Brad Cooper offered this curious observation over the weekend:
Worship is the ONLY activity of the HUMAN SOUL…. YOU ARE INCREDIBLE WORSHIPERS!
Worship should be the most important activity of the human soul, but you’re stealing a whole lot of bases if you assure yourself and your followers that you’ve got the whole endeavor sown up.
Job (Job 7:11) and David (Psalm 6:3) had bitter and anguished souls that required God’s restoration (Psalm 23:3). In fact, in Psalm 43 it is the very fact that David’s soul is downcast that turns him to worship.
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. (Psalm 43:11)
In Psalm 103 David tells his soul to worship God.
Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.
Was God just wasting his breath when he commanded us to love him with all our soul in Deuteronomy 6:5?
I could go on, but there’s no way that worship is the only activity of the human soul. Cooper presents a pantheistic version of worship. Pantheism says God is everything, which really means that God is nothing. Cooper says that worship is everything, which means that worship is nothing. If my bad attitudes, depressions, doubts and rebellions are worship, God is nothing either.
Cooper’s tweet apparently came from last week’s sermon on worship where he repeatedly taught that “it’s not about the quality of our worship, it’s about the quality of our worship object.” The implication is that we all worship something, so good worship happens when we worship the right thing.
It’s like saying, “It’s not about the quality of your marriage, it’s about the quality of your spouse.” If you believed that, what misery and neglect would you have license to inflict on your fine spouse? How we treat our spouse is a central contributor to the quality of our marriage.
If we’re top-notch (incredible was Cooper’s term) worshipers and all we need to do is find God, why does God put so much emphasis on doing it correctly? If Cooper’s teaching were true, we can ignore the second (no images), third (no vain use of his name), and fourth (worship on the Sabbath) commandments. We also can do away with the whole tribe of Levi, whose purpose is was to ensure that God was worshipped correctly. If we don’t need the Levites, we can delete Leviticus as well.
Cooper is presenting a recipe for completely ignoring God. Worship requires discipline and obedience. As we’ve been discussing recently, it’s not just whatever we want it to be. It’s also not something we do all the time. We can cease to worship God, or worship him poorly, without necessarily worshipping something or someone else.
The object of our worship is indeed important, but so is the quality of our worship. Just ask Uzzah. He was a minder of the ark of the covenant who reached out to steady it when one of the oxen that was carrying it to the temple in Jerusalem had stumbled. He was certainly worshipping God with all his might, but he was doing it incorrectly, and God struck him dead for it. (2 Samuel 6:5-8)
Not only does it matter how we worship, but Cooper’s second statement is rendered meaningless by the first. If we worship all the time, what makes us so incredible? My goldfish swims all the time, but you would mock me if I told you that it was an incredible swimmer because of it. It’s an average swimmer, and sometimes it even stops swimming to rest. If it jumped out of the bowl to answer my phone, it would be an incredible swimmer.
Only God can give the verdict that we’re incredible worshippers, not a church leader who thinks everything we do is worship.
One more thing. An incredible worshipper would not ever wish to be known as incredible. Real worshippers just want to show how incredible the worshipped is.