Should Jesus be worshippped?
I just finished reading James D.G. Dunn's book Did the First Christians Worship Jesus? The New Testament Evidence (WJK, 2010). A full review will be forthcoming, but before it get to it and since Dunn opens up the question, I'd like to throw it out there for discussion. The point that Dunn wants to raise concerns whether or not the biblical evidence supports the idea that Jesus should be worshipped directly. That is, does the New Testament provide evidence that Jesus was worshipped as an entity separate from the Father, or is Jesus the locus by whom and through worship of God is maintained. The questions are important ones because they have theological ramifications -- such as, is Christianity a truly monotheist religion?
As a teaser I want to provide a quote from Dunn so you can ponder the question more fully.
That Jesus was central to early Christian worship is not to be doubted. He was the reason why their prayers could be offered with confidence and the principle subject of their hymns. It was his name they invoked; they appealed to him in times of personal crisis. And their praise of God naturally included praise of Christ. He was himself the sacred space in whom they met as his bodily presence ('body of Christ') still on earth. It was his day on which they met most regularly. Their sacred meal was his supper, the key elements his body and blood. He alone was the priest through whom they could now come to God. His sacrificial death had dealt with their sins and opened the way to God. Their entry into the divine presence was possible not only because of what he had accomplished (Good Friday and Easter), but through him. (p. 57).
But does that mean that we are to worship Jesus separate from God the Father? As you answer the question, what are the implications of that answer for the way we do worship?