Is worship really for an "audience of one"?

We all know that pop-terms to describe the church and matters of the church come and go...  Maybe the most popular being, "WWJD".  Another term related specifically to the subject of worship is "Audience of One".  The basic idea behind the term, "Audience of One", is that our worship is to be solely directed to God and no one else.  However, I have recently been thinking through the implications of this statement and feel as though I have some ground to challenge it's claim.

 

I would like to share my line of thinking with you but before I proceed please let me say that I am only asking questions and seeking feedback...  I am not making a statements and drawing conclusions. 

 

With that said let me share some of my questions with you...

 

Question One: Many scenes of worship from both the OT and the NT are corporate in nature, including at least two if not many more people.  Furthermore, the historical worship of church has been almost exclusively corporate in nature.  Considering the scope of Biblical worship scenes and the historical practices of the church, what is the point of congregational worship if it is directed to an "audience of One"?

 

Question Two: Eph 5:18-20 say...

18  And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,19  speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;20  always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father

It appears to me that there are two audiences here...  Us and God.  If there is only an audience of one then why would the text suggest that we "speak[ing]" to each other?

 

Possible conclusion:  One possible conclusion that I am considering is that the term is just not a good term.  Let me explain...

 

There is one audience in worship...  Us and God...  But we play a different role then God...  First, we testify and in turn edify each other by "speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody."  So in this sense we are the audience...  But "with your heart to the Lord" implies that we are ultimately to direct our edified affections towards the supreme object of our affection...  I.e. God. 


So maybe it possible that the term undermines an accurate Biblical perspective on the subject and nature of corporate worship.


Well thanks in advance for your feedback!

Views: 271

Comment by Stevo on July 18, 2011 at 1:39am
I have often thought the same thing. God doesn't have need or want as we would think of it. I think worship is "to" God because He is the only one deserving of that worship, but it isn't "for" Him because He doesn't need it. It's "for" us because it is essential to the health of our beings to worship Him. Obviously we're getting into some very fine nuances of "for" "to" etc.
Comment by Vic Salt on July 19, 2011 at 8:22am

I don't know who said it but I agreed with the statement the WWJD is not quiet right but WIJD (What Is Jesus Doing) would be more acturate.

 

Back to the plot.   'we testify and in turn edify each other by "speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody." '

I agree with your argument,  we meet together for worship because we believe that Jesus died for us, was resurrected and that through Him we have life eternal.  Though the focus is on God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we are built up in worship.

We worship God because of who He is.  But in worshiping God we come closer to Him and each other,  learn about Him and each other. As well as the sermons,  many songs (including psalms,hymns, corporate prayers) contain real challenges to us.

 

Comment by Junjie on July 20, 2011 at 5:04am

Being the cynical fellow I am, I suspected that the term 'audience of One" is meant to shut others down. To me it has connotations of "I'll worship God MY way, if you find it distracting, too bad!!!" That, at least is how I have seen that phrase used over here in Singapore... :(

Comment by Daniel Lyle on July 23, 2011 at 2:11pm
Thanks for your input guys...  It's good to know that I'm not completely off my rocker with this one.

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