The Synagogue As Pattern For Early Christian Worship

When comparing the worship of the early church with that of the synagogue, we labour under this disadvantage, that, if the primitive church had any liturgy, it has not been handed down to us; still, as far as we can ascertain anything of its modes of worship, we find many traces of similitude between it and that of the synagogue….

Campegius Vitringa (1659–1722) | The Synagogue and the Church, translated and condensed by Joshua L. Bernard (London, 1842).


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  1. A HUGE Point for liturgics. Thanks for sharing!

    “As the early church simply adapted the synagogue worship (in which Jesus himself was reared and, when he taught his disciples to pray according to the form of the Lord’s Prayer, seems to have endorsed) to Christian use. Jesus was raised with a service book, full of prayers and the Psalms, as were many of the first Christians. The basic elements of the services thus described are actually patterned on the earliest forms of Christian worship available.”
    –Horton, “Pardon & Praise: Worship Calmly Considered” in Modern Reformation, Jan./Feb. 1996 Vol. 5 No. 1 Page number(s): 25, 28-29

  2. I’m not sure the language of the synagogue is appropriate. Perhaps it should be more like the proceedings in a kingly realm, where He, having been raised from the dead is seated on the Throne. Take the structure of the Morning/Evening Prayer services from the Book of Common Prayer for example:

    1. Wash yourself before entering the Lord’s city (confession of sin)
    2. Enter the city of David’s greater Son praying as He prayed; Psalms.
    3. Hear what He says before speaking yourself. Read Scripture.
    4. Agree with Him and declare your allegiance. Praise and Creed.
    5. State your need. Prayers of petition but only according to His will.
    6. Offer thanks on your knees.
    7. Receive His benediction and dismissal.

  3. synagogue worship (in which Jesus himself was reared and, when he taught his disciples to pray according to the form of the Lord’s Prayer, seems to have endorsed

    Can you expand on this?

  4. It could be rather a leap to say that Reformed churches ought to use the Lord’s Prayer as a regulatory pattern of worship when most of them do not even recite it in their present services of worship.

  5. @Hudson and RubeRad:

    One of our big issues is that a lot of Reformed churches have been trying to live down their heritage. I’ve been around Reformed believers for decades, and it seems that half want to be either Baptists or Plymouth Brethren, half want to be wildwoolyfreeform, and half want to be Papist or Phanariot. I’ve read the Reformed confessions, largely agree with them, and have yet to see many Reformed churches that truly take them seriously.

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