Having commented previously on worship services involving pets in our community, I could not help but notice this article on doggie services. The church featured, Covenant Presbyterian Church of Los Angeles, is at least honest about its original purpose for having services where dogs are welcomed, prayers are offered for them, and the coffee and donuts are replaced with water bowls and doggie treats. The church was dying, and they needed to figure out a way to get more people to come.
But Pastor Tom Eggebeen (that’s his real name) is a little less than honest when he pretends to give Biblical justification for the practice, and shows he has much in common with former President Bill Clinton in that they both have a problem understanding the simple word “is.” For he states, “The Bible says of God only two things in terms of an ‘is’: That God is light and God is love.” To make this untruth (see below) even more than a doggone lie but a blasphemy, he then tries this application: “And wherever there’s love, there’s God in some fashion. And when we love a dog and a dog loves us, that’s a part of God and God is a part of that. So we honor that.”
The problem with Pastor Eggebeen’s eggegesis is that there is another “is” he overlooked. Sure, one could say it is from the Old Testament, but the problem is that it is also quoted in the New. “Our God is a consuming fire” (see Hebrews 10:29; also Deuteronomy 4:24 and 9:3). This statement is made in the context of God detesting the false worship practices of the world, which certainly would include services saying a dog’s love is a part of God.
Certainly there are good dogs whose proper place is by their master’s side and, save perhaps for the occasional seeing eye dog, would not include worship. But there are also evil dogs who, according to Jesus, have no place in the worship of the Lord. Their lying behavior means they belong where all bad dogs go – “outside” (see Revelation 22:15).