One Doctrine of Sin Management
I know I’m borrowing Dallas Willard’s phrase, but I thought it particularly apropo for this post.
The “five acts of worship” theology is one that I believe is utterly foreign to the Scriptures. I believe they had FAR more than five “acts of worship” in the 1st century, and I believe it would have been unthinkable for the apostles to teach them to make sure they filled out their “acts of worship” checklist every first day of the week.
God is Spirit, and those who would worship Him must do so in spirit and in truth. Rituals of worship have never made men approved before God. At least from the call of Abram until Tax Day 2005, people have been saved through living obedient faith. I believe that the “five acts of worship” theology sets up a series of rituals (a “cult”, to use the theological term) that must be performed to appease God. And, what is more, they inculcate in the observer the idea that “if we just do these things, God will be forced to approve of us, because we aren’t like that tax-collector over there.”
I believe that Romans 6:18, 6:22, and 12:1-2 teach us that God expects far more than 5 specific acts. God seeks, God expects every moment of every day in the life of every Christian to be devoted to worship of Him. Do I meet this standard? Of course not. Only one man who ever lived did. Yet Paul echoes the Lord’s call when he says, “Imitate me, as I also imitate Christ. (1 Cor 11:1)”
For us to teach less to others, for us to expect less of ourselves, is to “fall behind” the teaching of and about Christ. It is to set up for ourselves a system of outward actions that “have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh. (Col 2:23)” Rather than growing in grace, learning to live free lives in Christ, we return to a system of approval-by-law. Righteousness is a life, not a code. We are slaves to the life of Christ.
in HIS love,