A week or so ago, we were looking at Brad Cooper’s gun-assisted sermon on how worship is a weapon. Although we were rudely interrupted by the Gary Lamb news, a couple of things in his closing prayer warrant a few more bullet points.
In his exposition, he criticizes existing worship styles.
In our evangelical culture we have neutered worship, and we sing empty, superficial posturing.
Then he comes to the prayer:
God, I pray for this culture, that, Lord, we would recognize the potential we have as worshippers of you. That we don’t just sing songs to sing. That we don’t just sing songs because people have done it for hundreds of years. That we don’t just worship you because it’s a sacred cow that people just always constantly do. That it’s not boring, that it’s not weak. God, I ask and beg you for forgiveness for the fact that we have worshipped in a neutered manner in churches all over our world for years.
Now, some un-neutered questions:
- What is sexual worship? If neutered worship is such a bad thing, what is its opposite? Does this explain Perry Noble’s interest in little blue pills? Is this why it’s a good thing to have condoms and sex magazines in church?
- Is worship not sacred? We’ll be doing it constantly in heaven, so what’s wrong with starting now?
- How can worship ever be boring? We’d only worry about that if worship was all about us, or if it was supposed to be something useful to us. You know, like a weapon.
- How does God forgive you for someone else’s sin? Since Cooper obviously doesn’t engage in neutered worship, how is he in a position to ask forgiveness for someone else’s sin? (Leaving off the fact that he hasn’t explained why it is something we need to beg forgiveness for.) The effect, given that the repentance is not being offered on behalf of anyone in the room, is to announce how great and righteous his own worship is. It’s the kind of prayer that Pharisees specialized in. From Luke 18:11:
The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men-robbers, evildoers, adulterers-or even like this tax collector.’
- Is Cooper more important than these kids’ parents? Of the many reasons I wouldn’t recommend NewSpring’s youth group, the most important one is the lack of respect it gives to parents. When Cooper asks forgiveness for the old ways of doing worship, he is quite clearly referring to worship that happens in other churches. The people in his audience are high schoolers, so if they have attended other sinfully worshipping churches, it would have been at the initiative of their parents, many of whom probably still attend those churches. Cooper is telling his kids that their parents have led them into sinful worship.
Cooper got the message about worship as a weapon wrong in the first place, but his self-righteous repentance for sins he doesn’t commit, though his congregation’s parents do, is as aggressive and destructive as the weapon he cradles.