Passion 2013 has just completed with 60,000 college students who gathered in Atlanta. It’s amazing to see the conference continuing to reach so many college students. Carolyn and I attended the first four Passion events – 1997 and 1998 in Austin, 1999 in Fort Worth and 2000 was the first “One Day” in Memphis (we camped out at Shelby Farms with our UAM BCM group).
As I was driving today, KLOVE interviewed Chris Tomlin, and asked about how Louie described worship at the Passion Conference. I’d seen several posts about it, and Tomlin also regurgitated Louie’s “new” definition:
Worship is simply giving God back his breath. (Link)
The KLOVE dj gave a warm-fuzzy little gasp to accentuate the supposed profundity of the definition.
But here’s the problem. God never lost His breath. I am not nit-picking here, and I have a lot of respect for Louie Giglio. However, this new “definition” or description of worship is an exaggerated, inaccurate and misleading depiction of worship.
I think I understand what Louie is trying to communicate. It’s a nice thought. The idea is that God “breathed” life into man (Genesis 2.7), and our worship is somehow returning to God what He’s given us.
However, God is not dependent upon us. He is not out-of-breath, doubled over, panting in heaven. Our worship does not add to God’s worth. That would be as impossible as throwing a lit match onto the Sun, and seeing if it raised its temperature. God is completely and independently glorious.
Our adoration and worship of Him actually brings our hearts into alignment with Him rather than some romanticized idea of our giving God His breath back.
Without having attended Passion this year, I’m not quite sure about the context of the definition. Louie could also be trying to say that when Christians genuinely worship, God’s breath is able to be spread in more places, in more hearts. However, when you have to define or qualify a definition, it probably doesn’t need to be used as a definition. It may be a nice warm-fuzzy, but it’s not helpful.
While many of us somewhat understand what Louie is trying to communicate, let’s not perpetuate a definition that communicates inaccuracies about worship and God’s sufficiency in and of Himself.
I’m grateful for how the Passion movement has inspired thousands of collegians to a deep love, affection and sacrificial obedience to Jesus Christ. The early days of the movement were theologically grounded and revolutionized a generation’s understanding of the glory of God. My prayer is that the movement continues to exalt Christ and His gospel instead of causes and careless phrases.