What Are We Compromising?

Before we take this week’s lesson title (Conformity, Compromise and Crisis in Worship) as an excuse to proscribe forms of worship that we do not like, we need to consider worship in its wider context. There are three aspects of worship (Yes I am well aware that my classification is not the only one but this one helps me)

  • Personal worship: this is the time that we spend by ourselves in prayer, study and meditation
  • Community worship: this is the time that we spend together sharing our worship as a common experience
  • Living worship: this is the rest of the time when we worship and honor God in the way we live and share Him with others

Most of the arguments I hear about worship is about community worship. There are those who want three hymns, prayer, offering and 40-minute sermon; then there are those who want some gospel singing, some sharing time and maybe a shorter sermon. And there is a wide spectrum of wants in between. Some want choirs and organs, others want guitars and bongos. Some want the children involved, while others want a cerebral, challenging discussion. The list is endless and we are good at quoting (misquoting) the Bible and writings of Ellen White to get our point of view across.

My concern that we are often more interested in our particular view of worship than about worship itself. Following are some compromises that I think seriously endanger the effectiveness of our worship today:

  • Personal worship is about developing our personal relationship with God. All too often we compromise this relationship by ignoring it completely or confining it to a quick text and a prayer like a dose of castor oil.
  • Community worship is about developing our community relationship with God. We compromise our community worship by seeking our kind of worship rather than sharing our worship. Community worship is like the ordinance of humility – we should think how we can serve others.
  • Living worship is about sharing our relationship with God with others. We compromise all our worship if we go through the motions of personal and community worship without it affecting how we live our lives as a “living sacrifice” to God. This is where the rubber of worship hits the road of life.

Sometimes we look for the compromises of papacy, charismatics, mysticism, and apostate protestantism when we are harboring the compromise of hypocrisy.

[This post first appeared on the Email Discussion list, of which Maurice Ashton is a moderator.]

Posted in Feature, Growing in Christ - Fundamental Belief 11 Tagged , , , , , permalink

About Maurice Ashton

Maurice Ashton is a retired lecturer who lives in Australia. He taught Science and Mathematics at high school level before taking a research interest in Computer Science. He lectured at Avondale College for nearly 30 years before retiring in 2012. He is married to Carmel and they have two adult children and two grand children. Currently Maurice is pursuing a keen interest in bird photography and spends much of his time sitting in swamps observing and photographing birds. He has been involved with Sabbath School Net since about 1997.


What Are We Compromising? — 32 Comments

  1. Hello, this is my first post. I just want to say I am enjoying this site. Your post has helped me to approach this study differently. I will teach this Sabbath, so thanks for your insight.

  2. This was an insightful comment especially the part about corporate worship where we ought to be serving each other rather than being self-serving. This principle will knock the wind out the controversy over the proper way for corporate worship.
    However, I must add that there is a principle that we should never forget in worship in any form: whatever we do, do all to the glory of God. Yes to the glory of God and not to self. For example, when we choose a particular piece of music for worship then we should consider if it's focus is more on entertaining self, on the rhythm and the beat, or its focus is more on praise to God. Sermons too can be more about self than about God. Every act of worship is about bring God into our focus more sharply.

    • I really enjoyed reading your points, I agree with you. I was just wondering if we focus more on our personal relationship with God the other 2 would fall in line. If we really get to know God on a personal level that would impact our desire to worship God with our life style. As far as corporate worship, I think the worship style should meet the needs of the population at the church. I think the goal is to help each other to get to know God on a deeper level through prayer, Bible study, and fellowship. There is more than just 1 effective worship style to make that happen.

  3. I agree with both Maurice and Patrick. How important it is to remember that true worship is the result of a living relationship with Jesus, one in which we realize what we are and who He is. He is our creator and our redeemer. A true relationship with him results in obedience, a desire to please him, self is forgotten and Jesus becomes the Lord of our lives. I think this quarter's lesson has given valueable principles of the kind of worship (attitude, lyrics, music) God's expects from us.

  4. Your very well formatted worship plan is outstanding. Please continue to share. I would like to hear more on your take on meditation. ref. ■Personal worship: this is the time that we spend by ourselves in prayer, study and meditation.
    thank you all for your comments and Glory to Yahweh.

    • I believe , uncompromisingly seeking Gods kingdom and righteousness first at personal level will then add Gods grace to work in us and empower us to be true to other forms of worship. My aim and mision in life is now to seek, live and do the will of God on earth as it is in heaven and I believe this is the Alpha and Omega of true and uncompromising worship.

  5. The comments are very helpful. We are living in very challenging times in which we need to be very careful because most of the professed christians are indeed conforming, compromising woship.

  6. Corporate or community worship is the one said in Revelation 3 where the last characteristic of the church is said to be lukewarm. The church teachings or corporate teachings whether in line with the bible or not are forced to be followed by members. People just worship God according to what their pastors teach them as the result the whole church become compromised with errors as they are taught by the leadership . Personal worship should come in to help members to identify whether corporate teachings are true or false.

  7. I really like these views you're all sharing.. It helps me understand the Sabbath School better and thus makes it very easy and interesting teaching it every Sabbath..God bless you all...

  8. I agree that our worship should be God centered for and no other. For that is the purpose for which he created us. Again the celestial beings in heaven have no other business other than worshiping God day and night.
    Humans in their fallen nature can never worship God out of their own design but must follow thus says the Lord.
    May God help us to conform to His bidding and not to compromise our faith and worship to Him.

  9. This is a great way of sharing the sabbath lesson. If the three types of worship are seriously considered, there will be great reformation in the church and individual lives. First thing first, how do we worship our God as individuals?

    • Spending time in reading, meditating the word and seriously applying what is expected of us from whatever we have read. Its moreof submission to God and everyday laying ourslves bare before God, and saying, Here I am Lord. It calls for prayer- taking time to talk to God knowing He is our ultimate and our Alpha and Omega.

  10. Thanks for the sharing, I agree that that the 3 aspect of our worship must be develop in our life and not be compromising with our own needs or others needs. Our worship must be center and focused on God glory.

  11. I think that conformity to the orthodoxy of the day is what leads people to compromise in truths that are in fact eternal and unchanging. People then deceive themselves that they can be the arbiter and interpreter of what truth is. People can thereby live a double life where their deeds are placed in a different compartment than their creed. Thus they can say one thing and do another without feeling any dissonance in their emotions or thoughts. When they have reached that stage, it is really quite concerning because it means that their conscience has been put to sleep and only a miracle of God can wake them up from that sleep of eternal perdition. The only remedy is to daily and continually surrender ourselves to God. It is as simple as that really 🙂

  12. no matter d style of worship we want to adopts in our worship shld be centre on gloryfying God.self centredness shloud be be taken away from our worship.if u want to sing do it to the glory of God,if u want to dance to it to the glory of God etc.

  13. 🙂

    Yes, but what are we really compromising?

    Seems to me that this Sabbath's theme is loaded with a most powerful message for each and all among us who do believe we are indeed God's chosen people, people of the Seventh-day Advent church, and the people of the Advent movement, while we may yet, most all of us, still be brought up with, and still practicing, a worship format and a worship style that is very much part and parcel of that ancient Baal worship that is being contrasted against that which Elijah was practicing...

    Allow me please to be specific, while pointing to some of the particulars being brought up within today's Sabbath School Bible Study:

    What was the essence of king Jeroboam's sin? Was it not a divergence from the exact timing directions proscribed by the Creator, including NOT ONLY the Seventh-day Sabbath, which is the FIRST STEP at the head and beginning of Leviticus 23?! That is, per the specific directions provided by Leviticus 23:3! So, if indeed Jeroboam's sin is being understood as having changed ONLY the last item, the Feast of Tabernacles, among God's specific appointments (that is, per Leviticus 23:33-43,) then... How is it that we are, as a Seventh-day Adventist church, most of us, still being content and satisfied by having taken no more than one step back towards meeting up with God's own people on all of His special Sabbaths appointments as proscribed in Leviticus 23?

    Or aren't we, most of us, still being satisfied by having the timing of Passover (Leviticus 23:5-14) replaced by the timing of Easter, as proclaimed by the Pope?

    And what about that feast of Jeroboam on the 15th day of the Eighth month? (Cf. 1 Kings 12:32!) Indeed, after having been studying these things diligently for better than a decade by now, I realized that last year, 2010, Christmas Day coincided with the Seventh-day Sabbath of the very week within which fell the Scriptural 15th day of the 8th month... Thus, in effect, by celebrating Christmas, we are still, albeit "blissfully" unawares, showing up and worshipping, not with the God of the Bible, but with the Baal god of king Jeroboam, or isn't that true?

    Yet, aren't we all tending to scoff at ideas like that which I am here trying to bring to the surface? Aren't we, I and you, by so doing, "sitting in the seat of the scornful?"

    That is, as those very words are used and intended by David, the author of Psalms 1:1?

    What excuses do we have? What was being nailed to the cross? The “ceremonial laws” that were mere customs, traditions, and empty rituals created by men, or any of the direct commands of our Creator, as in “the Lord spake unto Moses… a statute for ever…” (Leviticus 23:33, 41?) Or didn’t Paul observe, on multiple occasions, the Day of Sabbaths, that is, Pentecost, together with the elders and apostles in Jerusalem, long after the time of the crucifixion?! Cf. the details at this link re New Testament observance of Pentecost etc., that is, as found within this in depth Bible study of mine[Edited: We do not allow promotion of personal websites within comments.]

    What will it take for us to realize that while being, in effect, albeit unwittingly and unknowingly, Baal worshipers, we cannot ever hope for the fire of the Latter Rain of the Holy Spirit to lit and burn the sacrifices we place upon our mind's altar places...

    Before we can even hope to gain the blessings we are so desperately hoping for, mustn't we, each of us, I and you, tune into the harmony of the orchestra being directed by none less than the Creator of the Universe Himself...?

    Think about it! As in “Remember the Sabbath Day… The Seventh Day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God…!” (Exodus 20:8-11 & Deuteronomy 5:12-15.) Or isn’t it true that timing is at the very heart and foundation of every orchestra?! Whether that of the Creator, or that of a Counterfeit Spirit…

    How much harmony can there be in an orchestra if proper timing is not part and parcel of it all? Or will the members of the orchestra even be able to show up in time if their time and calendar is not in synchrony with that of the director of the choir?

    The one God, whom Daniel is calling the Ancient of Days... Isn't He the one each of us means to serve... and to meet up with?

    But, didn't Daniel tell us a long long time ago that there was a certain power that had its mind set to "change times...?" (Notice the plural of that word 'times'!) Cf. Daniel 7:25.

    So how about the pointed questions at the bottom of the Sunday portion of this week's Bible Study? Or, likewise, re the questions at the end of the Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday portions?...

    May the peace of God, and His cleansing Sabbath fire, rest upon each our families and homes, while consuming the chaff and purifying each our hearts and each our mind's altars,

    Tree of Life ©

    Gunnar Anders Smårs Jr © MD (LLUMS Class of 78A)


  14. I struggle with this lessons understanding of conformity in worship, it referrs to the last 20 years of change, it is not looking at the larger picture, do we worship the same as James and Ellen White. Should we? Going back still farther, we worship nothing like the apostle Paul did we would feel alien in one of his services, the music would strange, the clothing, the seating arrangement, who could speak and how. All life is based on change, you know by examing your own development, by looking in the mirror! We don't choose how we age, even if we fight against it and feel bad about it!!

  15. Just what is "Treeoflife" driving at? He has evidently not noticed that with the Second Temple being destroyed in AD 70 the last physical excuse to observe the OT festivals was effectively abolished. He should also read the books of Acts and Hebrews; the former relates how the Council of Jerusalem does not impose the ritual requirements of the Mosaic Law on the Gentile believers, while the second deals with the superiority of Christ's priesthood over that of the Levites.
    I must also protest indignantly at his hint that the great majority of Sabbath-keepers are still Baal worshippers. It may well be that December 25, 2010, which happened to fall on a Sabbath, coincided with the 15th day of the 8th month. However, that worship was effectively destroyed in 721 B.C. when Samaria fell to the Assyrians and the last of the Ten Tribes were carried away captive. All of which serves to make his lines of argument irrelevant.
    But not only are they irrelevant; they are spiritually dangerous. Convincing someone that he is a sinner is hard enough; adding to his burden by saying that it is not enough to put his trust in a crucified and risen Saviour, but that he must observe "days, times, seasons", as Paul put it to the Galatians, is to demand that the follow "another gospel".

    • Thank you, Barry, for getting right down to what is evidently the real issue here. I must humbly confess, Mr. Tree of Life, that I am largely unable to comprehend the meaning of your English, although I did manage to pick up on the main thrust of your first posting here. I hope and pray that you have come to agree with Barry as well. May God bless, and may He lead us into a deeper experience in Christ.

  16. In general I tend to agree with Barry. I think we can carry things to such extremes that we end up a bunch of Pharisees. Like Peter walking on the water we can focus on the environment around us to the extent that we loose sight of the one that keeps us afloat.

    • 🙂

      Yes, Tyler...

      And thanks!

      I too… "think we can carry things to such extremes that we end up a bunch of..." dead meat, even ashes, first "six feet under..." and then dissolved into "the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death" Revelation 21:8…

      Or… Could it be that I am wrong and that, somehow or other, it is the other way around??? That is, re the timing of the first vs. the second death? I am thinking of Jesus’ own words per Matthew 8:22 and Luke 9:60… When, and to what extent, may I be properly referenced as “a walking dead, burying…?” That is, while still being subject to, albeit perhaps rejecting… by my own choice, the burning and cleansing fires of the Holy Spirit of God? What comes first? What comes second? Is it possible for me to choose to be dead to the proddings of the Holy Spirit? Selah! Think about it!

      But, not to worry, ever!, there is always a loving, able, and helping hand being stretched out to each and all of us, not the least of which is that still small voice of our Savior and Redeemer... 1 Kings 19:12 and Exodus 33:14-23.

      Reminds me of the wonderful teachings shared with us by Jim Hohnberger in his several books. Thanks Jim!

      May the peace of God, the Creator and Sustainer of all true Life, rest over each our families and homes,

      Tree of Life ©

      Gunnar Anders Smårs Jr © MD (LLUMS Class of 78A)


  17. It is rather too easy to criticize the church corporate or church members. All too often I see communications from those who think the church has gone astray. Much of this material is both sensationalist and divisive. I have worked for the Seventh-day Adventist Church for over 40 years (yes I am about to retire and I am trying to come to terms with that!) and I have seen both the best and worst of corporate church and member behavior. I have good Seventh-day Adventist friends who are liberal and others who are conservative. I have found that how we behave towards one another is much more important than what we believe.

    John 13: 34,35 (KJV) A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
    My very best memories of church life is where Seventh-day Adventists of divergent views have put aside their differences to help and nurture one another. My worst memories are the bitter fights that have divided both friends and the church.

    We compromise our Christianity when we let our differences compromise our love. And lest anyone think that I am talking about wishy-washy cheap love - no emphatically not. I have seen conservatives stand in support of liberals when the chips are down, and vice versa. I have seen church members forgive one another when marriages, money and reputations are at stake. I have been the recipient of such love and it is that sort of love that reminds me that Christianity is real.

    And I have seen the bad side too, where people have felt unwanted and unloved by the church; bitterness that eats into the heart and soul of Christian living. Anyone who was a Seventh-day Adventist employee in Australia during the early 1980s will know what I am talking about.

    We need to understand that we should never compromise our love to one another, because compromising that love compromises our love to God. We honor and praise God, not so much by the songs that we sing but by the love that we share with one another.

    "By this shall we know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another."

    • I think what you are saying is true and is one of those things church officials wrestle with constantly.

      I believe in unity but also feel that it should not be at the expense of right doctrine. I read in the Bible of times when even the best of God's people had problems along these lines (Acts 15:7, 39). So I ask then, how are we to to ensure sound doctrine and yet maintain a loving unity.

      • I understand your concerns but would add that sound doctrine in the absence of love can be destructive. I have often seen the argument of "sound doctrine" used to enforce control on church members that is often harsh and unforgiving. There is a difference between knowing sound doctrine, and teaching or practicing sound doctrine and sometimes we get the two mixed up. The Bible has a number of examples of those who got confused here. The Pharisees are a classic example.

        • 🙂

          Indeed, sound doctrine is not always sound doctrine, is it? Just as the US is not always the same as US, and just as Mr Smith is not always identically one and the same as Mr Smith.

          The words we use are all too often being abused by either the author of those words or by the hearer of those same words, and sometimes by both, are they not?

          There is a valuable legal term for this phenomenon that once I learned: Idem sonans. That is, sounding or looking the same, yet not necessarily meaning the same...

          It pays to remember that, in most all our communications, does it not?

          And when anyone among men, whether alone or as a more or less orderly mob, most especially the system and the churches that we are creating for ourselves, are forcing or enforcing their will upon another, well, that is never truly "sound doctrine," now is it?

          Or, what is even our Father in heaven teaching us about that? Both by His Word and by His action?

          May His peace be upon us! And amongst us!

          Tree of Life © Gunnar


    • 🙂

      Yes, Maurice,

      I am convinced that what you are saying must never be forgotten and, it is a good thing to bring it up over and over again. Yet, as Tyler says, we must never forget that which takes priority even over our relationships with our fellow men, that is, our relationship with our Father in heaven, our heavenly family, that is, the true People of God, those who are constantly listening to the still small voice of God and the proddings of the Holy Spirit, and the principles of God that constitute the foundation for each and every viable relationship...

      It is only too easy to identify each our selves, our own family, our own local church family, our own peer group, whatever it may be, those that we are used to live and work with, as "God's people," "God's church," etc., even when that may be far from true. I have no reason for not believing that such was the case for the Baal worshipers at the time of Elijah, and, I believe that, in our own time, the same may be said not only re those who reckon their peers among the ranks of alcohol abusers, etc., but also among those who reckon their peer group among the "system" at large, that is, the State(s) and the general citizenry. Thus, most people seem unwilling or unprepared for truly heeding God's constant calling His People out of Babylon, out of such systems of States as was once begun at the time of Samuel and Saul, that is, such as we may read about in 1 Samuel 8 and in Revelation 18:4.

      In the end I am convinced that it is all about cause and consequence: If and when, and to the extent that, we learn and apply in each our life the principles and the attitudes that we are being taught by the Bible and by the still small voice of the Holy Spirit, then the automatic, natural, consequence will be, eventually, the type of heavenly unity and loving fellowship that you are calling for... Revelation 14:12!

      Yet, as we all know, before we get to that point of unity, we have much to learn, all of us, and when one is choosing to accept God's calling re any certain particular, his or her neighbor may not yet be ready or prepared for such a step, and that will necessarily lead to some strife and dissonance, yes, even separation. But, even those things should be perceived as a thing we need to learn, from the Holy Spirit, how to handle, such as to create more acceptance and less discord amongst all of us.

      After all, isn't it true that each and every living being is created by the same God of Life? Indeed, even as a sinless creature of God! And, as was true for Cain and Abel, so we too, each of us, must learn the significance and importance of taking care of each our own brother and sister, whomever such one may be, must we not?

      [So far as I am concerned, the concept of all human beings being born in sin, that is, as "sinful" beings, is only true to the extent that we do indeed, one by one, allow ourselves and our little ones to be devoured by the dragon, that is, by the system of States, being described in Revelation 12:4... But, of course, there are few, very few indeed, to whom that does not apply, that is, being registered by, and within, the State, as one of theirs... belonging to the State, being under State authority, within the jurisdiction of the State... while thus, in effect, disclaiming, and dishonoring, the, ever highest, claims of the Creator Himself... His claims of ownership, His claims to a free and clear title to His own...]

      Indeed, why is it that each of us is always so prone to identify our self and each our own peer group, or each our own church, with the People of God? Why should I think that I have more reason for claiming such a position than does any other among mankind?

      May the peace of God rest upon each our family and home as we keep pondering those words of yours, for ever...,

      Tree of Life ©

      Gunnar Anders Smårs Jr © MD (LLUMS Class of 78A)


    • Amen, Maurice. I will add (fully believing that you already agree, but nevertheless seeing the need to say it) that not compromising our love for one another means not compromising with sin in any way. This will include upholding the tenth commandment, both in our personal lives and in the way we lead the institutions of the church, if we happen to be charged with such responsibilities. There are countless possible ways to put money ahead of what really matters, believe me. Maybe that's why Jesus placed such a strong emphasis on the warning to "beware of covetousness."

      Why did I feel the need to say this? Please don't ask. It's right, isn't it?

  18. It seems to me that fellowship focuses on people (our fellows), and worship focuses on God.

    So corporate worship would be focusing on God together through prayer and praise. But if we insist on doing things our way, without regard to others, we are not truly worshiping God but denying Him, because Jesus said, "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35 NIV) Love subordinates its desires to those of the corporate body, it seems to me.

    How do you see it?

  19. "My concern that we are often more interested in our particular view of worship than about worship itself."

    I guess I don't follow this statement and what it is supposed to mean. Isn't the whole article about "your particular view of worship?" And how can you seperate this from "worship itself"?

    In the end, it is still "your particular view."

    Bill Sorensen


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