I saw this bilge on Facebook and made the simple point that the true church is not nature, a place or a building, but the people of God who are redeemed by Jesus Christ. OK, I wasn’t as clear in my responses to that photo on FB, after all, it was FB, the hallowed ground of random thoughts and random responses.
I get the idea of the shot. The one that posted it prefers to be outdoors, worshipping nature because nature is so beautiful. The problem with this is that is it nothing short of pure idolatry. The moment you worship nature, which is what the statement is indicating, is the moment you enter into breaking the First Commandment: “Thou shalt have no other gods besides Me (YHWH is speaking).” Worshipping God’s creation is breaking of that commandment for we are to worship the Creator only.
One of the respondents tried to make the claim that they felt “closer to God” while in such spots than anywhere else. This should send up red flags for every believer in Christ. The moment we start letting our feelings dictate our beliefs and actions is the moment we move from Sola Scriptura to Solo Scriptura… in other words, idolatry and heresy. Our faith is to be built upon God’s word, not our feelings.
I love spending time out in God’s creation as well. But never is that “my church,” or any church at all. God’s creation is God’s creation. We can applaud Him, as Psalm 19 says we should do, but never should we worship the beauty of God’s creation. That is idolatry.
The second problem with this statement, as if the first one wasn’t enough, is that it is based upon the idea that we can worship God apart from His word. True worship of the Triune God is always, and let me stress, alway based upon God’s word being proclaimed. It is not based upon our feelings, something we see, or something we think. It must always come in conjunction with God’s word, the declaration of truth, and our response to that Truth in our adoration of Jesus Christ and Him alone.
I know that many Christians will claim to worship God because of His creation. But again, true worship must always be with His word, not creation. The pastor doesn’t proclaim creation. He proclaims God’s truth. It is through God’s truth proclaimed that the sinner comes to know Christ and is saved by Him. It is through this proclamation that the believer is fed spiritually. It is through the word that we are rebuked, encouraged, and built up so that we may do the work of the ministry. It is only when the word has been proclaimed that true worship has occurred.
Creation, as awe inspiring as it may be, cannot bring this about. This happens only in the true church, where those who have been redeemed by Christ, gather to hear His word proclaimed. In fact, the only place true worship ever takes place is among the people of God, for only those redeemed by the blood of Christ, have any right to enter into the presence of God. All others, have His wrath resting on them and are not admitted into His presence because they enter through the broad road to destruction and apart from the only Mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ.
Yes, they may “feel” close to god in their own estimation. But they are far and distant from the living and true God of Creation. His children know better than to look to His creation and … worship. For we are to worship the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, not their creation.