Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Two days a week Anselm Samuel is part of a home school enrichment program called Live Oak Academy (they also maintain all the paperwork Caesar requires). The program is housed in a local evangelical mega-church. The other day Anselm and I were walking by their main auditorium and looked in. I asked him, "how is this different from an Orthodox temple?" I expected him to say "It has no icons" or "it has pews" or "there are no crosses" or "they have no candles". Instead, going right to the heart of the matter, he said: "The altar is missing."

One of my mothers complaints about the worship in her denomination was that it was "too me-centered and not God-centered". Here is an article, by a Baptist, that talks about some of the same things.

"The Puritans made the mistake of not being consistent with their view of covenant theology when it came to their ideas concerning worship. As Ray Sutton has written, in every other area of theological concern they held to the hermeneutical principle that “Unless the New Testament changes it, do what the Old Testament commands.” However, when it came to worship, they became dispensationalists and said, basically, “If the New Testament does not command it, we cannot do it.”11 The present-day consequences of this narrowing of the Regulative Principle are asthmatic worship services that only have the one lung of the New Testament to breathe life into its services, rather than the two lungs of Old and New Testaments.

One cannot help but wonder if the typical evangelical fear of “forms”—of rituals, ceremonies, art—is due more to a reaction to all things Roman Catholic than to a desire to obey God. “If the Roman Catholics do it, then it is evil” quite often appears to be the working definition of the Regulative Principle! Do they use art? It must be a sin. Do they utilize ceremony? Ceremonies are evil. Do they light candles? Candles are of the devil." (Read the whole thing here.)


Interestingly, the author of the article, like the Orthodox, sees that worship on Earth is supposed to, at least, emulate worship in Heaven. I wonder how long he will remain a Protestant.

No comments: