The Worship Quote of the Week for (11/07/2000):

Inverted Theology
Today's WORSHIP QUOTE is from Millard Erickson's CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY. After
two long sections on the greatness of God and the goodness of God, he writes:

If we have fully understood who and what God is, we will see him as the
supreme being. We will make him the Lord, the one who is to be pleased and
whose will is to be done. This reminder is needed in our day, for we have a
tendency to slip from a theocentric to an anthropocentric ordering of our
religious lives. This leads to what might be called "inverted theology."
Instead of regarding God as our Lord, whose glory is the supreme value and
whose will is to be done, we regard him as our servant. He is expected to
meet all of our perceived needs and to answer to our standards of what is
right and wrong. We need to learn from Samuel, whose response when the Lord
called him was, "Speak, for your servant is listening" (I Samuel 3:10). He
did not see this as an opportunity to pour out his concerns to the Lord
saying, "Listen, Lord, for your servant speaks." When we adopt the latter
stance, we in effect make ourselves God. We presume to know what is right and
what is best. In so doing, we take upon ourselves a great responsibility: to
guide our own lives. But it is God who knows what is best in the long run. He
is the almighty and loving Lord. He has created us, not we him, and we exist
for his glory, not he for ours. We will stand before him in the last
judgement, not he before us. If we have truly understood God's nature, then
with Jesus our first concern in prayer will not be for the granting of our
desires. It will rather be, "Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your
will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."

- Millard J. Erickson in CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY, Second edition, Chapter 14, "The
Goodness of God," Baker Books, 1998, p. 326.

[I never dreamed that I would be turning to a thick volume of systematic
theology for inspiration and direction about worship, but it makes perfect
sense, doesn't it? Because to worship God, we must first know about God.]

Have a great week,

Chip Stam
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Music and Worship
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Louisville, Kentucky