The Worship Quote of the Week for (07/20/2004):

Ethics and Worship (on Benjamin Franklin)
In today’s WORSHIP QUOTE, A. W. Tozer comments on Benjamin Franklin’s pursuit of ethical excellence. Tozer was the pastor of Chicago's Southside Alliance Church from 1928 to 1959. He never went to a Bible school, seminary or university, but his many writings have consistently and powerfully directed the reader's attention to the amazing God who desires our love, devotion and worship.

In my own being I could not exist very long as a Christian without this inner consciousness of the Presence and nearness of God.

I guess there are some persons who find themselves strong enough to live day by day on the basis of ethics without any intimate spiritual experience.

They say Benjamin Franklin was such a man. He was a deist and not a Christian. Whitfield prayed for him and told him he was praying for him, but Franklin said, “I guess it is not doing any good because I am note saved yet.”

This is what Franklin did. He kept a daily graph on a series of little square charts which represented such virtues as honesty, faithfulness, charity and probably a dozen others. He worked these into a kind of calendar and when he had violated one of the virtues he would write it down. When he had gone for a day or a month without having broken any of his self-imposed commandments, he considered that he was doing pretty well as a human being.

A sense of ethics? Yes.

A sense of the divine? No.

No mystical overtone. No worship. No reverence. No fear of God before his eyes. All of this according to his own testimony.

I do not belong to that breed of man. I can only keep right by keeping the fear of God on my soul and delighting in the fascinated rapture of worship. Apart from that, I do not know any rules at all.

— A. W. Tozer (1879-1963), WHATEVER HAPPENED TO WORSHIP? Compiled and edited by Gerald B. Smith. Camp Hill, Pennsylvania: Christian Publications, 1985, p. 31. ISBN 0-87509-367-1

Have a great week,

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

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