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Inward affirmation that our worship is acceptable to God?

There is an interesting conversation taking place in response to my post last week about “authenticity” in worship. The question revolves around affirmation from God that our worship is indeed acceptable. The question is, if we choose to do something in worship, and God affirms in our hearts that it is acceptable to him, how can anyone else claim that the act is somehow wrong?

This question reveals an important issue that I would like to comment on just briefly. The question assumes that God somehow affirms our worship through an inward feeling, impulse, or some other kind of impression.

On the contrary, the point I made in response to the question is that the only affirmation we have from God that our worship is acceptable to him1 is his Word. Only the Bible affirms our worship, and it does so when our worship aligns with its standards.

So the underlying presupposition of the question itself is flawed. If someone’s worship does not conform to the standards of the Word of God, then no feeling or peace or impression justifies it. And if someone’s worship does not conform to God’s Word, then those feelings and impressions are certainly not, therefore, affirmations from God.

Therefore, we have every right to question the validity of someone’s worship if it does not conform to Scripture, whether or not they feel peace about what they are doing.

The Word of God is our only and ultimate affirmation of worship that is acceptable to God.

About Scott Aniol

Scott Aniol is the founder and Executive Director of Religious Affections Ministries. He is director of doctoral worship studies at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he teaches courses in ministry, worship, hymnology, aesthetics, culture, and philosophy. He is the author of Worship in Song: A Biblical Approach to Music and Worship, Sound Worship: A Guide to Making Musical Choices in a Noisy World, and By the Waters of Babylon: Worship in a Post-Christian Culture, and speaks around the country in churches and conferences. He is an elder in his church in Fort Worth, TX where he resides with his wife and four children. Views posted here are his own and not necessarily those of his employer.

  1. I should note that by “acceptable,” I am referring to the Romans 12:1, Hebrews 12:29 use of the term; I am not referring to ultimate, eternal acceptability, which is possible only through Christ, but the measure of acceptability that God expects of his children after he has already judicially accepted them because of Christ. []