Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 2, 1961

A Reporter Goes To Church

John Allen Thurman, Boone, North Carolina

"But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipper shall worship the Father in spirit and truth: for such Both the Father seek to be his worshippers. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and truth." ( John 4:23, 24)

In every aspect man's worship to God must be done in spirit and in truth. This simply means that man in fulfilling his duty and privilege to God must not only do it according to TRUTH, but also it must be done in the right spirit to be acceptable worship. Perhaps no better example of the proper attitude can be given than that found in the parable of the Pharisee and the publican. "Two men went up in the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week; I give tithes of all that I get. But the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote his breast, saying, God be thou merciful to me a sinner. I say unto you, This man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled; but he that humbleth himself shall be exalted." May we ever remember that even though we have the right forms (truth) of worship, we may not have the right spirit or attitude. (Luke 18: 10-14)

Report Of A Service

"Men Midst Put Jesus' Teaching Into Action!" This headline appeared in the Nashville Tennessean, Monday morning, January 16, 1961. The story accompanying the article carried also a four column picture of seven David Lipscomb College students assisting in the "Lord's Supper Rite at Otter Creek." Each week the newspaper reporter visits some church in the Nashville area, and then on Monday gives his impression of the service He goes from one denomination to another, and this particular week he happened to visit the "Otter Creek Church of Christ"

Do you suppose these seven young college students and the Christians in the assembly were truly worshipping God in spirit as the photographer adjusted his lights, lined up the boys with the communion trays held just so, and then had them all "look at the birdie" while he snapped the shutter? Can you imagine yourself as having all your thoughts concentrated on the scene at Calvary in the midst of such confusion and distraction? Have you ever had a picture taken, and do you remember the constant stream of instructions? "Look toward the camera! keep your eyes open! hold that tray a little higher, you there on the end; now smile a bit. Don't look so solemn I"

And This Was Worship?

Jesus describes the vain worshippers by a quotation from Isaiah, "This people honoreth me with their lips; But their heart is far from me. But in vain do they worship me, Teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men." The New Testament plainly states that the time would conic when men would seek the praise of other men, popularity, advantages, more than they sought God. Yet, on the other hand, Jesus says to the disciples, "If ye abide in my word, then are ye truly my disciples; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:31-32) Our attitude in worship or in any Christian service must be one of utter sincerity, with a heart single to God. Never should we engage in questionable activities which would nullify and trample under foot some principle of Jesus' teachings, no matter how noble or how "expedient" it may seem to us for the time. Remember, if we do not "speak where the Bible speaks, and remain silent where the Bible is silent," how much better are we than the Pharisee who prays in public to be seen of men?

In this day we have seen the invasions of Satan on almost every front; and now we see him invading the privacy and the serenity of the Christians' worship to God in the assembly. Upon the first day of the week (Acts 20:7) Christians are to gather together to commemorate the sufferings of their Savior upon the cross of Calvary. But who can truly "remember Jesus" when he sees a reporter busily fussing with his camera and his plates, with flashing bulbs blinding all eyes momentarily, and everybody holding a rigid position, just so, for a few minutes to insure a good picture! Are those in the picture now acting so as to please God, or to be seen of men? Let us ever strive in the assembly that our worship to God be free from the world and all its distractions, and filled with reverence for God and adoration to his name. "For our exhortation is not of error, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile; but even as we have been approved of God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God who proveth our hearts." (1 Thess. 2:34)