Methodist Candle Light Service

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Nicholas25, Dec 27, 2006.

  1. Nicholas25

    Nicholas25
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    I took my cousin to a candle light service at the local First United Methodist Church on Christmas eve because our church didn't have a service. I understand the Methodist denomination is liberal to say the least but I have no problem attending churches that are not Free Will Baptist/Baptist.

    Throught the service which was led by the pastor, a pastor from a local Presbyterian church and a pastor from the local Episcopal church, we read back comments or answers to comments or questions of the speakers. Toward the end of the service we read a confession and pardon which said:

    Merciful God, we confess that we have not loved you with our whole heart. We have failed to be an obedient church. We have not done your will, we have broken your law, we have rebelled against your love, we have not loved our neighbors, and we have not heard the cry of the needy. Forgive us, we pray. Free us for joyful obedience, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

    Response from the speaker:
    "Hear the good news:
    Christ died for us while we were yet sinners; that proves God's love toward us. In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven.

    We responded: "In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven."

    Here is the thing, do you think the people reading the prayer actually thought they were forgiven if they just read the words? Because we know if they were not from the heart they didn't mean anything. Plus there is many more things to ask forgiveness for than the things on the program. Anyway, what do you guys think about this and do you know if the Methodist read back and forth every service or if it's for special services?
     
  2. Agnus_Dei

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    What you experienced is called ‘liturgy’ and is the oldest form of worship in the Church today. Liturgy allows one to ‘actively’ participate in worship, whereas newer sects of Protestantism their members sit in a pew, sing a few hymns are hear a message.

    I never new what liturgy was being raised a Fundamental Baptist, that liturgy stuff was too Romaphobic for us. I now attend a Methodist Church and they have a form of liturgy, but not as extensive as that of the Episcopal, Lutheran, Greek orthodox or Roman Catholic.

    What you participated in is a form of ‘confessional’. It is God who forgives sins, but the minister’s is the voice we hear that reminds us of this and declaring it to us. It lifts the whole transaction away from the broil of our own guilty consciences, so hard to pacify, and places it in the context of the Church, which is the Body of Christ and hence shares Christ’s priestly ministry. It is through this ‘confessional’ that we receive audible assurance of what we know to be true, namely, that our sins are indeed forgiven. In our private prayers we find ourselves raking back through things of uncertainty. Here through liturgy, the declaration is loud and clear and without doubt.

    Depends on the Church and its leadership and which service you attend (Traditional or Contemporary), but normally that type of confessional liturgy is reserved for Communion service, which is normally held once a month. But a form of liturgy is recited during every Sunday service.

    We’ll that really depends on the individual, but if one sincerely recited the liturgy from the heart, then I’d say he/she was forgiven.

    Hope you enjoyed the worship service and a small taste of liturgical form of worship.

    Also if I may recommend a book entitled Evangelical is not enough: Worship of God in Liturgy and Sacrament, by Thomas Howard; the book takes one on a journey of what real ‘old time religion’ is truly all about.

    Blessings
     
  3. DHK

    DHK
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    Almost all such liturgy is dangerous IMO. Usually there are unsaved people present, and one can never guarantee that there are not any. The prescribed prayers, of course, are written for the saved. Therefore if an unsaved person follows along and prays the same prayer who is he praying to? Not God the Father! The only people that address God as Father are those who have been born again into the family of God, and have gained that right to address him as Father. All others pray to the devil as their father no matter what the content of the prayer is.
    That is why I am also opposed to praying the "Lord's Prayer" in public. What right does an unsaved person have to call our heavenly Father, as "Father" when he isn't their Father. What does the Bible say:

    John 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

    Unsaved people have the devil as their father, as Jesus said.
     
  4. Claudia_T

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    DHK

    Just out of curiosity, how would you view the prodigal son using the word "Father"?

    Luke 15:
    17: And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
    18: I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,
    19: And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
     
  5. Agnus_Dei

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    Claudia_T:
    Keep in mind that it’s only DHKs ‘opinion’ and opinions by DHKs admission on another thread to me are ‘worthless’.
     
  6. Joe

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    Liturgy is what is practiced in the Lutheran Denomination along with weekly communion. Or at least it was practiced a the Lutheran Church we attended for a short while. I prefer the reptitiousness of it but we moved to another town afterwards and changed churches.
     
  7. annsni

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    The prodigal son's father WAS his father. In having his son leave home, the father never stopped being the son's father and the son was still always his son. I think that's different than an unsaved person.

    I'm not sure about unsaved people praying to Satan but I do think that we, as believers, are the only ones who can call God "OUR Father" and "Abba". We have a personal relationship with Him that the unsaved don't have.
     
  8. Claudia_T

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    well thats true, I guess because when I think of when Jesus told the Pharisees that they kept saying they were children of Abraham but Jesus said their father was the devil...

    I was just thinking of the lost sheep type person though who wants to find God but just cant... I dont know that they are praying to Satan... I just dont know.. but they really arent saved yet either...
     
  9. Claudia_T

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    I hate when they do that at church and people just read verses together that were pre-written. Saved or not, it just seemed so "manufactured" to me and not really coming from the heart.

    It reminds me of when Jesus said they do their many repetitious prayers thinking to be heard of God for it... it always just sounds like a bunch of robots to me.
     
  10. Joseph M. Smith

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    Moving corporate prayer from the rote to the real is always difficult, whether it be a liturgical prayer that is read or the single voice of a pastor, deacon, whoever, "leading us" in prayer. I confess I find my mind wandering during some of those prayers. My fault, not that of the leader. Sometimes I wonder whether corporate prayer is even worth doing, as prayer belongs more properly in those private moments. But, on the other hand, when I was a pastor I always made sure to prepare my pastoral prayers carefully .. not by writing them out verbatim, but by making notes and organizing them so that I could lead people, if they were willing to be led, toward a genuine encounter with the living God.

    Actually, I really like what is called "bidding prayer". Something like, "Let us pray for ....." and then a pause of sufficient length to allow people to gather their thoughts individually and silently before the next "Let us ..."

    As for liturgical confessions, someone once wrote that the great value of that component in the Church of England was that it forced the high and mighty, all the way up to the Queen, to utter words they would never volunteer to say about themselves, such as, "Spare thou us, miserable offenders ..." and "There is no health in us ...". Could be quite a few of us who do not really think of ourselves that way.
     
  11. Claudia_T

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    I dont understand why I keep hearing on this Board about the Methodists being so liberal.

    I had to have rides to the hospital for something and contacted the Methodist Church and the Visitation Pastor and also a couple of women from their church took me to hospital visits and invited me to their church. I started going there and have been there maybe a month or two... To the Church services on Sunday and also their Monday Disciple Bible Classes. I dont want to drive far away to my own church right now so Im going to the Methodist church right down the road from my house.. like a 5 minute drive away.

    And Im just not seeing any liberal stuff at all. It does seem odd to me that the women all wear pants and even blue jeans to church, which Im happy about actually. But Im not used to that at all... it seems strange. But other than that I havent heard them say or do anything liberal at all.

    Unless I just dont understand what you guys classify as liberal. I did try to get them to just explain to me their beliefs but all I could really get out of them was the idea of "Methodism" being small groups.

    So I still dont really know what their beliefs are yet.

    But during the Mondy Night Bible Class they dont seem liberal at all in their beliefs, they seem to think they should obey the 10 commandments and all of that... Right now the topic is the Old Testament and how God's people kept doing the same stupid things over and over.... and the lessons God was trying to teach them out of that. I think the lessons have been excellent so far, actually. I am learning alot and how it applies to my own life and situation... etc...

    And the thing about reciting verses and the leader says other verses back to the church audience, Ive seen that done in other churches, even my own... so I dont understand this either... dont all churches do that besides the Methodists? I still hate when they do that anyway though, even in my own Church, it seems contrived and phony and robotic to me. Formality... a formal religion, I hate that. To me it sounds like a Catholic thing of just recitals and repetition... I grew up a Catholic and remember that in Church...

    I just imagine like if you were married and there was some pre-written script where you recite to your husband: "I love you and will always be faithful to you" and he reads back to you his pre-written script: "and I love you too and will always be faithful to you". That just wouldnt mean a whole lot to me, you know? and every day you have these scripts written out to you. it reminds me of in the Old Testament where God said He wouldnt smell their sacrifices at their solemn assemblies because inwardly they were doing evil things but outwardly being religious.

    2Tm:3:5: Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof....



    Claudia
     
    #11 Claudia_T, Dec 28, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 28, 2006
  12. annsni

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    Well, I think it depends on where you live because DH said that there still ARE some good Methodist churches in the country. Around here in NY, though, they're off. My ILs have been going to a Methodist church for something like 55 years and they are quite settled there but the things they tell us about what they're learning there is scary. Most of the Bible stories in the OT are just stories - didn't really happen. God created the earth through evolution. They had a study group studying Genesis - with the PBS special by Bill Moyers - not exactly a Bible-based show. When DH was ordained and my ILs brought in the program (very nicely done), so many commented that there were no women being ordained (there were 5 men ordained together) in a very snotty way. When FIL says something about what the Bible says, he's told that you can't take the Bible literally. On Thanksgiving Eve, they have an ecumenical service - with the Unitarian church around the corner. So, around here, atleast their Methodist church is very liberal.
     
  13. Claudia_T

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    Joseph,


    I guess I would have to say, how much really are these prayers worth? are they done in the spirit that led Daniel? in Daniel chapter 9? I think whats missing there is the genuine "sackcloth and ashes":

    JUST TAKE A MINUTE TO READ THIS AND THINK ABOUT IT...


    1: In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans;
    2: In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.
    3: And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplication, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:
    4: And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments;
    5: We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments:
    6: Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.
    7: O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee.
    8: O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee.
    9: To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him;
    10: Neither have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets.
    11: Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him.
    12: And he hath confirmed his words, which he spake against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil: for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem.
    13: As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth.
    14: Therefore hath the LORD watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the LORD our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice.
     
  14. Claudia_T

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    Joseph,

    Also, remember in Isaiah 58 where it says God is angry because the people acted like they were fasting and praying and sorry for their sins but God said "Is this the fast I have chosen?"

    Then God goes on to say NO the fast He has chosen was to actually start going out and doing things for others... instead of just SAYING you are sorry and not really meaning that. THAT is what I think is wrong with this Rote things... just recital of prayers:


    Isaiah 58:
    1: Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.
    2: Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God.
    3: Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours.
    4: Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high.
    5: Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD?
    6: Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?
    7: Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?
    8: Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward.
    9: Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am.
     
    #14 Claudia_T, Dec 28, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 28, 2006
  15. Claudia_T

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    Isaiah 1:
    12: When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts?
    13: Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting.
    14: Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.
    15: And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.
    16: Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;
    17: Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.



    ...thats what I think God thinks of the whole thing where people recite their pre-written statements... of "sorrow"

     
  16. tinytim

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    Yes Joseph, I like the bidding prayer as well.
    I have a bidding prayer each Sunday morning...
    It also cuts down on gossip disquised as prayer requests.
    (Am I reading you right... do your people vocalize their thoughts? We do... I'll say, "Let us pray for those that are sick, so we lift these names up before your throne..." Then they will call out the names of the sick that need healing....Then I move on to other categories, and they vocalize their prayer..)

    When I was a youth pastor, I called this a popcorn prayer (Anyone can pop when the spirit moves them lol)
    You can even incorporate a part where the people in the congregation say a sentence or two in praise to God.
    When the youth led the service, we would always have a popcorn prayer... And it was something hearing the youth verbalize a collective prayer which is spirit led.
    We have traditional "prayer requests" Sunday evening, and Wednesday evenings, but I open Sunday morning worship (after announcements) with a bidding prayer... it really helps the congregation unite as one to worship God...

    As for liturgies, I don't mind them everyonce in a while, but to do it every Sunday would be mind numbing to me... But that is just my opinion...
     
    #16 tinytim, Dec 28, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 28, 2006
  17. tragic_pizza

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    Well, I'm a liberal, and a Presbyterian.

    In the Reformed tradition, we believe that corporate confession is an important component to repentance. In general, the corporate confession is followed by a period of silence, so that the individual can reflect upon and make confession of personal sins.

    We believe that when we confess our sins, those sins are forgiven, thus the "Assurance of Pardon."

    Thus the corporate/silent confession is not intended to be the sole instance of confession and repentance for a Christian; personal reflection, confession, and repentance is expected.

    Liturgy is a wonderful method of worship. I highly recommend it.
     
  18. JFox1

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    The Methodists use a liturgical style of worship. I think the Lutheran and Episcopal worship services are even more liturgical. I think corporate confession is very important in a worship service. There is nothing wrong with liturgical services; unbelievers can still hear the word of God. :thumbs: :1_grouphug:
     

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