Although I disagree with this author’s interpretation of “spirit and truth,” I think he nails a problem that needs to be addressed. If he understood the nature of different kinds of emotion, I think he could have answered the question better.
You may have found yourself in this situation: You’re having a conversation or even a debate about worship, and you feel like you are making great points when all of a sudden the person you are speaking with plays the trump card. It goes something like this:
“Well, I can see what you are saying, but I just don’t worship that way. God wants us to worship in spirit and truth, and that type of worship just doesn’t move me.”
What presuppositions underlie that statement? It’s become conventional wisdom that “spirit and truth” equates more or less directly to “emotion and sincerity.” It’s not hard to see how you can make this jump. After all, “spirit” sounds like something inside of me that has to do with my feelings (thus “emotion”) and truth surely means that I am to be true to myself in how I express my devotion to God (thus “sincerity). It sounds plausible, but is this what Jesus meant when he used this phrase? Did Jesus really mean that the Father is seeking those who would worship Him in “emotion and sincerity?”