Means or End?
Christian church: Is worship a means to another end, or is it an end in
MEANS OR END?
Worship is an end in itself; it is not a means to something else. Karl Barth
has appropriately declared that the "church’s worship is the OPUS DEI, the
work of God, which is carried out for its own sake." When we try to worship
for the sake of certain benefits that may be received, the act ceases to be
worship; for then it attempts to use God as a means to something else. We
worship God purely for the sake of worshiping God.
— Franklin Segler, UNDERSTANDING, PREPARING FOR, AND PRACTICING CHRISTIAN
WORSHIP, Second Edition, revised by Randall Bradley. Nashville: Broadman &
Holman, 1996 (First edition is from 1967), p. 3. ISBN 0-8054-1168-2. Segler
(now deceased) served as Professor of Pastoral Ministry at Southwestern
Baptist Theological Seminary. Randall Bradley teaches church music and
worship at Baylor University.
[This does not imply that there are not many good things that result from
authentic Christian worship. But I agree with Segler’s insistence that
worship is an end in itself. Next week we’ll look at a very similar quote
from John Piper.]
Have a great week,
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Music and Worship
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary