The first mention of “worshiptainment” I am aware of was almost a decade ago. Worshiptainment is the co-mingling of worship and entertainment. With the rock concert atmosphere, lights, and enthusiastic approval, Worshiptainment is a self-centered and industrious undertaking that fails to safeguard that which is holy from that which is profane.

Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them. —Ezekiel 22:26 (KJV)

The atmosphere in these places is so akin to that of a rock concert that the only thing missing is a sea of lit cigarette lighters. But, throw in a couple of Hallelujahs, the name of Yeshua and, POOF, it is now a worship service.

Where did the Church ever get the idea that the Scriptures allow the Church to downgrade what is supposed to be God-focused worship into mere entertainment?

God is spirit and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth —John 4:24.

In both the tabernacle and later the temple, the “holy things” of God were not to be treated as unholy. “Holy things” were never to be used for personal pleasure or entertainment. Not even the incense was to be duplicated for personal use or enjoyment under penalty of death (Exodus 30:37,38). Even the incense was sacred.

The sons of Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, died because they burned incense using “strange fire” (Leviticus 10:1ff). The “strange fire” which Nadab and Abihu used was fire not taken from the brazen altar where God had commanded (Leviticus 16:12). The brazen altar was the place of sacrifice for sin. Only our thankfulness for being cleansed from our sin can be the fire which ignites our prayers, our worship, and our praise. It was, therefore, mandatory to follow God’s instructions. To deviate from God’s specific instructions was to dishonor God. After God killed Aaron’s sons, Moses reminded him with these words:

It is what the LORD spoke, saying, ‘By those who come near me I will be treated as holy, And before all the people I will be honored.’ (Leviticus 10:3)

God also killed Hophni and Phinehas, sons of Eli the High Priest, because of their irreverence in worship. Their irreverence in worshiping and ministering before God displeased him (1 Samuel 2:12ff). Because of the manner in which they treated the sacrifice and worship, God said they despised them. They were irreverent by not following God’s instructions and taking unto themselves what was exclusively God’s.

In similar fashion today, people are showing that same spirit of irreverence by ignoring God’s instructions. Apparently people today believe that worship in the New Testament is boring. Because unless the worship satisfies their own senses, they are simply not interested. Many times I have people make a statement like, “Worship was not very good today; I did not get much out of it.” If worship is ever “bad” it is always the fault of the one doing the worshiping. If you did not get anything out of a worship service, then maybe, just maybe you did it right. Worship is something you GIVE to God. You are not SUPPOSED to get anything, you are supposed to GIVE everything you have in your heart to God.

It is like going to someone’s birthday party and complaining that the party was not very good because YOU did not get something. At the worship service it is God who is ENTITLED to receive, not those doing the worshiping.

Worship, in the sense of our response to God’s “worth-ship,” is strictly and wholly for God. Worship is not entered into so that we may RECEIVE something. God alone is to be the sole recipient. Our position in true worship, “in spirit and in truth,” must be one of giving...giving to the one whose worth-ship we recognize and dote upon. If we receive anything from our “service” demonstrating God’s worth-ship, it must be only in a derived sense, and not as our singular goal.

All that comes into the presence of God has to be holy. Every sacrifice, every prayer, everything has to be holy. Before the Old Testament priests could minister before God, they could not even approach him until they had been cleansed, and then clothed with holy garments. And every sacrifice that came before God was explicitly prescribed by God, and could only be offered in the way God commanded.

Too many churches today offer entertainment and call it holy music. They offer infotainment, psycho-babble, and self-help lessons and call it the Gospel. What was supposed to be holy is no longer holy. More on this later.

According to the Bible, it is possible to worship God in vain (Matthew 15:7-9; Mark 7:6,7). Our worship is made vain when we elevate man-made doctrines to the level of God’s will. Entertainment based “worship” is aimed directly at the less spiritual part of man.

Because worship to God is a personal exercise, there is no way to ensure that everyone is worshiping in the right spirit. However, that does not relieve the Church of its responsibility to provide the only environment where that can happen. The Church today must do what the Church of the New Testament is supposed to do, and the New Testament Church should follow the examples and principles laid down for us by Yeshua and the New Testament writers.

To drag true “worship” even further into the realm of entertainment, today’s churches no longer place a premium on the Bible. Once the pompoms and instruments are set aside after that robust and energetic worshiptainment session, then begins the “cool down” period where the audio/visual ministry will put up a verse of Scripture on the screen for you, eliminating the need for people to carry that pesky, heavy, cumbersome, controversial BIBLE around.

Even worse, those verses are often in some Milquetoast version such as the
Good News or The Way. Gone are the days of learning where the books of the Bible are by actually turning to them. Apparently learning the books of the Bible and how to find them puts too much pressure on people.

What did worship look like in the New Testament? Only the inspired Word of God was read and studied as authoritative. Prayers are directed to God through Yeshua Messiah and no one else. Communion (the Lord’s Supper) is a time of reverent reflection on the meaning of Yeshua’s death. We should take a closer look at our model.

And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them. And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him. And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus. And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee. And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone? But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts? Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins,( he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house. And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God. And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day. —Luke 5:17-26

Now here is an amazing passage of scripture. Let me begin by citing the highlights of the passage:

  • Yeshua was teaching
  • Religious leaders were present
  • The power (dumanis, spiritual ability) was present to heal them

Now here we must make an assumption based upon other passages of scripture. We must assume that since the POWER of God was present to heal, that Yeshua was not teaching a class on carpentry or fishing.

Since God's POWER to heal was present, we may look to Romans 1:16 where we are told:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Additional verses which marry the power of God with the gospel, either directly or indirectly are:

For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. —1 Corinthians 1:18

That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. —1 Corinthians 2:5

By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, —2 Corinthians 6:7

For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you. —2 Corinthians 13:4

Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; —2 Timothy 1:8

From these passages of Scripture we may accurately conclude that Yeshua was teaching God’s Word, the gospel. Thus, owing to that teaching, the POWER of God was present to heal, because the gospel was being proclaimed.

None of the religious leaders were healed, even though God’s POWER to heal was present. Only one man, acting in faith, received healing. Before the man was physically healed, his sins were forgiven. After the man had received physical healing, THEY WERE ALL AMAZED, AND THEY GLORIFIED GOD, AND WERE FILLED WITH REVERENCE.

Yeshua is teaching, God’s power is present, a man is healed of the palsy, sins are forgiven, God is glorified and reverenced. All of this spiritual bounty and not one song has been sung. The same sort of pattern is repeated over and over again in the New Testament.

It must be duly noted at this point that, as wonderful and even as needful as worship is, it is nowhere in Scripture declared to be, “the power of God.” And there is a very good reason for that. Worship is not FOR salvation, it is the natural result OF salvation. The unsaved do not worship God, and they certainly do not worship him in spirit and in truth. If worship resulted in our salvation, then salvation would be by works rather than by grace and appropriated through faith.

Worship is NOT for man to enjoy (though man is perfectly free to enjoy it). Worship is for God to enjoy. The purpose of worship, as previously stated, is to make known in thought, word, and deed, the infinite worthiness of God to receive such adoration. It must be understood, therefore, that worship is not simply a few campfire songs; it is not just a sermon or the reading of some scriptures; it is not exclusively prayer, nor praise either.

The life of Yeshua was a life of worship and devotion to the Father. Even though Scripture does not officially declare his worship, we may rightly view ALL that he did and ALL that he said as being a part of his LIFE OF WORSHIP.

We should no longer offer to God the profane by mingling worship with entertainment. Offer the worship that God has prescribed. Worshiptainment is not pleasing to God. We should make every effort to detach ourselves from churches entrenched in worshiptainment and get back to basics.