24/7 Christians and Lent

With one of those liturgical seasons coming to a close and with a big Sunday on the horizon — we’re not talking Super Bowl but chocolate bunnies — a passing comment on the time of the year known as Lent may be in order. Peter Leithart has been blogging about it, which may indicate that his church in Moscow, Idaho is following the church calendar (what would John Piper say to Doug Wilson?). Today (or yesterday), Leithart aggregated a number of tweets about the benefits of Lent. Here is a sampling:

We’re hungry for all the wrong things. We need Lent to develop a taste for the fruit of the tree of life – that is, the fruit of the cross.

An exercise in delayed gratification, Lent is profoundly counter-cultural.

Lent gives the only answer there is to the problem of evil: A cross that triumphs over evil, a death that tramples death.

Lent tells us what time it is – the time between resurrection and resurrection.

Lent reminds us that Jesus didn’t go to the cross so we can escape the cross; He went to the cross to enable us to bear it after Him.

Lent gives us 40 days to contemplate the glory of the Crucified, which saves the world.

Aside from whether or not these statements are true, if they are, why wouldn’t Christians want to reflect on or practice these things the whole year? Is it really possible to take 315 days off from considering that we live between the resurrection and resurrection? Or do we want to spend only forty days contemplating the glory of the Christ crucified?

Two-kingdom advocates frequently receive the criticism that we are limiting Christianity to Sundays, that we are telling people they can be “worldly” during the weekdays as long as they are holy on Sunday. That is a severe misrepresentation of 2k. But even if it were true, we at least devote 52 days, 12 more than the church calendar followers, to being profoundly cultural. Why don’t we get any credit for that?

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97 thoughts on “24/7 Christians and Lent

  1. Dr. Hart,
    It seems to me that the liturgical calendar tends towards tokenism and a lack of regard for the Lord’s Day/ first day of the week. For example, I have thought to myself that on December 25th there seems to be more “joy” expressed on that day than on that which is commanded specifically by God (Dec. 25 falling on Sunday aside).”Why wouldn’t Christians want to reflect on or practice these things the whole year?” Well, because it is basically expected that we follow the cultural norm and make show our support of the institution it is to be accepted without question. No tokens, no piety and if you don’t follow “soot” you’re weird. I think that is where things have become fabricated law for us.

    The way the liturgical calendar is spoken/ sung/ written of sometimes seems that these events are happening over and over almost like weeping for Tamuz. I know the same people that say such things don’t believe that way and it’s just weird.

    For whatever it is worth, I appreciate the article you wrote a while back speaking about “adventism”.

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  2. Darryl and others:

    As a liturgical Churchman without apology, Darryl is quite correct. Lent is no mere 40-50 day affair. Not now, not ever, henceforth or forever. Horrors no!

    Eegads, with Morning and Evening Prayer, 365/52/24/7, we confess our manifold sins and wickednesses. A disciplined BCP-Churchman well knows it, by experience. 99%, perhaps 99.9%, of the United States knows nothing of these things, including liberal if not conservative Anglicans. What does Christianity Today, a hothouse for American evangelicals, know of these things? Or, the Professors at WTS or RTS? Never mind T4G, ACE or the Baptyerians? What do the Reformed Professors know of this daily worship and piety? (Dr. Philip Edcumbe Hughes did.) Never mind so-called evangelical seminary Professors, e.g. Carson, know of these doctrines, worship and pieties?

    Lent is 365/52/24/7. This is offered in MP and EP. “Let us ever beseech Thee to grant us daily repentance and Thy Holy Spirit, that those things, that we do at this present, may be righteous in Thy sight…and evermore grant us…” Any suggested delimitation of Lent to some mere season of 40-50 days is quite uneducated, quite sophmoric, quite shallow, quite unfortunate, and quite inexperienced. Any suggestion otherwise is quite puerile. However, what can one expect from liberals, so-called “evangelicals” (Baptacostals) with not the slightest sense of liturgy or even, regrettably, Confessional Presybyterians? Worship at WTS was, well, nuff there. Frame on the organ…eegads, well, nuff there too. This much, this scribe knows that solid Reformed Churchmen wisely nod to the old BCP. Have some stories there.

    Lent, that’s in the Anglican DNA throughout the year. That is, for genuine BCP-Churchmen . Nor is Advent a mere seasonal affair, which intrudes rightly into Lent and Holy Easter week. Advent is not a matter of a mere season either, but Advent and the Incarnation is 365/52/42/7. Our daily prayers involve all these doctrinal loci. Imputations otherwise are false. I’ve been singing wonderful Advent and Christmas hymns during Lent and Easter. These are 365-day affairs. As to Leithart, don’t know him or his writings, much. He’s PCA. He’s had FV issues. I’ll leave it there. But, for this scribe, Peter is not in the old Anglican way.

    While pausing to reflect on specific emphases during one season, the entire theological orbit is not dismissed, minimized or mitigated, at all, in that specific season. Who, pray tell, would make that imputation?

    We confess the Apostles’ Creed daily. 365/52/24/7. In fact, at Morning AND Evening Prayer. If one hasn’t live in these cycles, they need to walk quite quietly. The Nicene weekly. If one has not lived in these lections, collects, Bible readings, and thoughts for days morning and nights, weeks, years and decades–as honourable Anglicans have–quietness and zipped-lips is righty suggested. And, for us exiles, though blooming with hope in the desert-exile, as do roses in deserts, while confessing the Reformed Confessions, we persist with faith, given us by His Triune Majesty. Many are standing the 352/52/24/7 watch.

    Regards to all,
    Donald Philip Veitch

    PS…Sure beats (Pyromaniacs) Phil Johnson’s inappropriate and indecent FB and Twitter posts about GPSs today, on Good Friday, the day when the Theathropic Man, our Sovereign Redeemer, bore the weight of our manifold sins on the Cross. Stunning contrast. Disturbing, but what else from Anabaptists? Nuff there, but Phil is a predestinarian Anabaptist and one undisciplined, untrained, and unguided by the daily worship, doctrines, pieties, lections, collects, and rhythms of an honourable, Bible, quiet, thoughtful, deliberative and decent order of worship.

    Darryl, I write from the exile, but with hope and trust in the redemptive promises of the Divine Majesty. Roses, hope, inspiration, and perseverence, indeed, can blossom in the Babylonian exile.

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  3. Or, another predestinarian Anabaptist, Lane Chaplin–TODAY, enthusing, posting and promoting pics and posts about his marriage and dancing (with his bride) on Good Friday on FB? I sent a rebuking post to Lane. Is there no sense? No honour? Yet, he posts about his marriage and celebration on Good Friday? Tastleless, indecorous, and ignorant. Obviously, without a sense of the calendar, lections, readings, rhythms, etc. But, what else might be expected from non-liturgical, non-Confessional, American, Anabaptistic, half-witted, and ignorant evangelicals? The contrast between a calendar-man (e.g. me) and poor Anabaptistic Lane is stark.

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  4. Alexander:

    Read the 55-volume Parker Society series, all of them, every volume, then return and then discuss English Reformed theology. Every Archbishop of Canterbury from Cranmer to Bancroft was a Calvinist. King James 1 endorsed the Synod of Dordt.

    Aside from the Laudian disturbances, indeed, there has been a long line of Calvinistic divines in the Church of England. Read Rev. Augustus Toplady on that history.

    Having said these things, your point is quite irrelevant. Prayer Book Churchmen, disciplined Prayer Book men, have Lent 365/52/24/7. Assertions, otherwise, betray a manifold ignorance.

    As an aside, what kind of American worship even comports with the old dignity, Biblicality, collects, and rhythms? Lane Chaplin’s odd ball posts about his wedding on Good Friday? Phil Johnson’s, an adjutant to MacArthur, irreverent (and irrelevant) post today about GPs? Sorry, but Anabaptists, dominant in the revivalist landscape, hold no command here.

    The old, dominant, 39-Articles, BCP Church was Reformed. As to worship, quite substantially above ALL, repeat, ALL expressions of American worship services.

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  5. Donald,

    Just a quick corrective… Lane is long coming out of those circles and belongs to a Reformed, confessional church. Also he was tagged in photos and posts, but he didn’t himself post them… but I suppose this is besides the point given the post…

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  6. Yea and Amen to Donald Philip Veitch! The purpose of the Christian year is to help focus our attention as Christians on Christ and his work. This guides our Sunday and weekday worship.

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  7. Hmmmmmm. Maybe the Anglican church could- “offically”- be described as Calvinist (Reformed? That seems a huge leap). Could be. But come on, in reality, it’s not. It’s history isn’t exactly one of promoting the Reformed cause: the Act of Uniformity anyone? It wasn’t the smells and bells crowd that was aimed against. Certainly it’s gone through phases where the low church (as opposed to the anglo-catholic wing) has had more prominence, but I don’t think it’s ever gone through a phase, that I can see, of being Reformed. And the low-churches were closer to the Baptists and evangelicals than the Presbyterians. The Anglican church came into existence for political reasons. Henry hated the Reformers on the Continent and James I was no friend of the puritans choosing instead a third way. It is ironic the KJV is beloved by Reformed communions considering it was prepared to promote episcopalian ecclesiology.

    And as this blog, and other truly Reformed people make clear, it’s not enough to claim to believe something: one has to put it into practice. What’s the point in claiming to believe in Reformed theology, piety and practice if one worships in a communion which repudiates such theology and practice every week? Beliefs without practice are essentially meaningless. There may have been “Calvinists” in the communion, but that doesn’t make the communion Calvinist, or better, Reformed.

    I’m afraid you’re not going to have much luck convincing this Scottish Presbyterian that the episcopal church down the road is Reformed. Being liturgical does not automatically mean being Reformed. Also, can you argue that the Anglican churches follow the RPW? I can’t think of one that does.

    I’ll allow that the Anglican church is Protestant, how’s that? 🙂

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  8. Richard, Viking (the), and Alexander, I’m not trying to go all Puritan on you, but I do wonder what the church calendar is communicating if you read all of the tweets that Leithart assembles. Not to say that everyone in the OPC understands the Shorter Catechism, but unless a church is teaching its people properly, you can get some fairly strange views about aims and purposes of the liturgical year.

    On the matter of Anglicanism and Reformed Protestantism, I regularly point out that the 39 Articles has the clearest statement of double-predestination available among the 16th century creeds (well known). At the same time, for all of the Reformed churchmen in the Anglican tradition, I am not sure you could fit on the head of a pin the number of Anglicans who believe in double-predestination (laugh here). In other words, if discipline is a mark of the church, has the Anglican church since Elizabeth I shown the least bit of interest in discipline? The Via Media is not the best way to herd the sheep and undershepherds.

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  9. Can we anti-liturgical calendars found a type of support group to meet during the so-called “High Holy Days?”

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  10. And don’t forget how 2ks advocating weekly communion makes everybody Catholic (hide the women and children). But if theos want 2ks to follow Calvin more closely, advocating at least once a week seems worthy of credit (even if FVs who do also give 2ks black eyes).

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  11. Peter Leithart is a phenomenal literary and Biblical scholar. I know of no one, except perhaps James Jordan, who better appreciates the rhythm of the Scriptures, time, seasons, our bodies, our psyche, and God’s love poetically expressed through them. What bliss it shall be when God’s .glory is fully revealed again to His righteous people.

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  12. Don says;

    ” I know of no one, except perhaps James Jordan, who better appreciates the rhythm of the Scriptures, time, seasons, our bodies, our psyche, and God’s love poetically expressed through them.”

    Wow, just wow. I just got through watching Harvey Updike, the dude who poisoned Toomer’s oaks, and this effusive praise for Jordan and Leithart, just seems to dovetail right into that kind of fan-boy effusion. You should ask the Tylerites, how much they appreciate Jordan and his knowledge of god’s love and the seasons of life, much less the church year. Yeesh

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  13. Don,

    Peter Leithart is a phenomenal literary and Biblical scholar. I know of no one, except perhaps James Jordan…

    Echoing DGH’s “Huh?” Double Huh? They might be fine scholars, to which you will find little rebuttal, but so was Barth and Bultmann, so is NT Wright. But their brilliance has been expressed in either a departure from, or a complete disavowal of confessional Christianity. Leithart is still not out of the weeds on the current controversy in the PNWP, and if the PCA takes the WCF seriously, he will be deemed out of bounds on a few key issues. Whatever value their scholarly contributions make doesn’t make them reliable witnesses to the faith we confess, at the very least in certain key areas.

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  14. Bultmann

    The last I remember talking and hearing about Bultmann, was arguing with a Jesuit priest in a historicity of Jesus class. Vatican II had given these guys license to embrace German liberalism, higher criticism, as an interpretive grid for establishing the historicity of the gospels. I don’t know if it’s true or not but I remember the priest making an argument, based on Bultmann, that either Jesus or one of the ‘interlopers’ had taken mushrooms and was imparting knowledge of the crucifixion as a hallucinogenic vision. Thanks for the memories Jed. Yeesh part deux

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  15. @D. Philip Veitch:

    for that matter, Lane is practicing the Regulative Principle of Worship by not observing Good Friday. I personally have no problems with Good Friday services as long as they are adiaphora and thus optional to attend, but your rebuke of Lane (who attends a URC church) is absolutely uncalled for.

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  16. Sean,

    So the Jesuit basically argues that the cross was a psychadellic mind trip a la Lebowski’s magic carpet ride. Did he attribute authorship of Q to Hunter S Thompson?

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  17. “Did he attribute authorship of Q to Hunter S Thompson?”

    Nice. If he didn’t, he should’ve. I remember about six weeks into the course, he and I would have a go at each other and he’d end every scuffle with; ‘pay a nickel, make your choice.” Which upon reflection, was fairly apropos considering the Jesus seminar folk were throwing colored marbles to determine the authenticity of various divine utterances of Jesus. Us RCers were having quite a time on protestant liberalisms dime. Look at that, I wasn’t even trying.

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  18. Leithart very much opposes the “John Locke” Protestantism in which separatists (isolationists) “hold opinions that divide them from the general public”. Thus his concern to have an unified calendar to tell us all how to worship and when. If we don’t like his calendar, to him this simply proves that we are Marcionites who lack the imagination of James Jordan to know how to creatively use the rituals of the Mosaic economy.

    Constantinianism is not (and was never) about a combination of church and state but about one church (usually with bishops) which can tell everybody (including the magistrates) how and when and where to worship. If you choose to resist the traditional calender, to Leithard your heresy proves that you are still a baptist at heart and perhaps worse, it may lead you to nothing but “invisible churches”.

    Of course we sectarians could ask all kinds of questions here, like which kind of visibility? Which church? Which bishops? Whose ordination? But Leithart cautions against “perfectionist” impatience about such regulative details. All we need to know for now is that these things are being done in the name of the Trinity.

    It has happened, and it is happening, and it will happen. Stand in the way, and that proves again that you are a nominalist who rejects the universal and a gnostic who refuses time and place.

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  19. Donald Philip Veitch: Or, another predestinarian Anabaptist, Lane Chaplin–TODAY, enthusing, posting and promoting pics and posts about his marriage and dancing (with his bride) on Good Friday on FB? I sent a rebuking post to Lane. Is there no sense? No honour? Yet, he posts about his marriage and celebration on Good Friday? Tastleless, indecorous, and ignorant. Obviously, without a sense of the calendar, lections, readings, rhythms, etc. But, what else might be expected from non-liturgical, non-Confessional, American, Anabaptistic, half-witted, and ignorant evangelicals? The contrast between a calendar-man (e.g. me) and poor Anabaptistic Lane is stark.

    RS: The contrast is stark. He (Lane) is not caught up with the calendar which prescribes worship not commanded by God. In The Directory for the Publick Worship of God (Westminster) it says this: “There is no day commanded in scripture to be kept holy under the gospel but the Lord’s day, which is the Christian Sabbath. Festival days, vulgarly called Holy-days, having no warrant in the word of God, are not to be continued.” The confession (WCF) specifically says that days like Good Friday and Easter itself are not to be continued. If God Himself would have commanded them, that would be something else. But He did not and so they are but the traditions of men following in the paths of Roman Catholicism.

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  20. But, Richard, it would seem to me that Westminster’s sabbatarianism cuts both ways, not only against the pious additions of certain liturgicals but also against those of revivalists inclined to undermine the regular weekly attendance of the means of grace with assorted kinds of mid-week conventicles (what was your revivalist word to describe ecclesiastical and sacramental faith–lazy?). I know you think all roads lead to Rome, but some also lead to the saw dust trail which is no less a tradition of men.

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  21. As a Lutheran, I find American evangelical/ecumenical “put Christ back in Christmas”, 40-Days of Life campaigns, renewed interest in Lent or Advent, etc. rather strange. Celebrating Easter and Christmas without the other parts of the liturgical calendar and feast days (Pentecost? the Ascension?) is weird to me. The church year revolves around Christ’s life, death and resurrection, around the doctrines of Christ’s natures and the Persons of the Trinity. It all overlaps and cycles around again–we return to “Christmas” texts on March 25 (the Annunciation) and mid-June (Nativity of John the Baptist).

    A Lutheran pastor puts it well: “On Easter morning, even though [the acolytes] have already been told during the rehearsals, they always ask, “Is there anything special today?” And I have to say, “No. Easter is normal.” Why do they ask if they already know? Because it doesn’t seem quite right.

    “But that is really how it is: Easter is normal. It is not that Easter is like most of the year, with no special ceremonies all its own, but that the rest of the year is like Easter. Those ceremonies we are prone to take for granted – standing for the Gospel, singing Alleluias between the Epistle and the Gospel, etc, are all Easter ceremonies. Easter feels normal because Easter is the standard.

    “There is something confused in us that prefers the austere novelty of Lent, Passiontide, and Holy Week to Easter. To be sure, this confusion isn’t sinful, but it is confusion, not unlike children preferring boxed macaroni and cheese or McDonald’s hamburgers to the real things.

    “Easter is the norm because while we engage in some small liturgical re-enactments of Our Lord’s passion for the sake of teaching and remembering what Our Lord has done for us and how He loves us, in fact, it is done, finished, complete, and perfect.” (endquote)

    I do not intend to argue the merits of the liturgical calender–I understand the positions of either side. But saying liturgical Christians only repent in Lent, or only meditate on the cross on Good Friday (!!) is a gross misrepresentation. (What sort of Christian would only think of the crucifixion one day a year? One I guess who doesn’t think he’s much of a sinner in need of atonement.) I’ve never met a Christian who observes the liturgical calendar that way. Or if he does, it’s because he’s not hearing Law and Gospel any other time.

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  22. Zrim: But, Richard, it would seem to me that Westminster’s sabbatarianism cuts both ways, not only against the pious additions of certain liturgicals but also against those of revivalists inclined to undermine the regular weekly attendance of the means of grace with assorted kinds of mid-week conventicles (what was your revivalist word to describe ecclesiastical and sacramental faith–lazy?). I know you think all roads lead to Rome, but some also lead to the saw dust trail which is no less a tradition of men.

    RS: I am not sure how Westminster could be read as being against prayer meetings and Bible studies during the week, but it specifically speaks against Christ-Mass and Easter. I am also not sure why those things would undermine the weekly attendance on the Sabbath. In fact, it has been my observation that those who come to meetings for prayer or Bible study during the week are more likely to be faithful on the Sabbath. I also don’t think that the saw dust trail (I assume you mean altar calls) is biblical and abhor them.

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  23. Katy, the tweets that Leithart quoted were not made up. Some Christians apparently do divide their thoughts along church calendar lines. If the point is to think about repentance all year, why draw attention to it for only forty days?

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  24. Richard, my point wasn’t that Westminster forbids prayer meetings and Bible studies. It was the irony of a revivalist who impugns confessionalism’s emphasis on Lord’s Day activities and rites getting sabbatarian on those who observe the church calendar.

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  25. Zrim: Richard, my point wasn’t that Westminster forbids prayer meetings and Bible studies. It was the irony of a revivalist who impugns confessionalism’s emphasis on Lord’s Day activities and rites getting sabbatarian on those who observe the church calendar.

    RS: Yes, but Westminster does in fact condemn the special days of the church calendar and does not condemn prayer meetings and Bible studies during the week. I would also argue that I don’t impugn an emphasis on Lord’s Day activities, but saying that the rites don’t go far enough or are emphasized beyond biblical proportions. Whatever a person does that is either short of or beyond the biblical balance will take the focus away from where it should be.

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  26. On a given Sunday, how does a Presbyterian clergyman decide on which text to read aloud/preach?

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  27. .Richard says;
    ” I would also argue that I don’t impugn an emphasis on Lord’s Day activities”
    “(what was your revivalist word to describe ecclesiastical and sacramental faith–lazy?).

    Richard you write enough to be forgiven an misplaced remark. Don’t try to back up from this overstatement. Just own that you oversold your point and are using the confession to suit your needs

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  28. Richard, no matter what version you’re referring to, “condemn” seems to be an over-read of the Confession and/or DPW. The word you may be looking for is “caution,” as in not letting special observances undermine Sabbath observance. It seems to me the same could apply to revivalism such that conventicles aren’t anymore “condemned” than Good Friday, but both, if they are exercised, should be exercised with due caution, and consciences should never be bound to anything but the Sabbath. So if it’s balance you’re after, you might consider that what’s good for the semi-medieval goose is good for the semi-revivalist gander.

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  29. sean: .Richard says;
    ” I would also argue that I don’t impugn an emphasis on Lord’s Day activities”
    “(what was your revivalist word to describe ecclesiastical and sacramental faith–lazy?).

    Sean: Richard you write enough to be forgiven an misplaced remark. Don’t try to back up from this overstatement. Just own that you oversold your point and are using the confession to suit your needs

    RS: The 9th command still stands so I cannot say that I am using the confession to suit my needs. What overstatment do you think I made?

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  30. Zrim: Richard, no matter what version you’re referring to, “condemn” seems to be an over-read of the Confession and/or DPW. The word you may be looking for is “caution,” as in not letting special observances undermine Sabbath observance.

    RS: I don’t think that the word “caution” is correct either. “Having no warrant in the word of God, are not to be continued.” In light of George Gillespie’s comments on it, I think that condemning the practice is about right. It is more than just undermining Sabbath observance, but in fact follows festivals that pagans set up and then Rome Christianized. The festivals put an emphasis on things that lead to the neglect of them for the rest of the year. It is best to stick with what is commanded.

    Zrim: It seems to me the same could apply to revivalism such that conventicles aren’t anymore “condemned” than Good Friday, but both, if they are exercised, should be exercised with due caution, and consciences should never be bound to anything but the Sabbath. So if it’s balance you’re after, you might consider that what’s good for the semi-medieval goose is good for the semi-revivalist gander.

    RS: But again, your comments are not to the point. Westminster specifically says that the festivals should not continue and specifically says that worship is only what God commands. Since Scripture does command us to pray without ceasing and to lift up holy hands in every place, there is clearly nothing wrong with praying together during the week and studying the Word of God together during the week. That would be in line with Acts 2:42 where ” They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” It is also in line with Acts 2:46 were we are told that “Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart.”

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  31. Sean, quoting Zrim: “(what was your revivalist word to describe ecclesiastical and sacramental faith–lazy?).

    Sean: Richard you write enough to be forgiven an misplaced remark. Don’t try to back up from this overstatement. Just own that you oversold your point and are using the confession to suit your needs

    RS: The above statement cannot be attributed to me apart from the original context (if this is the statment that you think I oversold my point on). What I said was, that if ALL a person did was to go to church on Sunday, affirm the confession, and take the sacraments, then that person was spiritually lazy. So can it be said that Christianity is limited to those things? Can a person practice those things and yet not pray and study the Bible the rest of those week or do anything else and that be anything less than spiritually lazy? The statement or question “what was your revivalist word to describe ecclesiastical and sacramental faith–lazy?” is not an accurate representation of the context nor the wording of my original statement. I was not describing the whole ecclesiastical and sacramental faith as lazy, nor did I say that all who practice that were lazy. I simply said that if that is all they do (attend church on Sunday, affirm the confession, and take the sacraments), and the “all that they do” means nothing during the week, then yes I would certainly say that is lazy. So I don’t think that my original statement oversold the point and I don’t think that I am using the confession to suit my needs. Surely many of those who are strongly confessional would agree with that.

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  32. “Kane Burnette
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Permalink
    On a given Sunday, how does a Presbyterian clergyman decide on which text to read aloud/preach?”

    With certain allowances for the requests of the Session (that has asked for special, “habitual” Resurrection and Nativity sermons) I follow a “lectio continua” method, the patristic roots of which were widely revived in the 16th century Reformation.

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  33. RS;
    “I simply said that if that is all they do (attend church on Sunday, affirm the confession, and take the sacraments), and the “all that they do” means nothing during the week, then yes I would certainly say that is lazy”

    Sean; Richard, I find it interesting that where it accomodates your position you want to use the confession in a prescriptive manner; Holy days are right out, but in other ways, weekly practices,whatever those may be, you want to argue the confession is not prohibitive of such things, falling back on scriptural admonitions to establish the bias. It becomes a manner, not necessarily intentional on your part, by which someone may illegitimately bind another’s conscience or implicitly, by practice in this case, establish a tiered class system, (the group that does such and such during the week, and the group that does not) amongst believers who otherwise in good conscience are trying to practice their faith. This by the way is no straw-man sociological occurrence within broader evangelicalism, the first and second class stratification amongst adherents is a widely observed and often ‘catechetically’ inculcated reality. Anyway, I’m not seeking to impugn to you things you don’t intend to communicate, but I find an arbitrariness in the way you term things that could be problematic in impartation to others.

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  34. Sean; Richard, I find it interesting that where it accomodates your position you want to use the confession in a prescriptive manner; Holy days are right out, but in other ways, weekly practices,whatever those may be, you want to argue the confession is not prohibitive of such things, falling back on scriptural admonitions to establish the bias.

    RS: But the confession specifically says that the practice of keeping holy days should be stopped. Then, the confession says nothing to prohibit the weekly practices of prayer meetings and Bible studies. What I did in going to the Bible was show why the confession would not prohibit those things. A few weeks ago I gave a list of passages from the WCF to show that the things it prescribed could not be done apart from meeting in the week. It is also not that I fall back on scriptural admonitions as such, but that I think that the Scripture is primary.

    Sean: It becomes a manner, not necessarily intentional on your part, by which someone may illegitimately bind another’s conscience or implicitly, by practice in this case, establish a tiered class system, (the group that does such and such during the week, and the group that does not) amongst believers who otherwise in good conscience are trying to practice their faith.

    RS: That would not be intentional, though it is an interesting argument. Clearly some if not many have done that, though I don’t think it is necessarily so.

    Sean: This by the way is no straw-man sociological occurrence within broader evangelicalism, the first and second class stratification amongst adherents is a widely observed and often ‘catechetically’ inculcated reality. Anyway, I’m not seeking to impugn to you things you don’t intend to communicate, but I find an arbitrariness in the way you term things that could be problematic in impartation to others.

    RS: I will have to consider that.

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  35. Richard, Romans 14 seems sufficient to correct your over-reading of the DPW. Seasonal observances and mid-week practices beyond the Sabbath are liberty. And when you continue to call those who put the accent on the Sabbath and exercise due diligence in attending the means of grace “lazy and disobedient,” you might pay particular attention to Paul’s admonition against passing judgment in the same chapter. At least those who observe the calendar aren’t as given to the judgmentalism of the semi-revivalists.

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  36. Zrim: Richard, Romans 14 seems sufficient to correct your over-reading of the DPW.

    RS: Romans 14 deals with eating and drinking, so I don’t really see it as a correction, though you may be applying it to my remark about chocolate bunnies.

    Zrim: Seasonal observances and mid-week practices beyond the Sabbath are liberty.

    RS: I would simply respond by saying that seasonal observances were brought into the Church from paganism and there is no command of Scripture to have these. I am not arguing specifically for mid-week practices as such, but for practices during any day of the week. We have in Scripture an example of those and the WCF tells us things to do that cannot be done on Sunday’s alone.

    Zrim: And when you continue to call those who put the accent on the Sabbath and exercise due diligence in attending the means of grace “lazy and disobedient,” you might pay particular attention to Paul’s admonition against passing judgment in the same chapter.

    RS: But again, you might notice that I said “if that is all they do.” Again, the context and the words themselves are important.

    Zrim: At least those who observe the calendar aren’t as given to the judgmentalism of the semi-revivalists.

    RS: Except when given to judging people as to perceived judgmentalism?

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  37. Richard, Romans 14 is also about the esteeming of days. And conventicles are free from worldly influences in ways seasonal observances aren’t?

    But I do still find it amazing how faithfully attending the means of grace could ever be construed as “lazy and disobedient.” It’s one thing to think there’s more to the Christian life than this, but you might re-think your choice of words to describe those who find God’s appointed day and means of grace sufficient to preserve and prepare.

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  38. Zrim: the problem with seasonal observances- beyond their pagan origin- is that they tend to confine the things they celebrate to those periods, as has been observed. They warp practical ecclesiology by creating periods where people expect to feel more “spiritual” and so have the same result as revivals: they create expectations for the rest of the year that can’t be met. They also become suffocated by unBiblical traditions.

    At least conventicles and Bible studies don’t obviously lead to these results. They’re not bound up with seasonal and pagan practises. I agree that the Christian who attends to the means of grace week by week is doing just fine, but I don’t think activities during the week are in the same boat as seasonal observances. Also I’d agree with Richard that, in my experience, those who attend Bible studies and conventicles tend to be amongst the most faithful observers of the means of grace.

    And we should bear in mind that this discussion started in response to the judgmentalism
    of D. Philip Veitch- a liturgical churchman. We are all guilty of judgmentalism.

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  39. Alexander, if we’re going by experience, I could easily say about conventiclers what you and Richard say about calendarittes: the latter more faithfully attend the means of grace than the former. But anecdotal theorizing seems less than helpful. And it’s not as obvious to me that conventicles don’t lead to hyper spirituality and warped ecclesiology (to wit, the local semi-revivalist calling confessionalism lazy and disobedient). My point is that both are equally subject to a sabbatarian ethic that wants to prioritize the regular and weekly use of the means of grace of God’s appointment without going so far as to condemn conventicles and calendars.

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  40. Zrim: Richard, Romans 14 is also about the esteeming of days. And conventicles are free from worldly influences in ways seasonal observances aren’t?

    RS: But the days mentioned are clearly not the new festival days that were brought into the Church by pagan practices.

    Zrim: But I do still find it amazing how faithfully attending the means of grace could ever be construed as “lazy and disobedient.”

    RS: I still don’t think you are hearing me, or at least I hope not. The key word is “all” in the sentence. “If that is all they do.” I would just as easily say about those who are not confessional and non-sacramental and say if all they do is attend church on Sunday then they are lazy. James does speak of faith in such a way that it has to be more than just claimed and spoken about. If a person does nothing else in the Christian life but attend a church on Sunday morning, listen to a homily of some sort, assent to a confession, and take the sacraments; is that all of Christianity?

    Zrim: It’s one thing to think there’s more to the Christian life than this, but you might re-think your choice of words to describe those who find God’s appointed day and means of grace sufficient to preserve and prepare.

    RS: But God has also appointed other means of grace such as prayer. Do you eat only once a week? Surely we are to seek grace more than once a week. Surely we are to seek the face of God at all times and in all things.

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  41. Richard, if the regular, weekly, and public worship of God really is the principle good work of every believer then how can one who does so be lazy and disobedient? Since distinguishing between primary and secondary behavior assumes a variety of expression, I understand this isn’t ALL there is to the Christian life, but your description of one who faithfully practices the principle good work is entirely disproportionate. How about just calling all primary and no secondary “lop-sided”?

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  42. Zrim: Richard, if the regular, weekly, and public worship of God really is the principle good work of every believer then how can one who does so be lazy and disobedient?

    RS: But I simply don’t find Scripture teaching us that this is the principle good work of believers. The Bible commands so much more, so not doing the other things leaves people with being disobedient. The WCF speaks of so much more even on the Sabbath day itself.

    Ch XXI sec: VIII. This Sabbath is to be kept holy unto the Lord when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering of their common affairs beforehand, do not only observe an holy rest all the day from their own works, words, and thoughts about their worldly employments and recreations, but also are taken up the whole time in the public and private exercises of His worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy

    Matthew 5:16 “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

    John 10:32 Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?”

    Romans 9:11 for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls,

    Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

    1 Timothy 2:10 but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness.

    1 Timothy 5:10 having a reputation for good works; and if she has brought up children, if she has shown hospitality to strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has assisted those in distress, and if she has devoted herself to every good work.

    1 Timothy 6:18 Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share,

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  43. Richard, denying the formal and public worship of God as the principle good work of believers does explain this aspect of the discussion. It also reveals semi-revivalism’s apparent inability to prioritize and exercise essential judgment. And to come back to my original point, it is odd for one unable to make such distinctions to ding those who observe seasons on the grounds that it undermines the Sabbath, because that seems to suggest a priority of the Sabbath. Yet, conventicles are immune from ever undermining the Sabbath (in fact, they actually promote the Sabbath), which seems to suggest a double standard.

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  44. Zrim: Richard, denying the formal and public worship of God as the principle good work of believers does explain this aspect of the discussion.

    RS: I would just ask you to show from Scripture or a confession that public worship is a good work. Worship is not a work.

    Zrim: It also reveals semi-revivalism’s apparent inability to prioritize and exercise essential judgment.

    RS: Or it could reflect a tenacious desire to look to Scripture as the sole authority in all things and look to the confessions for guides in this matter.

    Zrim: And to come back to my original point, it is odd for one unable to make such distinctions to ding those who observe seasons on the grounds that it undermines the Sabbath, because that seems to suggest a priority of the Sabbath.

    RS: Again, worship is not a good work. Remember also that the fact that seasons does undermine the Sabbath is not the only argument against them. Neither is a denial that worship is a work undermine the Sabbath.

    Zrim: Yet, conventicles are immune from ever undermining the Sabbath (in fact, they actually promote the Sabbath), which seems to suggest a double standard.

    RS: Again, Scripture holds out the Sabbath and it also holds out many things about the communion of the saints and of the life of the church that demands more than Sunday. I deny that Scripture has a double standard. The calendar set out by the Church is having or requiring a worship that has not been commanded. These seasons were actually pagan holidays that have Christian names attached. Once again, the WCF says that these days should cease.

    “Neal goes on to cite the fast sermon preached by Mr. Calamy on this occasion. James Reid records Calamy’s comments about the circumstances of this fast:21 This day is commonly called The Feast of Christ’s nativity, or, Christmas-day; a day that has formerly been much abused to superstition, and profaneness. It is not easy to say, whether the superstition has been greater, or the profaneness…. And truly I think that the superstition and profanation of this day is so rooted into it, as that there is no way to reform it, but by dealing with it as Hezekiah did with the brazen serpent. This year God, by his Providence, has buried this Feast in a Fast, and I hope it will never rise again.”

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  45. Zrim: I never said that calendarites forsook Sabbath worship; I argued that the calendar can create the problem of unrealistic spiritual expectations, like revivals. However, I’m afraid you have made rather blanket statements to the effect that conventicles/mid week activities automatically undermine Sabbath observance in this thread and others.

    Richard is right that the DPW is pretty unequivocal about not continuing so-called Holy Days. There is a category referred to as services of thanksgivings, but since they are mentioned as distinct from Holy Days I don’t think we can make them into Good Friday and the like (they’re also mentioned with the idea that they would be sporadic, not regular).

    However, the DFW (Directory for Family Worship), it would appear, prohibits conventicle type meetings. Maybe it just refers to formal worship meetings involving more than one family? I’m not sure.

    Considering the Holy Day issue affects the public worship of God (liberty of conscience) and the content of that worship, I’d say that is of primary importance. The standards are certainly clearer on this issue than on conventicles and Bible studies. And there’s nothing inherently suspect about the content of conventicles: i.e. what transpires during them. There is, however, with calendar worship.

    Richard: There is very little suggestion in the NT that the early church engaged in what could be described as worship activities other than formal public worship. Certainly we are meant to pray during the week, not just on the Sabbath. But I’d argue the NT covers that seperately. Yes, there is mention of Christians meeting every day, but nothing to suggest these meetings weren’t formal public worship. Generally it is Sabbath worship that is the general coming together, worshipfully, of the early church.

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  46. Richard, “worship isn’t a good work”? Heavens. But worship concerns the first two commandments, which seems to cover your plea for a scriptural argument for how worship has a primary place in the litany of good works. And yes, there is more than the Sabbath, which is what the second table of the law covers. First table is primary, second table is secondary. Jesus himself demonstrates a distinction between the primary and secondary when he sums up the law.

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  47. Alexander, no, I have not insinuated that conventicles “automatically undermine” the Sabbath. If you go back and read a little closer you’ll see that my point has been that calendars and conventicles have an equal potential to do so. What you and Richard seem to want to say is that calendars have greater potential than conventicles, or “automatically undermine” the Sabbath. You both seem to want to condemn calendars. I’m saying condemnation is due neither but rather due caution for both.

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  48. Darryl,

    And here I thought you would be glad to know that Lent is more than repentance. There are high aspirations for a gator wrestling Lutheran Pope come June. 😉

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  49. Zrim: If that’s your position on conventicles then it’s news to me. I’m afraid such nuance has passed me by in the past.

    Also, the DPW clearly condemns the calendar model. The fact that Protestants who observe Good Friday might not call it a “holy day” does not exempt the practice from this prohibition.

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  50. Alexander: Richard, There is very little suggestion in the NT that the early church engaged in what could be described as worship activities other than formal public worship. Certainly we are meant to pray during the week, not just on the Sabbath. But I’d argue the NT covers that seperately. Yes, there is mention of Christians meeting every day, but nothing to suggest these meetings weren’t formal public worship. Generally it is Sabbath worship that is the general coming together, worshipfully, of the early church.

    RS: I think that the following passage (Acts 2) would suggest that they were meeting for many things. The passage (below) from Eph 4 shows that it is each individual part doing what it does that causes the growth of the body. It seems to me that these individual parts don’t function like that just on Sunday mornings.

    Then, the WCF XXVI sure seems to suggest that meeting together apart from Sunday is necessary to maintain the communion of saints. In II notice the “and” after “the worship of God.” It seems that the saints are to have communion of the saints and that it is apart from the formal worship.

    I. All saints, that are united to Jesus Christ their Head, by His Spirit, and by faith, have fellowship with Him in His grace, sufferings, death, resurrection, and glory: and, being united to one another in love, they have communion in each other’s gifts and graces, and are obliged to the performance of such duties, public and private, as do conduce to their mutual good, both in the inward and outward man.

    II. Saints by profession are bound to maintain an holy fellowship and communion in the worship of God, and in performing such other spiritual services as tend to their mutual edification; as also in relieving each other in outward things, according to their several abilities and necessities. Which communion, as God offers opportunity, is to be extended unto all those who, in every place, call upon the name of the Lord Jesus.

    Acts 2:41 So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. 42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. 44 And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; 45 and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. 46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.

    Eph 4:14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;
    15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.

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  51. Zrim: Richard, “worship isn’t a good work”? Heavens.

    RS: No, worship is not a work at all. In the chapter (WCF) on worship I cannot find a mention of godo works and in the chapter on good works I cannot see formal worship mentioned.

    Zrim: But worship concerns the first two commandments, which seems to cover your plea for a scriptural argument for how worship has a primary place in the litany of good works. And yes, there is more than the Sabbath, which is what the second table of the law covers. First table is primary, second table is secondary. Jesus himself demonstrates a distinction between the primary and secondary when he sums up the law.

    RS: But no one can keep the second table unless it is out of love for God which is the Greatest Commandment and sums up the whole Law. In other words, though a distinction can be made nothing is acceptable apart from the Greatest Commandment which means the two tables are bound up in the one command. Nevertheless, I still don’t see how you made the deduction that formal worship is a work.

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  52. Richard: I see what you’re saying. However, I would argue that what the Confession is speaking about in what you quoted is not meetings of worship or Bible study, but the helping each other, encouraging and building each other up, that is expected of a Christian community. No one has said that Christians should only go to church on a Sunday and never see any other Christian for the rest of the week. When the subject of conventicles and Sabbath worship has come up it’s been specifically about worship, and that should be borne in mind. The danger is one of Christians substituting informal and unregulated gatherings for the regulated, prescribed Sabbath worship. The danger is not Christians being in fellowship with one another and looking after one another.

    The Acts passage refers to meetings where the Apostles’ doctrine was taught, there was breaking of bread (the sacraments administered) and there was prayer and fellowship (singing of psalms?) i.e. a service of worship. And there may have been periods where this happened on a daily basis: but that’s not necessarily prescriptive. Do we live in a socialistic community? Why not? That’s mentioned in the same passage. No one’s saying it’s wrong to meet for worship during the week. But the Sabbath worship is the prescribed; creationally, morally and legally ordained; regular form of gathering to worship and fellowship.

    Zrim: apologies if I came across as snarky 😦

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  53. Alexander: Richard, I see what you’re saying. However, I would argue that what the Confession is speaking about in what you quoted is not meetings of worship or Bible study, but the helping each other, encouraging and building each other up, that is expected of a Christian community.

    RS: But building each other up spiritually would include prayer and speaking of Scripture.

    Alexander: No one has said that Christians should only go to church on a Sunday and never see any other Christian for the rest of the week.

    RS: That was at least part of my point in saying that those who do nothing but attend church, hear a sermon, assent to the confession, and take the sacraments are disobedient. Being part of a church is to be a body and to function as a body, and that means far more than Sunday only.

    Alexander: When the subject of conventicles and Sabbath worship has come up it’s been specifically about worship, and that should be borne in mind. The danger is one of Christians substituting informal and unregulated gatherings for the regulated, prescribed Sabbath worship. The danger is not Christians being in fellowship with one another and looking after one another.

    RS: Limiting the local church to Sunday morning appears to be something less than what a body should do, yet informal and unregulated gatherings should never take the place of the Sabbath worship but instead all of the meetings should work together with it.

    Alexander: The Acts passage refers to meetings where the Apostles’ doctrine was taught, there was breaking of bread (the sacraments administered) and there was prayer and fellowship (singing of psalms?) i.e. a service of worship. And there may have been periods where this happened on a daily basis: but that’s not necessarily prescriptive.

    RS: Acts 2:46 “Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart.”
    Breaking bread can mean the sacrament, but it can also just mean eating together. The context of the passage just above seems to infer eating their meals together. These people wanted to be together because of their mutual love of Christ. Indeed it is not prescriptive, but I hope it is clear that it is also not prohibitive.

    Andrew: Do we live in a socialistic community? Why not? That’s mentioned in the same passage. No one’s saying it’s wrong to meet for worship during the week. But the Sabbath worship is the prescribed; creationally, morally and legally ordained; regular form of gathering to worship and fellowship.

    RS: I am not sure that no one is saying that it is wrong to meet for worship during the week as it appears that some do. Absolutely true on your Sabbath point. I would just add that when the worship on the Sabbath includes others, it tends to spill over into other things of life. When God grants worship and power in prayer on the Sabbath, people tend to desire that more often. On the other hand, when people desire to pray and hunger for the Word during the week, the Sabbath day is with more power as well.

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  54. Richard, cowabunga. I’m stymied at any logic that ends up saying worship is not a good work. That’s the very definition of worship, a work or service of highest adoration.

    But if you are unable to deduce that worship is a good work from WCF (!) then try the third portion of the HC, that section having to do with grateful obedience, paying particular attention to Q/A 93:

    How are these commandments divided?

    Answer: Into two tables; the first of which teaches us how we must behave towards God; the second, what duties we owe to our neighbour.

    And it’s not that keeping the second table depends upon the keeping of the first table. It’s that nobody can keep either table apart from grace. By your logic, we really can boast in keeping the law. But boasting is only in Christ.

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  55. I think the worry is the “peer pressure” that can develop if meetings are organised during the week. So, it’s not just the Sabbath worship one must attend, but the mid week prayer meeting. And the small group. And the men’s group. And on. And we’ve heard about churches where membership was granted only after compliance with that particular congregation’s small group policy. And so Christians are made to feel inadequate if they just attend Sabbath worship
    because they can’t make the other meetings or simply don’t want to.

    And again the danger is with gatherings where there is teaching but unregulated teaching that can undermine the preaching of pastor and can introduce heresy.

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  56. Zrim: Richard, cowabunga. I’m stymied at any logic that ends up saying worship is not a good work. That’s the very definition of worship, a work or service of highest adoration.

    RS: Wow, your degree of being stymied draws forth a cowabunga! Well, despite the cowabunga, I simply don’t see Scripture teaching that worship is a work.

    Zrim: But if you are unable to deduce that worship is a good work from WCF (!) then try the third portion of the HC, that section having to do with grateful obedience, paying particular attention to Q/A 93:

    How are these commandments divided?

    Answer: Into two tables; the first of which teaches us how we must behave towards God; the second, what duties we owe to our neighbour.

    RS: Sorry, but I still don’t see that worship is a work.

    Zrim: And it’s not that keeping the second table depends upon the keeping of the first table. It’s that nobody can keep either table apart from grace. By your logic, we really can boast in keeping the law. But boasting is only in Christ.

    RS: I still think that you fail to see my logic if you think that I think that anyone can keep any part of the law apart from grace. What I am saying, however, is that the Greatest Commandment is to love the Lord your God with all of your being (all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength). In other words, there is no extra to go anywhere else and so all else must be out of that same love. All love is to be toward God and so we can only love our neighbor when we love God. But all true love first must come from God and is only and always by grace.

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  57. Alexander: I think the worry is the “peer pressure” that can develop if meetings are organised during the week. So, it’s not just the Sabbath worship one must attend, but the mid week prayer meeting. And the small group. And the men’s group. And on. And we’ve heard about churches where membership was granted only after compliance with that particular congregation’s small group policy. And so Christians are made to feel inadequate if they just attend Sabbath worship
    because they can’t make the other meetings or simply don’t want to.

    RS: Peer pressure and pride can and will occur at virtually anything that the church does or tries to do. Preachers are proud of their preaching and so on. Perhaps humility is needed in all things.

    Alexander: And again the danger is with gatherings where there is teaching but unregulated teaching that can undermine the preaching of pastor and can introduce heresy.

    RS: Absolutely true. This is why elders and/or pastors should oversee the teaching that occurs and even better, they should do most of it.

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  58. RS: That was at least part of my point in saying that those who do nothing but attend church, hear a sermon, assent to the confession, and take the sacraments are disobedient.

    Sean; We should do a test case Richard, because what you’re claiming is disobedient is largely how I would describe my faith. You may want lay down boundaries and distinctions of religious affections that lead to anticipated behavior, but the only place those judgements have any traction is in your own mind. Which you’re welcome to, by the way, but you have no confessional or scriptural grounds to impose or prescribe your expectations on a member in good standing, which is going to include false confessors(i.e. wheat and tares growing up together that don’t get sorted out this side of glory) and if you were my pastor or elder and tried to implement or practice such criteria in my church, I’d oppose you at session and presbytery. Quite frankly if you really are concerned for my soul and believe I’m being disobedient, you have no choice but to pursue my restoration, you are your brother’s keeper. I really would like to see how you would bring to bear, it’s “more than sunday only”, in any sort of institutional or formal way outside of your own judgement.

    I mean, after all, everyone’s got an opinion on how things are going, and how things should be, outside and inside the church visible. Shoot, my dogs render their opinion of my compliance or lack thereof of their wants and needs everyday. So what. What matters is where your legitimate oversight would end, your bounding, and at what point are you encroaching on my christian liberty.

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  59. Sean; We should do a test case Richard, because what you’re claiming is disobedient is largely how I would describe my faith. You may want lay down boundaries and distinctions of religious affections that lead to anticipated behavior, but the only place those judgements have any traction is in your own mind.

    RS: Jesus said that if you love Him you will obey His commands. John 14:15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

    Sean: Which you’re welcome to, by the way, but you have no confessional or scriptural grounds to impose or prescribe your expectations on a member in good standing, which is going to include false confessors(i.e. wheat and tares growing up together that don’t get sorted out this side of glory) and if you were my pastor or elder and tried to implement or practice such criteria in my church, I’d oppose you at session and presbytery.

    RS: Show me your faith by your words and Sunday attendance, yet James says “I will show you my faith by my works” (2:18).

    Sean: Quite frankly if you really are concerned for my soul and believe I’m being disobedient, you have no choice but to pursue my restoration, you are your brother’s keeper. I really would like to see how you would bring to bear, it’s “more than sunday only”, in any sort of institutional or formal way outside of your own judgement.

    RS: Scripture is quite clear on what a new creature is and does. A new creature is one that Christ lives in and one that strives to do all to His glory. A new creature is one that prays, seeks His face in the Word, has fellowship with the saints, and loves God and his brother and neighbor. I John was written so that people could know whether they had eternal life or not.

    Sean: I mean, after all, everyone’s got an opinion on how things are going, and how things should be, outside and inside the church visible. Shoot, my dogs render their opinion of my compliance or lack thereof of their wants and needs everyday. So what. What matters is where your legitimate oversight would end, your bounding, and at what point are you encroaching on my christian liberty.

    RS: No one has the liberty to disobey Christ. Whatever liberty one thinks s/he has, one does not have the liberty to be anything other than a slave of Christ. Whatever liberty one thinks that s/he has, Jesus told us this: 13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Mat 7). Whatever liberty one thinks that s/he has, Jesus says that 17 “every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit; 19 “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 “So then, you will know them by their fruits.” (Mat 7). Whatever liberty one thinks that s/he has, Jesus said that 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS” (Mat 7). Notice that regardless of the person’s claim, those who practice lawlessness will be told to depart from Him. In I John 2 we read this: 3″ By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him;
    5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him.” In no place in Scripture are we told that as long as we go to church on Sunday morning and do the proper things are we free from obedience and love the rest of the time. No, we are to be His 24/7/52.

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  60. Westminster Standards, 1646, unrevised.

    WCF Chapter 16: Of Good Works
    16:1 Good works are only such as God hath commanded in His holy Word (Mic.6:8; Rom.12:2; Heb.13:21),…

    WLC Question 104: What are the duties required in the first commandment?
    Answer: The duties required in the first commandment are, the knowing and acknowledging of God to be the only true God, and our God; and to worship and glorify him accordingly, by thinking, meditating, remembering, highly esteeming, honoring, adoring, choosing, loving, desiring, fearing of him:…

    WLC Question 108: What are the duties required in the second commandment?
    Answer: The duties required in the second commandment are, the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God has instituted in his Word; particularly prayer and thanksgiving in the name of Christ; the reading, preaching, and hearing of the Word; the administration and receiving of the sacraments; church government and discipline; the ministry and maintenance thereof; religious fasting; swearing by the name of God, and vowing unto him: as also the disapproving, detesting, opposing, all false worship; and, according to each one’s place and calling, removing it, and all monuments of idolatry.

    WLC Question 109: What are the sins forbidden in the second commandment?
    Answer: The sins forbidden in the second commandment are, all devising, counseling, commanding, using, and anywise approving, any religious worship not instituted by God himself; tolerating a false religion; the making any representation of God, of all or of any of the three persons, either inwardly in our mind, or outwardly in any kind of image or likeness of any creature: Whatsoever; all worshiping of it, or God in it or by it; the making of any representation of feigned deities, and all worship of them, or service belonging to them; all superstitious devices, corrupting the worship of God, adding to it, or taking from it, whether invented and taken up of ourselves, or received by tradition from others, though under the title of antiquity, custom, devotion, good intent, or any other pretense: Whatsoever; simony; sacrilege; all neglect, contempt, hindering, and opposing the worship and ordinances which God has appointed.

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  61. Bruce: Westminster Standards, 1646, unrevised.
    WCF Chapter 16: Of Good Works
    16:1 Good works are only such as God hath commanded in His holy Word (Mic.6:8; Rom.12:2; Heb.13:21),…

    WLC Question 104: What are the duties required in the first commandment?
    Answer: The duties required in the first commandment are, the knowing and acknowledging of God to be the only true God, and our God; and to worship and glorify him accordingly, by thinking, meditating, remembering, highly esteeming, honoring, adoring, choosing, loving, desiring, fearing of him:…

    RS: I think that in order for your case to be correct one has to make the leap from “Good works are ONLY SUCH as God commanded” to all that God commands are good works. I don’t think that this leap is necessary or advisable.

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  62. I think Bruce’s- and the Catechism’s- point is that worship is a duty and therefore a work. Like all works, it is only acceptable to God by the facts that we are regenerated and possess a heart inclined to obey God, and His gracious acceptance of our striving to please and obey him. I’m not saying I agree it’s a work in the sense the Confession talks about works, but I think that’s Bruce’s argument. (Is it Bruce?) I can’t say I’ve ever thought of worship quite like that. I’m not opposed to the idea. It’s certainly a duty.

    Am I the only one who sees the irony that Lane’s church practises Holy Week? 😛

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  63. RS; no place in Scripture are we told that as long as we go to church on Sunday morning and do the proper things are we free from obedience and love the rest of the time. No, we are to be His 24/7/52.

    Sean; Yea, I understand your point. My point however is you have no grounds to seek my conformation to your feelings or expectations of consecration. You also hit this from a really tortured angle; one of the first things to happen to somebody who is fleeing God, or taking license under the cover of his christian liberty, is he begins or entirely forsakes the gathering together of His saints. The flip side, is those who feel the Lord’s day and services are inadequate begin to emphasize the small group or home fellowship or less informal gatherings so as to have room for their egalitarian and individualistic bents; ‘home church’, TV church, small group bible studies that major in your opinion about a doctrine or revolve around a topic of your particular inclination, sermon audio church as you pick and choose your “virtual” pastor and community, etc…

    Again Richard, you can exhort all day and recommend and insist but you have no traction outside your own conscience, which you should keep. The “organic” or informal church isn’t where the “real action” of the Holy Spirit is taking place. The word preached and the sacraments rightly administered is preeminent in protestant and particularly presbyterian circles. So for you to emphasize your sense of christian piety at the expense of, even if you’re just trying to make a point about the importance, to you, of the mon-sat experience, the institutional or formal church exercises is terribly misplaced and a misreading of where the points of tension actually exist with someone who may be falling away from or abusing the liberties of their conscience.

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  64. In no place in Scripture are we told that as long as we go to church on Sunday morning and do the proper things are we free from obedience and love the rest of the time.

    Richard, with whom do you imagine you are contending? Nobody has ever suggested anything even resembling this. The point has been one of emphasis, not deletion.

    And one advantage of emphasizing the religious obedience due God before (not instead of) the moral obligations to others is that it uniquely distinguishes believers from unbelievers. The pagan can often be found refraining from stealing and adultery, but can he just as frequently be found attending the means of grace twice a Lord’s Day? Sure, hypocrites are mixed in with wheat, but it seems to me that particular and exclusive religious devotion is a better way to gauge the differences.

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  65. And one advantage of emphasizing the religious obedience due God before (not instead of) the moral obligations to others is that it uniquely distinguishes believers from unbelievers.

    Stay out of my head Zrim.

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  66. Alexander: I think Bruce’s- and the Catechism’s- point is that worship is a duty and therefore a work. Like all works, it is only acceptable to God by the facts that we are regenerated and possess a heart inclined to obey God, and His gracious acceptance of our striving to please and obey him. I’m not saying I agree it’s a work in the sense the Confession talks about works, but I think that’s Bruce’s argument. (Is it Bruce?) I can’t say I’ve ever thought of worship quite like that. I’m not opposed to the idea. It’s certainly a duty.

    RS: I think we have to be very careful at this point (not accusing anyone of not being careful as such). For example, if we think of Sunday morning worship as a work, and yet we view the sacraments and preaching as means of grace, then we are saying that we work to receive grace. My position (as I perceive it) is based on the fact that grace never comes on the basis or because of works, but rather works come because of grace. It is a duty to love God, but it is not a work to love God. However, those who love God will do works out of that love. I think of (as I feel like I am speaking with the accuracy of mud that is being slung) Sunday worship as the place where we go for the purpose of worship and to be filled with grace so that we may do works that are moved from love for God by grace.

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  67. Sean: Yea, I understand your point. My point however is you have no grounds to seek my conformation to your feelings or expectations of consecration.

    RS: If what person A says is biblical, then the grounds are the Word of God. I have no idea who you are and this is a discussion. The duty of both of us (and all) is to seek to understand the Word of God and live by the power of God.

    Sean: You also hit this from a really tortured angle; one of the first things to happen to somebody who is fleeing God, or taking license under the cover of his christian liberty, is he begins or entirely forsakes the gathering together of His saints. The flip side, is those who feel the Lord’s day and services are inadequate begin to emphasize the small group or home fellowship or less informal gatherings so as to have room for their egalitarian and individualistic bents; ‘home church’, TV church, small group bible studies that major in your opinion about a doctrine or revolve around a topic of your particular inclination, sermon audio church as you pick and choose your “virtual” pastor and community, etc…

    RS: I am not sure this is an either…or situation. The real issue is the glory of God in the soul being expressed in a person’s particular circumstances which God has sovereignly brought to pass. I do argue that for a people to be the body of Christ there must be things going on other than Sunday’s, but that will take different forms for different people.

    Sean: Again Richard, you can exhort all day and recommend and insist but you have no traction outside your own conscience, which you should keep.

    RS: Have I ever claimed that I have traction outside of that? It is God through His Word who has traction. The discussion is over what the Bible teaches.

    Sean: The “organic” or informal church isn’t where the “real action” of the Holy Spirit is taking place. The word preached and the sacraments rightly administered is preeminent in protestant and particularly presbyterian circles.

    RS: If the Word is rightly preached, then it changes hearts and lives as the Spirit pleases. When that happens, the change will be evident in more than people attending on Sunday mornings. The Great Commission still stands and that will not happen only on Sunday mornings alone.

    Sean: So for you to emphasize your sense of christian piety at the expense of, even if you’re just trying to make a point about the importance, to you, of the mon-sat experience, the institutional or formal church exercises is terribly misplaced and a misreading of where the points of tension actually exist with someone who may be falling away from or abusing the liberties of their conscience.

    RS: You can interpret me as you please and try to judge my motives and intents as you please, but my argument is and still remains the same in a discussion. The commands and duties of Scripture and the teachings of the confession cannot be carried out solely on Sunday mornings. Therefore, if a person does nothing but go to church on Sunday mornings that person is disobedient.

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  68. Zrim, quoting RS: “In no place in Scripture are we told that as long as we go to church on Sunday morning and do the proper things are we free from obedience and love the rest of the time.”

    Zrim: Richard, with whom do you imagine you are contending? Nobody has ever suggested anything even resembling this. The point has been one of emphasis, not deletion.

    RS: But that is the point I have been arguing since the beginning. That is at least part of what it means to attend church on Sunday morning and then do nothing else.

    Zrim: And one advantage of emphasizing the religious obedience due God before (not instead of) the moral obligations to others is that it uniquely distinguishes believers from unbelievers. The pagan can often be found refraining from stealing and adultery, but can he just as frequently be found attending the means of grace twice a Lord’s Day?

    RS: Certainly you are right in emphasizing the religious obedience due to God first. However, the pagan who refrains from stealing and adultery is not refraining from sin out of love for God. He does so in order not to bring trouble on himself. On the other hand, people can do many positive things as well out of love for self rather than love for God. Attending church is not and of itself a sign of love for God or of keeping the the first table of the commandments.

    Zrim: Sure, hypocrites are mixed in with wheat, but it seems to me that particular and exclusive religious devotion is a better way to gauge the differences.

    RS: But the Pharisees were very devoted to their religious devotion. Yes, they were very devoted all or most days of the week as well. Nevertheless, attending church on Sunday morning does not give us all that needs to be known. The BTK killer (famous serial killer in Wichita, KS) was very diligent at Sunday morning services in his Lutheran church. He was also a deacon if memory serves correct. Sunday morning services do not declare that a person has indeed been born from above, but neither does many activites in the week. Grace in the heart must be expressed.

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  69. RS: You can interpret me as you please and try to judge my motives and intents as you please, but my argument is and still remains the same in a discussion. The commands and duties of Scripture and the teachings of the confession cannot be carried out solely on Sunday mornings. Therefore, if a person does nothing but go to church on Sunday mornings that person is disobedient.

    Sean; Richard, it really is at best a convoluted way to make your point. And is proof positive of the statement in the article;

    “Two-kingdom advocates frequently receive the criticism that we are limiting Christianity to Sundays, that we are telling people they can be “worldly” during the weekdays as long as they are holy on Sunday. That is a severe misrepresentation of 2k. But even if it were true, we at least devote 52 days, 12 more than the church calendar followers, to being profoundly cultural. Why don’t we get any credit for that?”

    Sean; There’s no judgement of your heart involved, merely a profound dislike and disagreement for how you’ve argued for your 24/7/52. It does establish that DGH’s statement in the article is no strawman accusation. So, there’s something.

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  70. sean, quoting RS: You can interpret me as you please and try to judge my motives and intents as you please, but my argument is and still remains the same in a discussion. The commands and duties of Scripture and the teachings of the confession cannot be carried out solely on Sunday mornings. Therefore, if a person does nothing but go to church on Sunday mornings that person is disobedient.

    Sean; Richard, it really is at best a convoluted way to make your point. And is proof positive of the statement in the article;

    “Two-kingdom advocates frequently receive the criticism that we are limiting Christianity to Sundays, that we are telling people they can be “worldly” during the weekdays as long as they are holy on Sunday. That is a severe misrepresentation of 2k. But even if it were true, we at least devote 52 days, 12 more than the church calendar followers, to being profoundly cultural. Why don’t we get any credit for that?”

    RS: I would think that if it was so convoluted you would not be able to understand it. I just think you don’t like it. I cannot speak for others, but in speaking for myself I am not criticizing 2k folks on purpose. I am just saying, convoluted or not, that “The commands and duties of Scripture and the teachings of the confession cannot be carried out solely on Sunday mornings. Therefore, if a person does nothing but go to church on Sunday mornings that person is disobedient.” So far that has not been shown to be inaccurate.

    Sean; There’s no judgement of your heart involved, merely a profound dislike and disagreement for how you’ve argued for your 24/7/52. It does establish that DGH’s statement in the article is no strawman accusation. So, there’s something.

    Sean: Maybe strawman disparagement is a better way to put that

    RS: But again, I am not speaking to the 2k folks specifically, though some might be included. It is so interesting that Scripture declares in both Testaments that the Greatest Commandment is to love God with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength. It does not say that you are to love God on Sunday mornings and stop there.

    A. Scripture says love God with all of your being 24/7/52
    B. Some want to limit Christianity and so Sunday mornings only is okay
    C. Therefore, Sunday morning only Christianity falls way short of the Great Commandment.

    I am not sure how you can escape the argument above. By the way, this is not arguing that people keep this perfectly at any moment not to mention all week. The only way we keep any part of this is by grace alone. However, the commands of God are the commands of God.

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  71. Richard, the point of confessionalism is priority. If your point is that hypocrisy is bad, then you’re not really saying anything profound and so you have no adversary in confessionalism. So, again, who are you talking to when you remind us that Christian obedience isn’t cordoned off to one day in seven? It’s not a confessionalist. A confessionalist is prioritizing the Sabbath and its inherent activities (over against the seasonalist and conventicler). Big difference.

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  72. Zrim: Richard, the point of confessionalism is priority. If your point is that hypocrisy is bad, then you’re not really saying anything profound and so you have no adversary in confessionalism.

    RS: Of course I would say that hypocrisy is bad, but that is not the real point of what I have been trying to say.

    Zrim: So, again, who are you talking to when you remind us that Christian obedience isn’t cordoned off to one day in seven? It’s not a confessionalist. A confessionalist is prioritizing the Sabbath and its inherent activities (over against the seasonalist and conventicler). Big difference.

    RS: Perhaps there is a big difference, but there may also be a smaller amount of difference in many cases than we realize. I would argue that not all confessionalist are created equal. Not all have the same confession and not all have the same commitment to God being the whole of life. The same thing (not all can be lumped together) is true of what you would refer to as pietists. For some the Sabbath is the day that all the other days either flow out of or flow toward. So the prayer meetings and Bible studies are aimed (to a greater or lesser degree) toward the Sabbath and the gathering of the people of God. To others, as you noted, the Sabbath is virtually supplanted.

    But among some confessionalists the Sabbath morning can be about all there is to their version of Christianity. They can go to church and have everything done for them. It is there that they hear all of the Word of God that they want or think that they need. It is there that they think that they receive all the grace that they will need. So the Sabbath day is not to them the supreme day of the week and not that day which all other days flow from and flow toward, but is the day in which all the religion they need is done for them.

    Among some confessionalists it appears that there is little difference between their view of the local church and that or Rome. It is the church that dispenses grace and it is the leaders that will do all for them. There seems to be little recognition that the Sabbath day (IMO) is not just for a few hours, but it is supposed to be for the whole day. There seems to be little recognition that the Sabbath day is to govern the other days. The Word of God that is preached is to be heard and digested in the soul but then expressed and lived the rest of the week as one looks forward to the next Sabbath.

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  73. RS: “But among some confessionalists the Sabbath morning can be about all there is to their version of Christianity. They can go to church and have everything done for them. It is there that they hear all of the Word of God that they want or think that they need. It is there that they think that they receive all the grace that they will need. So the Sabbath day is not to them the supreme day of the week and not that day which all other days flow from and flow toward, but is the day in which all the religion they need is done for them.

    Among some confessionalists it appears that there is little difference between their view of the local church and that or Rome. It is the church that dispenses grace and it is the leaders that will do all for them. There seems to be little recognition that the Sabbath day (IMO) is not just for a few hours, but it is supposed to be for the whole day. There seems to be little recognition that the Sabbath day is to govern the other days. The Word of God that is preached is to be heard and digested in the soul but then expressed and lived the rest of the week as one looks forward to the next Sabbath.”

    The article:

    “Two-kingdom advocates frequently receive the criticism that we are limiting Christianity to Sundays, that we are telling people they can be “worldly” during the weekdays as long as they are holy on Sunday. That is a severe misrepresentation of 2k. But even if it were true, we at least devote 52 days, 12 more than the church calendar followers, to being profoundly cultural. Why don’t we get any credit for that? “

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  74. RS:

    A. Scripture says love God with all of your being 24/7/52

    Sean;This is apparently being put to me or confessionalists 2k as a possible weakness of their prioritizing
    .
    RS:By the way, this is not arguing that people keep this perfectly at any moment not to mention all week.

    Sean; whew, I guess the pietist or non confessional, non 2ker has no better mechanism in fullfilling the greatest commandment in their prioritizing.

    RS: B. Some want to limit Christianity and so Sunday mornings only is okay

    Sean: No one I know in these circles who’s valuing the Sabbath over other ‘spiritual’ occassions-see the gross mischaracterization DG highlights at the end of the article.

    RS: C. Therefore, Sunday morning only Christianity falls way short of the Great Commandment.

    Sean: and so is apparently other prioritizing schemes, turns out the law is unkeepable not withstanding your allusion to grace empowered execution, which according to your own words isn’t perfect or all the time, which begs the question; “who’s borrowing from Rome now?”

    There’s my Houdini act, no applause please, just your money, thanks.

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  75. Sean: The article:

    “Two-kingdom advocates frequently receive the criticism that we are limiting Christianity to Sundays, that we are telling people they can be “worldly” during the weekdays as long as they are holy on Sunday. That is a severe misrepresentation of 2k. But even if it were true, we at least devote 52 days, 12 more than the church calendar followers, to being profoundly cultural. Why don’t we get any credit for that? “

    RS: I am not arguing against 2k

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  76. sean
    Posted April 12, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Permalink
    RS:

    A. Scripture says love God with all of your being 24/7/52

    Sean;This is apparently being put to me or confessionalists 2k as a possible weakness of their prioritizing
    .
    RS:By the way, this is not arguing that people keep this perfectly at any moment not to mention all week.

    Sean; whew, I guess the pietist or non confessional, non 2ker has no better mechanism in fullfilling the greatest commandment in their prioritizing.

    RS: B. Some want to limit Christianity and so Sunday mornings only is okay

    Sean: No one I know in these circles who’s valuing the Sabbath over other ‘spiritual’ occassions-see the gross mischaracterization DG highlights at the end of the article.

    RS: C. Therefore, Sunday morning only Christianity falls way short of the Great Commandment.

    Sean: and so is apparently other prioritizing schemes, turns out the law is unkeepable not withstanding your allusion to grace empowered execution, which according to your own words isn’t perfect or all the time, which begs the question; “who’s borrowing from Rome now?”

    There’s my Houdini act, no applause please, just your money, thanks.

    RS: I think you are missing the main point, so the Houdini act is not quite working there. The fact that no one cannot keep the Law perfectly is not an escape for the position. As to who is borrowing from Rome, my position is quite consistent and it is not me. Remember where the discussion started and it was not about 2k. It was about my statement that if ALL a person did was attend church on Sunday mornings and nothing else, that person is disobedient. You can bring 2k in all you want, but that is more of a red herring at the moment. The fact remains is that God demands all of our hearts all of the time. It is no excuse to say we cannot keep that, but instead we are to strive by grace in aiming at that obedience which will be fulfilled by grace in heaven.

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  77. Sean to RS; It’s a neat rhetorical trick, but it’s really not nice to be Rubber Soul’s, ‘Nowhere man’ when it’s put to you, and then turn around and be Cornell’s “I am the Highway” when pontificating for your position. You’re in there whether you acknowledge it or not.

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  78. sean: Quoting RS: A. Scripture says love God with all of your being 24/7/52

    Sean;This is apparently being put to me or confessionalists 2k as a possible weakness of their prioritizing

    RS: No, it is put forth as a position of Scripture regarding a position I was arguing for recently. Whether it applies to 2k or not is a thing of indifference to me.
    .
    Sean, quoting RS:By the way, this is not arguing that people keep this perfectly at any moment not to mention all week.

    Sean; whew, I guess the pietist or non confessional, non 2ker has no better mechanism in fullfilling the greatest commandment in their prioritizing.

    RS: Which is not the point at all. The fact that no one can keep the Greatest Commandment perfectly is not excuse not to try. We are to grow in grace and knowledge.

    Sean, quoting RS: B. Some want to limit Christianity and so Sunday mornings only is okay

    Sean: No one I know in these circles who’s valuing the Sabbath over other ‘spiritual’ occassions-see the gross mischaracterization DG highlights at the end of the article.

    RS: But you don’t know all people in all places, so the logic of the argument still stands. The mischaracterization DG was speaking of was to a specific group of people. I would assume that he does not know all people in all places as well as not knowing all 2k folks either.

    Sean, quoting RS: C. Therefore, Sunday morning only Christianity falls way short of the Great Commandment.

    Sean: and so is apparently other prioritizing schemes, turns out the law is unkeepable not withstanding your allusion to grace empowered execution, which according to your own words isn’t perfect or all the time, which begs the question; “who’s borrowing from Rome now?”

    RS: Perhaps I should have said this: C. Therefore, Sunday morning only Christianity falls way short of any effort to keep the Great Commandment. It is not borrowing from Rome in the slightest to say that saved sinners cannot keep the law of love perfectly and must grow in grace and knowledge.

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  79. Trying to follow who’s saying what and to whom is giving me a headache. Alas, I must wait until Sunday before I can pray to God for relief 😦

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  80. RS:

    C. Therefore, Sunday morning only Christianity falls way short of any effort to keep the Great Commandment. It is not borrowing from Rome in the slightest to say that saved sinners cannot keep the law of love perfectly and must grow in grace and knowledge.

    Sean:

    Everyday Christianity falls way short as well as every other scheme I can imagine. Your schemes suffer the same shortfalls in keeping the law as every other scheme outside 2nd Adam fulfillment. Again, your point is beyond tortured at this point. As far as borrowing from Rome, I guess it all depends on how you want to talk about grace and how you view the law, but I figured while you were casting aspersions against this mysterious group of Sunday only’s, and their similarity to nominal RC’s, I’d throw a little sauce back your way to see what sticks.

    Sean; By the way let me know, if you wanna keep saying without saying, and insinuating without declaring and running while standing still and I’ll do my best to keep pace. Actually, probably not, Lily needs to step in and close, I’m just middle relief.

    Alexander no cheating. Don’t be starting your petitions a minute sooner.

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  81. Sean quoting RS:
    C. Therefore, Sunday morning only Christianity falls way short of any effort to keep the Great Commandment. It is not borrowing from Rome in the slightest to say that saved sinners cannot keep the law of love perfectly and must grow in grace and knowledge.

    Sean: Everyday Christianity falls way short as well as every other scheme I can imagine. Your schemes suffer the same shortfalls in keeping the law as every other scheme outside 2nd Adam fulfillment.

    RS: That is perhaps an excuse or perhaps an attempt to avoid the point. Those who strive by grace to love God with all of their being and whether they eat, drink, or whatever they do they do to the glory of His name is not the same shortfall as many others.

    Sean: Again, your point is beyond tortured at this point.

    RS: The only torture resulting from this position is your attempt to refute it at this point.

    Sean: As far as borrowing from Rome, I guess it all depends on how you want to talk about grace and how you view the law, but I figured while you were casting aspersions against this mysterious group of Sunday only’s, and their similarity to nominal RC’s, I’d throw a little sauce back your way to see what sticks.

    RS: It didn’t stick.

    Sean; By the way let me know, if you wanna keep saying without saying, and insinuating without declaring and running while standing still and I’ll do my best to keep pace. Actually, probably not, Lily needs to step in and close, I’m just middle relief.

    RS: I am not saying without saying, but rather saying with saying. The Great Commandments stands and cannot possibly go away or its demands be lessened. You seem determined to say that since no one but Jesus can keep it perfectly, there is no sense in trying for 6 3/4 of the week. I am saying that true grace in the soul moves the soul to strive for this seven days a week.

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  82. Calvin: It deserves our attention that Christ says that he gave an example; for we are not at liberty to take all his actions, without reserve, as subjects of imitation. The Papists boast that, by Christ’s example, they observe the forty days’ fast, or Lent. But we ought first to see whether or not he intended to lay down his fast as an example that the disciples might conform to it as a rule. We read nothing of this sort, and, therefore, the imitation of it is not less wicked than if they attempted to fly to heaven.

    Besides, when they ought to have followed Christ, they were not imitators, but apes. Every year they have a fashion of washing some people’s feet, as if it were a farce which they were playing on the stage; and so, when they have performed this idle and unmeaning ceremony, they think that they have fully discharged their duty, and reckon themselves at liberty to despise their brethren during the rest of the year. But — what is far worse — after having washed the feet of twelve men, they subject every member of Christ to cruel torture, and thus spit in Christ’s face. This display of buffoonery, therefore, is nothing else than a shameful mockery of Christ. At all events, Christ does not here enjoin an annual ceremony, but bids us be ready, throughout our whole life, to wash the feet of our brethren and neighbors.” (Commentary, John 13)

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  83. RS: “I am saying that true grace in the soul moves the soul to strive for this seven days a week.”

    Sean: Richard, quite frankly you’ve said so many things it’s hard to keep track. Nevertheless, Nobody here is arguing against consecration that I’ve read. Nobody is contending against a subjective consideration of a ‘holistic’ piety, that among other things draws us into prayer and reading the scriptures often. What the contention is, from my perspective, is springboarding off lenten considerations, and a diligent Lord’s day observance, as a platform to pontificate against “Sunday only’s” and for 24/7 earnestness. To plagiarize Zrim; “who here are you contending with”?

    Now, the suspicion is that what’s really afoot is you anticipate an inherent weakness toward “cultural” or “nominal” christianity with all this prioritizing or focus on sabbath observance, and 24/7 earnestness is a better alternative to lord’s day emphasis and has no such opportunity for antinomianism. The problem is when you do so, you flatten out the distinctions between holy and common, sacred and profane. Unfortunately, for you, if this is your end, intentional or not, you end up with nothing being holy, and nothing being sacred. In seeking holiness in “everyday” piety, you end up with it nowhere, and you gut the very meaning of ‘otherness’ as it relates to God and cultic sacredness. I know you don’t see it this way, and would argue ’till you were blue in the face that, that’s not what you intend or what you said. But don’t shoot the messenger, I can’t control the logical much less practical outworkings of such an “everyday” piety.

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  84. Sean to RS; By the way, I’ll put the emphasis of the Lord’s day group, up against the 24/7 earnestness group as it relates to law keeping, all day, every day. See, there’s some 24/7 consideration for ya. I’m such a giver.

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  85. Sean: Richard, quite frankly you’ve said so many things it’s hard to keep track. Nevertheless, Nobody here is arguing against consecration that I’ve read. Nobody is contending against a subjective consideration of a ‘holistic’ piety, that among other things draws us into prayer and reading the scriptures often. What the contention is, from my perspective, is springboarding off lenten considerations, and a diligent Lord’s day observance, as a platform to pontificate against “Sunday only’s” and for 24/7 earnestness. To plagiarize Zrim; “who here are you contending with”?

    RS: Perhaps, then, the original issue has been forgotten.

    Sean: Now, the suspicion is that what’s really afoot is you anticipate an inherent weakness toward “cultural” or “nominal” christianity with all this prioritizing or focus on sabbath observance, and 24/7 earnestness is a better alternative to lord’s day emphasis and has no such opportunity for antinomianism. The problem is when you do so, you flatten out the distinctions between holy and common, sacred and profane.

    RS: All of life is to be holy, but true enough that one day has been set apart. The accusation that flattening out the distinctions between holy and common is not to the point. If indeed true believers are holy and are to be holy, then they are to be holy seven days a week.

    Sean: Unfortunately, for you, if this is your end, intentional or not, you end up with nothing being holy, and nothing being sacred.

    RS: Absolutely not. Saints are holy and they are the temple of the living God. The whole Old Testament pointed toward how a people can have rules for living and still be a people set apart for God with the Temple and the priesthood and the Sabbath day. Now the people of God are the temple of God and they are to be holy in all of life.

    Sean: In seeking holiness in “everyday” piety, you end up with it nowhere, and you gut the very meaning of ‘otherness’ as it relates to God and cultic sacredness.

    RS: How in the world you can say this is beyond me. Human beings are declared holy by God in order that they would be holy in all they do. 1 Peter 1:15 “but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior.”

    Sean: I know you don’t see it this way, and would argue ’till you were blue in the face that, that’s not what you intend or what you said. But don’t shoot the messenger, I can’t control the logical much less practical outworkings of such an “everyday” piety.

    RS: Just to repeat, 1 Peter 1:15 ” but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior.” God is holy, holy, holy at all times and He commands His people to be holy in all their behavior. That is 24/7 and nothing less.

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  86. Sean to RS; By the way, I’ll put the emphasis of the Lord’s day group, up against the 24/7 earnestness group as it relates to law keeping, all day, every day. See, there’s some 24/7 consideration for ya. I’m such a giver.

    RS: Sorry, but the only standard we are given is the holiness of God Himself.

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