The Worship Quote of the Week for (11/16/2004):

Feeling and Acting
Last week we looked at the importance of “right thinking” in Christian worship—we need sound doctrine. Today’s WORSHIP QUOTE looks at the priority of faithful acts of worship. The author is pastor/author Eugene Peterson.

Feelings are great liars. If Christians only worshiped when they felt like it, there would be precious little worship that went on. Feelings are important in many areas, but completely unreliable in matters of faith. . . . We think that if we don’t FEEL something there can be no authenticity in DOING it. But the wisdom of God says something different, namely, that we can ACT ourselves into a new way feeling much quicker that we can FEEL ourselves into a new way of acting. Worship is an ACT which develops feelings for God, not a feeling for God which is expressed in an act of worship. When we obey the command to praise God in worship, our deep, essential need to be in relationship with God is nurtured.

Eugene Peterson, A LONG OBEDIENCE IN THE SAME DIRECTION: DISCIPLESHIP IN AN INSTANT SOCIETY. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1980 p. 50, ISBN 0-87784-727-4.

[Do you remember the great hymn “The Solid Rock”? The second line of the first stanza states, “I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.” What is the “sweetest frame” all about? Have you thought about this? In this older meaning of the word, a “frame” is an emotion, like a “frame of mind.” The hymn writer is agreeing with today’s WQOTW author—feelings can’t be trusted in matters of faith. Even the sweetest religious feelings are not adequate; but I can place my hope on “Christ, the solid rock,” realizing that “all other ground is sinking sand.”

Friends, may the Lord grant you confidence in the truth of Christ, and may your life overflow with acts of faithful worship before Him.]

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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