Dr. Kenneth T. Whalum Jr. just released a new book titled “God is Addicted to Worship. And I Am His Supplier.”
While portraying God as an addict of anything might raise some eyebrows, the book is actually a scripture-based work on “why your worship isn’t working.”
Worship in the traditional sense of the word for many Christians is a time of solemn attention directed toward God.
There is sometimes a worship leader who instructs congregation members to raise their hands and close their eyes. There may be a “worship” song playing, for soft singing and meditating.
Members of Christian churches in various denominations have experienced this mode of worship.
Whalum’s scholarly work questions what our established paradigm of worship has been.
“God is Addicted…” raises questions for the engaged reader to answer and challenges the traditionally outward show of worship in a corporate church service.
Is true worship even possible in a corporate setting? The answer is actually “no,” unless there is some physical action involved.
Whalum’s mantra of achieving “true worship” is not new. Visitors to the New Olivet Worship Center service can attest that this particular mega-church is a bit unusual. Many have witnessed, first-hand, walking into the sanctuary and finding people lying prostrate and still on the altar. Whalum, himself, has lain on the altar with his people. It is quite a remarkable sight.
(The book even provides photos of people actually “worshipping” in this way. Children, teens and adults are pictured lying on the floor in front of the church where the altar is.)
An interesting passage in the book explains what these actions of worship are:
“…The word Worship is derived from the Greek translation of the original Hebrew text. The Greek word for Worship is proskuneo…”
Whalum assesses that the physical actions involved in true worship includes blowing kisses, falling upon the knees and lying prostrate to honor the presence of God. That is a far cry from corporate worship traditions that involve raised hands and proclamations of adoration and love to God.
In short, the meaning of these actions, Whalum explained, is the lowering of oneself in importance and the lifting or reverence of God.
Worship, he contended, involves the physical shrinking of oneself before an adored lifted up divine being.
Whalum recounted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Mountaintop” speech and the day following that speech – the day King was assassinated.
King was being criticized by that time, not by white clergy, but by “a growing number of Black preachers.”
But even so, during his Mountaintop speech, King still said:
“…You know what’s beautiful to me? It’s to see all these ministers of the gospel here tonight. It’s a marvelous thing.”
Whalum explained his interpretation of what Dr. King was saying:
“It’s a marvelous thing when preachers of the gospel get together on one accord. King knew that fateful night that he was addressing the ones responsible for teaching our people how to worship, so that the full power of God could be released in the earth.”
Because, King said, “The God we worship is not a weak and incompetent God.”
Whalum admitted to being a “self-proclaimed apostle of Worship.” He has conducted a number of true worship conferences for pastors and preachers over the years.
Some church leaders have discounted his message, but Whalum said that just as there is “true worship,” it is possible to have “false worship.”
Perhaps, some of the most important questions Whalum’s book addresses is: Why does worship matter? What is the benefit of getting it right? What is the evidence that one’s worship is working? What is the real purpose of worship?
The short answers are worship, true worship, touches the heart of God. And since God seeks “true worshippers,” He will delight in those who are seeking real communion with Him in earnest. And since God delights in His relationship with true worshippers, they can then expect that something good will happen as a result of their worship, Whalum said.
There are more than 60 scholarly references cited in this book.
Extensive scripture passages will hold a ring of truth to Christian readers. “God is Addicted…” will challenge the sincerest of believers.
(For information on where to pick up the book, call the New Olivet Worship Center: 901-454-7777.)