September 16th, 2006

Worship the Father or Jesus?

Jesus statue

Do members of the LDS church worship Heavenly Father or Jesus Christ?

There are numerous scriptures explaining that we worship the Father while believing in Christ:

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. (John 4:23)

…and when that day shall come that they shall believe in Christ, and worship the Father in his name, with pure hearts and clean hands… (2 Ne. 25:16)

Behold, they believed in Christ and worshiped the Father in his name, and also we worship the Father in his name… (Jacob 4:5)

And you shall fall down and worship the Father in my name. (D&C 18:40)

And we know that all men must repent and believe on the name of Jesus Christ, and worship the Father in his name, and endure in faith on his name to the end, or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God. (D&C 20:29)

The only time in the scriptures (that I’m aware of) of Christ being worshipped is when he was in the company of those worshipping him. In the Old World:

And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him. (Matthew 28:9)

And in the New World:

Father, thou hast given them the Holy Ghost because they believe in me; and thou seest that they believe in me because thou hearest them, and they pray unto me; and they pray unto me because I am with them. (3 Nephi 19:22)

While these scriptures may seem to make the answer black and white, President Hinckley throws something of his own into the mix. In his July 2006 article “In These Three I Believe“, he stated that he worships both the Father and Jesus Christ. Referring to Heavenly Father, he said:

This is the Almighty of whom I stand in awe and reverence. It is He to whom I look in fear and trembling. It is He whom I worship and unto whom I give honor and praise and glory. He is my Heavenly Father, who has invited me to come unto Him in prayer, to speak with Him, with the promised assurance that He will hear and respond.

And referring to Jesus, he said:

He is the Savior and the Redeemer of the world. … I worship Him as I worship His Father, in spirit and in truth. I thank Him and kneel before His wounded feet and hands and side, amazed at the love He offers me.

So do we worship both Heavenly Father and Jesus? It might help to determine what ‘worship’ is. President Joseph Fielding Smith defined ‘worship’ by saying:

We believe that worship is far more than prayer and preaching and gospel performance. The supreme act of worship is to keep the commandments, to follow in the footsteps of the Son of God, to do ever those things that please him. It is one thing to give lip service to the Lord; it is quite another to respect and honor his will by following the example he has set for us.

The Oxford Dictionary defines ‘worship’ as “the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity”.

So whom do we worship? Do we only worship the Father in Jesus’ name? Or can we worship Jesus as well? Since they are “one”, is it wrong to worship Jesus as well as the Father? Is such an act misguided and disrespectful?

If to worship is to have feelings of reverence and adoration, can we not have these feelings for both God and His Son? If, as Pres. Smith says, to worship is to keep the commandments, and we are given God’s commandments through Jesus, can we not worship both of them?

Note: for further discussion on this topic, visit Blogger of Jared or By Common Consent.

5 Responses to “Worship the Father or Jesus?”

  1. Connor
    September 18, 2006 at 7:35 am #

    I just came across another verse that mentions worshipping Christ:

    And now behold, I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out. (2 Nephi 25:29)

    and also:

    Therefore the true believers in Christ, and the true worshipers of Christ, (among whom were the athree disciples of Jesus who should tarry) were called Nephites, and Jacobites, and Josephites, and Zoramites. (4 Nephi 1:37)

  2. Chip
    September 19, 2006 at 5:54 pm #

    And to add to your question, “Which role is more important to us? the role of Jesus as our spiritual brother or the role of Jesus as our spiritual father?”

  3. Chip
    September 21, 2006 at 4:23 am #

    I believe that Jesus has shown the example for worshipping the Father. Jesus, I believe, knows His “place” with the Father, and that we can emulate His worship of the Father. In general, the Father is the object of our worship, and the Son is the means to our worship. To worship is to pay homage to the Father. We pray and we bless “in the name of Christ” which is, I believe, the key to being recognized or identified by God the Father. To worship in the name of Jesus probably means “using” or referencing the name of Jesus which gives us license or authority to approach God. The name of Jesus is used to validate our woship, to authorize our prayers and requests. I think the phrase “to take the name of the Lord in vain” actually means to use this authority vainly. On a side note, it may also refer to the act of abusing the authority of the priesthood by practicing unrighteous dominion as defined in D&C 121.

  4. Faber
    October 23, 2016 at 5:17 am #

    Charles W. Penrose: There need not be any confusion in our minds regarding these important things. It is important that we should know something about the Being whom we worship—the Father, for it is the Father whom we worship. We do not pray to the Son nor to the Holy Ghost; we pray to the Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son, under the influence and guidance of the Holy Ghost. (General Conference, 1915)

    Based on the evidence here as well as what has been supplied – and what else exists the LDS have what is called a contradiction.

  5. Rashel Garcia
    January 8, 2018 at 8:00 am #

    December 2017
    Crecimiento Espiritual
    biblical doctrine
    doctrina bíblica
    Are we to worship the Holy Spirit?
    December 28, 2017

    Are we to worship the Holy Spirit?

    This question has been raised due to the fact that direct command is not given to worship Him in the Word of God.

    First, we must remember that the Bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit.

    2 Peter 1:20-21
    But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, 21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

    So if in the Word of God we were to find a passage saying “Worship the Spirit of God,” it would be the same as the Spirit saying “worship me”. The Spirit will always demonstrate the same character as the Son. The Son did not glorify Himself. He waited for the Father to reveal his glory.

    John 8:50, 54
    “But I do not seek My glory; there is One who seeks and judges. …” If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God…” NASU

    Did Jesus reveal the Holy Spirit’s glory? Jesus placed the Holy Spirit in a higher place of honor them Himself by saying…

    Luke 12:10
    “And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him.” NASU

    Jesus wasn’t after vain glory. He didn’t want people to hypocritically honor Him.

    John 5:41
    “I do not receive glory from men…” NASU

    He wanted for the Father to bring a true revelation of His deity and glory to those He chose to reveal this to.

    John 6:44-45
    “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. 45 “It is written in the prophets, ‘AND THEY SHALL ALL BE TAUGHT OF GOD.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.” NASU

    Although Jesus never ordered worship for Himself but rather waited for the Father to reveal his worthiness, He did receive worship when given.

    Matt 14:31-33
    “When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. 33 And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!” NASU

    John 9:35-39
    “Jesus heard that they had put him out, and finding him, He said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36 He answered, ” Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?” 37 Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him, and He is the one who is talking with you.” 38 And he said, “Lord, I believe.” And he worshiped Him. “ NASU

    Matt 28:9
    “And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him.” NASU

    The scripture says to worship only God.

    Ex 20:3-5
    “You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. 5 ” You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God…” NASU

    Deut 6:13-15
    “You shall fear only the Lord your God; and you shall worship Him and swear by His name. 14 ” You shall not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who surround you, 15 for the Lord your God in the midst of you is a jealous God…”. NASU

    So acceptance of worship was proof that Jesus was God.

    If we are to worship God, than the Spirit of God is worthy of worship. The fact that the Spirit does not command us to worship tells us that He too waits for the Father’s revelation of His worthiness.

    In the Old Testament, the Father’s deity was contested by false gods. In the New Testament, the Son’s deity was contested by the Jews. In our time the deity of the Holy Spirit is being contested by some circles of Christians.

    If we can’t worship Him, we are saying He isn’t God. The fact that He lives inside of us doesn’t mean we can’t worship Him. We are not worshipping ourselves if we worship His manifest presence. Jesus received worship while living in a mortal body. That doesn’t mean He was saying mortal men are worthy of worship. He was God even while trapped in time and space by His own will and the Father’s will.

    The idea that worship of the Holy Presence of God is occultism is blasphemous. Either He is God and worthy of worship or He is not God at all. The distinctive attributes of deity are omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence. They existed in eternity before creation and they are Creators, not creation. These are the Triune God we serve and we have no evidence to conclude that despite their agreement in all of these factors, they would consider one of themselves unworthy of adoration.

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