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Responses to "Is All of Life Worship?"
I received a series of e-mails from a brother concerning
article and some other articles posted on this site. The brother has
asked for his e-mail comments to be removed and has offered to submit
material expressing his views. As a consequence I am substituting my summary
of the objections our brother has raised. (I am editing this page on June 6,
(Update June 21, 2007: This brother has asked that his
name be removed and even references to his e-mail be deleted. Also he
apparently will not be sending any material expressing his view on this
I was asked my views on Kevin Kay's article.
I very much agree with this article. I am very concerned how carelessly
words are used and defined by some brethren. It is my intention to write
further on this matter.
was to summarize the root of the problem, it would be in taking a single
definition of a word in a given context and then to ignore all other
definitions in other contexts. For instance, the word “apostle” has the
general definition as “one sent” and could be used to describe any of us.
However, a more specific definition would be found in the 12 apostles, a
very specific kind of men that are “sent.” If the general definition is
forced on all verses to the exclusion of the more specific definition, then
the meaning of the scriptures will be changed. Someone could falsely say “we
are all apostles” and “the traditional view of their only being 12 apostles
is a great deal of ambiguity and even an outright agenda by some in these
kinds of actions. If you read Mike Root’s books then you will see a very
strong agenda towards a radical reconstructing of our relationship with God.
His efforts make much of what the New Testament instructs us to be
contradictory and even without meaning. His distain for the instructions on
the assembly of 1 Cor 14, as shown by the article, is one such example.
regards to worship, I believe it is possible to use that word to describe
our continual presence before God. We need to develop that God-consciousness
as we mature in Christ. I have tried to put the best light on others who say
“everything we do is worship” by placing their statement to mean this.
However, not everyone means just that. They deny the more specific
definition, and, as a result they lay a foundation that will destroy God’s
instructions concerning worship.
Consider these statements that some men are making about worship:
"The five acts of worship is no more worship
than anything else Christians do for God" and “changing a diaper may be
worship." Consider the implication of these very careless statements. When I
come before God to remember His Son’s death in the Lord’s Supper, I do so
with a higher level of consciousness, concentration and awareness of God,
His love and the Cross of Christ than I would when mowing a lawn or watching
a TV show. When I talk about worship, it is a special time, a higher place
and with different expectations from God than in my everyday life. This is
how I use the term worship.
“Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks
this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body
and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of
the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy
manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep”
(1 Corinthians 11:27-30
(NKJV). The “examine yourself”
and “unworthy manner” mentioned in this verse denotes this higher level of
awareness that constitutes worship. God is in focus, my heart is in focus
and it is a time for serious thought. Failure to make such a distinction
will destroy God’s purpose for worship and destroy men’s souls in the
So far, when I have brought up these things
to brethren who are so inclined to say “everything we do is worship,” they
have agreed with me on these points. I have then exhorted them to be more
careful in their use of words. I also have encouraged them to see where this
newfound fervor to use these careless statements has come from.
Sadly, more and more are reading books like
the Mike Root book and are caught up a the spirit of such writings.
Often a spirit of pride results from writings of men like this. Some will
quickly label others as “traditionalist” and then exalt those who agree with
them as “enlightened.” I do not believe that all that holds the view about
“everything we do is worship” are caught up in such pride or will do these
things, but many are! I fear that when pride enters as a motive then others
are quick to jump on the bandwagon of what is nothing more than a fad. In
this context, the fad will spread quickly because of its newness and because
it will draw attention to those who are “wise” enough to discover the new
“truth”. But, as time passes, the fads will be discarded for the next new
thing that will bring attention.
Please understand that I have raised two
issues in my response, one of a specific doctrinal issue and one of spirit.
We should always be open to testing things that are new to us. We also can
be guilty of labeling others are “holding on to fads” and being ‘prideful”
just because they have found a truth taught in the scriptures that is “new”
to a given individual. Ultimately it comes down to an open Bible and a good
I appreciate your spirit in raising the
question. I would appreciate any response or review you may have of the
article or of this letter.
In Christian Love,
(Note: I am giving a summary of the response of our brother. Please see the
explanation posted above.)
There were several
1. That Kevin Kay's article
on "Is All of
Life Worship" and Bill Hall's
Purpose" "poisons the well."
2. That both writers have
not thought through what they said.
3. That there is a winding
gap between "traditionalism" and the open
minded men like our brother. Men must not be afraid to
4. Churches of Christ are
filled with traditional beliefs.
5. Our brother believes his
positions are so strong that they are easily seen
and that those who do not see his views are due to their
see. (Edited on June 6, 2007)
worship? Let us first examine the definitions of the two primary Greek words
translated worship and then see how these words are used in the scriptures.
Consider two words commonly used in a discussion of this subject,
proskuneo and latreia, from Friberg’s Analytical Greek Lexicon
and Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words.
- (1) from a basic sense bow down to kiss someone's
feet, garment hem, or the ground in front of him; (2) in the NT of worship
or veneration of a divine or supposedly divine object, expressed concretely
with falling face down in front of someone worship, venerate, do
obeisance to; (a) toward God (MT 4.10); (b) toward Jesus (MT 2.2); (c)
toward the devil and demons (MT 4.9; RV 9.20); (d) toward idols (AC 7.43);
(e) toward human beings as given or claiming to have divine power or
authority (RV 3.9; 13.4b) - Friberg’s
Analytical Greek Lexicon
in the NT, religious service based in worship, service (of God),
divine service, worship - Friberg’s
Analytical Greek Lexicon
(Verb) - "to make obeisance, do reverence to" (from pros, "towards," and
kuneo, "to kiss"), is the most frequent word rendered "to worship." It is
used of an act of homage or reverence (a) to God, e.g., Mt. 4:10; Joh.
4:21-24; 1Co. 14:25; Re. 4:10; 5:14; 7:11; 11:16; 19:10 (2nd part); 22:9;
(b) to Christ, e.g., Mt. 2:2,8,11; 8:2; 9:18; 14:33; 15:25; 20:20; 28:9,17;
Joh. 9:38; Heb. 1:6, in a quotation from the Sept. of De. 32:43, referring
to Christ's Second Advent; (c) to a man, Mt. 18:26; (d) to the Dragon, by
men, Re. 13:4; (e) to the Beast, his human instrument, Re. 13:4,8,12;
14:9,11; (f) the image of the Beast, Re. 13:15; 14:11; 16:2; (g) to demons,
Re. 9:20; (h) to idols, Ac. 7:43. Note: As to Mt. 18:26, this is mentioned
as follows, in the "List of readings and renderings preferred by the
American Committee" (see RV Classes of Passages, IV): "At the word 'worship'
in Mt. 2:2, etc., add the marginal note 'The Greek word denotes an act of
reverence, whether paid to man (see chap. Mt. 18:26) or to God (see chap.
Mt. 4:10)'." The Note to Joh. 9:38 in the American Standard Version in this
connection is most unsound; it implies that Christ was a creature. J. N.
Darby renders the verb "do homage" [see the Re. ised Preface to the Second
Edition (1871) of his New Translation].
- Akin to latreuo (see No. 3, above), primarily "hired service," is used (a)
of the "service" of God in connection with the tabernacle, Ro. 9:4; Heb.
9:1, "Divine service;" Heb. 9:6, plural, RV, "services" (AV, "service," and,
in italics, "of God"); (b) of the intelligent "service" of believers in
presenting their bodies to God, a living sacrifice, Ro. 12:1, RV marg.,
"worship;" (c) of imagined "service" to God by persecutors of Christ's
followers, Joh. 16:2. Note: For "soldier on service," 2Ti. 2:3, RV, see
us consider three verses where these words are used: proskuneo
in John 4:23-24
and latreia in Romans 12:1-2,
and Matthew 4:9-10
where both Greek words are used. I am including two translations of these
4:23 through John 4:24 (NKJV)
hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship1
the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship
Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship1
in spirit and truth.”
4:23 through John 4:24 (NIV)
time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship1
the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the
Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship1
in spirit and in truth.”
Romans 12:1 through Romans 12:2 (NKJV)
you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies
a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable
service2. And do not be conformed to this world, but be
transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is
that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
12:1 through Romans 12:2 (NIV)
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your
bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual
act of worship2. Do not conform any longer to the pattern
of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you
will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and
Matthew 4:9 through Matthew 4:10 (NKJV)
said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and
worship1 me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan!
For it is written, ‘You shall worship1
the Lord your God, and Him only
you shall serve2.’”
Matthew 4:9 through Matthew 4:10 (NIV)
I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship1
said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship1
the Lord your God, and serve2 him only.’”
the lexicons and the verses cited it is evident that there can be a
difference of meaning in these two Greek words translated “worship.”
Proskuneo is used to denote “an act of homage or reverence” and is what
Christians have commonly called worship. It denotes a special coming before
God in contrast to other times and occasions in one’s life.
Greek word, latreia, relates to our service to God. In Romans 12:1
it covers the daily walk of a Christian as a living sacrifice before God. As
Christians we are in the presence of God at all times and thus “everything
we do” or “all of life” must be done with a consciousness of God.
used the term “service” to describe my daily walk with God. Others have
chosen to say their walk with God is “worship” and will cite the NIV
translation of Romans 12:1. It is important to be clear in how we use
words so that we can properly communicate what we mean.
someone disagrees with these distinctions made by looking at these Greek
words, then I can clearly make these same points in another way.
clearly teaches there is a time where I place myself before God in a special
way that requires preparation and concentration. The Lord’s Supper is such
an occasion where I must focus upon the significance of the Lord’s death. I
am to be involved in both outward acts, partaking of the bread and fruit of
the vine and in an inward “discerning of the Lord’s body” (1 Cor
When I partake of the Lord’s Supper, I place myself before God in a special
way. I must prepare for this occasion and learn how to concentrate and
focus. This time has a beginning and an end. It is not an
ongoing process without end.
also teaches that I am before God at all times and should serve Him with an
awareness of His presence. “The eye of the Lord are on the righteous” (1
“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men”
My entire life can be viewed as a sacrifice
as Paul did his. “Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering
on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you
all (Philippians 2:17). My life as well must be a “living sacrifice”
as I have an awareness of God and His will in everything I do (Rom
who wish to describe their everyday service to God as worship I would give
some warnings. If you choose to use “worship” to denote all of your life and
its activities, you should also recognize that a different and more specific
definition exists. Many are concluding that there can be only one definition
of “worship” and, as a result, are trying to jam all verses and practices
into one definition. This approach will bring several bitter fruits. Please
consider these warnings.
not deny the more specific, higher level of worship. Consider these
common statements that some are making: “you cannot go to worship, you
are worship,” “The five acts of worship are no more worship than anything
else Christians do for God.” When I hear these statements made without any
clarification, then I cannot but conclude that these statements will deny
this higher level of worship. So far, when I talk with these brethren, they
readily acknowledge that there is a worship that we enter into, that
requires a level of concentration that is different from our everyday life.
When I receive this encouraging response, I then urge them to be careful in
their use of words.
not look down and label those who use different terminology. I am
often disappointed to hear prejudicial labels such as “Ultra Conservative,”
“Traditional,” and “Legalist” used by some just because they believe they
have found something new to them in the Bible. Why do these brethren feel a
need to distinguish themselves from others that have yet to accept what they
have found? We need to guard against being impatient with others. We
especially need to guard against the danger of developing a spirit of pride
and factionalism. “But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your
hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend
from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic” (James
some who use these and other like issues to separate brethren. It becomes
another device to plant bitterness against an alleged “ultra conservative
boat” filled with “blind” men who are loyal to a “divisive movement.” On the
other hand they will describe those on their side of the wedge as “open
minded” and “grace-centered.” The scriptures do address the issues of
factionalism, blindness, closed-mindedness along with slander and
bitterness. Why do some see the need to jump to these broad charges
just because we have a difference in some areas?
Unfortunately some are forming a different human faction to compete with the
evil faction that they hate. There is a big difference between a love for
the truth of God and a love for a human faction. When Satan’s tactics are
used then I know that the grace of God is not a part it. Please watch your
I may not
have addressed all of your concerns in this response. I am thankful that you
care enough for me to have written. Please do not take this response as in
any way making specific charges against you or as a sign of an unwillingness
to listen. I know how disappointing it is to be on the receiving end of such
remain in my prayers. May the Lord bless you in your work for Him.
Responses to "The Deception of Pornography"
Is Pornography Grounds
Feedback our Blog:
I am so
glad that finally someone in the church is talking about this subject. For
too long this has been avoided due to its "uncomfortable" nature.
In the paragraph, PORNOGRAPHY WRONGLY TEACHES US THAT ALL SEX IS ACCEPTABLE,
you wrote, "Pornography will effectively desensitize our resistance against
extra-marital affairs, thereby tempting us to become unfaithful to our
Jesus said that a man that looks on a woman to lust after her has committed
adultery in his heart already. So with that said, don't you agree that by
participating in these acts you ARE being unfaithful to your spouse? I don't
think Jesus would agree that only actual "penetration" is being unfaithful.
You are breaking your marriage vows and God's law by merely looking and
article, "Is Pornography Grounds For Divorce?" is a pretty good discussion.
I don't know that I've seen anything else written on this subject in the
brotherhood. I believe it needs to be given some open attention, and I
appreciate your article doing so. Your term "Mental Adultery" is one I have
not before come across. Yet, by your use of it, I assume you have seen it
used, perhaps on a somewhat wide scale basis. I have suggested for many
years that we need to give more attention to this general subject.
I think you probably did a pretty good job in analyzing the original meaning
of the Greek term translated "adultery." I suspect your conclusion, based on
the intended meaning of the original word there, is a pretty good one.
However, adultery is a specific act within the realm of sexual sins
described by the broader term "fornication." While "adultery" is definitely
"fornication," I believe we have to conclude that there are a number of
sexual sins that fall under the term "fornication" that do not necessarily
fall under the stricter term "adultery," unless Christ concludes that all
sins of fornication equate adultery. Those are two different terms. I think
we have to be careful to not make a careless, across the board application,
but I think we need to devote some careful, thoughtful discussion to the
relationship between the two terms.
Hi, it's me again. Just reading your last article and thought I'd
give you another 2 cents worth if you care to hear it.
I don't really have a strong opinion on whether pornography is
grounds for scriptural divorce as I hadn't given much thought to it. At
a glance, I tend to agree with your angle--that viewing pornography is
not the same thing.
I am trying to save my marriage and if for some reason it fails--I
will not remarry and I can say that with assurance!
In reading the article, it brought a question to my mind that perhaps
you hadn't considered in the equation (perhaps you had though).
I can see that viewing pornography is no more adultery than looking
at a woman and considering sex is adultery. But had you considered the
aspect of not merely "viewing" pornography, but rather "having sexual
relations" with pornography as 2 separate things? And this is one of
those "gray areas" I try to stay far, far away from--but I wasn't
certain of your thought process when you arrived at your conclusions.
To clarify what I mean, a man merely looking at pornography and
having lustful thoughts as opposed to a man viewing pornography for
hours, months, and years on end and stimulating oneself to climax to
those images each time (thus giving his PHYSICAL sexuality to that
woman) and for years denying his spouse her sexual rights in the
marriage because he has already "spent" what is hers with another woman
and cannot perform?
As I said, that's far too gray for me to ever feel comfortable
with--but that was the very first thought that came to my mind as I was
reading the article. I see a difference there and was wondering if you
were coming from the same place when you wrote the article.
Thanks for your perseverance on such a horrible, but badly needed,
topic to preach to the world.
It was good to hear from you again. I
appreciate very much you passing along your thoughts in what you have
gained through your own study and experiences.
You are right in bringing up the problem of
self-stimulation, a practice that most often accompanies the viewing of
pornography. Perhaps I should have included that issue in the article I
wrote (“Is Pornography Grounds for Divorce?”). Self-stimulation has been
such a taboo subject -- rarely if ever addressed in sermons, classes, or
I have a hard time believing that a man can
merely view pornography and not also be tempted to stimulate himself
and/ or act on his arousal somehow, someway, though
self-stimulation seems to be the most common response, especially by
Your description: "having sexual relations
with pornography (as it involves self-stimulation)" vs. merely viewing
it would nevertheless still be figurative within the mind who commits
adultery in the heart (even though self-stimulation is involved).
Sexual relations would not literally be taking place with another person
and thus it would not be considered by God as actual fornication (or
adultery) and grounds for divorce (Mat. 19:9).
With that being said, you still raise an
important point that should be examined, especially as we think about
how God views the matter. You are
right in making the distinction of the man who merely has lustful
thoughts vs. the man who lusts and also stimulate himself to the
pornography he sees. Although I would not classify the latter as "having
sexual relations with pornography," I definitely recognize that there is
something much more sinful taking place when lusting is accompanied by
There is no command, example, or necessary
inference from Scripture that would condone or authorize
self-stimulation. One might argue: "Where does it say in the Bible we
can't!" However, the silence of the Scriptures does not authorize
When the apostle Paul gave instructions
concerning sexual relations in marriage in 1 Corinthians 7, he did not
say that if a couple deprives one another of sex they can stimulate
himself in the meantime. Instead, he said: "Stop depriving one another,
except by agreement for a time that you may devote yourselves to prayer,
and come together again lest Satan tempt you because of your lack of
self-control" (1 Cor 7:5, NASB). I mention this, because some
attempt to justify self-stimulation by saying that they think of their
spouse when doing do. However, such reasoning may actual tempt a person,
over time, to not just think of their spouse, but other people.
Nevertheless, Paul said to pray, not stimulate himself!
What I believe the Scriptures to teach on the
matter is this: When
self-stimulation accompanies the viewing of pornography, there are at
least two different types of sin that are taking place. The first sin
would be lust or adultery of the heart (Mat. 5:28) in the looking
at pornography. The second sin would be the self-stimulation because it
is not authorized by Scripture (See notes above). Only through the
affection and sexual relations in marriage is any kind of sexual
fulfillment authorized (1 Cor. 7:2-5; Heb. 13:4). To reason like
Nadab and Abihu and say “God didn’t say we couldn’t!” will lead to our
destruction (Lev. 10:1-2).
There are many other types of sin that are
committed through the act of self-stimulation: Self-stimulation is
very self-centered or selfish (Phil. 2:4), for it not only
disrespects God and the authority of His word, but it also disregards
our spouse’s needs and takes away from the affection due him or her
(1 Cor. 7:3). Abstinence from sex in marriage requires Christians to
focus on God and pray (1 Cor. 7:5), not to focus on self and
one’s personal pleasure (e.g., self-stimulation).
Furthermore, self-stimulation can quickly
become an addiction, like a master that has power over us. As I am sure
you are aware, studies have proven its addictive nature, which is much
like the effect cocaine has on the brain. Anything that enslaves us,
including something that may possibly be “lawful” or permitted by God,
becomes a sin for us to practice. “All things are lawful for me, but not
all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not
be mastered by anything” (1 Cor. 6:12). We are to have only one
Master and Lord Jesus Christ (Jude 4; Mat. 6:24).
Moreover, self-stimulation requires
fantasizing about sex and/or viewing pornography. Through the practice
there is an ever increasing attachment to the sexual pleasure it
provides. The person is essentially devoted to the practice and sexual
pleasure has become an idol in his or her life. Thus, he is guilty of
the sin of idolatry (Col. 3:5).
Finally, self-stimulation would be a sinful
use of one’s body because a person is using his or her body parts (or
members, instruments) for the purpose of sin (especially as it involves
lusting after others or “adultery in the heart”). “Therefore do not let
sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts, and do
not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of
unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the
dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God” (Rom.
I wanted to take an honest look at the
question you raised because I believe it is a sorely neglected one that
deserved an answer from the Scriptures. I believe there are many reasons
from Scripture that condemns the practice of self-stimulation as sinful.
So to be as accurate as possible according to truth (God’s word), the
self-stimulation that often accompanies looking at pornography should
not be viewed as “having sexual relations with pornography” (which leads
to misunderstandings and confusion), but instead a sinful practice
for many other reasons.
Let me know your thoughts. Thanks again for
giving me your feedback on the article.
In Christian Love,
of what I was unable to put into words. You captured it perfectly. I was
just wondering if your thoughts in the article were also couching in
I see what you are
saying about the confusion of "sexual realtions with pornography"---but
was at a loss for what else to say.
is not a favorite pulpit topic--however, may be much more easily read in
your bulletins and likely very profitable for many.
Keep up the good work.