Posted by: Moses | January 9, 2006


Aptly reflecting God’s character in response to circumstances that we are given.



  1. See VeritasDei.

  2. I disaggree… but I’ll post that here instead of on the Veritas site. Any degree of dependence is carried within the mere concept of a reflection; hence the implied progressive. There is no need for an extra phrase anymore then there is need to say; “The mirror reflects my image by means of a transfer of power from excited electrons bouncing light rays off a semi transparent slate and glass mediator” as opposed to “The mirror reflects my image.” The latter is all that is necessary, everything else about the means is more or less “reflected” in the verb chosen. This is especially true in a definition where inclusive simplicity is king.

  3. Well, I see what you’re saying but I have problems with it on two levels. First, most anyone would agree with it: Calvinist, Arminian, Open-theist. Though you may understand it from your point of view, they would understand it from their point of view as well and would have a different output from the definition then you do. Second, you’re argument about the mirror cannot be applied to humanity. The first reason for this is that not all humans reflect God. Though yes, even those who are unregenerate and condemned will praise Him in His doing justice to their wrong, it is not the same as worship. This is a type of praise that reflects his character, but not aptly. It only shows one aspect and it comes through human pride, not worship. I do not think that you will find this type of praise characterized as worship in Scripture, especially if you go with the typical idea of “worthship.” Second, if the ability to reflect is not in all humans, then it would be necessary to show where it came from for the purposes of clarification. Definitions need to be comprehensive to the extend that they are distinctive. You can basically cross-apply the over all first point to explain that last thought. Third, you oversimplify the point by saying simply “the mirror reflects my image.” Is not part of the frustration with Fundamentalism that it tends to oversimplify and convulude. It does both. Each very well. It oversimplifies important theology, like predestination, so as not to offend any denomination within Fundamentalism and yet it convuludes ideas such as separation. The added phrase does not convulude the defintion but rather specifies the actor or agent in the process of worship. The biggest problem though still lies in the fact that many would agree with you but come away with far different interpretations and the idea that, “All right, I need to reflect. Reflect. Come on! Reflect already!” The main question is, what is the use of a defintion if it does not create distinction?

  4. Okay I’m just gonna go through the definition. 1. Aptly; to do something appropriately, at the right time, and in the right way. 2. Reflecting; to redirect an image back towards its origin. 3. God’s character; (in relation to human-kind) the moral essence of God that has been transposed down into us, and that the Holy Spirit is actively working to restore to perfection. 4. “In response:” a reaction in response to external stimuli, in this case “circumstances that we are given.” Now, that said, “Aptly” more than adequately describes the means by which we should worship. However, this does assume a knowlege of scripture. That is all it assumes. This is a definition, rooted in scripture, it is not a thesis which needs qualification. Not only that, all humanity DOES indeed reflect God. However, unregenerate humanity reflects more along the lines of a Carnival glass. This is not apt, and this is not true reflection. It is Twisted and distorted. The key however is that this word implies an external source of power and definition, God’s character. So the idea of reflection can most definitely be applied in conjunction with “aptness” and “God’s character.” Now an Open Theist would like my definition? Probably, I’ll address him since he’s essentially a die-hard hyper-armenian. You know what? That’s great. Because we don’t disaggree with an Open Theist about worship! All we disaggree about is the means, and of course the character of God. However, this is a definition! It can be used by either side in a debate, that’s the essence of a good definition; it’s not abusive and it’s not conciliatory… it is true. Is there anything untrue about my definition? No. And I’m pretty sure you would agree. Now in conclusion. Yes and Open Theist could take this definition and run with it. However, you will not be able to craft one that he cannot. Any definition depends on the words that it uses. Let me illustrate with the definition you suggested. An Open Theist would like it just as much! =) In order to craft a definition that would be impermeable to any false doctrinal twisting, you would have to a) make up your own words. and b) your definition would need to be a accompanied by an exhaustive appendix specifying exactly what you mean. Now, your definition. “Aptly reflecting God’s character, by the grace and power of God, in response to circumstances that we are given.” And open theist would think his reflection apt, yes definitely. He would think that he was mirroring God, sure. He would think that it was in response to his circumstances. Yes I think so. Would he think it was by the grace and power of God? Yes… most definitely. The only difference is that he would contend that he was ultimately in control and determining, the grace was kinda like a pill, and the power was like steroids within the pill. Pretty much not what we believe, however Open Theists would still submit that Christianity is accomplished through God’s aid, grace and power. The only part of the definition that he wouldn’t like would be the phrase “that we are given.” That is a phrase which is unique to a reformed theology. That is a phrase that exalts God’s ultimate control and hand in the situation whereby He will bring about His glorification in the reflections of His saints. God is the actor, however just like faith “the essence of things hoped for, the substance of things unseen, by the grace and power of God.” No… that’s not quite what it says, the gift is implied within the definition. The chapter continues on to show God’s hand in the faith of scores of saints… but the definition stands alone… it stands as a definition. One which Armenians and Open Theists flock behind… however they mean something totally different then I. Both I and he would have to USE the definition in order for it to become particularly unique to truth or error. On these grounds I believe that “apt reflection of God’s character” coupled with “God’s gift of circumstances” more than adequately covers the essence of God’s roll in worship. It is a tool, to be wielded by God’s people; it’s potential for being wielded by a confused brother does not make it a worthless tool anymore than a sword which can be turned on its owner. I love you bro. But I still stand with my original.

  5. If you still disaggree… that’s fine.

  6. I do disagree, but I don’t. See, you did what you needed to do in the first place and that was continue defining. In my mind, I wouldn’t have applied the same definitions to some of your words that you did. Perhaps I just have different conontative meanings associated with them. You did, however, show that there is a problem with the definition simply by how much you had to explain it. I see where you’re coming from, but then again, where you’re coming from is fine from your point of view. It’s not you I’m worried about. It’s all the other people out there who like to abuse things. And though we should agree on a definition of worship, yet again, we shouldn’t. We being Arminians/open-theists and Calvinists. In fact, thinking back, I wonder that it isn’t being lose on definitions that has allowed heresy to spread. Not that I am accusing you of spreading heresy. lol. No, not at all. That was just a side thought.

    Don’t think I’m mad at all. Half of me is playing devil’s advocate with you and half of me is disagreeing /agreeing with you. I haven’t actually had to think like this in a while. It’s fun. Brings back memories of debate. See you.

  7. As the affirmative… I claim the right to a last rebuttal. =) I won’t say much; in my mind a definition is a tool. It is a tool to help you remember an entire subject, just like Faith in Hebrews 11. It’s not exhaustive, it’s the foundation. I think that’s what I have; God is the root cause and sustaining power of it just as in all things. Soon I hope to have a pretty exhaustive paper to back it up. As a result I prefer to leave it as just a definition of worship, and not extend it to a commentary on God’s sovereignty within worship. You’re welcome to suggest some words that might improve the mass-conotations though if that really was the stumbling block…Now last; such is fun… I agree. However, your insinuation that my lengthy exposition invalidated my definition is fallacious and you know it. 🙂 No definition can stand without a defense. So yeah, I think that definition will be somewhat of a thesis for the Worship paper I’ve been trying to unify for forever. Hence the posting, because I think I finally got it narrowed to the root. (You should see the paragraph I started out with. 8)) God bless.

  8. Ah, but who said we were following rules. I only have one comment though and it is on your intensely wordy sentence. If you are to deny me my argument on your validation of your defintion through your lengthy defense, then I must point out that your propensities for verbosity and loquacity that lend almost to a degree of logorrhea do not garner veracity for your proposals. So ha! =)

  9. Wow… I don’t even know what logorrhea is… sounds like some sort of awful disease.


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