Church Worship

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Agnus_Dei, Sep 19, 2007.

  1. Agnus_Dei

    Agnus_Dei
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    Obviously Jesus was a Jew, His Disciples were likewise Jews. It’s seems to me that Jesus as well as His Disciples would’ve worshiped in the Temple, fasted along with prayer.

    Since I’ve been attending Orthodox Divine Liturgy services, it looks although worship is a lot like temple worship to an extent. Like Orthodoxy now completes the worship style of Judaism with the addition of Holy Communion as Christ directed.

    Since I’ve been a Baptist and attended a Methodist Church, briefly a Catholic Church and now Orthodox, I developed a chart and listed what I could about the styles of worship between these. Just seems like as I progressed in my chart from Baptist to Orthodox, worship became less and less, “man centered” and more “God centered”.

    For instance from a Baptist Church, the pulpit is the center of attention, whereas in Orthodoxy the altar which is behind a wall section (still in view though) is the center. Even the choir is off the side hidden and the Bishop’s chair is also off the side and out of view. The only time you see the priest is certain times during liturgy, when he reads the Gospel and when he is preaching. Other than that he’s just involved in worship as I am. The priest isn’t leading worship per say, at some point from Orthos the Great Liturgy starts, there’s no “hey how you doing”, no jokes to warm the crowd…we just start worshiping.

    Since Baptist worship is drastically different from Orthodoxy and even Methodism, from my experience anyway. Where did the Baptist style of worship develop? Do we have any written record of this style of worship in the early Church?

    From the perspective of the NT, did Jesus have a problem with the worship going on in the temple? I’m not talking about the scene where Jesus overturns tables of the money changers, but actual worship style. Did Christ do away with the particular Jewish style of worship or did the Apostles add to it?

    Blessings
    -
     
  2. Chemnitz

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    You have hit on something that people who study worship practices have noticed. You can tell alot about the theology of a church by the set up of their worship space. Now, I would not completely agree that the pulpit in the center indicates more of a "man focus" as it does the centrality of preaching in their theological practices. Our baptist friends can correct me if I am wrong, but the sermon is the central part of the service because they have a high focus on teaching in worship.

    Where as on the other hand when there is an emphasis on the sacraments the tendancy is to place an altar in the focal point. Even here at the altar you can make a good educated guess as to how they view Communion. In the few Baptist churches I have seen they tend to have the words "In remembrance of me" written on the side, indicating their memorial view. In many Roman Catholic churches you would find the altar up against the wall because of their idea of the unbloody sacrifice and having the celebrant face away from the congregation is the liturgical motion indicating sacrifice. The list goes on.

    In a well set up Lutheran sanctuary the altar will be at the center or close to the center of attention and a large cross in the center. The pulpit is generally off to the side and so is the lecturn. The choir is either to the side of the congregation or behind, baring that behind the altar facing the congregation. Depending on church layout the baptismal font is placed in the entry way or in front of the altar area, usually to one side. This layout reflects our belief that when we gather for services, it is a divine service where God is acting upon us, therefore, our focus is on the Means of Grace. Now, in Lutheran congregations with contemporary services the ball kind of goes out the window, largely because in their haste to jump on to the contemporary service band wagon they turn to the mega church set ups, which look cool but are completely vacuous and ill thought out from a theological perspective.
     
  3. FriendofSpurgeon

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    A friend attends a Maronite Catholic church, whose worship style and language are probably the closest to the time of Christ.
     
  4. TCGreek

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    1. Wasn't Judaism torn asunder as the model of how to approach God with that divine action at the first Good Friday?

    2. Did Jesus intimate that worship is not about a place but about a Person in John 4?

    3. Didn't the early church meeting in homes for worship according the the Acts historic narrative?

    4. Wasn't the temple destroyed in AD 70 per the prophetic words of Jesus?

    5. Wasn't the style of worship seen in the 2nd century a simple one until things changed later?
     
  5. Amy.G

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    yes.........
     
  6. Agnus_Dei

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    Was Judaism’s worship style torn asunder or simply Judaism’s method of redemption?

    Make no mistake, in Orthodoxy worship is all about God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

    Under persecution they had no choice, just as Orthodoxy suppressed by communism in Russia had no choice but to worship in homes…During Divine Liturgy we are reminded of these days as the priest still says: “Wisdom! Attend!” and “The Doors!”

    Yes, but worship wasn’t. How many times during the OT was the Temple destroyed only to be re-built? Doesn’t Revelation of St. John mention Temple worship?

    …and what changed? That Christians were no longer persecuted? Maybe worship was simple during the captivity of the Jews, only to be rejuvenated after.

    Keep in mind my question deals with worship style… God laid out the architectural plan still found in every Orthodox temple around the world per Exodus 25:9 and nowhere do we see Christ repeal this law, see Matthew 5:17-18.
    -
     
  7. Pastor Larry

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    How would we know this since we have no record of what temple worship was actually like. There is a great deal of imagination, but little else. And that is probably with good intention. God said his word gives us all we need for life and godliness, for every good work, and since worship "looks" are not a part of it, it means we don't need it. The Regulative Principle does mean that the elements of worship are prescribed and should be found in worship, but not the circumstances. It should certainly be reverent and God-centered.

    Some Baptists are man-centered, but not because they are Baptists. Baptists who are Scriptural are God-centered.

    This does not indicate man-centeredness, but rather Word-centeredness. It indicates obedience to the NT pattern and command of the preached word being central to the church. The pulpit took center stage because of the high priority placed on God's word. The NT does not focus on much on the "means of grace" as the phrase is thrown around. It focuses heavily on the priority of the word faithful taught and preached as the center of worship.

    There is no place for an altar in a church. When Christ died, he ended the need for an altar.

    There is a worship leader for your church. He probably sits at the organ. The “priest” (an unbiblical term, BTW; the NT term is pastor or elder or overseer) may lead worship or not. He is to preach because the word is central.
     
    #7 Pastor Larry, Sep 19, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2007
  8. LeBuick

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    I think this is too broad of a topic to reduce into a thread response. I would however like to point out a few facts not at all to imply I am doing this topic any justice.

    "Worship" in biblical times was daily and different from day to day. There were ceremonies, feast, sacrifices and other observances to periodically be done along with the fasting and prayer. Praise should be our primary reason to assemble together along with study and sharing the Word.

    If I understand your direction, you’re implying Orthodox Divine services are close to that of the Orthodox Jews of today. I caution that the services of today’s Orthodox Jews are not identical to the services historically observed by Jewish tradition.

    First, worshiping God must have begun prior to the Jews. Melchisedec was the original priesthood but we have no biblical examples of “worship” that I know of. So yes, Jesus was a Jew but his priesthood came from the order of Melchisedec (Heb 5:6). Does this explain why we don’t observe many of the Levitical customs?

    Secondly, Jewish worship changed over time. There were times of captivity, the wilderness wanderings and times when they ruled the land. There were times they had a temple and times they pitched tents. The entire camp or city would be arranged a certain way. All of this would vary physical “worship” though it should not impact spiritual worship.

    Third, looking at the Psalms we see songs of ascend and songs of descend. This indicates worship or praise began and ended at home and not at the building. I don’t see that being done with the Orthodox Jews of today but I could be wrong.

    I used the above to say that Orthodox worship has also changed over time. God is Spirit and our direction from Jesus is that we worship in spirit and in truth (Jn 4:24). This opens worship to being that which is offered spiritually from a truthful heart and not a prescribed ceremony or one where one simply goes through the motions. This allows and encompasses the heartfelt praise from the uncivilized jungles of the world to the high ceremonies of the ultra sophisticated and everything in between. As long as it is done in spirit and from the heart it is guaranteed to be received well on high.

    What you more describe is a preference to worship. You seem to prefer the Orthodox Divine Liturgy services over others you have attended. I believe that is purely a personal preference and has nothing to do with how your praise is received by the Father. We had one poster indicate in Vietnam they observed communion using a C-Rations box and water. I believe the Lord was well pleased with His servants.

    To ignore the temple scene is to overlook the essence to your concern. Worship had become ritualistic and greed and arrogance had surpassed the spiritual oneness and unity of the worship body. It didn’t end at the temple; Paul also addresses this with the Church at Corinth.

    One difference we see in NT worship is the addition of the Holy Spirit;

    Ac 2:2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
    3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
    4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
     
  9. Bro. James

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    Worship in Spirit and in Truth

    "God does not dwell in temples made with hands..." So much for ex cathedral. He has a chosen people who meet regularly to praise, pray, and preach. Anything else is extraneous.
    Jesus' time in Jewish temple was mostly to confront the scribes and pharisees. He called them a bunch of snakes and blind guides. He said they worship in vain teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. He said they had made His Father's House a den of thieves. Further, when Jesus died, the veil of the temple was split wide open--further evidence that God did not dwell with Israel any more. As a nation,they had rejected the Messiah. They continue to reject Him.
    Selah,
    Bro. James
     
    #9 Bro. James, Sep 19, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2007
  10. TCGreek

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    1. Even before that divine demonstrate, Jesus one occasion said, "But something greater than the temple is here," of course referring to the weight of his presence. Worship, the Jewish was, was about to be replaced, which is further seen in John 4:20ff.


    2. Good to know.


    3. What persecution are you talking about in Acts?

    4. In the meantime, it is not about Mt. Gerizim or Mt. Zion, it is about a person, namely, God, and worshiping Him in spirit and in truth.

    5. Worship became instutionalized.

    6. Make no mistake, for Christ was speaking about himself and fulfilling all that was written about Him (see Luke 24:44) and fulfill the law, He did.
     
    #10 TCGreek, Sep 19, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 20, 2007
  11. LeBuick

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    I agree TC, those instructions in Exodus for building a “Tabernacle” included everything from the type and dimensions of the wood (Ex 26:15 – 30) to the outside patio (Ex 27:9). I don’t recall a man made tabernacle in this day fulfilling the law this precisely but I am glad my Jesus did. He further taught us there is more to the Law and God’s Word then the words or the letters. A rigid or non-pliable law will not work in every situation (Lk 6:1-11 as one example). The law like the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath (Mk 2:27).
     
  12. TCGreek

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    It seems like some are intent on binding the cultic worship of the Jews on us, this side of the Cross.
     
  13. Joseph M. Smith

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    We may not have complete descriptions of New Testament worship, but we do have references to the earliest Christians meeting in homes for prayer, exhortation, testimony, and the agape meal. Much can be intuited from Paul's letters, especially I Corinthians, about early Christian worship.

    But there is also the letter of Pliny to Trajan, asking the emperor how he should handle this "sect", as he calls them, and he reports on his investigations by saying that they gather, they sing hymns, they pray, and they share in a meal. Sounds pretty simple to me! They would not have had the physical resources to mount an elaborate liturgy.

    I have only limited exposure to Orthodox worship, but do acknowledge that it has the capacity to elicit from the worshipper that sense of the "mysterium tremendum et fascinans" that so much of evangelical worship ignores.
     
  14. Agnus_Dei

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    Let's see we see Stephen stoned in Acts we also see Saul who later became Paul who was in fact persecuting Christians as recorded in Acts...specifically in Acts 8:1 ...great persecution against the Church...
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  15. Agnus_Dei

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    A few observations:

    First, if worship since Acts was really meant to be held from people’s homes, then why do we have Churches today? Why don’t we all just stay home and worship…maybe then I could sleep in and practice Sola Scriptura.

    I admit there have been and are times, as I might have mentioned where it was or is necessary, for worship to be conducted from one’s home…for example Orthodoxy in Russia during the communist era, Worship today in China or Saudi Arabia…

    Fact is Acts details the very beginning of Christianity, when the Church was started the day of Pentecost did they trot off to the Jewish temple and start worshiping God and His Son Jesus the Christ, who the Jews recently just put to death? BUT, there’s a hint in Acts 5:42 that the temple was used to preach and teach Jesus Christ, so I’d say that the style of temple worship was the same…

    Not only do I believe that Orthodox worship completes Judaism, but Christianity itself is a fulfillment of Judaism.

    Finally, if temple type worship found in Orthodoxy is ritualistic and wrong, why do we see in the same scene played out in the chapters of Revelation? We see 24 elders in Greek (presbyterous, which means “priests”) wear liturgical robes and crowns of gold who offer incense in front of 7 golden lamp stands, this same scene plays out every Divine Liturgy and all I can think about is Johns vision of Heaven, truly awesome.

    God in Exodus 25-30 describes in detail the Orthodox altar, with incense, candles and tabernacle. God describes the rich vestments that distinguish the clergy. God instructs His people in right worship before He took flesh in Jesus Christ and it’s hard for me to imagine that Christ would’ve condemned this style and set-up of worship, when we see the same in Heaven in the Book of Revelation.
    -
     
  16. LeBuick

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    Could that be why we call the Church (the physical building where we worship) the home of the Church family (those who worship under the name of the group of baptized believers)? There are Christians who still worship in homes but the size of most congregations makes this an impractical choice.

    I think the verse implies they worshipped in the temple ALSO and not exclusively. The focus of the verse is they taught and preached Jesus and not the place where the teaching took place. If your theory is correct the ones who had access to the temple had a superior worship to those who did not.

    Ac 5:42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.

    I believe you are right which is one problem with Orthodox worship. It is Judaism with Christ added. Jesus Himself said;

    Mt 9:17 Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.

    He is saying he wouldn’t put his new Christianity into the old “bottle” of Judaism. The new wine of the New Testament was put in a new bottle so that both the wine and the bottle would be preserved. A Priesthood or “bottle” made after the order of Melchisedec.

    Heb 5:6 As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

    Notice his Priesthood is not after the order of Aaron or Moses. Jesus is King of the Jews not Priest of the Jews. He had much disagreement with what became of the old bottle of Judaism. This is evidenced by his many confrontations with the Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes.

    First, I didn’t say Orthodoxy Liturgy was wrong. I am saying there is no singular right way to worship except in spirit and in truth. However I will caution that your implications that the design of the building determines if worship is right or wrong is the primary reason Jn 4:24 is in the book.

    Where do you see the scene from revelations played out in the Jewish Tradition? I don’t recall 24 Elders or Priest in the Old Testament but I could be wrong. If I am right, you are saying Orthodoxy Liturgy designed their edifice to emulate John's vision in revelations and not Judaism. Where is this scene in the Old Testament?

    If I recall, Ex describes the place of worship and not the style or how to “right worship”. Even if it did say how (which I don’t believe it does) much would have been changed when the veil was rent from top to bottom.
     
  17. Agnus_Dei

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    double post
    -
     
    #17 Agnus_Dei, Sep 20, 2007
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  18. Agnus_Dei

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    This is the basis of this thread...since the early Christians worshipped in the temple, could it be said that they took the best of the Jewish OT style of worship and made it into a Christian style, afterall that's how the Jews were taught to worship God (if that makes any sense).

    See when I go to Divine Liturgy and our temple is set-up like the OT temple and we worship God in the Trinity, this is what I see when I hear "temple" in Acts 5:42. At what point did worship change in Early Church History, from a temple setting to a Baptist Church type setting?

    Just a quick note in regard to "house worship"

    Acts is not meant to formulate the basis of our worship; it’s not definitive enough to outline every aspect of worship. In my opening post of this thread I mentioned the Churches I’ve attended and how I charted each one based solely on my experiences. So as I journey to find the NT Church, that also includes “right worship”, so it’s important we take the Bible and what it says about worship and how the Early Church worshiped and come to a logical conclusion.

    As a Methodist can trace their worship style to the Church of England, Lutheran’s can trace their’s to Catholicism. Where does the Baptist trace their worship style to? For they claim to be the NT Church as well, so there’s got to be some record of their type of worship in the Early Church.

    Here’s my take on Acts 5:42, when the verse mentions “house” along with “temple”, which is in line with Orthodoxy. The tradition of the Church bears out that each Christian house is a “Home Church”. Here is where our children are raised in a Christian spirit, where daily worship, scriptural reading and praying are made.

    In times of persecution and Christians are prevented from attending Church, here’s where the Home Church takes on a special role. It was through this role that the Orthodox Church in the Ukraine and Eastern Europe stood fast throughout the communist Soviet years.

    Orthodoxy today encourages what they call an “icon corner”, which is the basis of life of worship of our Home Church. Some Protestants refer to this as a “prayer closet”, it’s a place we deem sacred, a place were we commune with God in prayer and worship.

    But this is not to take the place of “Church Worship”, which is what this topic is about.
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    #18 Agnus_Dei, Sep 20, 2007
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  19. Agnus_Dei

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    To clarify my last post; since Christianity was born out of Judaism, seems to me that Christian worship would’ve been born out of the OT temple worship.

    This thread isn’t to meant to diss the Baptist Church’s worship style…the issue is that many Baptist claim the NT Church as theirs, and as a former Baptist I always wondered if this was how the Early NT Baptist Church worship.
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  20. Darron Steele

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    I am going to pass on something I noticed a while back: there are not enough hints in the New Testament to be able to reconstruct a single meeting of a single congregation from start to finish without human surmising.

    I do not believe that there is a statement in Scripture that every single congregation had a uniform congregational pattern to follow. This is not meant to offend anyone.

    I do not believe every congregation in New Testament times operated exactly the same way during assemblies. I believe this is supported by how the Corinthian congregation was told to end their chaos and devise an order in 1 Corinthians 14:26-33 and 14:40.

    Therefore, I do not believe that there is a single and unique `right way' to `have church.' I believe that there is only one requirement for every assembly, stated at Hebrews 10:24-5
    "and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, |not giving up| our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (NASB|TNIV|NASB).​
    I believe that as long as a congregation's assemblies meet that purpose proficiently, it is doing fine.
     
    #20 Darron Steele, Sep 20, 2007
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