Twice on Sunday

Iain Campbell explains the importance and even the necessity of the second service.

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  1. Well David, there have been times when Reformed Churches have held three services. This is why the WCF speaks of circumstances as it does. In the 16th century people lived in what we would regard as villages, even though they were regarded as “cities” or “towns.” Everything was within easy walking distance. It would have been unusual to have to hitch up a wagon to go to church. Of course there was a shortage of pastors for the outlying congregations, but that’s still a problem!

    In a time when most of our congregations are commuter churches 3 services are not very practical. Indeed, we need to re-think, in some cases anyway, how we do two services — rather than giving up the second service as many NAPARC congregations seem to be doing.

    The other limit on the consistory is the freedom of the Christian from tyranny. At a certain point devotion can become tryanny. We’re not monks tied to “canonical hours.” The beauty of two services is that it’s grounded in the creational pattern of morning and evening and in the morning and evening pattern of redemptive history.

    We could just as well ask, “why drive cars, after all someone might speed?” The implied argument (if it is implied) that the consistory can’t require attendance to two services because it might lead to three (horrors!) doesn’t work. If a consistory became unreasonable and tyrannical, a member could always appeal to classis for relief and if that failed, to synod. Involved in “circumstances” is wisdom (skill) in applying the Word to a given set of circumstances.

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