Monday, January 04, 2016


I received this e-mail from someone I've never met. I've read after him and have to honestly say I wouldn't agree with his views on some things, but with this, I do agree. TOTALLY! [I've put in some clarification so as to express my own interpretation of some phrases.]

Relationship views everything in terms of a “person.” Religion views everything in terms of “place” or “thing.”

For example, people say, “I missed corporate worship.”  [Therefore I missed worshipping the Lord.] They are basically saying that they see worship as a “place,” something to attend, a “thing” to be done, certain songs to be sung, certain “things” you have to do.

People who see worship as a “person” worship the Lord wherever they are, in Spirit and in Truth. Worship is deeper than singing songs with other people. When you see worship as a “person” you never express a loss, [of worship] missing something or needing something you don’t have. You are satisfied with the “person” Who is with you always.

If you are satisfied with the “person” it doesn’t matter if you go to church or not. [This is NOT to say you don't desire to gather with believers, and DO!] Going to church will not add to or take away from that “person.” If you are not satisfied with the “person” then you feel compelled to go to the “place” or do the “thing.” That’s what leads people to say, “I’m going to church [to worship], and you should go too, because that’s the ‘place’ God wants us to go and that’s the ‘thing’ God wants us to do.” However “places and things” do not [always] lead us to the “person” and they can very often substitute for the “person.”

Even the Jews were so stuck on the “place” (Jerusalem) and the “thing” (the Temple) that they missed the “person” (Jesus). So God took their “place” and their “thing” away in AD 70 to show them (and us) that He wants us to be stripped down to a “person.” Yet here we are, in AD 2016, making the same mistakes. We haven’t learned anything.

If you are really touching the “person” then something like, “I missed corporate worship”  [Therefore I didn't worship] will never come into your mind or come out of your mouth. At its root, religion expresses itself as something lacking in your life when Jesus isn’t enough.

Paul here...

To read this and say or think, "Oh, this is denigrating gathering with believers," is to miss the point. Gathering with believers is a command, albeit, only commanded one time in scripture and that being Hebrews 10:25 and that without ANY time or place or sequence associated with the command. But gathering is a needed thing by all believers AND it will not be an issue if what is read in this e-mail were to be truly heeded by believers.

Paul B.


Tom Ross said...

Worship is not really about our circumstances in which we find ourselves, but it is all about our response to our God within the circumstances that we find ourselves in. Faith is not a demarcation that separates us from the people around us, but our trust and faith in God demonstrates that we truly do have a working relationship with God, that also cares for the people around us by Him being able to work through us demonstrating our Love of Him and them.

How can we claim to be "late" for a corporate worship time when our journey to that corporate worship time has been in step with Him whom we walk with and share with every moment of our lives, even when we have our eyes closed, and our subconscious mind is in control while we rest our tired bodies.

The Worship of God is in reality just a way of living fully in His presences all of the time, communing with him.


Aussie John said...


I received the same email and read it out to my wife, because, like you I agreed with it, whilst not always comfortable with some other things the author writes.

Your final sentence is most important for those who are under legalistic requirements of many denominations/groups regarding"worship".

I am certain you will agree that worship from a Biblical point of view is a whole of life issue, not something we do in an hour or so one day a week (1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:17; 1 Peter 4:11). The totality of life for the follower of Christ needs to be an expression of our worship of God. Eating, sleeping, working, serving, all of life 24/7,especially in our relationships with others, in fact all that we do. What kind of worship is a temporary hour so experience on Sunday,and then lead a secular life without thought of God's part in it, for the remainder of the week?

In living up to that, I often fail

Bob Cleveland said...

When I look at the New Testament word for worship ... proskuneo ... it's hard to identify that with much of what goes on Sunday mornings, anyway.

Rex Ray said...

“How can we sing the Lord’s song on foreign soil? (Psalms 137:4 Holman)

Were these Jews wrong? Wasn’t God where He always is?

The problem: They were CAPTURED!

I feel ‘captured’ in church when THEY are singing ‘Amazing Grace’ to the tune of ‘Three blind mice’.

Paul Burleson said...


"Feelings" are funny critters are they not! :)

Rex Ray said...



On the subject of what should be heard in church, this was Paul’s advice: “…if anyone preaches to you a gospel contrary to what you received, a curse be on him!” (Galatians 1:9 Holman)

I believe Paul had these people in mind who should be cursed:

1. Acts 15:1, 5 NLT
2. 2 Corinthians 3:1 Living
3. 2 Corinthians 11:4, 5, 13 NLT
4. Galatians 1:7 NLT
5. Galatians 2:4 NLT
6. Galatians 2:12 Holman
7. Galatians 4:17, 29 NLT
8. Galatians 6:12 NLT
9. “Watch out for those dogs…who say you must be circumcised to be saved.” (Philippians 3:2 NLT)

What did Paul think when he heard? “…You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law.” (Acts 21:20 Holman)

I believe the Jerusalem Church’s “zealous for the law” enlightened Paul that they were the source of those who should be cursed.

Gordon said...

The early New Testament congregations were predominantly made up of Jewish believers at first. The structure of the group was similar to that of the synagogue which was a familiar cultural way of worshipping (doing Church !). Hence we find the practise was of male domination and rulership by the Apostles and elders, in line with Old Testament practises.

But there is no reason why the replication of the synagogue model by the early Jewish converts should be considered to be the principle on which all subsequent Christian congregations should be structured in the New Covenant era. The synagogue itself was relatively new and not ordained or regulated in Scripture by any Old Testament law or instruction. It only arose to meet the needs as a Jewish cultural and religious centre many years later during the Babylonian exile. Essentially the Jewish faith was, and is, home based at the best of times.
The first church in Jerusalem itself went through several changes of practise and management because they needed to adapt to growing numbers and changing needs.( See Acts chapters:1,2,4,5,6,8,9,10,11,15, etc.). Their model was not static nor prescriptive. The freedom of the home church/fellowship model was most predominant in their lives and experience.They loved to meet together...any time, any place...because they knew their one and only Leader, Jesus Christ was always in their midst. They were not bound by sacerdotalism.

No more Temple, no more sacrifices, no more ceremonies, no more Feast or Holy Days, no more believing in the divine authority of the priesthood ..... none of this was needed any longer. All this religion was seen as pointers to the fulfillment of God's redemption in Christ Jesus, our only mediator.
Let us then submit ourselves afresh to God the Father, to the love of Jesus Christ, and to walk in the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit.

Paul Burleson said...


Great points made and a great comment. Thanks!