Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Jonathan Edwards
When God created Adam and Eve, he created them with bodies to move, minds to think, and hearts to feel. Your body, intellect, and emotion make up who you are as a person, and God wants all of you involved in life with him.
Having confirmed that the Colossians were risen with Christ Paul told them, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:1-2). This focus of emotion and their intellect on heavenly things would have an impact on the actions of the body. Specifically, sexual immorality, slander, and lying would be put to death.
A little later in that passage, Paul instructed the Colossians that their singing involving the body, should teach and admonish engaging the mind; all the while, expressing gratitude in the heart (Colossians 3:15-16). Paul told the Corinthians who seemed quite happy to engage the spirit as they spoke in languages that no one present understood, that they would do better for themselves and others if they would pray and sing (bodily functions) with both mind and spirit – intellect and emotion (1 Corinthians 14:13-17).
John Ortberg and Pam Howell wrote about Scarecrow Worship (worship without a brain) and Tin Man Worship (worship without a heart) in the article "Can You Engage Both Heart and Mind?" [Leadership (4-1-99)].
If we lean, as a group, toward one of these kinds of worship, it is toward the Tin Man Worship. We do lean. And, it’s important to note that we don’t lean toward a worship disengaged from emotion because we can demonstrate from scripture that it is supposed to be that way. We lean that way because of our church history. Those through whom we trace our spiritual background did what we do; but not all the way back to the first century. God has called us to engage the heart.
Jonathan Edwards wrote in his Religious Affections, “That religion which God requires, and will accept, does not consist in weak, dull, and lifeless wouldlings raising us but a little above a state of indifference.” Wouldlings is a word coined by Edwards to refer to weak drives to do those things which a Christian has said he “would” do. Weak inclinations are to be replaced with a fervent spirit. So he continued, “God, in his Word, greatly insists upon it that we be in good earnest, fervent in spirit, and our hearts vigorously engaged in religion: ‘Be fervent in spirit, serving the Lord’ (Romans 12:11).”
It’s time for us to create a better balance of worship. We have excelled in worship with mind and body. Let’s now excel in worship with mind, body, and spirit. That’s all of who you are! That’s Life at Work!