Why I Love MY Church (It's All About ME)

A couple of comments recently suggested that it’s all negative all the time at Oldlife. So here’s a list of reasons why I love my congregation and its ministry.

We sing from a hymnal (and a good one at that).

We pray at least six times during an average service (eight or nine with a sacrament).

We have two preaching services each Sunday (different sermons).

Our pastor wears a suit and a tie.

Our congregation stands still to sing.

Our services feature the Word of God – the salutation, the call to worship, the lessons, the declaration of pardon, the exhortation to give, the sermon text, and the benediction.

Our people do not dress like they are going to Vacation Bible School – even in the summer.

Our pastor explains the sacraments before administering them.

We hear the law and the gospel.

We assemble at Mt. Zion.

Women sit on one side of the room, men on the other (kidding).

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22 thoughts on “Why I Love MY Church (It's All About ME)

  1. Nice, but which comes first, the Salutation or the Call?

    I’m also trying to tally up 6 prayers during an “average” service:
    Invocation – Corporate Prayer of Confession – Prior to Sermon (brief) – Congregational Prayer (long pastoral prayer) – Prayer at Offering. That’s 5 (and the brief prayer pre-sermon is not done at my church – unless a visiting minister adds it on his own). What am I missing?

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  2. When did Orthodox Presbyterian pastors stop wearing Genevan gowns? I would think, Darryl, that you would want your pastor not dressed in a business suit but a black gown that reflects the dignity of the ordained office.

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  3. Bob, when the OPC started we were so poor we couldn’t afford business suits — Machen’s rack of Brooks Bros. only went so far among the first generation of ministers. Still, isn’t a suit better than a polo shirt?

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  4. Hi Darryl. Our church also assembles at Mt Zion. We must meet in the other side of the mountain though because some of us move when we sing. I’d bet there’s some foot tapping even at Glenside.

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  5. Hi –

    I am very impressed.

    We would like to meet at Mt. Zion with you, but the cost of a weekly plane trip to Tel Aviv, and then the bus trip to Jerusalem, is beyond the ability of most of our people.

    How do you old life Presbys do it?

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  6. I was holidaying in the north of Scotland this weekend and visited a Free Church. There were no musical instruments, just voices singing Psalms. How relieving it was not to listen to happy crappy choruses belted out on a guitar by a dude who looks dead behind the eyes. The minister preached the gospel and there was no silliness; no women up front, no powerpoint slides, no videos, no banal jokes, indeed nothing cringeworthy. These days I am so used to cringeing so badly in church that I could pick up a small coin with my ass cheeks; thus my gluteus maximus was grateful for the rest.

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  7. Speaking of worship styles and church piety, for those of you who are historians: exactly when in the history of American protestantism did the choir and the instruments (if there are any) get moved to the front of the church?

    It certainly can’t be a tradition of the papists – they have their altar up there. Confessional Lutherans don’t have it; neither do confessional Reformed (can’t speak for the mainliners from either denomination since I wouldn’t attend one of their services). Don’t know about the Episcopalians or a few others, either. But I do know that every Baptist or other “evangelical” type congregation I’ve ever seen has this.

    I don’t care for it. In the Lutheran tradition, at least, the idea is to focus on the words being sung by the choir, not to be staring at them. The extreme version of this, in its best Willow Creek knock-off fashion, even consists of a darkened stage with a spotlight aimed at individual performers. And then, since it IS a performance, applause follows. “Oh, we’re not applauding the musician,” they say, ” we’re applauding the praises he/she are offering to the Lord.” Yeah, right…

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  8. There has been some welcome humour in this thread, but I am sure that I am not the only one who has been disappointed with some of the more recent comments. I understand ‘earthy’ humour and enjoy a hearty laugh, and know even Luther could be blunt in his comments and lace his jokes with Saxon bluntness but something is not right about words bandied about on July 20th.

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  9. Paul, didn’t mean to cause offense and I apologise if I grieved you. I normally cross the line, and sometimes I cross so far I need binoculars to see it.

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  10. BTW, when I talked about crossing the line, I meant the line of other people; I’ve no issue with the language I used. I know sometimes my humour is too much for those with a weaker conscience, so maybe I should reign it in ala Romans 14. But remember, as DGH says, a blog is a forum for guys (and gals) who can’t hang out together down at the pub. As far as I am concerned this blog is one such place, i.e. a haven from evangelical uptightness and ahistorical theologizing.

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  11. Really, Nick? It’s not on you? Allow me to explore that a little bit. Not because I am irreparably harmed by the thought of a quarter nestled in your maximus glutei (I will recover in due time), but because there may be a larger point about liberty as perceived by the self-consciously reformed.
    Let me start with a couple analogies. There are some exclamations that make it through the major network censors but are stigmatized by fundamentalists. If I use one of those while having a beer with my friend, I say there’s no harm and no foul. But if I use it when invited over to a fundamentalist’s home as a dinner guest, it’s on me.
    I have the liberty to smoke a cigar on by deck and look up at the stars while I ponder. However, if I go to a home-school softball game, set up my camping chair down by the third base line and light one up I have been a knucklehead in the full biblical sense of knuckleheadedness.
    So, here you have gone into a theological/historical/sociological forum frequented by folks that take the Christian faith seriously and make these repeated references. I’m thinking it’s clearly inferior to flash your posterior in this context, and it’s on you, not on an allegedly tight or flabbier audience.
    The bigger picture: knowing when liberty becomes unedifying and being determined not to promiscuously flash our reformed credentials.

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