Who Says the Evangelicals Don't Have a Liturgy? by R. Scott Clark on May 8, 2010 | 34 Comments Who says Charles Finney is dead? Thanks to Brad Kelley for the link. Twitter
I don’t know whether to laugh or cry–it’s 100% dead on — I’ve been to that ‘place’ and sat in ‘that’ pew and saw that particular media production (the one with all the QUESTIONS that ‘guy’ can answer!). Hilarious (and sad).
I love it!
I’m not surprised that the evangelicals are doing this. This is what they learned from Finney but I’ve seen ostensibly “Reformed” services that look exactly like this. That is a little surprising given that we’re not supposed to be Finneyites and that we have a completely different principle of worship.
The singer’s voice is eerily reminiscent of Neil Diamond.
It’s a far cry from the early church. “And on the day called
Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president
verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the
people assent, saying Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons. And they who are well to do, and willing, give what each thinks fit; and what is collected is deposited
with the president, who succors the orphans and widows and those who, through sickness or any other cause, are in want, and those who are in bonds and the strangers sojourning among us, and in a word takes care of all who are in need. But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Savior on the same day rose from the dead. For He was crucified on the day before that of Saturn (Saturday); and on the day after that of Saturn, which is the day of the Sun, having appeared to His apostles and disciples, He taught them these things, which we have
submitted to you also for your consideration.” – The First Apology of Justin, Ch. 67
Watching this video was like taking a “Red Bull” for my soul to “jumpstart” my spiritual journey.
Thnx for the post.
(notice the hip spelling of “thanks”).
COL (chuckle out loud)
Finney is too pushy for these churches.
Not all professing evangelicals do this. Look at CHBC, where the worship is far more closer to the Puritans than Tim Keller’s PCA church in NY. It is wrong to paint evangelicals with such a proud brush.
If my memory serves me correctly, Dever prefers to be called a “Baptist” rather than an Evangelical. In other words, CHBC identifies more with historic Baptist theology and piety than modern-day Evangelicalism. Correct me if I’m wrong.
“Dever prefers to be called a “Baptist” rather than an Evangelical. ”
Are you thinking of the 9 Marks interview with Darryl Hart? There was some discussion of that then. (Very recommended, BTW).
That video who is currently out in generic evangelicalism, that video is a-mazing! Who did this, and why?
And only a very few changes would turn it into a “traditional service” with the very same structure. “Gaither Song, Gaither Song.”
That’s the amazing part. It was created by a video production crew for a church that does this every week. They’re poking fun at themselves, but they clearly don’t see any reason to do things differently.
Yep, I think you are wrong. In many interviews he clearly identifies himself as a Baptist in the evangelical-reformed tradition.
This video is amazing.
It works. Don’t be narrow and let your theology get in the way.
Here’s an oldie but a goodie:
For us Reformed, a different principle of worship is correct. It seems this video was somewhat facetious!
I wonder if our Lord would make fun of other christians who Worship? I find it interesting that you will rarely hear Contemporary reformed worshippers mocking traditional reformed worshippers. I like the theology here, but not the arrogance.
1. Do you know what WCF 21 says? (does God care about the intent and the form of worship?) what do you make of the Uzzah episode?
2. What is worship? Who gets to define it?
3. Do you see no place for satire as a teaching tool?
4. The people who made this video aren’t Reformed – at least not in their worship? It’s contemp v contemp.
5. Do you understand that the pattern being mocked in this vid originated in 19th century revivals which rejected much of historic Reformed theology & thus also Reformed worship?
6. If people are sincere do they get a pass no matter the degree to which they corrupt worship? Are there no cases in Scripture of people being sincerely wrong?
7. Would it have wrong to criticize Bethel & Dan so long as those cities were sincere?
My question was’ if our Lord would have cut down other christians worship? Yes, I know WCF 21. No, I did’nt make connect to 19th century Revival, but will look into it. Yes, I read Uzziah again and see that possible in churches and in all of us. I do know what worship is and defined as according to scripture. I agree, that people can be sincerely wrong but that is somewhat relative to judge, I think. I see WCF and HC giving great broad biblical principles of worship, but not boundaries for style. I also like passages like John 4 as well on worship. Do you see it possible to be contemporary and reformed in worship and God glorifying?
You missed the point of the satire. They weren’t mocking style. I don’t care about style either. They were mocking the fact that worship (maybe even their own, apparently) has become just religious show biz. Watch the video again.
Since the 19th century, worship among American evangelical has increasingly become about calculated manipulation of the audience (not congregation) in order to produce the desired results: religious euphoria. Charles Finney re-organized Christian worship (not the first time this has happened mind you) in order to manipulate people to sell them something. In this case the product was the altar call.
The point of the video was to mock the manipulation inherent in much of contemporary worship. One song leads to another, one chord progression to another, one key to another — all planned ahead of time in order to “move” the audience (no longer a congregation really) to a certain emotional pitch.
That’s not biblical worship. In Scripture, God speaks and the people respond appropriately with God’s own Word. Period. There’s no calculated, planned, manipulation in order to achieve the “correct” results. Real worship is heart-felt, honest, and normed by the Word of God. I’ve argued here for new tunes for the psalms. There’s nothing wrong with contemporary tunes.
From the pov of the WCF and the HC and from the pov of the Reformed churches in the 16th and 17th centuries there is much wrong with contemporary worship, however, whether it’s done with hymns and organs or guitars and choruses. I’m not arguing for what some call “traditional” worship. I’m arguing for a radical change. Yesterday’s organs and hymns have become today’s guitars and choruses. It’s all the same thing really. That’s why it’s not about style, it’s about principle.
The PRINCIPLE is that we may do ONLY what God commands in public worship. Thus the confession and the catechism do not just give us broad principles for worship. They give us a strict, radical principle (sola Scriptura) which cuts at the root of virtually (statistically considered) all evangelical and Reformed worship today.
See these posts:
I surrender:) That helped. Thanks for taking the time to explain. You are one bright dude. I will continue my journey and keep learning.
Re. #6: Naaman sure seems to have gotten a pass. And he wasn’t so much “sincere” as he was honest about wanting to keep his job.
Spinal-Tap for Christians.
Maybe you’re hanging with the wrong contemporary worshippers. The megachurches I used to frequent constantly bragged about being “relevant” and “innovative” in worship, compared to stuffy, old, dead-orthodox types. We used to make fun of hymns, boring liturgies, and sermons that were not practical enough (read law-centered).
I believe it happens, possibly more than I think, but it also does not happen in many reformed contemp. churches. We made it a value never to cut down other churches styles unless they are contrary to scriptures. We all should be very careful when cutting down others worship, for unity and for the sake of the weaker brother or non-christian. That’s my hope.
I’m sure you guys have seen this:
Hip and queer all rolled-up in a big mass of heresy. LOL.
After I posted the comment quoting Justin Martyr on the worship of the early church, a question occurred to me. Dr. Clark; is it possible the modern church has supplanted much of the use of scripture with music? It appears the early church devoted most of its time to worship time to prayer, scripture reading, and the sacraments. Yet in some churches today, whether traditional or contemporary, there seems to be a lot of music and “some” scripture.
Sure it’s possible. It’s likely. Certainly there’s not a lot of Scripture reading or prayer in a lot of services.
This is just a question I had after reading all 500+ pages of the Calvin reading assignment (OTL). Calvin quoted the apostle Paul in 3.20.32, referring to singing in church, and it seems like he is agreeing with Paul in, “Teaching and admonishing one another…in hymns, psalms, and spiritual songs…” What would you interpret hymns and spiritual songs to have meant either in Paul’s or Calvin’s day? Does he elaborate more on it elsewhere in the Institutes or other works?
I have a chapter coming out on this vol:
on this issue.
Yes, he did agree with Paul but neither was assuming that “hymns” or “spiritual songs” meant what many assume today. There’s a chapter on this in RRC.
Interesting – I’ll look into it. Thanks!
The RPW stipulates that our response to God speaking to us through His Word in the worship service (covenant renewal) must also be His Word.
This means that our songs to the Lord is not limited to the Psalter but can encompass the whole of Scripture.
Dead on, at least if the Bible was opened and His word spoken it would be less devastating. Deadly to those poor lost souls that never hear God’s word, never know who the Real Jesus Christ, and yet have a pastor tell them they are Christian.
The only comfort is this, Jesus the Christ, does not lose one of those that He was Given by the Father.
This also makes the case FOR a Liturgy that is God Honoring…and those glasses gotta go. Uff