Written by Leon Mauldin
An article entitled Does God Care? appeared in the Cullman Times (4/25/08), written by Mr. Bill McCartney (hereafter referred to as Mr. M. for brevity). The position set forth was this: “Who is right and who is wrong in the way they worship? I suggest that God simply doesn’t care because there is not a wrong way to worship Him.”
I maintain that God does care how we treat His word, and for that reason He cares how we worship. As Mr. M. told us what God does and does not care about, he did not share with us upon what scriptures he based his conclusion. But as I respond to his article, I want to include several passages, and I ask that you give them a fair hearing.
Mr. M. asked, “Which does God care about: how we worship or how we live our lives?” That’s a bit like asking, would you like to breathe, or would you like to eat? Mr. M’s fallacy is making worship and conduct “either-or” – thus creating a false dilemma. Are those the only alternatives? Could it not be that God is concerned with both? Let us not presume to speak for God. He is capable of doing that Himself, and He has done so in His word. That’s why we have the Bible.
Old Testament Examples. You remember the biblical account of Cain killing his brother Abel. But what was Cain so angry about that he took his brother’s life? Genesis 4:3-5: “And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the LORD. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the LORD respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.”
Remember, Mr. M. said there is not a wrong way to worship. If that’s true, why didn’t God accept Cain’s worship? The Bible plainly says He did not. The difference between the two brothers is this: Abel did what God said, the way God said it (Hebrews 11:4; Romans 10:17). Cain did what he wanted to, but God did not accept it. You see, God really does care how we worship Him.
If the priests, Nadab and Abihu, could talk today on the subject of worship, would they say that “God simply doesn’t care”? Would they conclude there is no wrong way? Leviticus 10:1-2 (NIV): [they] took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the LORD, contrary to his command. So fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD.”
I understand that we today live under the authority of the New Testament. But we are to learn from the Old, as Paul said in Romans 15:4, “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.”
New Testament Warnings. Take your New Testament and see how Jesus warned about ignorant worship… “you worship what you do not know” (John 4:21), vain worship (Matt. 15:9), will worship (Col. 2:23, KJV). How can this be, if God doesn’t care?
Jesus showed that acceptable worship has two essential elements: “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24). The spirit here is the human spirit; that is, the heart, the inner man is involved. Truth is God’s word (John 17:17). Further, notice that word must – worship must be both from the heart and in accordance with the directives of scripture (truth) if it is to be acceptable. Can you read these verses and conclude that God doesn’t care???
This subject is important because it deals with our souls. God holds us responsible for what we accept (read Matt. 15:14; 1 John 4:1). Jesus said, “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46). Oh yes, He cares!