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Showing posts with the label Public Worship

A City Set on a Hillsong: Why Light Can’t Worship with Darkness

 By Dan Crabtree - Posted at The Cripplegate: From the beginning, Jesus told his disciples that their godliness could not be a secret. He said, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden” ( Matt 5:14 ). Then he instructed them, “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (5:16). The light of kingdom righteousness in them could not be hidden, so they were commanded to let the world see it shine through their conduct. Christians are supposed to stand out conspicuously for their integrity, their heavenly love, and their piety. Christ’s light cannot be hidden. But the reverse, as God would have it, is also true. That is, ungodliness can no more stay hidden than godliness cannot shine. In God’s economy, there are no secret deeds, only those yet to be exposed. Or, as Jesus says it, “Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you

Strange Lyre: The Pentecostalisation of Christian Worship

  By David de Bruyn - Posted at Churches Without Chests: It’s hardly disputable that global Christianity has been overwhelmed and colonised by the Pentecostal and charismatic movement. After Roman Catholicism, the Christianity identified variously ascharismatic, Pentecostal, Prosperity Gospel, or Latter Rain (with all its permutations and differences) makes up by far the largest percentage of what is classified as Christian. In just over 100 years since its beginnings in Azusa Street, California, it has come to dominate Christianity, and particularly the Christianity spreading in the Global South and and South-east. The growing and new-born Christianity in South America, Africa, and south-east Asia is overwhelmingly of the Pentecostal kind. Non-Pentecostals, or cessationists as they are sometimes called, have dwindled into the minority. Very few voices have been raised to counter the theological distinctives of Pentecostalism: an emphasis on the supernatural sign gifts of the Holy Spir

Thoughts On Reopening Our Churches

By Simonetta Carr - Posted at the White Horse Inn : “Our congregation realized that at least twenty individuals didn’t have email addresses, but we only realized that after Covid. We need to be aware of people in our congregations and communities who are on their own. We need to be aware of those who are technologically isolated. Isolation and loneliness did not just suddenly materialize in the last eight weeks – single people and the elderly struggle with or without this lockdown. We need to be more involved with the community as a congregation, really be there for people as they try to navigate the new world after Covid.” (Catherine, member of a Presbyterian church in Scotland) A couple of weeks ago, my pastor challenged the congregation with a weighty thought: our eagerness to reopen our church should not be self-centered. These words lingered in my mind long after the sermon was over. What would be a self-centered reason to reopen? A desire to claim our right to return to c

Churches may reopen, but many services won’t have singing

Image Source: Written by RNS - Posted at Lake County News: (RNS) — They are words the Rev. John Witvliet, an expert on Christian worship, never thought he would hear himself say. “Based on the science that we are learning about this week, we are urging and I am personally urging extreme caution,” said Witvliet, director of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in a Wednesday (May 13) interview. “Singing together in congregations is a practice that we dearly love and are eager to promote, but loving our neighbor is job one here and so the time for fasting from this wonderful practice may be longer than any of us would like.” His unprecedented words of warning come as religious leaders have received jarring predictions from scientists well-versed in virology as well as vocal practices. Webinars, videos and texts are circulating across the globe as scientists reveal their studies, and clergy must consider what to do

Christmas Church Services: An Introduction to the Regulative Principle of Worship

Posted at The New Geneva : Churches really like to pull out all the stops at Christmas, don’t they? Maybe you’ve been to an over-the-top evangelical church Christmas service, like I have? I read something just this week that gave advice for churches who want to go all out on a Christmas service: “Usually the goal is to create a ‘Wow!’ experience for the people who rarely come to church as well as those who have never been. And hopefully, this ‘Wow!’ experience will get them to come back and start attending more regularly,” it said. But should the goal of a corporate worship service really be to create a “Wow!” experience… for the attendees? Before reforming, I knew intuitively this goal was somehow wrong, but I could not have explained my reasoning outside of simply expressing a preference. Perhaps I could say “The things that are creating a ‘wow’ experience don’t belong in a corporate worship service! Skits, dances, and candle ceremonies are not appropriate for worshiping God!”

Preaching, Seeker-Driven Churches, and Unbelief

By Chris Hutchinson - Posted at Tabletalk Magazine : The communion of which I am a member has from time to time experienced a lively debate between those who want to advance a more contemporary, “seeker friendly” worship style on the Lord’s Day and those who want to uphold the more formal, liturgical forms of traditional Protestant worship. It is a complicated discussion, and opposing camps often form too readily; thus, further strife over the subject seems almost inevitable. But perhaps most disturbing to me is the apparent assumption that those who support the “seeker friendly” style are more clearly on the side of grace than those who do not. The argument goes something like this: The gospel is about grace, and grace is about meeting people where they are. Therefore, in order to meet people where they are, we must remove all extrabiblical obstacles from their path to Jesus. Traditional worship forms and language are extrabiblical obstacles for most people in our culture.

Review: Reformation Worship: Liturgies From the Past For The Present

By Dr. R. Scott Clark - Posted at The Heidelblog : Reformation Worship: Liturgies From The Past For the Present , ed. Jonathan Gibson and Mark Earngey (Greensboro, NC: New Growth Press, 2018), 688 pages. $34.99 Survey Unless you are a member of a congregation of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in North America (RPCNA, “the Covenanters”) or another similar denomination, in all probability the way your congregation worships today is not much like the way Reformed and Presbyterian congregations worshiped in the 16th and 17th centuries. If, however, you are like most other P&R Christians, you probably are not aware of that discrepancy. You might assume that the way your congregation conducts its public worship is the way the P&R churches have always done but, in fact, that assumption would not be justified. Indeed, it is likely that your session (consistory), presbytery (classis), and general assembly (synod) is not highly conscious of the changes that have taken place in

Is The Lid About To Come Off?

By Andrew Kerr - Posted at Gentle Reformation : The last thing I want to do is let ‘the devil have all the good music!’ I certainly have no wish ‘to throw the baby out with the bathwater’! Nor do I desire to parade these comments in Pharisaic self-righteousness. Yet if, at last, the lid comes off the rock music industry, maybe it will shock us and rebuke us, into being a little more discerning and ever-increasingly disgusted. The last week has seen a progressively deepening crisis in Hollywood on both sides of the Atlantic. Celebrities, stars and Oscar Nominations Committees have disowned Harvey Weinstein with an air of disbelief and disgust. Prosecutions may follow for this most successful producer. Now, today, on the BBC’s ‘Victoria Derbyshire’ program, new allegations, concerning the UK music industry have emerged. Sarah Bowden, a music manager, has spoken about a scale of endemic sexual harassment, abuse and rape which is “as bad if not worse” as anything Hollywood has to o

Spiritual Disciplines of the Christian Life: Public Worship

By Rev. Ryan Barnhill - Posted at Reformed Free Publishing Association : "My purpose is not to elaborate on the principles and elements of worship; many fine articles, pamphlets, and sermons can be consulted for that. Rather, I will make only a few brief points that touch on worship as a spiritual discipline." The final spiritual discipline of the Christian life we consider together is public, corporate worship. By public worship is meant the gathering of believers and their seed in church, on Sunday (or during the week for a special service), to meet with God and give him the honor due to his name. This worship is the meeting of God with his people in covenant fellowship, the purpose of which is to give glory to God for who he is and what he has done in Jesus Christ. Sadly, the public worship of God in the church world has become largely optional. Attendance at worship services has dropped off. The elderly who come to church scan the auditorium with grief as they note t