|Volume 18 Number 7 July 2016||
Is Everything Christians Do Worship?
Louis Rushmore, Editor
Hello, my question is, “Should Christians believe in Karma yoga ‘laborare est orare,’ which means ‘work is worship’? Is everything we do in a week (e.g., 24/7) considered worship (i.e., ‘work worship’)?” In karma yoga, it is believed that doing ordinary things such as mowing the lawn, if dedicated to God, the work becomes worship to God. What does the Bible say? Is there a difference between “service” and “worship” to God in our daily activities? Thank you!
The Latin phrase “laborare est orare” literally translates, “to work is to pray.” The motto was associated with the Rule of Saint Benedict, and it was applied to monks with respect to their communal living about 1,500 years ago (Wikipedia). The same slogan since then has been adopted by others as well, such as the Freemasons (Skhet-Maat Lodge). Some decades ago while on vacation and visiting a church, I personally have heard a Gospel preacher who was teaching a Bible class in a congregation of the churches of Christ specifically say that when we mow grass that we are worshipping God. Obviously, the sentiment of “laborare est orare” is widespread.
The one posing the query above asks some very important questions. “Should Christians turn to any source other than the Bible for religious instruction and practice?” “Is everything a child of God does (24/7) worship to God?” “What does the Bible say?” “Is there a difference between ‘service’ to and ‘worship’ of God?”
The best and most concise, as well as biblically accurate response, to this inquiry can be found in an article already appearing in the Archive of Gospel Gazette Online. It was written by Glen Colley and can be found at the following URL.
In addition, please observe the article on the same topic written by T. Pierce Brown.
In conclusion, the Bible alone is the correct source to which everyone ought to appeal for instruction in religion today. Specifically, the New Testament is the law of God by which everyone now living is bound and by which one day will be judged.
In the strictest and ordinary sense of Christian worship, acts of worship prescribed in the New Testament should be distinguished from acts of Christian service that individuals select for themselves to do. How a Christian lives his or her life ought to glorify God, and especially Christian service does that. However, God has laid out in the New Testament the particular ways by which He desires the children of God to worship Him “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).
“Laborare est Orare.” Skhet-Maat Lodge <https://sekhetmaat.com/wiki/Laborare_est_Orare>.
“Rule of Saint Benedict.” Wikipedia. 6 Jul 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rule_of_Saint_Benedict>.
Are the Church and the
Kingdom the Same Thing?
Louis Rushmore, Editor
The inquiry under consideration herein comes from India where an American’s writings are leading to confusion and religious conflict among members of the churches of Christ. Assertions therein include: “God’s kingdom has always existed… no starting or ending.” “Before created the angels God ruled Jesus and Holy Spirit.” “The Old Testament prophecies did not foretell that Jesus would establish a kingdom, but prophecies taught that Jesus would be a new king in God’s kingdom. Jesus did not establish the kingdom because God’s kingdom always existed.” “Jesus established the church to enter in to the kingdom… The church is not the kingdom.”
The foregoing affirmations represent a gross misunderstanding and perversion of Old Testament and New Testament Scripture. The word “kingdom,” much like most words in the Bible or even in contemporary conversation, depends for its specific meaning and application on the context in which it is used. There is a sense in which the kingdom of God predates the kingdom that is the topic of Old Testament prophecies (Psalm 103:10), but it also differs from the kingdom prophesied and ultimately established in fulfillment of those prophecies. As Creator, God rules all as does a king reign over his realm (Isaiah 66:1).
God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are coequals; they each possess the essence or characteristics of Deity or God. Jesus Christ, for instance, was and is equally Deity or God as is the Father. “Who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God” (Philippians 2:6 NKJV). Hence, Jesus said, “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30), and He prayed that He might receive again the glory equal to the Father upon His Ascension; “And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was” (John 17:5). In heaven or on earth during the time of His earthly ministry, Jesus Christ was nevertheless equal in Deity to the Father and to the Holy Spirit; “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9; see also John 5:18; 10:33). God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit possess different, complementary roles, but they are equal to each other regarding Deity or the essence of being God.
Old Testament prophecies as well as the preaching of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ Himself did teach about the establishment of a spiritual kingdom in contrast to the physical kingdoms of mankind. “And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever” (Daniel 2:44). “In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!’” (Matthew 3:1-2). “From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’” (Matthew 4:17).
The most concise passage that shows the kingdom and the church to be synonyms, references to the same divine institution, depicts a conversation between Jesus Christ and the apostle Peter (Matthew 16:18-19). Our Lord used the terms “church” and “kingdom” interchangeably in two consecutive sentences. Likewise, the apostles Paul and John used the word “kingdom” when referring to the “church” (Colossians 1:13; Revelation 1:9). In those references, the kingdom and the church refer to the same thing.
The Lord’s church is “the body of Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:27), it is ‘the church of Christ’ (Romans 16:16), and it is “the kingdom of God” (Colossians 4:11) or “the kingdom of Christ” (Ephesians 5:5). The words “body,” “church” and “kingdom” illustrate different characteristics of the same divinely established spiritual institution.