Sunday, December 14, 2008

Interview About Worship --- D. A. Carson and Tony Payne

Below is the beginning of an interview/dialogue between Tony Payne and Don Carson. If you want to read the whole thing, here is the link.

TP: What does the Bible say about what we call 'worship'?

DC: In large terms, I do agree with David Peterson (in his book Engaging With God) and others who have argued that the move from worship under the Old Covenant to the New, is the move from the temple-centred cultus of sacrifice and designated priesthood and high feasts and holy times, to a stance where worship under the New Covenant is bound up with the limitless extent of the gospel. You have Romans 12:1-2, for exam­ple, where cultic sacrificial language is used to say that the offering of our whole selves is at the heart of Christian worship.

Of course there were individual prayers, and individual expressions of worship in the Old Testament - none of that is being denied. But the locus of worship in the Old Testament was bound up in the cultic system; in the New Testament it is bound up with offering all of our lives all the time to God. It can then play out in a variety of ways. We are constantly in the pres­ence of the Lord, according to Hebrews 12, presupposed also in Ephesians, and worked out in Romans as well. Paul sees his 'priestly ministry' in Romans 15 as being expressed in evangelism. In John 4, likewise, Jesus says that those who worship him must do so in spirit and in truth. Sometimes we have reduced that to meaning something like 'we must worship him truly and with the help of the Spirit' or something like that. But it's more focused than that ­ it's set against the woman's debate about whether the Samaritans have the right place of worship (at Gerazim and Ebal) or whether the Jews have it right in Jerusalem. Jesus says that this whole geographical debate is now superseded. True worship now is in 'spirit and truth'. Now in the context of John's Gospel, the true worshipper is one who obeys the gospel of Christ, who recognizes that Jesus is the very manifestation of the Truth. And you also have the time of the coming of the Spirit, who transcends all geo­graphical limitations.

Likewise, Paul says (whatever you think about Sabbath and Sunday) that "one man views one day as more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind". It is impossible to imagine that kind of thing being said under the terms of the Old Covenant. The sense of cultic sacred time and space is bro­ken down under the terms and cate­gories of the New Testament.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Share This