I will make no apologies to the proud who may gaze at me with indignation in their eyes and say, "Who do you think you are?" or just plain "Who are you?. I am a servant of the Lord Jesus, the living Word of God. The evidence of this fact is found in the words that I write, not by the education of men or by intellectual pursuit, but by the mercy, grace and unction of the Holy Ghost. This review is not to attack Robert Godfrey, I have never met the man. Mr. Godfrey is only one of the many professors of higher education located at seminaries, large churches and ministries of various reputation, that all claim and uphold the way to God through higher education. Mr. Godfrey is going to be the lucky recipient of my critical look, as I put on the mind of Christ, because a gentlemen at my church handed me a short book entitled "Pleasing God in Our Worship". This book is so full of shocking error that I felt compelled to say something, even if it is just for the benefit of the gentlemen that handed me the book. This article or review is just one more in the pile of evidence bringing to light the deception awaiting those by the hand of the Lord that attempt to use the methods of this world to reach God. The Babylonians built a tower to reach God, so God confused their languages. Proclaiming Christians today build towers of precepts upon precepts and lines upon lines, here a little there a little and proudly quote Isaiah 28:9-10 in order to legitimize their idea. They fail to read Isaiah 28:9 that proclaims, "For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean." They fail to read Isaiah 28:13 where God proclaims this line upon line and precept upon precept is a judgment from God to bring them into a snare or a trap. The Word of God is not a writing or a precept upon a precept or a line upon a line, it is a living breathing Word, which was from the beginning with God and the Word was God. Far different than a simple mind analysis of precepts and lines where the person with the greatest intellect is most likely to succeed. Yet even today anyone can see that God has confused the languages, so that this so called Christian building cannot rise. Different men put different lines and precepts upon each other, so that their is no strength in the building or sustainable height.
The highly respected Dr. Robert Godfrey, a minister and president of a notable seminary, has noticed a problem in church worship, and I agree. From here on out through this article, I am going to refer to Mr. Godfrey as "the professor" just to simplify things. If you wish to read more of my comments on the subject of worship, please read my article on Worship. In the intro to the book the professor names several notable institutions that agree with him and a popular preacher. I only need the Bible, made alive by the breath of God, to present me with all the evidence I need. God does not receive most worship in Christendom today. Chapter one of the book is entitled "Worship Wars". The professor notably gives ear to forms of worship, content, style, dealing with the outward and the visible. The professor adds "proper concern for "right worship" should be the concern of every Christian" In the professor's own words: "In the process of thinking biblically about worship, our own worship will become a more meaningful experience." Later on we will see what this seminary professor believes is "right worship" and we will also see what he means when he says "thinking biblically about worship". We will find out that this Dr. of theology thinks that one must have attained proper theology through the pursuit of human intellectual at an approved seminary, in order to have a FORM of worship that God is pleased with. In chapter two the professor says: "The corporate, official worship of God's people is a crucial and essential means God has given to help us grow". We will find out what the professor says is official and unofficial, that is essential for anyone to grow in God. I must admit that I agree with the professor's comments in chapter two on worshipping false Gods & worshipping the true God falsely. In chapter three he says we must LEARN how to worship God and we must UNDERSTAND the Bible's definition of what worship is. So much learning and understanding, I guess it is time to go to seminary, if you are smart enough.
In chapter three we start to see what FORMS of corporate worship we must learn. The professor says that our worship must be trinitarian. What the professor means by this is, we must verbally mention all members of the trinity separately and credit each person with his accomplishments. Quote: "Our worship may focus on any one of the divine persons at particular points because the Bible itself shows us that each person of the Trinity is associated with certain divine acts particularly". One example of this: "The Spirit is linked to applying salvation, drawing sinners to Christ, and giving them faith and new life." I thought no man could come to the Son unless the Father draws him? It seems as though the professor is distinguishing the persons of the trinity to the point that perhaps they will be jealous of each other if they are not equally credited? This idea that each person of the trinity needs separate attention is ludicrous in the light of scripture. There are several deeds that are done by one and all in different accounts of scripture. They are after all one, not three. Think about it! We are told that no one can understand the trinity with a natural mind, then we are told to worship God in Spirit and in Truth, letting the eyes of our understanding being enlightened (Psalms 47:7) "For God is the King of all the earth; sing ye praise with understanding". So we cannot understand the trinity, yet the professor says we have to praise three and not one, yet the scripture says to praise him with understanding, yet we cannot understand. There is a little problem with your form here Mr. professor!
In chapter four, "Worship and the Word", the professor says reading the Bible must be a part of each worship service. Later on in this article I will deal with the use here of the word "service". Reading the Bible in "service" is fine and good, but the problem occurs when people believe that including reading as a FORM pleases God, it does not. What if all I read was out of the book of Numbers every week? I have the FORM, but where is the POWER? The professor neglects to exhort christians to follow the leading of the Spirit and rather appeals to FORMS. Shortly you will start to see more evidence that this professor, denies the POWER of God and exhorts the Church to follow dead forms, of which human inspired righteousness are as filthy rags to God. The professor continues, "The Word must be present in the sacraments of the church - baptism and the Lord's Supper. Augustine called the sacraments "the visible word", which is a helpful way of thinking about them." Here the professor uses the term "sacraments" meaning communion and baptism. First of all, the so called sacraments are not the visible Word, Jesus is the visible Word, neither is the water in the baptismal, the grape juice or the bread, sacred. Why call them sacraments? These outward things serve only to remind us of the things that are sacred. Our public testimony to continually put to death the old man and spiritually drink and eat of the cup and bread of our Lord are only symbolic of that which is sacred. Eating and drinking unworthy is a kin to lying publicly, before the Lord. Remember what happen to Ananias and Sapphira when they lied publicly before the Lord? The professor says, "Historically the church has often called preaching (along with the sacraments) a "means of grace". A means of grace is an institution of the Lord by which he has promised to bless his faithful people and help them grow in grace." However, the scriptures testify that grace is a gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast, shouldn't the professor appeal to that which is written, rather than that which is called "historical". When it comes to preaching, communion and grace, I certainly would not use the term "institution". The Word of God cannot be institutionalized, the preaching of the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. Mr. professor it is not about institutions, but POWER, not in word, but in POWER. I find it telling that the professor is totally quiet on the issue of the POWER of God and instead spends all of his time talking about FORM. Why is that? Isn't it written "from the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks"?
Chapter five, "Leadership in Worship" is where the idolatry of the professor, his desire to shut out church body ministry and follow the ways of the Roman Catholic Church, become very apparent. Haven't you heard the saying, "the apple doesn't fall very far from the tree"? Churches of Protestantism that follow the order of the Mother of Harlots (eastern or western Catholicism), have demonstrated themselves to be related and daughters of the harlet. Jesus said to the religious leaders of his day, "I know you, because you do the works of your father the Devil". If you claim to be a church built on the foundation of Jesus Christ, then why don't you do the works of Jesus Christ? Nothing is more important than obeying God. The professor rightly says that God is a God of order and mentions the disorder occurring in the church of Corith. However, the professor carefully, deliberately neglects to point out a biblical pattern of New Testament leadership in worship that makes a case for HIS brand of order in the church. Mr. Professor, it is not your order, it is God's order! God has chosen the foolish things of this world to confound the wise. In short, the professor says that the Pastor, in so many words, is the mediator between God and man. According to him, the Pastor only speaks for God and the Pastor only speaks to God for the people. That my friend is nothing more than a priest, right out of the Roman Catholic handbook. Need I remind the professor that Jesus is our one and only high priest and that every true believer is a member of a company of priests and kings. The professor completely throws out the teachings of Corinthians on the issue of order and says that this order was only something observed while Apostles were on the earth. The professor is obviously a cessationist, which is a doctrine that teaches the gifts and miracles of God have ceased. This teaching is laughable in light of scripture, however, it is very convenient when you deny the power of God in favor of your own institutionalized influence and power!
I cannot recommend this short book written by Dr. Robert Godfrey. He totally neglects the most important and direct scripture in the Bible on the issue of worship, the very words of Jesus, "the time is coming and is now that the true worshipper will worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth". Mr. Professor, it is not even one half FORM, it is all Spirit and Truth! The professor over and over again refers to the "service" to God of worship. Mr. Professor that is Old Covenant, we do not "service" God, he services us. It is written, "present your bodies a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to God, which is YOUR reasonable SERVICE". When Christians come together, it is not some sort of service to God, it is for the purpose of the building up and edifying of HIS Body, the bride of Christ, body ministry. This sort of "service" of sacraments and worship by the chosen few, is nothing less than a perversion of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It replaces the Power of God unto salvation with rituals, forms of godliness that deny his very power and sets up an order of a chosen small group of intellectual elites, who love to dominate the so called "service". You out there who disagree with what I am saying, let me ask you just one question. Is there anything that you can tangibly point to that shows the POWER of God in your life? Don't give me this, "I used to be a big sinner and I am much more moral now". I hate to point it out, don't you know that there are many hell bound sinners that are basically moral? Where is the evidence of the POWER of God in your life? How do you live that requires a response from God? If God is totally ignoring you, will your life be over with? Is your faith based on the POWER of God, or is it based on "theology"?
The professor believes that worship is nothing
more than a form that is learned through intellectual pursuit by the chosen
few. While I know he will deny this, a close look at the confession
of his mouth, the lack of God's power evident in his own life and form
of worship, will make my case. Jesus said, "I thank you Father that
you have hid your truth from those who are wise in this world and delivered
in unto babes, for so it seemed good in your sight." May God deliver
his people from confusion!