"Historic Christianity"

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by menageriekeeper, Nov 28, 2011.

  1. menageriekeeper

    menageriekeeper
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2004
    Messages:
    7,152
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've been seeing this bandied about here lately and I'd like to look at it from a bit of a different perspective.

    If we (Baptists) believe that we should pay close attention to how our forefather's worshipped and what they believed and how they came about those beliefs why don't we:

    use a liturgy during worship
    hold communion every Sunday (instead of every quarter or whatever)

    and on the other hand why DO we:

    have alter calls
    use the English language instead of Latin (j/k but...)

    What should be the basis for keeping or disregarding a worship style or a non core belief/doctrine?
     
  2. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2005
    Messages:
    9,031
    Likes Received:
    0
    With regard to worship style, we do it all the time.

    In the Baptist Association where I live, we have about 50 churches. If you visit each one of them, you'll find that the worship style varies from church to church. The music will range from "slick to hick to seven-eleven*," The preaching style will vary. Some preachers are stompers and spitters, some are shouters, a couple of them will wear robes in the pulpit.

    Some of it is driven by our culture, like it or not. One is not likely to find a church out in the rural areas singing what I call "the heavy stuff." Churches in the Deep South may be different from churches in the Northeast.

    And truth to tell, most of us don't know what the worship styles were 600 years ago, and don't care.

    The question of altar calls is for a thread by itself. Same for communion.

    As to the question of doctrinal differences with our ancestors. Shoot, we have some differences with some of our contemporaries. Ecclesiologically, we're all over the place.

    Yet, we are still Baptists and we still claim the Bible as our guide.

    *You know what seven-eleven songs are, don't you? Contemporary songs, seven words sung eleven times.
     
    #2 Tom Butler, Nov 28, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 28, 2011
  3. menageriekeeper

    menageriekeeper
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2004
    Messages:
    7,152
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes, lol, I know what 7/11 songs are. Don't like most of them cause I get bored after about the third round and if *I* am bored, just think how bored God must be (listening to 20,000 congregations all singing the same song over and over again). :eek:

    I don't wanna do a seperate thread on altar calls and communion(but I will cause I'm curious). Or the liturgy for that matter. I want to know how people think they came by their worship orders if they didn't first look to what their forefathers did? I want to know why they continue them today if they haven't considered for themselves why they do the things they do?

    And secondary to that: How do they decide what is meat and what is bone when it comes to historic manners of worship?
     
  4. Zenas

    Zenas
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2007
    Messages:
    2,640
    Likes Received:
    6
    One of the more interesting aspects of how worship has changed over the centuries is the change in architecture of our church buildings. The pre-Reformation Catholic church was pretty much like the Catholic churches you will find today. The worship area was usually partitioned between the nave where the people sat and the sanctuary, where the service (mass) was carried out.

    The altar was front and center in the sanctuary. Also in the center rear part of the sanctuary was the tabernacle.

    The traditional pulpit stood off to the left side.

    A wide center aisle divided the nave, and people would use it during the mass to proceed to the front and receive communion.

    Somewhere in the church there was a baptismal font, made for pouring water, not for submersion of bodies.

    Except for the Anglican/Episcopal churches, which retain much of their Catholic heritage, the Protestant Reformation brought about major changes in church architecture.

    The first thing to go was probably the tabernacle. Without belief in the doctrine of transubstantiation, there was no further need to protect, preserve and honor the Eucharist.

    The altar was the next logical casualty of the Reformation, although it tended to remain somewhere in the sanctuary, but now as a communion table. There is no longer a sacrifice conducted on this table, so it is technically not an altar, although we often retain the name. In my church the pastor will often make a call for persons to “come and kneel before the altar” during the invitation.

    The proclamation of the gospel became the focal point of the worship service, so naturally the pulpit was moved from an inconspicuous position over on the left side to front and center. Like the altar in pre-Reformation churches, the pulpit now occupies the most prominent place in the church. At least this is the case in most Protestant and Evangelical churches.

    Rather than going forward to receive communion, we now receive it in our seats. Thus the need for a wide center aisle was gone. And with the pulpit front and center, many churches replaced the center aisle with a wide center section of pews. I believe if you did a study of Baptist churches, a majority of them today would not have a center aisle.

    Finally, there is the baptistery, a relative late comer in church architecture. Long after the adoption of believer’s baptism by immersion, we were using creeks, lakes and ponds for this purpose. However, this practice gave way to our desire for comfort and convenience, and today you will usually find a baptistery at the rear of the sanctuary (now simply called the platform or sometimes misnamed the “pulpit”). It usually occupies the same position that the tabernacle has in a Catholic church, although there is no theological connection other than being a prominent and very visible place.

    So we see that church architecture is a function of worship practices, and to a certain extent dictates how we worship. Certainly architecture changes as our practices change. I read an interesting article last evening about the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California, having been bought out of bankruptcy by the Catholic Diocese of Orange County for $57 million. As soon as the Hour of Power folks leave, which may be some time, remodeling will begin. Said a representative of the diocese, “Critical design upgrades will be required before the church can be used as a Catholic cathedral”.
     
    #4 Zenas, Nov 28, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 28, 2011
  5. Mexdeaf

    Mexdeaf
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Messages:
    7,051
    Likes Received:
    0
    I would beg to differ- I don't believe that God would be "bored" listening to praises sung to Him. I am no fan of "7-11" songs either but it's not ME I'm singing to.

    P.S. There is a LOT of "7-11" in the Psalms also.
     
  6. menageriekeeper

    menageriekeeper
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2004
    Messages:
    7,152
    Likes Received:
    0
    That is interesting Zenas.

    A poll to see how many churches still have a center aisle might be interesting. My own church does not, however, its sanctuary is relatively new (15-20 years old). The "chapel" as we call it, part of the old building, does have a center aisle and is much smaller in size.

    Makes me wonder if the three column design is very new?

    When I visited the local Epicopal church I wasn't surprised to see a center aisle. Rather more the fact that their altar is wayyy back behind the pulpit/lecturn, instrument area and choir space (not a loft, but space on either side of the main aisle). It never really dawned on me to ask why it was there rather than more in the center between pastor and congregation.

    :D Still don't like 7/11 songs, Mexdeaf. Something about meaningless repetitions..... :D (of course, its just my own preference)
     
  7. preachinjesus

    preachinjesus
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2004
    Messages:
    7,406
    Likes Received:
    99
    All churches develop some form of liturgy, but it is not necessarily formal nor in keeping with what some panel in Rome thinks it should be. Ironically in most Baptist churches today there is a tie in with formal liturgy in how we go about things. When you look at the historic worship services across the breadth of Christianity and see what we currently do, there isn't too much substantial difference.

    It's not mandated to hold it every time we meet. Though this issue has caused division. Mostly its practical reasons...however I would agree that in limiting our taking of the ordinance of baptism we have lost its power.

    Good question. Some would say it is how the first sermon in Acts handled it but it is also clearly the case that it wasn't the norm for the rest of the NT or early church.

    Cuz too many of our pastors would have to go back to seminary to learn something...;)

    well worship style and a "non core belief/doctrine" are, imho, two markedly different categories.

    Worship style is, at best, preferential (note I hold to doctrinal triage: fundamentals, doctrine, and preferences...the first being essential, the second being important, and the third being provisional.) There is no set form of worship style, in terms of music or program, so it can (and should) change to fit the context it is in. Worship style can change as a local church desires.

    Doctrinal issues are less motivated by such movement. It would take a long time to work out how doctrine doesn't change, and why, but suffice to say that it is in a different category than worship style.
     
  8. glfredrick

    glfredrick
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Messages:
    4,996
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sojourn (SBC) in Louisville does all those things. Liturical service, communion every Sunday, no altar call (as is traditional in most Baptist churches today), but they do use English. Latin is in a different set than worship practice, language is cultural, not mandated by Scripture in some way. If there were a Scriptural mandate, it would be for Hebrew and Greek, not Latin in any case.

    At first, when we united with Sojourn, some of the concepts were rather alien, but as we got into the ebb and flow of the congregation, we came to enjoy, and more, look forward to Sojourn gathered each Sunday. We also met in homes during the week.

    I will institute a lot of the practices we did at Sojourn in my next pastorate. I have yet to understand fully how or why most Baptist churches have taken doctrines such as communion and made them rather meaningless by pushing them off to once a quarter as an afterthought.

    For those curious, our liturgy was not set in stone as are many main line denominations. It was always centered around the sermon theme, and it offered a number of Bible readings, often read in harmony by the entire congregation, plus a call to worship and a benediction. To many it would not even seem liturgical because it was not stylized into a formal fixed state, but it definitely followed the pattern of ancient liturgy.

    Our communion was offered to all who were "in Christ" and doubled as out altar call. When the call is made to prepare for the Lord's Table a call is also made for those who are not believers. While the Church takes the table, we ask that those without Christ might take Christ and we let them know how to locate a counselor who might show them in the Scriptures what God says concerning salvation (or any other issue requiring pastoral counsel).

    The entire church then moves to a station (we have several to speed the process) where they take a piece of the loaf and dip it in the wine or juice (whatever the conscience allows). The words of the service are spoken over all who take the bread and the cup, "This is the Lord's body, broken for you..." and "This is the blood of the Lord, shed for you..." People return to their seats to pray, worship, or whatever they feel led to do in response. The praise band is singing a hymn of worship in the background and many join the singing.

    I found the practice very reverent and meaningful, plus it certainly did not hinder our growth as a congregation. We baptize over 100 a year and add many more through letter, etc. Congregation is now over 2600 at four locations, all doing similar. We baptize about once per month, but more often if there are more candidates. With 9 services of worship and baptisms in all of them, each service will see 2-6 baptisms per month in any typical month. Each individual baptized will also have written a testimony of faith, which is read by someone significant in their spiritual growth while they await the water. The church CELEBRATES baptisms! It is a great time of joy!
     
  9. menageriekeeper

    menageriekeeper
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2004
    Messages:
    7,152
    Likes Received:
    0
    If its not a formal liturgy such as found in the Book of Common Prayer, then where do you get it or how do you develop it?

    Something I do enjoy when I visit the Episcopal church is the engagement of the congregation in both scripture reading and prayers. Much different from my Baptist upbringing where we are usually very passive during worship. (should worship be a verb rather than a noun?) It makes me wonder why our denomination gave these things up?
     
  10. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2005
    Messages:
    9,031
    Likes Received:
    0
    I can remember as a child, that our church used the old Broadman Hymnal. This hymnal (and even subsequent editions) have plenty of Calls to Worship and Choral Responses. That tells me that there are still some churches around whose worship is fairly formal.

    We might not call it liturgical, but formal. The trend in many churches today is informality, in our worship and even in our dress.
     
  11. Zenas

    Zenas
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2007
    Messages:
    2,640
    Likes Received:
    6
    I also remember the Broadman Hymnal, and seem to recall that it had a lot of responsive readings. We don't do those much any more and I'm not sure why. For a number of years the church where I grew up had a rather fixed "liturgy". I recall as a young child reading the bulletin which would always have these four items at the beginning of the service.

    That was a pretty good mouth full for a 7 or 8 year old boy.

    And, Tom, I agree that the lack of formality in everything else has contributed to the lack of formality in worship. For better or worse, it's a sign of the times.
     
  12. glfredrick

    glfredrick
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Messages:
    4,996
    Likes Received:
    0
    Our pastors and worship team take the time to write our own liturgy.

    Our call to worship is generally a call to turn our attention to the things of God, generally from the Scriptures, and often with a responsive reading. Often it is from one or more of the Psalms, but it can be any reading that works for the theme of the day.

    We sing a LOT in our church and most of our music is generated in house. Our talented musicians and worship pastors often write or arrange our own music. We have about 4 songs (with a full worship band leading worship) intermingled with other elements of the liturgy, responsive readings, time for corporate prayer, the offering, a greeting of the members, etc., folowed by another song. Then, the sermon, followed (always!) by the Lord's Supper with a song, and then another 2-3 songs after. We end with a benediction. Our services run about an hour and a half and no one is itching to leave. Why leave? They get better and better as the time goes on! In fact, I love ending the service with some of the best songs of the morning. We generally start out contemplative and end up in high praise. We might sing a song or two of lament if that matches the theme, but there is always a theme of restoration before the congregation is launched into "Sojourn scattered" as we go to work doing the ministry apart from the walls of the church.

    Of course, all of the above requires that the leadership team know well in advance what it is that they are going to do. None of that "The Lord laid it on my heart this morning while I was in the shower..." sort of stuff going on. Not that one of the pastors could not do that -- they have -- but more that we have 9 services a week at four locations that all mirror each other in the essentials while retaining the flavor of the local congregation and the pastor who is bringing that message. On any given Sunday, we might see any one of our pastors bringing the message, which eliminates a cult of personality. All are great and each is appreciated for his own gifts. We have found that the Holy Spirit is just as capable of moving 6 months in advance as He is during the pastor's morning shower, and more likely to keep us on track with the Word instead of preaching against or about some situation in the news or in the church.

    Oh, and culturally, we are out there. To the point where a lot of more traditional Baptist folk would be uncomfortable. Lights turned down, candles, art work, "indie" music, Reformed doctrine, pastor preaches in blue jeans and flannel shirts, and a radical ecclectic congrgation that averages under 30 years of age. Our budget is over 1.3 million and we generally exceed it.

    To those who disagree, all I ask is, "Has your church grown from 26 to 2600 in ten years?" We have no gimicks. No real programs. Just the gospel and a regenerated people who are willing to live (in a verb sense, yes!) what it is that they hear taught from the pulpit.
     
    #12 glfredrick, Nov 29, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 29, 2011
  13. menageriekeeper

    menageriekeeper
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2004
    Messages:
    7,152
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well, except for the Reformed doctrine, I'd be quite comfortable in a service of that nature.

    :D
     
  14. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2010
    Messages:
    18,915
    Likes Received:
    94
    I dont know, my ancestors are all Welsh Calvinists & we dont have alter calls but if we did it would not be the English language:smilewinkgrin:
     
  15. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2010
    Messages:
    18,915
    Likes Received:
    94
    I dont know, my ancestors are all Welsh Calvinists & we dont have alter calls but if we did it would not be the English language:smilewinkgrin:
     
  16. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2010
    Messages:
    18,915
    Likes Received:
    94
    WOW....I did a double?!? LOL

    Anyhow just ran across this from Martyn Lloyd Jones & I was just wondering is this is appropriate anymore.....

    Revival

    This is how they looked at it. They said, 'Why are things like this? What is the matter? We have offended God, He is grieved with us, He has turned His back on us. What can we do about this? We must get down on our knees and ask Him to come back, we must plead with Him.' And so they would use the kind of arguments you find Moses using in praying to God in Exodus 33, or such as you get in Isaiah 63. They would reason and argue with God, and say, 'After all, we are Your people, not those others. Why do You not come back to us? We belong to You, Your name is involved in all this'. They would plead the 'promises' with God, they would agonize in prayer until God heard them and visited them again.
     
  17. menageriekeeper

    menageriekeeper
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2004
    Messages:
    7,152
    Likes Received:
    0
    It's an interest quote, but I wonder:

    Does God leave us? Or do we leave Him?

    I guess the answer to those two answers the question of appropriateness of that manner of revival.
     
  18. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2005
    Messages:
    9,031
    Likes Received:
    0
    You're right, the Broadman (and all the succeeding Baptist Hymnals) had responsive readings. We haven't done one in our church in a long time, but I'm going to suggest it.

    Also, in the back of the hymnals were choral "Amens," sung at the end of the opening prayer. I remember doing those on occasion in my youth, but not in the last 40-50 years.

    .Some of the diehards in my church won't surrender. They still come in their Sunday best. Suits, coats and ties, dresses (but no hats these days)
    But the rest of us, and I include myself, leave those neckties at home.

    I don't think that it has an effect on our worship. It is, as you said, just what it is: a sign of the times.
     
  19. glfredrick

    glfredrick
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Messages:
    4,996
    Likes Received:
    0
    I predict that you would not even realize it unless you stopped to analyze every word spoken. In fact, it is straight up biblically-driven.

    The pastoral staff never mentions any of the Reformed buzz words like TULIP, Calvin(ism) or any of the contra terms, etc. They do speak to the sovereignty of Almighty God and proclaim exagetically-driven sermons to the people.
     

Share This Page

Loading...