Monday, February 2, 2009

Church, Inc. Pt. 2 "Says Who?"

Part 2 furthers the discussion on the incorporation of the church by simply asking "Says who?". So many things have become like religious dogma to us, when really, they're just tradition. Good and helpful traditions? Many times, yes, but nothing more. This perspective is vital to the natural growth of the church and assurance that are faith does not become sterile by clinging more familiar cultural relics than the freedom worship so plainly expressed by the Apostle Paul.

In fact, the New Testament is quite silent on the specifics of how worship is to be conducted as opposed to the detailed accounts of God's commands for Temple worship found in the Old Testament. As is to be expected, many elements of Temple worship have been incorporated, (at least in principle) that helps us to connect to our Jewish ancestors as children of God. But outside of the core principles of Christian worship which according to the word may include:

  • The Word preached or taught, songs of worship sung unto God,

  • Fellowship with believers,

  • The giving of gifts in support of the ministry and its efforts to care for the poor and widowed,

  • An atmosphere encouragement and uplifting fostered through testimony and praise.
Besides this there are no specifics given, yet there are a deluge of societal "rules" and expectations we've come to embrace as much, or unfortunately, more than scriptural commands concerning worship.

So let's take a look at some of these:

"Believers worship in buildings complete with padded pews, religious symbols, and fancy furniture." Says Who?

"Church starts at 11:00 am, preceded by Sunday School, and oh yeah, we're supposed to throw some type of mid-week service or Bible Study in there somewhere" Says Who?

"Sunday worship must include Praise & worship, a choir/ensemble selection, a sermon, altar call, and offering." Says Who?

"A church ( organizationally) consists of various boards, committees, fellowships, and other groups" Says Who?

.....And there are countless others. (feel free to add your own in the "comments" section)

I'm an admitted traditionalist, but I have often wondered what effects good or bad, would come of severely altering any or most of these norms?

What if Sunday was devoted solely to worship and a whole other day was reserved for the teaching/preaching of the word? Is there a need for 2 teaching ministries a week? (Sunday School & Bible Study). Do we REALLY need a choir and worship team? Why can't anyone offer a song during worship?

My answer to these questions and others is: Why Not? I believe the Bible allows for a much wider range of sincere expressions of worship than what we currently limit ourselves to.

Just keep in mind John 4:23-24

elder todd

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