of the church, I really do understand that. My motto on faith communities is "get out of the way", I live that way myself, often with great passion.
I think my point of sadness is even with this vigilance we still get in the way, and at times it is seen as on purpose. I think I would literally pass out if Mr. Piper or who ever would do a sermon on welcoming people, not seeker sensitive stuff just dont get ticked in we block the view, make a noise, or are a little tiny bit slow on the uptake.

Mark Farnon (Tartanarmy) said...

Heb 4:12 For the Word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing apart of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

But! Whispers and stomach noises may mute the Word!
I don't think so.

Mark

Adoption Mama said...

Steve, I think there is a very fine line here. I know there are churches that post the "tweets" on a big screen during the service for others to comment on and I think that definitely crosses the line. But, I guess it all comes down to motive. Just like in other areas of life, you can be involved in what seems to be "service to the Lord" and your motive stinks rather than smelling like a sweet smelling incense.

Great food for thought on both sides.

JustJan said...

Who are you twittering to? What is the point of the tweet?

The urge to share what is being said about God's Word is wonderful. However, one of our major problems as a church is that we walk out of the building and the urge is gone. Twittering during services cannot help us develop the discipline to share and minister outside Sunday morning.

We ALL have been in church where we know that we need to discuss that message with someone. It may even be that we need to discuss it with the person that is sitting next to us in that service. The point of worship is to focus on God. There is PLENTY of time outside of worship to have a conversation about what was said.

How does tweeting the message encourage folks who are not there to be there next Sunday in a way that talking to them personally doesn't?

Taking notes during the message, and tweeting them later so that no one is offended or distracted doesn't dilute the power of twittering.

Kirby L. Wallace said...

I can't believe we are actually having this conversation with a serious face. How many times can you use the word "tweet" and not bust out laughing! ;-)

And Don, I do not see worship as a 24/7 thing. The notion of 24/7 worship is "strange fire." It's not what God appointed.

You may live your life (as R.C. Sproul likes to point out) Coram Deo, but there is a time, when the body is assembled together for Corporate Worship when all the things I quoted from Burroughs are not just a "good idea" - rather they are commanded by God.

Our Lord is still Lord, ya know?

He does still command things, and He does still expect to be obeyed.

THAT, my friend, is worship. I think we have this mistaken notion that worship has something to do with music. (Sorry, Steve ;-)

SJ Camp said...

Kirby
I do not see worship as a 24/7 thing. The notion of 24/7 worship is "strange fire." It's not what God appointed.

If I may respectively disagree.

If speaking strictly about corporate worship not being a 24/7 thing - then I would agree. But Don was speaking about our daily lives - where all of life should be seen as an act of spiritual worship. That is precisely Paul's point in Romans 12:1-2 isn't it?

Lastly, one point of clarification: the "strange fire" you mentioned is a phrase taken from Leviticus 10:1-3. As you know, it was referring to Nadab and Abihu's violation of God's commands to them His priests in how they were to conduct themselves in the temple and lead the people in public worship before Him.

A very serious matter and charge. So serious that their skewed practice resulted in God executing them.

No one is suggesting that here, I hope, for twittering during a Sunday service :-).

Kirby L. Wallace said...

Steve,... You DID read my previous comments, right?

;-)

Just checkin'

Sara said...

We attend Dr. Piper's church and have for the last 12 years. I am not sure how one could concentrate on what he is saying and how God is speaking through him AND be trying to compose a tweet comprised of 140 characters. Almost every week is like being hit over the head with a hammer (in a good way!)

And why couldn't it WAIT?!?! It is to our detriment that we have become a society SO selfish and SO focused on the NOW...have to have everything immediately. Seriously, should I be on the phone with a friend during the sermon so I can tell him/her snippets throughout the sermon - it would surely bless them.

God can work around any distraction - however, we have a responsiblity to not knowingly and willfully add to the distraction - which I feel twittering would do. That is like saying that the fragile wire idea is a weak argument and non-existent - so let's let our kids scream and run around the sanctuary. Or let's not turn off our cell phone ringers. Or let's bring a mini-TV so as to not miss the baseball game. Some things are common sense (for most people) and those of us who can do so, should be willing to be unselfish and think of others more highly than ourselves and attempt to NOT be a distraction when possible.

SJ Camp said...

Sara
Thank you for your post here. Good to hear from some of the faithful folk that attend John's excellent church.

Just a few things to clarify:

1. No one is asserting here, and I have been careful to explain this, that one should throw off all restraint in worship and do whatever they want to do. That is foolish. So let's keep this to reality here.

2. Saying an amen or praise the Lord during the worship service is a public affirmation of what is being preached. The small tweet during a service (which no one would know you are doing - it is not a distraction to anyone) is an online amen and yes it can be a real blessing to someone else for it is posted in real time.

3. Do you take notes during the service? Does John use any sort of PowerPoint outline on screen or a printed outline in a bulletin that people can note take to? Same concept. One could say, wait until after the service to take notes or for that matter run a PowerPoint after the service only online so that no one is distracted as well.

4. Did you read my guidelines in the article about tweeting during a service? For I covered most of this there. If not, please do so and let me know your thoughts further.

5. I was very complimentary toward John Piper in my article and his church. However, his example of the electric cord and fragile wires was not in keeping with his usual biblically sound teaching.

Thank you again Sara for sharing your thoughts here...

Steve

Sara said...

Steve -
I perhaps did go a bit extreme. I do understand your point. No power points from JP - just him and the Bible! I do take notes in a sermon notebook. But it is obvious what I am doing. What if someone saw someone else twittering and thinks they are surfing the internet or texting a friend and thus are distracted. I, personally, do not have a problem with someone twittering once or twice during a sermon. Overall, I was trying to say that the fragile wire concept IS true. I am the daughter of a pastor and have seen it firsthand many times. I am also a longtime Sunday School teacher and often one distracting thing can take me off course. It depends on the day, the distraction, and probably the devil. Of course, God is Sovereign and can work through and around anything. BUT, we can all do our part to attempt to not cause a brother to stumble in any way, including being distracted. I, along with others I know are easily distracted. Maybe that is my problem...but I do appreciate those around me who attempt to minimize distractions when possible - it is just polite and showing love to each other. I think the difference here is some don't think twittering is a distraction - some do. Much like some don't think a crying baby in church is a distraction - some do. Or constant talking between 2 people - doesn't bother my husband, but it bothers me during church.

Anyway - no idea where I am going with this! I do agree with you for the most part - I also agree with JPs comments, and moreso - but that is because I am a person who loses conentration on God's word and the preaching when I am distracted.

SJ Camp said...

Sara
Thanks for the follow up and all is good. I also agree with you that people need to honor each other in service and be respectful of them by not being a needless distraction to them.

I have an iPhone and a iPaq. I have numerous Bible versions, Greek tools and parsing guides, full sets of commentaries, dictionaries, etc. on them both. If you saw me in church with those devices you might assume I was just getting online, playing a game, or doodling to kill time.

But, if you came over to me and talked with me about what I was doing during the sermon, you would be relieved that I was really engaged in what the pastor was teaching. I take pretty thorough notes and do word studies about what the pastor would be teaching. It helps me memorize the verses easily; keeps my mind focused and sharp; and gives me a further appreciation for what is being taught.

May the Lord continue to bless you Sara in your worship of Him and your life at Piper's church. You are being well fed every week. May his tribe increase.

Steve
Col. 1:9-14

Sara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sara said...

Steve- Did you read Josh Harris's blog on this topic. He says it so much more eloquently than I. How in the world do you juggle all those things in church. My lap barely holds my Bibles and notebook...I would need a table set up for any more!!!

Because of Grace...

SJ Camp said...

Sara
Steve- Did you read Josh Harris's blog on this topic.

Yes and I left a comment there too. Josh was very gracious and made some changes in his post - even pulled a negative part of his post and was most gracious to do so.

I like Josh. Hope to meet him one day. Pray for him continually and trust he is for me too.

SJ Camp said...

Kirby
Steve,... You DID read my previous comments, right?

Yes I did :-). One small bone to pick with you... songs of praise may not be completely synonymous with worship, but it certainly does occupy a place in worship.

The Psalms are songs and sung as part of worship. They are the greatest repository in all of Scripture on the nature, character, and attributes of God bar none. They also give us the most comprehensive and exhaustive teaching on the authority and veracity of Scripture found in Psalm 19 and Psalm 119.

That's the power of biblical music in worship. BTW, we won't be preaching in heaven, holding Bible studies in heaven, doing evangelism in heaven, BUT we will be singing praise and worship to the Lord throughout all eternity!

What we will do in eternity, let us do now in time... by singing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Amen?

donsands said...

"And Don, I do not see worship as a 24/7 thing."

Steve's answer is my heart as well.

"..your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit in you, which you have from God, and you are not your own"

Jesus said that those who love Him, (and we only love Him because He first loved us), would be loved by His Father, and both Christ and the Father will come and make their abode with that child, servent, and subject of the King.

There are various ways to worship God. And since we are living stones who make up the sanctuary of the Lord, and the Lord is in His sanctuary, we surely can worship Him 24/7.

So, I live my life out, working, taking care of my family, and so on, and every moment God is with me, and in me. Amazing.

I think Fanny Crosby had it right: "Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
born of his Spirit, washed in his blood.

This is my story, this is my song,
praising my Savior all the day long;
this is my story, this is my song,
praising my Savior all the day long."

Not that I have it right, for I don't praise and thank, and worship the Lord as I should.

And I'm the one missing out of the great blessings of giving God all the glory and honor all the time for all things.

I will continue to trust in His grace upon grace in my life and heart, to conform me into the image of Christ, who always did the will of the father.

I will pray without ceasing, and give thanks for everything, and by faith believe there's not a moment when the Holy Lord of lords is not with me, and so I am in His presence, as Moses was, who was told to remove his shoes; and as Joshua was, and fell to the grouns in holy fear; and as the Apostle John was, and so fell as a dead man.
In one sense there truly is no differnce, and yet one day we shall behold Christ face to face, and it will be far far better. To be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord is something Paul looked forward to, and we should as well.
It's all because of His grace and mercy at the Cross.

Hope I didn't ramble on too much.

SJ Camp said...

Don
Hope I didn't ramble on too much.

If that is rambling then may you ramble more and more each day :-).

Calandria IS5511 said...

I like Piper's point that "Multitasking only makes sense when none of the tasks requires heart-engaged, loving attention" It suprises me that you would use the words "taking notes" and "tweeting" in the same sentence as if they were intrinsically the same thing. The first is a necessary task for those of us who do not have the gift of total recall. The latter pulls your attention away from the message (if for only a moment)to a third party who could surely wait at least an hour or two for the "revelation".

Please don't take offense at my position on this, Mr. Camp, because I truly enjoy your articles and have been blessed in many ways. It just seems to me that you are ignoring "that which is needful" (in this case a direct line to the Word of God through His Messenger) for the immediate gratification of tweeting "in the name of the Lord". A desire to share the love of Christ with one in need is a good thing, but digesting as much of His Word before "going out" into the world is even better. A lot can be missed while typing 140 characters, and this, I think, is where the wire is severed.

Let us reason together.
Many blessings,

Darlene said...

Kirby, you are indeed a dinosaur, which is rare to find in the modern, technological, me-centered church. And your quote is from 1648, the Dark Ages. I would not find it remarkable in the least that if worship from that era were compared with what is considered worship in most churches today, there would be a stark contrast.

Those who have a low view of church do not see communal worship as sacred and other-worldly. The Puritans and early Reformers had a high view of church, and thus, a high view of corporate worship. This attitude is evident in your quote of Jeremiah Burroughs, "Now, when I come to worship God, I must lay all aside; (ya, mean even my little gadgets? c'mon, for real?)for the preparation of the heart for worship is the separating of it for such a work. (I can tweet all I want, no one can see my heart...ur,um, 'cept God.)That's the nature of sanctification, (what's that word mean anyway?) separating something from a common use. (ok, so from now on I'll sanctify my tweets for God.) I am to worship God. Now I must labour to separate my heart from common use. (what's all this talk of separating anywho? I can worship anywhere I please, whether it be at home, in the woods, or at work. Taint a bit of difference between that worship and worship in church.) At other times, God gives me liberty to let out my heart to common uses, but when I come to worship Him, I must separate my heart from common uses, so that my heart may be wholly for God. (What's all this talk about common uses? My heart can be wholly for God in worship while I'm twittering, tweeting, whatever, to all my friends about some great insight I heard. I mean, I can't just remember it ya know. And I can't afford to buy the tape of the sermon. So I gotta, hafta tweet and twitter in real time so all my twitter friends are blessed.)

Is there any such thing as sacred space anymore? Why not tweet during the Lord's Supper? Or what about a great sermon during a funeral? What is so needful and of such great urgency that one must tweet at that very moment in "real' time during church?

The prevalent and widespread attitude that defines worship as commonplace, or equal to worship outside of communal worship, has watered down the sacredness of church worship. This is why I am drawn to liturgical worship. There is a right way, and wrong way, for lack of a better term, to "do" church. We would do right to heed the words of the wise dinosaurs who have gone before us.

Darlene

donsands said...

"Is there any such thing as sacred space anymore?"

Yes. Each believer is indwelt by God.

Jesus said, "It is Finished." The curtain was torn from top to bottom.

There's anew and living way to enter the holy of holiest, by faith in Christ; through Christ,and Christ alone.

However, the church, which is us, is to assemble, and worship the Father in Spirit and truth. And we do.
How we do it is not as important as why and what.

There are many Liturgical churches that have become routine, and so really dead. There are liturgical churches that are full of God's Spirit as well.

Traditional ways of worshiping God are fine. But what's going on in the heart?
Love, adoration, and gratefulness need to be the hearts fruit.

God said to Israel His people, you worship Me with your lips, but your hearts are far from me.

Now that can happen twittering for sure. And it can happen in churches that forbid twittering.

The church needs good elders and pastors to lead and set the way things will be, according to Scripture.

So, there's not a standard, ever since the Lord said, "It is Finished."
But why are you twittering? Why are you reciting the Creeds? What is your heart feeling about Christ?

Have a wonderful Lord's day.

Julius Mickel said...

Hmm interesting and partly good post, except for teh obvious defensiveness due to Camp's constant use and access to high-tech gadgets (most of us have to wait to get) LOL
Fragile? Sure Piper wishes to exalt preaching (and it IS a grace that DEMANDS respect and reverence) but it's surely not delicately dependant on man. I'd quit prison work if I needed uninterupted attention, because it's full of constant interuptions. I guess street preaching would need to go as well. Which Steve pointed out well! I do think Piper's attempt to drive his point home fell flat of reality (and on the contrary took away from the supremacy of preaching).
I do however think church today is too casual, and a proper fear has been greatly lost (I speak of the blantly rude things: like constantly leaving the service during preaching, ladies(members) dressed like their going to the bar after sitting near the front, etc), perhaps this is also behind want Piper is trying to stress.
Gone too far this type of thinking leaves young mothers or mothers of young children to think they can't sit in the service if there's no childcare, I would beg mothers not to feel that way (in time and with proper guidance children CAN sit and listen in church).
Yet I do believe it could be a bad example to young people or to lost people who don't know what I'm doing and wouldn't ask either, and that would be 'my' primary reason for not doing it. Though I don't have any interest in twitter (I follow one person, which are prayer requests and ministry updates). With that said I still wouldn't care if others found it beneficial to use!

Darlene said...

Dear Don,

You said, "Yes, each believer is indwelt by God."

I say, Amen. But I'm not in church while in the shower, though Christ is assuredly with me, I am thankful my brothers and sisters are not! :)

You said, "Jesus said, "It is finished." The curtain was torn from top to bottom. There's a new and living way to enter the holy of holies, by faith in Christ; through Christ and Christ alone."

I say, Yeah, I rather enjoy worshipping in my peaceful backyard where I can hear the birds chirping and see God's creation in all its beauty. Who need's church anyhow?

I read a quote not long ago..."One cannot have God as their Father if they do not have the Church as their mother." Now who do ya think said that? JOHN CALVIN!! He sure had a high view of church. Many "Calvinists" today would say he was too sacramental for their taste.

The Reformeers most certainly had a high view of Church, even though they believed that salvation comes only through Christ. I have come to the conclusion that many of the Reformed Churches today have strayed considerably from the faith that the reformers established. So many churches today fear remotely resembling the Roman Catholic Church so much so that they have thrown the baby out with the bath water.

You said,"However, the church, which is us, is to assemble, and worship the Father in spirit and truth. And we do.
How we do it is not as important as why, and what."

I say, The "how" we do it and the "why" we do it and the "Who" it is for are inter-connected. The "how" in the way the folks do it down the street, well, it's a rockfest, a far out jiving in the Spirit, shouting out unrecognizable phrases. Hey, but who am I to judge? The "how" is only secondary to the "why." After all, if their hearts are right, what's it matter what they're doing and what they call worship?

In the paradigm that you suggest, worship can be done just about any way, for who can see the heart but God alone? What's it matter how we dress, or how we conduct ourselves if only our hearts matter? Yet, out of the abundance of the heart does not the mouth speak? And is not our worship a reflection of that very holy life in Christ that we have in the Spirit? Sadly, many churches have little life left. There are dead churches, churches on the point of death, churches that are in apostacy, and churches that are worshipping a false Jesus. And then there are those churches that with one united voice exalt, glorify, and praise the Blessed Triune God.

The Lord spoke through the wise Solomon saying, "Even a child makes himself known by his acts, whether what he does is pure and right." Proverbs 20:11 And so also, the Church, composed of God's children, make it clear to Him whether or not their worship is "pure and right," both inwardly and outwardly.

Had there been technology back when our Lord walked this earth, I wonder if He would have minded it very much if Peter, James, and John started tweeting to the other disciples during the Transfiguration. After all, such a momentous occasion could hardly hold them back, I'm sure. "Hey, Andrew, you won't believe this but..." "Hey James, did ya tweet a message to Thomas yet? He won't believe it!"

I wonder how many folks will be tweeting their friends on twitter when our Lord comes back on the clouds.

donsands said...

"Who need's church anyhow?"

I love to assemble with the people of God. I love to sing praises to the Lord, and hear His Word.

This is the new covenant. God destroyed the Temple. There's no more building, but people are the Temple of the Lord.

Jesus is the Bridegroom. He is the new covenant. We can't pour new wine into old wine skins, or they will burst.

Christ is all, and in all. Christ is everything, and we needn't add any religious duties to Him.

The assembling of Christians is surely something we need to do. Because God demands it, and it is a privelege, and I also love to gather with God's people and worship Him corporately.

Why we worship is most important. If we have our hearts right with the Lord, then the Word will sanctify us (John 17:17), for the Father will purge us, so that we can bear fruit for His glory.

Have a blessed day in Christ.

Darlene said...

Dear Don,

You said, "I love to sing praises to God. I love to sing praises to the Lord and hear His word."

I say, Amen, so do I.

You said, "This is the new covenant and God destroyed the Temple. There's no more building, but people are the temple of the Lord."

I say, "I see you have an either/or approach as to the nature of Christ's Church. Yes, indeed it is a mystical body, but it is also a visible body as well. I suggest you read Ignatius' understanding of the church. He was a disciple of John the apostle. Or, read what Irenaeus, Justin Martyr and Augustine thought about as to the ontological nature of church.

If you say to me, these were only sinful men, yes, and so were the apostles and prophets through whom God spoke. So was Martin Luther and John Calvin, and John Knox, and Charles Spurgeon, all who have a place of high repute within the Reformed churches.

You said, "Christ is all, and in all. Christ is everything and we needn't add any religious duties to Him."

I say, Yes, Christ holds all things together and through Him all things were created. He is to receive all the glory.

However, our faith is not just merely a mental assent. When we have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit, we are not only changed in status, but in our very being as well. With this change, we become fully aware that certain things are indeed required of us.

Look at the parable of the sheep and the goats. The sheep loved their brethren, and their neighbor. They clohed the naked, visited the sick and those in prison. Their faith was one as John the apostle says, "in deed and in truth." (not just word and speech) Jesus said, "Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I tell you." He also said His commandments are not burdensome, NOT there are no commandments in the new covenant, I did away with them.

The new covenant does not abolish the old, but is fulfilled in the old. We are commanded to DO the will of God, by acts of charity, by repentance of our sin, by loving our enemies, by forgiving those who wrong and hate us. We are required to carry our cross with Christ, who gives us that power by imparting His righteousness to us.

Don, I know the mindset from which you speak, but I cannot agree. However, we are called to seek the things that make for peace, and as far as it depends upon us, to be at peace with all men.

May Christ our Lord bless you this day with joy unspeakable and full of glory. Praise His Holy Name!

Darlene

donsands said...

"However, our faith is not just merely a mental assent."

Amen.

I show you my faith by my works: The workmanship of God's grace, and the fruit from Christ alone as I abide in the vine.

"Don, I know the mindset from which you speak, but I cannot agree."

Jesus said to the rich young Jewish ruler who said he kept all the commands of the Lord, "Go and sell all you have, and give the money to the poor, and come and follow Me."

Jesus is the new wine, and He can not be poured into old wineskin.

Actually, I think you and I agree more than we don't.

I love the local church, and believe it is a great blessing of the Lord.
I believe the people of God are to assemble on Sunday as a rule. In Nepal all the churches assemble on Saturdays.
And in Korea I have heard the church has to assemble in secret.

BTW, the Church is growing in great ways in Iran. people are being saved daily and added to the Body of Christ. Very difficult place to be a Christian.

Bottom line, the Lord was with His people Israel in the Tabernacle, and then the Temple, but that is done away with. Christ is our righteousness, wisdom, redemption, and sanctification--"that, as it is written, "He who glories, let him glory in the Lord." (1 Cor. 1:31)

"May Christ our Lord bless you this day with joy unspeakable and full of glory. Praise His Holy Name!"

Thank you. I receive that.

All for Jesus.

MRWBBIII said...

PIPER PRIDE STOPS JOHN FROM PREACHING …?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJmkk1XjrGw