Christians differ on the proper way to do corporate worship. But we can all agree that it is a matter of utmost importance. God’s glory is at stake.
“You shall not do according to all that we are doing here today, everyone doing whatever is right in his own eyes, for you have not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance that the Lord your God is giving you. Deuteronomy 12:8-9
And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” Mark 13:2
The true worship of God must be offered according to His word, not based on the whims of the worshipers. This is called the “regulative principle.” Moses laid down these laws before the Israelites entered the Promised Land. They would find worship sites all over the land where the previous occupants made offerings to false gods. God wanted those worship sites obliterated. He required that true worship be done according to His law and in the place He would designate.
That place was Jerusalem. Solomon would build a temple there according to God’s law. Later the invading army of Nebuchadnezzar destroyed it. Faithful Jews under Ezra rebuilt it. But Jesus told His disciples that second temple would not last. Sure enough, history tells us that in 70 AD, the armies of Rome under Titus destroyed that temple in Jerusalem. It has never been rebuilt.
Old Testament worship pointed to the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, who fulfills all the symbols of the temple and the priesthood. Paul wrote that God’s temple now is His people. They gather around the world in all kinds of places and structures (I Corinthians 3:16-17). He may be worshiped in truth without the need for a physical temple, but Christ must be central and God must be worshiped in Spirit and in truth (John 4:23,24; Matthew 18:20).
Think about it
Yes, the regulative principle still applies to our worship, but sincere believers differ as to exactly how that looks. We ought to exercise humility and patience with one another as we differ on some aspects of corporate worship. Meanwhile, let us worship Him daily in our homes and weekly in our congregations with due reverence and awe.