Does the Bible CLEARLY Teach That Our MAIN Purpose is to Glorify God?

Yes, there are some verses that make it clear that this is our main purpose
64% (16 votes)
There are verses to tell us to glorify God, but none that clearly teach this is our number one purpose
20% (5 votes)
No, but the concept can be theologically deduced
8% (2 votes)
No, loving God and loving others is our main purpose
4% (1 vote)
Other (try to approximate to avoid this choice if possible)
4% (1 vote)
Undecided or in flux
0% (0 votes)
I have assumed this because I heard it taught so much, but never considered whether the idea is Scriptural
0% (0 votes)
Total votes: 25
16409 reads

There are 32 Comments

Ed Vasicek's picture

Someone once said we are most dogmatic about what we can prove the least.  When it comes to the subject of glorifying God as our main purpose, one usually hears the Westminster Confession -- not the Bible -- quoted.  This, in itself, should raise our suspicion and get us talking.

There is a difference between saying the Word tells us to do all things to God's glory and saying that this is the MAIN purpose of man.  After all, the Bible says to rejoice evermore, give thanks for all things, and summarizes the Law as love. In the church, we are to do all things for edification.

 

So what do you think?  And how would you argue against those who choose otherwise?

"The Midrash Detective"

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

I think if I Corinthians 10:31 tells us that everything we do is supposed to glorify God, then CLEARLY it is our prime directive.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Yah, but I explained it better.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Jay's picture

You guys argue over that one verse - here's some more to consider.

Ps. 86:9

Ps. 86:12

John 17:1-3

Romans 15:8-9

I Peter 2:12

I Peter 4:16

Rev. 15:4

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

AllenS's picture

Let me propose another way of looking at this. I think if we focus on God's purposes first, man's responsibility under those purposes are seen as a response to his Creator's intentions and will come clearly into view.

If the reason God does anything is to bring glory unto Himself, then it is natural that we, along with the rest of His creation owe Him nothing less. I believe this is the biblical presentation seen consistently throughout the Scriptures and especially in the poetical sections of the OT. Worhisp brings Him glory, the display of His attributes brings Him glory, and bringing many people unto Himself through the sacrifice of Jesus brings Him glory. Soli Deo gloria!

Thanks to Jay, Chip, and Jim for the verses that help illustrate this.

Ed Vasicek's picture

In my first post, I mentioned that there are many verses that say all is about this or that.  There is a big difference between saying, "Do all things to God's glory" and "Your main purpose for existing is to glorify God."

It is not not so much that I disagree with you, but the logic is lacking.  It is a case of truth vs. whole truth. 

 

Deut. 30:5-6 says that the sign of regeneration is a heart that loves God, not one that glorifies God:

5 And the Lord your God will bring you into the land that your fathers possessed, that you may possess it. And he will make you more prosperous and numerous than your fathers. 6 And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live. 7 And the Lord your God will put all these curses on your foes and enemies who persecuted you.

In Matthew 22:36, Jesus says LOVING God is the Greatest commandment.  This means, therefore, either (a) there is no commandment to glorify God in the Old Testament, which is suspicious, or (b) that Loving God is the broader command that encompasses glorifying him, or (2) [my choice] that all creation glorifies God whether beings want to or not, in either wrath or grace, and that our VOLITIONAL focus should be loving God. Note Jesus words.  Maybe my logic is off.

 

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment.

"The Midrash Detective"

Don Johnson's picture

It is not a broad verse but a narrow verse. It is talking about whether you eat meat offered to idols or not. It is not talking about every activity of life.

There is a similar verse in Colossians...

Colossians 3:17 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

But it doesn't quite say 'glorify' here.

I think the first and second great commandments are more of an imperative for the Christian life than the somewhat ambiguous 'glorify God'.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

JD Miller's picture

Is the reason why we were created the same as our main purpose?  Further is giving God pleasure the same as giving Him glory?  The following verses tell us why we were created:

Revelation 4:11  Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

Isaiah 43:7  Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.

These verses spell out the most basic expectations for what we as his created beings should be doing in order to glorify Him.

  Matthew 22:37-40   Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.   On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

 

Ed Vasicek's picture

JD Miller wrote:

Is the reason why we were created the same as our main purpose?  Further is giving God pleasure the same as giving Him glory?  The following verses tell us why we were created:

Revelation 4:11  Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

Isaiah 43:7  Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.

These verses spell out the most basic expectations for what we as his created beings should be doing in order to glorify Him.

  Matthew 22:37-40   Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.   On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

 

IMO, the purpose of all creation, in general, is to glorify God; that will happen.  But our volitional efforts, our distinct directions as human beings are actually summarized in the 2 great commandments.  Part of loving God is to seek to glorify him, but that is one of many directives that give us a detailed explanation of love.  In other words, the 2 great commandments summarize the rest, including the command to do things to God's glory, to pray without ceasing, to rejoice evermore, to meditate on his Word day and night, etc., etc., etc..

 

Since Jesus taught that the 2 commandments summarize all the Law and prophets, then, unless you believe the idea of glorifying God is strictly NT (and thus not part of the Law and Prophets), the command to do things to God's glory MUST be a subcategory under the broader umbrella of love.

 

"The Midrash Detective"

Jay's picture

Ed, if Revelation 4:11 says that God created all things to glorify him, then wouldn't that mean that we must be working to do so and not that it will happen regardless (which seems to be what you said)?  Keeping God's commandments is a subset of glorifying God and the only means to do so, not the other way around.

You can split hairs, but at the end of the day, it's still a hair, know what I mean?  Our commands are to glorify God BY keeping his commands.  Loving neighbor and enemy alike is one of those commands.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Anne Sokol's picture

All things, even sin and evil, do and will serve to glorify God; there is no other way God will let it happen.

So the fact that God made all for His glory is . . . why He made it. I will not add or subtract to His glory by my actions/sins/good deeds, right? He gets glory by working out the good deeds in me, He gets glory by the plan of redemption to punish my sins, He gets glory by punishing unbelievers for their unbelief. It all will glorify Him.

I think there is a subjective way I can glorify God before men here on earth, not that they will publicly, correctly respond to that, maybe not even understand it. Until they see God's glory in heaven with their own eyes.

But I see the argument that my greatest purpose towards God is to love Him.  

JD Miller's picture

God is glorified regardless.  I believe the main purpose of BOTH the saved and unsaved is to glorify God, but I also believe that we bring greater pleasure to Him when we love Him.  If we love Him, keep His commandments.

I agree with Anne's post and was ready to write something along those lines but she got up earlier than I did and like Chip, she explained it better than I would have :). 

The point about even sin glorifying God through redemption helps to answer the question as to why God even allowed it in the first place.  Understanding that all things happen for God's ultimate glory, helps to explain so many things.  We may not understand how specific events fit right now, but we know we can trust Him.  Even things that others mean for evil, God can use for good.

I must say that I wish I would've phrased this statement a bit differently

These verses spell out the most basic expectations for what we as his created beings should be doing in order to glorify Him.

Instead I wish I had said, "These verses spell out the most basic expectations for what we as created beings should be doing as we glorify Him."  I knew better, but these ideas have been ingrained in us so we often forget the theology we have learned.  I often catch myself in preaching about to say something like, "we need to do this to glorify God", and then realizing I need to be saying, "we ought to do this to best glorify Him in obedience."

Ed's question is quite important because this truth has not been articulated as carefully as I think it should be and often we (myself included) end up repeating what we have heard about glorifying God instead of carefully articulating the truth of His glorifying Himself.

SDHaynie's picture

What about Ecclesiastes 12:13?  "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man."  Now while it is true that God will be glorified if I fear Him and keep His commandments (so it may be argued that the Glory is theologically deduced) I think a fairly good argument can be made from this verse, and others, that my responsibility is to fear God and keep His commandments, not just "glorify Him."  So at the very least more than one "main" responsibility exists. 

Shawn Haynie

Jay's picture

JD Miller wrote:
The point about even sin glorifying God through redemption helps to answer the question as to why God even allowed it in the first place.  Understanding that all things happen for God's ultimate glory, helps to explain so many things.  We may not understand how specific events fit right now, but we know we can trust Him.  Even things that others mean for evil, God can use for good.

Someone - don't remember who, but I think it's Piper - likens this concept to a story.  What kind of exciting and glorifying story would it be if the hero leaves home, fulfills his quest, and then returns home untouched and unscathed?  It would be horribly boring.

God receives more glory because he allows men to choose to sin against him and still brings triumph from (and even through!) their tragic choices to sin against Him.  Sin is not a 'counter' to God's glory - rather, it magnifies it!

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

JD Miller's picture

SD wrote:

What about Ecclesiastes 12:13?  "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man."  Now while it is true that God will be glorified if I fear Him and keep His commandments (so it may be argued that the Glory is theologically deduced) I think a fairly good argument can be made from this verse, and others, that my responsibility is to fear God and keep His commandments, not just "glorify Him."  So at the very least more than one "main" responsibility exists. 

I think SD has hit on something quite important in this discussion- the duty/responsibility of man vs the purpose for his existence.  They are not necessarily the same thing.  The reason/purpose for which we were made was to glorify God, but as creatures who are created for His glory, we have duties/responsibilities/expectations from God.

wkessel1's picture

I believe we glorify God by making choices that show love to others and ultimately love for Him as well.  It is our setting aside of selfishness and loving God and others that glorifies God. 

In the section of 1 Cor. 8:1 - 11:1  Paul's point is they were not showing love for their fellow brother  & sisters in Christ by demanding their "liberties" at the expense of spiritual lives of others.  He instructs them that our Christian liberty should reflect love and we should be willing to set aside our "liberties" for the best interest of others, thereby showing love for them.  He wraps all of it together in verse 10:31 by saying in everything we do, even the mundane things of life like eating and drinking, we need be bring glory to God.  Which in context of the section, starting in chapter 8, is shown by loving God and others by the choices we make.

Don Johnson's picture

wkessel1 wrote:

In the section of 1 Cor. 8:1 - 11:1  Paul's point is they were not showing love for their fellow brother  & sisters in Christ by demanding their "liberties" at the expense of spiritual lives of others.  He instructs them that our Christian liberty should reflect love and we should be willing to set aside our "liberties" for the best interest of others, thereby showing love for them. 

That is the argument of chapter 8 only. The arguments of chapters 9 and 10 are quite different. Chapter 9 argues from the standpoint of testimony and damage my action might do to the credibility of the gospel message. Chapter 10 argues on the basis of the sinfulness of the flesh and the ease with which we fall into temptation.

wkessel1 wrote:

He wraps all of it together in verse 10:31 by saying in everything we do, even the mundane things of life like eating and drinking, we need be bring glory to God.  Which in context of the section, starting in chapter 8, is shown by loving God and others by the choices we make.

No, not correct. The "whether therefore you eat or drink" clause has to do with the question at hand, whether you eat or drink things offered to idols. It is not meant to communicate anything about the mundane activities of life but about those specific activities that deal with matters of conscience and testimony and whether or not they are matters that are actually sinful in themselves. "I would not have you fellowship with demons", 1 Cor 10.20-21. The "eat or drink" question has all three of these components - it violated the conscience of some, it had the potential to damage the credibility of anti-idol gospel preaching, and it has the possibility of actual fellowship with demons in certain contexts.

I would recommend the commentaries of Tom Constable or Gordon Fee on these chapters. Both of these writers, especially Fee, have problems in other areas (especially 1 Cor 12-14 for Fee), but I think they get these chapters right.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Anne Sokol's picture

JD Miller wrote:

I think SD has hit on something quite important in this discussion- the duty/responsibility of man vs the purpose for his existence.  They are not necessarily the same thing.  The reason/purpose for which we were made was to glorify God, but as creatures who are created for His glory, we have duties/responsibilities/expectations from God.

I was thinking about this today in this way: maybe we have misunderstood the meaning of the Westminster's Catechism's statement "What is the chief end of man?" The purpose of our existence, they mean? then of course, we will all, regardless, glorify God.

 

But we tend to read it as meaning, what is the chief duty of man. And maybe it doesn't mean that. It just means, what is the chief purpose of our even existing at all. . . . . God's glory.

 

(And JD Miller, I'm 7 hrs ahead of EST, is why I beat you to it Smile )

AllenS's picture

JD Miller wrote:

SD wrote:

What about Ecclesiastes 12:13?  "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man."  Now while it is true that God will be glorified if I fear Him and keep His commandments (so it may be argued that the Glory is theologically deduced) I think a fairly good argument can be made from this verse, and others, that my responsibility is to fear God and keep His commandments, not just "glorify Him."  So at the very least more than one "main" responsibility exists. 

I think SD has hit on something quite important in this discussion- the duty/responsibility of man vs the purpose for his existence.  They are not necessarily the same thing.  The reason/purpose for which we were made was to glorify God, but as creatures who are created for His glory, we have duties/responsibilities/expectations from God.

I think both sides of this discussion are talking from a different starting point. If we look at this from the human agent's standpoint, there is a lot more to life than glorifying God as an action or duty. Glory is the end or purpose of this action, not the action carried out.

The catechism states that the glory of God is our end, not our path or journey. They journey is different than the destination. If we are trying to identify our end or purpose it must be God's glory, not keeping commandments or even loving God. That is not a purpose, but a duty. A purpose goes to God's reasons and motivations. He does not need anyone to obey Him, or even love Him. He exists in Trinity-a perfect, loving communion of total agreement. But through the exercise of His divine attributes He brings glory unto himself through His creation-including us. Are we to keep His commandments? Yes! All to the glory of God!

Ed Vasicek's picture

SDHaynie wrote:

What about Ecclesiastes 12:13?  "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man."  Now while it is true that God will be glorified if I fear Him and keep His commandments (so it may be argued that the Glory is theologically deduced) I think a fairly good argument can be made from this verse, and others, that my responsibility is to fear God and keep His commandments, not just "glorify Him."  So at the very least more than one "main" responsibility exists. 

Now there is a verse that really has the idea of "chief duty."  I have yet to see one like this for glorifying God.   We could easily go from: Main duty of man, to fear God and keep his commandments.... His commandments are summarized in the 2 Great Commandments.  There is some sense in this.

Your point is well taken.  This reference meets two criteria: it is quoted from Scripture, and it states a truth as an all-encompassing one.

 

"The Midrash Detective"

Ed Vasicek's picture

JD Miller wrote:

SD wrote:

What about Ecclesiastes 12:13?  "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man."  Now while it is true that God will be glorified if I fear Him and keep His commandments (so it may be argued that the Glory is theologically deduced) I think a fairly good argument can be made from this verse, and others, that my responsibility is to fear God and keep His commandments, not just "glorify Him."  So at the very least more than one "main" responsibility exists. 

I think SD has hit on something quite important in this discussion- the duty/responsibility of man vs the purpose for his existence.  They are not necessarily the same thing.  The reason/purpose for which we were made was to glorify God, but as creatures who are created for His glory, we have duties/responsibilities/expectations from God.

 

I can buy that.  All CREATURES and things were made to glorify God, but man's volitional duties are summarized either in Ecclesiastes or as the 2 Great Commandments.  The rest of creation really cannot do that.  So, whereas we should be concerned about glorifying God (for it is commanded), our focus needs to be on loving God and others, also defined as fearing God and obeying his commands.

 

"The Midrash Detective"

Ed Vasicek's picture

Anne Sokol wrote:

JD Miller wrote:

I think SD has hit on something quite important in this discussion- the duty/responsibility of man vs the purpose for his existence.  They are not necessarily the same thing.  The reason/purpose for which we were made was to glorify God, but as creatures who are created for His glory, we have duties/responsibilities/expectations from God.

I was thinking about this today in this way: maybe we have misunderstood the meaning of the Westminster's Catechism's statement "What is the chief end of man?" The purpose of our existence, they mean? then of course, we will all, regardless, glorify God.

 

But we tend to read it as meaning, what is the chief duty of man. And maybe it doesn't mean that. It just means, what is the chief purpose of our even existing at all. . . . . God's glory.

 

(And JD Miller, I'm 7 hrs ahead of EST, is why I beat you to it Smile )

 

One of my points is this: we use confessions and creeds for these sorts of things PRECISELY because we cannot use Scripture.  That, should make us more critical of that portion of a creed.  Rather than do hermeneutics on a creed, we need to do hermeneutics on the Bible.  If a creed needs deep hermeneutics, it is not a very good creed in that particular, and has failed at its purpose to clearly define Scriptural teaching.  Although a creed can be considered an authority by those who accept it, those of us who embrace Sola Scriptura believe God's Word is the final authority, and even ancient well-received creeds must be checked against it.  Nothing tests the sincerity of one who claims Sola Scriptura more than at such a point.

"The Midrash Detective"

Ed Vasicek's picture

wkessel1 wrote:

I believe we glorify God by making choices that show love to others and ultimately love for Him as well.  It is our setting aside of selfishness and loving God and others that glorifies God. 

In the section of 1 Cor. 8:1 - 11:1  Paul's point is they were not showing love for their fellow brother  & sisters in Christ by demanding their "liberties" at the expense of spiritual lives of others.  He instructs them that our Christian liberty should reflect love and we should be willing to set aside our "liberties" for the best interest of others, thereby showing love for them.  He wraps all of it together in verse 10:31 by saying in everything we do, even the mundane things of life like eating and drinking, we need be bring glory to God.  Which in context of the section, starting in chapter 8, is shown by loving God and others by the choices we make.

The discussion is really not about whether we are commanded to glorify God.  The question is, rather, is this man's CHIEF END.  I think I can say we all believe it is important to glorify God in what we do.  We can also say it is important to obey God and love God and others in all we do.  We can also say we are to thank God in all we do.  But the question is about our prime directive.  The Ecclesiastes verse cited above has a sound of completeness and an over-arching purpose under which all other commands (like glorifying God) fit; so do the 2 great commandments which are said to summarize at least the entire Old Testament.  But there is not statement in Scripture, to my knowledge, about glorifying God that claims to be the concept of which all else is a sub-category.  Do you get my point?

 

"The Midrash Detective"

wkessel1's picture

I do understand your point, and I would agree that I am not aware of any verse that says specifically the chief end is the glory of God.  The first poll choice says verses that make it clear.  I think is made clear, but not specifically stated.  As it has been said above there is our purpose and our means.   If we fear God and obey you bring Him glory, if you love Him and other you bring Him glory.  So wouldn't bringing Him glory be what we are to do and the fear, obedience and love all means of doing that.  If we are do everything to the glory of God that we would be the goal and everything else just how we get there.

wkessel1's picture

I did read Fee's commentary and he seems to agree with me.  "Paul begins to bring closure to the long argument of chaps 8-10 and especially of 10:23-11:1.  He is currently addressing the question of conduct in nonessential matters, which began with the overarching principle that Christian does not seek his/her own good but that of one's neighbor (vv. 23-24)" (Fee NICNT 487-488).   The ultimate point is that whatever we do, even the nonessentials such as eating and drinking we are to do it for the glory of God and not to please ourselves.  When we love others and seek what is it their best interest it brings glory to God.

Don Johnson's picture

wkessel1 wrote:

I did read Fee's commentary and he seems to agree with me.  "Paul begins to bring closure to the long argument of chaps 8-10 and especially of 10:23-11:1.  He is currently addressing the question of conduct in nonessential matters, which began with the overarching principle that Christian does not seek his/her own good but that of one's neighbor (vv. 23-24)" (Fee NICNT 487-488).   The ultimate point is that whatever we do, even the nonessentials such as eating and drinking we are to do it for the glory of God and not to please ourselves.  When we love others and seek what is it their best interest it brings glory to God.

Hmm...

Well, at that point I guess I have to agree that Fee seems to be saying what you are saying.

This is really a side issue to Ed's point, so I guess we don't need to take it further. I think that 1 Cor 8-10 are largely misunderstood and 10.31 is completely ripped from its context and misapplied. So I pound that drum whenever I get a chance. I wrote a piece on this verse years ago... but let's just let it rest, since it adds nothing to Ed's thread.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Ed Vasicek's picture

wkessel1 said: 

When we love others and seek what is it their best interest it brings glory to God.

You can say loving others is glorifying God or you can say that loving others and glorifying God are part of loving God.  They are inter-related. 

I am saying that the idea that our main focus should be glorifying God is not taught in Scripture.  The main focus for us, volitionally, is loving and/or obeying God and loving others (the two of which might be called fearing God and keeping his commandments).  We seek to glorify God (and a host of other things) because we love God, not the other way around.

This does affect our mentality; if loving God coupled with loving others is our prime directive, our church meetings, fellowship, and lives are different that if we believe our prime volitional directive is to glorify God.  So this is not merely academic.  Even Bach's "only to the glory of God" idea is affected. It becomes appropriate to pen beautiful music as a way to love people as well as to love God.

"The Midrash Detective"

MShep2's picture

I agree with Jay that this thread seems to be splitting hairs, and that to glorify God is our primary purpose in life. However, "glorifying God" cannot be done without doing (or not doing) certain things - and the most important guidelines to do so are found in Jesus' first and second commandments.

Ed Vasicek wrote:
.................

This does affect our mentality; if loving God coupled with loving others is our prime directive, our church meetings, fellowship, and lives are different that if we believe our prime volitional directive is to glorify God.  So this is not merely academic.  Even Bach's "only to the glory of God" idea is affected. It becomes appropriate to pen beautiful music as a way to love people as well as to love God.

Ed, I cannot see how you can disconnect "loving God coupled with loving others" from glorifying God. You cannot say you are "glorifying God" unless you are obeying Him.

I'm surprised no one has brought up 2 Cor. 5:9 - "Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him." I would say that "pleasing God" = "glorifying God." I have found this verse to be helpful when making decisions concerning things not directly stated in Scripture: e.g. "Which choice will bring the most glory to God," rather than "What can I get away with and not technically be sinning."

MS
--------------------------------
Luke 17:10

Ed Vasicek's picture

MShep2, you miss the point.  There is no Scripture presented thus far that says the CHIEF end of man is to glorify God.  The Westminster Confession is talking not about the purpose of creation, but the unique purpose of man, which is why they add, "and to enjoy him forever" as part of the chief end.

 

All creation -- your pet dog, for example -- exists to glorify God.  But your dog does not exist to love God and love neighbor; that is man's unique role.

 

The difference this makes often translates as follows:  Man's chief end is to glorify God.... glorify means worship (an error in logic, in my view, but nonetheless often believed), worship is about God and man is incidental (another error, according to Colossians 3:16-17), therefore the vertical is all that matters in church meetings.

If loving others is always tagged onto loving God, however, then our approach is more in line with the Biblical teaching of edification, and church is as much horizontal as it is vertical.  So it matters for very practical reasons.

"The Midrash Detective"