Lent Is Methodist

Bill Smith, always worth a read, thinks Old Life has declared another war on objections to Lent. He acknowledges two chief objections among Reformed Protestants to Lent — the regulative principle of worship and the fear of Romish practices. The regulative principle should actually take care of the matter for the sake of corporate worship and the life of the church. If a Christian wants to engage in some kind of Lenten activities as a means to holiness, well, whatever floats your sanctification. But for officers in the church to make Lent the norm for a congregation or a communion, then they better come with something more than “it looks like a pretty good idea” and “our motives are generally pious.” Plus, if church members may opt out of Lenten abstemiousness, then what’s the point of officers calling for the wider body to “special” actions during a certain number of days in late winter?

Still, Bill is not content with those objections. He returns fire and argues that Lent is actually a reasonable form of temporary form of sanctification:

Another objection is that those who observe Lent use it as a time for the temporary repentance from certain sins which are normally indulged, while Jesus calls us to repent of all sins all the time. It may well be that some poorly instructed Christians view Lenten practice in that way, but in my experience I have never heard anyone who observes Lent speak of a temporary giving up of sin.

Fine. So a Christian who pursues holiness 365/12 now adds an intense time of repentance for a specified forty days before a Sunday some communions designate Easter. Maybe that’s how it works among Reformed Episcopalians.

But why THESE forty days and not another thirty in September and October, or maybe a dozen or so in late spring and early winter? Why not more intense forms of repentance sprinkled throughout the year? Or why not leave each family and person to decide when and for how long to engage in certain times of self-denial? Why these days that some designate as Lent?

Could it be that some churches embrace a formula for Lent and so follow the spiritual equivalent of an Excel spreadsheet for the pursuit of holiness? The Lent practitioner follows these forty days with the other saints of similar inclinations and so doesn’t have to consider whether another time of fasting and prayer is needed or useful for another time during the year?

That kind of methodical piety is what Charles Briggs called, “Methodist.” It was a word he applied to the proponents of the First Pretty Good Awakening who insisted that godliness manifest itself in certain predictable and uniform ways. Of course, the idea of likening the church calendar to revivalism is oxymoronic. But to everyone who concedes that believers mature and bear different kinds of spiritual fruit in the course of their lives, the idea that you can prescribe a certain number of days — the same ones every year — for extra special holiness, and the one that requires the same kind of religious zeal to prove your conversion, are not so far removed. Both pietism and prescribed liturgicalism promote a one-size fits all spirituality that is perfect for bureaucracies, but not so hot for the diversity of human experience.

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194 thoughts on “Lent Is Methodist

  1. It’s not a private piety when you call for services and observance. Or particularly when you mark your face so everyone else knows. I’m pretty sure there’s something in scripture about washing your face and seeking God in private not like the pharisees who parade it in public. But what about liberty from over eager and just poor pastors?

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  2. @letme Aren’t you in SanAntonio? That’s basically Mexico right? Speaking of which any local updates on Kawhi’s return?

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  3. Isn’t Lent something like a temporary purgatory? Like going to an Al Martin or Mark Jones puritan church for a few months? Law before gospel and then straight back to law (to find evidence for or against one’s own justification)? Something a little more taxing than Billy Graham’s “the world is being taken over by the communists and Israel is losing” so the solution to this problem is taking 15 minutes to walk up here and agree with me that Jesus died for you….

    John Howard Yoder—Bonhoeffer was critical of what he called ‘methodism.” Many think that to win someone for the Christian faith one must speak to her at the point of her] weakness. One who makes this assumption is then predisposed to attend to the shadow side of human existence, since it is that which proves that ‘something more is needed.’ Such “methodism” jumps on a man when he is down’: it proves OUR NEED OF God This is for Bonhoeffer the opposite of the gospel itself, which should not be trying to convince people of their misery or their guiltiness.. Apologetic approaches that try first to make the point of human weakness are hopeless, not because they do not say something true, but because what they are interested in proving is not the good news.” The Priestly Kingdom: Social Ethics as Gospel, 185.

    View story at Medium.com

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  4. if Allan Jacobs and John Fea and Lutherans are not in bondage to the emancipation from Lent, why start calling Bill Smith a Methodist? At least he’s not an evangelical or a revivalist.

    John Mill —“He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side; if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion.”

    http://blog.ayjay.org/embrace-the-pain-living-with-the-repugnant-cultural-other/

    The First Sunday in Lent
    The Collect—O Lord, who for our sake didst fast forty days and forty nights; Give us grace to use such abstinence, that, our flesh being subdued to the Spirit, we may ever obey thy godly motions in righteousness, and true holiness, to thy honour and glory, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

    The Epistle: 2 Corinthians 6:1—We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed: But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; By pureness, by knowledge, by long suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

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  5. @sdb, yep I’m in San Mexico. Kawhi now says he’d like to get back this year. My opinion is that he let his Uncle(manager) feed him bad advice and now he’s starting to round into regretting it. The Spurs will dutifully speak well of him and his uncle and claim any hint of discord was in the imagination of the press. They’ll offer him a $219 Mil. max deal this summer and he’ll probably take it. Of course, I could be wrong and he says, I’ll take my chances in FA summer of 2019. The basketball question that has yet to be answered is whether they can develop an offense that compliments he and Aldridge( the defense will happen). We haven’t seen that yet, and until you do, you have to believe they haven’t figured that part out, yet.

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  6. Tim Duncan leads to a theology of glory. Rumor has it that coach pop is waiting until after tonight’s warriors game to explain an injury that lasts until the end of Lent.

    Goldilocks understands and explains how the two other beds are different from her “just right” bed. One bed is different because it’s too hard. The other bed is different because it’s too soft. Therefore the two different beds are in substance the same bed. And therefore the “federal vision” (“covenantal Arminian”) problem is not a paeodobaptist problem but really a credobaptist (or Lutheran) problem.

    Scott Clark– “We do not believe that in baptism the Spirit necessarily brings infants to new life . That is the doctrine of the papists, the confessional Lutherans, and others but it is not the teaching of the Reformed churches.”

    Doug Wilson “To see election through a covenant lens does not mean to define decretal election as though it were identical with covenantal election.”

    Scott Clark—“The Federal Visionist conflates the eternal decree with the external administration of the covenant of grace. This is his fundamental error. Paedocommunion and the doctrine of baptismal regeneration are errors but they are also really only symptoms of this underlying problem. The Federal Vision theology posits two parallel systems: the system of the decree, which they render merely theoretical and the system of baptismal union with Christ, which is their operative theology.

    Scott Clark–my Baptist friends—they have a very difficult time UNDERSTANDING the Reformed understanding of the distinction between the divine decree and the external administration of the covenant of grace.

    https://theopolisinstitute.com/baptism-impasse-baptists-vs-presbyterians-part-ii/

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  7. This is non-binding, mind you, but is in the PCA Directory for Worship:

    CHAPTER 62
    Days of Fasting and Thanksgiving
    62-1. The observance of days of fasting and of thanksgiving, as the
    dispensations of Divine Providence may direct, is both scriptural and rational.
    62-2. Fasting and thanksgiving may be observed by individual Christians;
    by families; by particular congregations; by a number of congregations
    contiguous to each other; by the congregations under the care of a
    Presbytery; or by all the congregations of our Church.
    62-3. It should be left to the judgment and discretion of every Christian and
    family to determine when it is proper to observe a private fast or thanksgiving;
    and to the church Sessions to determine for particular congregations; and to the
    Presbyteries, to determine for larger districts. When it is deemed expedient
    that a fast or thanksgiving should be general, the call for it should be issued by
    the General Assembly. If at any time the civil power should appoint a fast or
    thanksgiving, in keeping with the Christian faith, it is the duty of the ministers
    and people of our communion to pay all due respect to it.
    62-4. Public notice should be given a sufficient time before the appointed
    day of fasting or thanksgiving, that persons may so order their affairs as to
    allow them to attend properly to the duties of the day.
    62-5. There should be public worship upon all such days; and the prayers,
    psalms or hymns, the selection of Scripture, and sermons, should all be in a
    special manner adapted to the occasion.
    62-6. On days of fasting, the minister should point out the authority and
    providences calling for the observance; and he should spend more than the
    usual time in solemn prayer, particular confession of sin, especially for the
    sins of the day and place; and the whole day should be spent in prayer and
    meditation.
    62-7. On days of thanksgiving, he should give information respecting the
    authority and providences which call for the observance; and he should spend
    more than the usual time in giving thanks, agreeably to the occasion, and in
    singing psalms or hymns of praise. On these days, the people should rejoice
    with holy gladness of heart; but their joy should be tempered with reverence,
    that they indulge in no excess or unbecoming levity.

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  8. Hugh McCann says: Lent is stuck in Psalm 51, refusing to see Colossians 2 fulfillment.

    -Stuck in /get beyond Psalm 51?
    6 Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.
    15 O Lord, open my lips, that my mouth may declare Your praise.16 For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering.
    17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
    18 By Your favor do good to Zion; Build the walls of Jerusalem.

    Hugh McCann says: ..refusing to see Colossians 2 fulfillment.
    (“godliness doesn’t manifest itself in certain predictable and uniform ways” “a one-size fits all spirituality that is perfect for bureaucracies, but not so hot for the diversity of human experience”)?

    Colossians 2 5brejoicing to see
    your good discipline
    and the stability of your faith in Christ.
    6 Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord,
    so walk in Him,
    7 having been firmly rooted
    and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed,
    and overflowing with gratitude.

    ps, don’t forget Bill Smith is a curmudgeonly …(everything) !

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  9. At least Lent stops. But for Beale and Gaffin, the not yet aspect of justification continues.

    Beale—These verses in Romans 2:3-10 focus not only on the time of final judgment but also on the time of reward for those who “do good” . Verse 6 (“who will render to each person according to his deeds”) seems best interpreted in this context to mean that there will be a judicial evaluation of the works of all people; some will be found wanting and be judged, others will be found to have works and not be judged but will receive life. Accordingly, with this preceding context in mind, it seems best to understand Paul’s statement in verse 13 , “the doers of the Law will be justified,” to refer to the final judgment when those who have faith in Christ and possess good works, though not perfect, will be “justified” or “vindicated” on the basis of those works

    Two stage purgatory is a bitch

    James K Smith–That the English Puritan John Flavel constantly appears in this new collection of essays by Marilynne Robinson will surprise no one. He fits perfectly in the communion of Protestant saints that populate her essays, appearing alongside John Calvin and Jonathan Edwards and Oliver Cromwell. But there is a particular idea from Flavel that keeps recurring throughout this collection, and it tells us something about the burden of Robinson’s project. As she recounts again and again in different chapters, Flavel entertained the idea of a two-stage judgment: he “considers the thought that we might all be judged twice, once when we die and again when the full consequences of our lives have played themselves out.” The notion depends on a unique intersection of eternity and history. Appointed once to die, we face the judgment, but the judgment in eternity takes account of time’s arrow in history. It’s like your soul gets a callback when the repercussions of your life have played themselves out across subsequent generations. The end of your life is not the end of your responsibility.

    https://www.cardus.ca/comment/article/5181/marilynne-robinsons-apologia-gloriae/

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  10. You Spur snob intellectual elitists- I’m kind of hoping that Houston wins it all this year. They might if Curry’s ankles don’t hold out. You can bet that everyone will be after Curry’s ankles for the rest of the year.

    I’m picking either Virginia or Michigan to win the NCAA basketball tournament/ Watching Virginia play defense is a thing of beauty. Michigan is playing like a team at the right time. Duke probably has the most talent, however they and Michigan State always busts my bracket. Blah!!. There is too many distractions going on at Michigan State.

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  11. “But for officers in the church to make Lent the norm for a congregation or a communion, then they better come with something more than “it looks like a pretty good idea” and “our motives are generally pious.”

    Yeah, same goes for the “thou must have a second service” kind of ethos. But at the end of the day all NAPARC elders and pastors have to back that is also ….“it looks like a pretty good idea” and “our motives are generally pious.”

    We all have our forms of Lent it would seem.

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  12. Reformed tradition = mountains. Biblical exegesis = 0
    The math with the ability to bind a conscience just does not add up.
    Second service is not the mark of orthodoxy that many strident NAPARC folks make it.

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  13. The ethos of making second service a mark of orthodoxy does exist in many Reformed circles. So when you site the Ten Commandments and vigorously tie it to second service you are proving the point. No where can a must have second service be found in the Ten Commandments , nor the hyper strident dos and dont’s of WCF 21.8 be backed by solid exegesis.
    No where in Scripture is our Lord all over the Pharisees for not being strict enough on the Sabbath, but God in all His wisdom sustain many many references to Christ’s rebuke about being overly strident about the Sabbath.

    I am NOT pro- choice. When did you stop beating your wife?

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  14. Mr. Burns, nowhere do the Ten Commandments say, “you shall not murder a fetus.” Nor do they say, “husbands you shall not beat your wife.”

    Then again, maybe you engage in similar exegetical moves as the second service folks you so deeply resent (isn’t there a Commandment about that?).

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  15. I am not the one misapplying the 10 Commandments. No resentment from me on second (or a third for that matter) services. Second service is fine. As I have made clear (but continue to be mischacterized by your favoritism/bias) it is the ethos/ attitude that attendance of second service is the marker of spiritual maturity and better sanctification that I object to. That view of second service, even when done with a velvet glove, makes it hard to except with credibility your Anti- Lent harping…….

    New math for the Old Life I guess, but it still does not add up.

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  16. Romans 14:5, Col 2:16-17, Mark. 2:27

    I have a very high view of the Sabbath (especially compared to our typical evangelical friends) , but I remain unconvinced of the semantical gymnastics of the verses above (to list a few) where reformed tradition tries to make the Sabbath more strident than even the Lord of the Sabbath did.

    All thought with in the reformed tradition on the Sabbath is not monolithic, despite what oh so earnest Sabbatarians like you try to convince us of. http://theaquilareport.com/why-i-am-sort-of-a-sabbatarian/

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  17. Mr. Burns, but thought on the Lord’s Day was monolithic even for my Baptist parents. Protestants believed in keeping the Lord’s Day holy. Why do you resent those who promote sanctifying the Lord’s Day?

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  18. Was Nevin an “evangelical”? Did Nevin do Lent?

    “Lent, like Advent, is a time of waiting, of consideration, silence, and anticipation. As evangelicals, we can tend to have a hard time with these seasons, because we think they somehow minimize the Gospel. But this is not so. When done properly, the penitential seasons of our Church calendar will do what Jesus says in our Gospel reading: they will further root the Gospel in our hearts and minds. Lent, therefore, is a time not of proclamation but of examination, deliberation, and speculation.”

    https://theopolisinstitute.com/herbertian-lessons-for-lent/

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  19. DGH – “Mr. Burns, but thought on the Lord’s Day was monolithic even for my Baptist parents. Protestants believed in keeping the Lord’s Day holy. Why do you resent those who promote sanctifying the Lord’s Day?”

    By this logic, shouldn’t Lent be permissible/required if practiced on Sunday? Same with Advent? And is there any limit on the degree to which you can bind consciences on the particulars of keeping the Lord’s Day holy?

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  20. I wonder why many (not all) of the more earnest and strident sabbatarian folk like Dr. Hart think those who do 2nd Service are superior and more sanctified to those who don’t?

    Again, the math with the ability to bind a conscience just does not add up. But the tradition must be upheld at all cost. Pride, the central fruit of making as doctrine the traditions of men.

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  21. “Is there any limit on the degree to which you can bind consciences on the particulars of keeping the Lord’s Day holy?””

    Great question Vic!

    In reality that “limit” begins and ends with Scripture.
    However, for many (not all) WCF 21.8, other more strident sections of confessions and reformed tradition are the de facto authority on this topic.

    In light of this it is really staggering the outcry against Lent or advent season, etc.

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  22. vv, always with binding conscience. If you can’t bind on the Lord’s Day, then you can plant Pentecostal churches.

    But don’t ever forget that New York needs to be transformed. Can’t have ecumenical relations with Broadway (or maybe you can).

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  23. Mr. Burns, why do you mock those who try to keep the entire day holy as five centuries of Protestants have? You keep trying to make me out to be some kind of sabbatarian Frankenstein. What happens when you encounter someone who worships God by playing golf on Sunday?

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  24. Mr. Burns, staggering among Presbyterians who for five centuries have not observed the church calendar?

    But if you start with Bill Hybels as normal Christianity, I see your point.

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  25. E. Burns and VV, before you have a love-fest, remember this:

    Mr. Hart has given words to something I have noticed for a long time in my PCA church. I have often wondered why it is that the PCA (among others) seems more influenced by Piper or an Anabaptist type like Tim Keller than it is by our historic confessional teachings and perspectives. I say this not to mock or be sarcastic either, just stating a fact At least at my PCA church, the biggest influences as far as well known teachers are Tim Keller and John Piper. I too think Piper is a good guy and basically way better than typical evangelical Olsteen types, but I think the point among Presbyterians who care about Presbyterian standards is…..What has happened to our Presbyterian distinctives? Why have they been pretty much hijacked (no matter how good the motives or “results” are) by this “doing/being the gospel” and this “have I really done enough” hyper introspection? Why is it that these very questions are often considered “unnecessary controversies” ?

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  26. E. Burns, whah hahppehned?

    I like PCA pastor Jon Payne’s suggestions for the PCA……

    1. A renewed commitment to exegetical, God-centered, Christ-exalting, Holy Spirit-filled, lectio-continua preaching.

    2. A renewed commitment to the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper for the spiritual nourishment, health and comfort of the elect.

    3. A renewed commitment to private, family and corporate prayer.

    4. A renewed commitment to – and delight in – the Lord’s Day.

    5. A renewed commitment to worship God according to Scripture.

    6. A renewed commitment to sing the Psalms in private, family, and public worship.

    7. A renewed commitment to wed our missiology to our Reformed ecclesiology.

    8. A renewed commitment to Spirit-dependent, prayerful, loving, courageous evangelism.

    9. A renewed commitment to biblical church discipline.

    10. A renewed commitment to family worship.

    11. A renewed commitment to biblical hospitality.

    12. A renewed commitment to catechize our covenant children.

    13. A renewed commitment to biblical masculinity and femininity.

    14. A renewed commitment to shepherd the flock of God.

    15. A renewed commitment to promote and defend the Reformed Confession.

    16.A renewed commitment to the mortification of sin and worldliness.

    17. A renewed commitment to rest by faith in Christ ALONE for salvation, without minimizing Gospel obedience.

    The challenge is that the PCA is indeed far more Evangelical than it is Reformed (and really always has been) so groovy “strategies” sound more appealing. I too used to put a best construction on these kinds of hip new movements/leaders. I also use to believe it when I was told the PCA really is Reformed. Oh you will find faithful PCA churches and members out there to be sure, but for the most part the PCA at large is not Reformed. That is painful to say, but I believe true.

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  27. DGH – “vv, always with binding conscience. If you can’t bind on the Lord’s Day, then you can plant Pentecostal churches.”

    Isn’t the whole point of the RPW to avoid non-Scriptural binding of consciences in worship? Doesn’t that have major relevance to a Reformed discussion of Lord’s Day practices?

    It is amazing that intelligent individuals like you can be so blind to an obvious logical inconsistency. You want to mandate the non-Scriptural second service because it keeps “the entire day holy,” yet condemn Lent and other such practices because they are non-Scriptural, even though they also keep the Lord’s Day holy. The bottom line is you cannot mandate one non-Scriptural form of worship and forbid another non-Scriptural form of worship. Your reasoning used to support this inconsistency is based on “five centuries” of Reformed practice. That line of reasoning is far, far more in line with RCC and EOC thought than Reformed.

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  28. VV, last I checked, sanctifying the Lord’s day was both in the Decalogue and in the Standards. Now you make a second service like Lent.

    Hmm.

    Too much Keller.

    In case you’re wondering, we don’t discipline those who don’t come to evening service. We would discipline those who mock those who recommend a second service.

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  29. DGH – no one is “mocking” the second service – not the point. The point is that if the second service is acceptable and even recommended, then there’s no consistent logical basis for mocking those who participate in Lent or Advent, especially if they are observed on the Lord’s Day.

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  30. Vic,
    Ding ding ding!

    See how Dr. Hart so inextricably links honoring the Sabbath and the must have second service of Reformed tradition that he thinks they are one and the same. What is one of the best dos and dont’s way a person can honor the Sabbath, second service, clearly. Therefore, by implication he believes those Christians to do a second service are superior to those who do not. In fact it is that view that is quite mocking.

    Romans 14:5, Col 2:16-17, Mark. 2:27

    I have a very high view of the Sabbath (especially compared to our typical evangelical friends) , but I do not believe 2nd service is a primary marker of Christian maturity the way in fact so many hard line confessional NAPARC folks do. I remain unconvinced of their semantical gymnastics with the verses above (to list a few) where reformed tradition tries to make the Sabbath more strident than even the Lord of the Sabbath did!

    All thought with in the reformed tradition on the Sabbath IS NOT monolithic, despite what oh so earnest Sabbatarians like try to convince us of. http://theaquilareport.com/why-i-am-sort-of-a-sabbatarian/

    Unless by “Reformed” we mean anyone who agrees with Dr. Hart 100%.

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  31. Lent is a little different from Advent. One of the Caglets decided to give up sugar for Lent because her friends from other churches were doing same. OK, teen years are for experimentation, I guess. But first she had to hear my spiel about why I don’t observe Lent.

    Anyway, within a week, she was fed up. Lenten asaccaride had turned into a mutual policing fest and slipping in the sugar on the sly.

    And that was the end of Lent.

    Something about not making vows, but keeping the vows you make; and something else about fasting in private?

    Lent seems to encourage the opposite.

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  32. vv, are you for real? a commandment in the decalogue about setting a day aside has a lot more textual grounding than gee, willie, Jesus fasted forty days and so maybe we do that even though Jesus wasn’t crucified after he fasted.

    The point for me is how poorly you read texts. You might as well say, because the Bible doesn’t condemn big macs, Lent must be okay.

    You still haven’t addressed one of the 10 commandments, some of which you would be loathe to break. Remember how hating someone in your heart violates the sixth commandment? But for you, the fourth commandment is no biggie.

    Keller has taught you well.

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  33. E. Burns, as I say whah hahppehned? See number 4.

    I like PCA pastor Jon Payne’s suggestions for the PCA……

    1. A renewed commitment to exegetical, God-centered, Christ-exalting, Holy Spirit-filled, lectio-continua preaching.

    2. A renewed commitment to the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper for the spiritual nourishment, health and comfort of the elect.

    3. A renewed commitment to private, family and corporate prayer.

    4. A renewed commitment to – and delight in – the Lord’s Day.

    5. A renewed commitment to worship God according to Scripture.

    6. A renewed commitment to sing the Psalms in private, family, and public worship.

    7. A renewed commitment to wed our missiology to our Reformed ecclesiology.

    8. A renewed commitment to Spirit-dependent, prayerful, loving, courageous evangelism.

    9. A renewed commitment to biblical church discipline.

    10. A renewed commitment to family worship.

    11. A renewed commitment to biblical hospitality.

    12. A renewed commitment to catechize our covenant children.

    13. A renewed commitment to biblical masculinity and femininity.

    14. A renewed commitment to shepherd the flock of God.

    15. A renewed commitment to promote and defend the Reformed Confession.

    16.A renewed commitment to the mortification of sin and worldliness.

    17. A renewed commitment to rest by faith in Christ ALONE for salvation, without minimizing Gospel obedience.

    The challenge is that the PCA is indeed far more Evangelical than it is Reformed (and really always has been) so groovy “strategies” sound more appealing. I too used to put a best construction on these kinds of hip new movements/leaders. I also use to believe it when I was told the PCA really is Reformed. Oh you will find faithful PCA churches and members out there to be sure, but for the most part the PCA at large is not Reformed. That is painful to say, but I believe true.

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  34. Dr. Hart,

    I left the PCA in 2010. You protest to much and your vice grip on Reformed Tradition (in this case 2nd service) is showing. Where does number 4 say anything about a required second service? Does not say Lent is required either, does it? So indeed you do believe the number one Marker of Christian orthodoxy on the subject of the Sabbath is a must have evening service? It would seem so, despite your dancing around it. Therefore, and to repeat , your harping on Lent that other Christian believers practice (I personal do not) lacks credibility.

    Furthermore when someone disagrees with you on the topic you go from suggesting in your typical snarky way they have a math problem to inferring they might be for abortion and finally wrapping it up by suggesting they need church discipline. Then accuse them as the mocker in the discussion. ?? Talk about dish it out but can’t take it.

    Wow! Off the charts pathetic! But sadly indicative of much of the hyper Presbyterianism and good old boy authoritarianism rife within NAPARC. I have seen much of this over the years since my previous comments you reference. As I’ve said since then, I no longer have the Sanguine view of staunch reformed confessionalism, (though I still agree Biblically with most of Reformed theology), it is no panacea. But ultimately Christ alone, my only true hope, all else is sinking sand. Attacking the Sabbath or the 10 Commandments is one thing. (no one here is doing that) Disagreeing with some of the finer details of Puritan reformed confessionalism on dos and dont’s of the Sabbath is another thing altogether. You lack the ability to see the difference and are blinded by tradition.

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  35. EB, I may have missed it but do you see any spiritual value to the second service? Forget some of the legalism that can admittedly attend it. Do you think it more wise and conducive than misguided as a general practice? Some of us might be more inclined to promote it this way. Still, your point is taken. There are some who ask, “Why two services? A better question is why not three or more?” No it’s not. It’s an example of how there are such things as bad questions, and reveals the same American ethos that thinks taking two pills when the doctor prescribes one. Why not three or more? Because we’re finite creatures who need regular breaks from lots of things, including hyper-pious efforts to “sanctify the Lord’s Day.” We get it, sir three or more, you love God and his day, but he’s the same one who reminds us we’re made from dust. Two services are quite sufficient.

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  36. Zrim,

    As I have mentioned, I do see great benefit in a second service for some Christians and I have always been blessed by going myself, though find it to be an exhausting day and not a restful day on the Sabbath days where I attend both. I have a body chemistry coupled with an engaged stimulated mind (not in neutral) from the sermon and worship, and therefore find it impossible to stop the wheels from turning/ heavy mind and heart engagement/meditation heading into sleep for the Sunday evenings in which I attend a second service. Almost without exception I’m fried the next day on Monday, a work day. I know for a fact I am not alone in this, yet over the years have seen hundreds of Christians who never miss a second, not from faith, but from tradition and flat out man pleasing. Delighted that some churches see fit to offer it and appreciate that many believers have an opposite time with it and attend with heart desire for more corporate Worship. So that said and along the lines of your thoughts…..it is also very probable that for many one service is ideal and two is indeed overwhelming. The fact is, sadly, there are many in NAPARC who view this as Lack of faith, lack of proper Sabbath stamina, a sanctification problem, etc. I do see its value, respect it and attend (though not as much in last 18 months) myself, albeit more occasionally than the first service. Again, it is the many who view 2nd as a lynch pin to maturity that I don’t just object to personally, more importantly I see zero (there is that math again) Biblical mandate for that ethos which tends to be heavy in many Reformed circles.

    I do not believe that one more service is a key to sanctfication. One service is also quite sufficient, would you agree? Or are two the key?

    Also I find it more than fascinating, or interesting, I find it very telling and revealing that many harder line confessional Reformed leaders so directly tie Sabbath and fourth commandment to Second Service, indeed make it a lynch pin. I have seen entire lectures, book chapters, seminars which are supposedly about the Sabbath day, yet in point of fact are completely centered around the importance of “whatever happened to second service” and other dos and don’ts about the day. I do not believe that the Sabbath is bound in Mosaic law but rather see the truth of it being Established as a creation ordnance. However, It is a blind spot in reformed circles when we more focus on that day itself instead of the Lord of the Sabbath day. The Sabbath looks different since Christ’s coming as sure as circumcision looks different and represented in Christ centered baptism, etc. The coming of the Messiah makes a difference in how God’s people observe the Sabbath beyond just the change of the day of the week we observe it, while still affirming it. Christ’s upheld words from Holy writ indicate we need not observe it with the strident Rabbinic exactitude of those in the Old Testament.

    Holding that view doesn’t make me a theological liberal or a dispensationalist, let alone someone who discounts the commandments of 10 or someone who is attacking the Sabbath ….. nor does it make me a person “who does not properly delight in the Sabbath.”

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  37. E. Burns, your comment in favor of sanctifying the Lord’s Day was from 2011. Again, math.

    Why don’t you see that a commandment in the decalogue may have some kind of weight that a bishop’s recommendation for forty days after doughnut Tuesday does not?

    Why don’t you grant that someone who is a Presbyterian officer may actually recommend two services?

    And why are you so jittery that you need to go all Orwellian about conscience?

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  38. E. Burns, “I do not believe that one more service is a key to sanctfication.”

    Whoever said that?

    Also desirable and preferable are different from “lynch pin.”

    Your mind may be overworking, especially since you seem to feel burnt not by a small, ornery OPC congregation but by a Keller wannabe PCA.

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  39. DGH – check out WCF 25.6, especially the part about “solemn fastings” to be used in “an holy and religious manner” outside of “ordinary worship.” Before anyone objects: yes, I agree that the divines did not have Lent in mind in this part of the Confession. But the point is that fasting is an acceptable form of worship in the life of believers. I agree that Lent is not a Scripturally mandated practice, but fasting in general (including Lent) is perfectly acceptable and beneficial for churches and Christians.

    So here is what we have: Lent is not mandatory (I don’t observe it), but has Scriptural precedent as a type of fast, just as observing the the second service is not mandatory but has Scriptural precedent as part of observing the Lord’s Day. So at the end of the day Lenten fasting and second service are both acceptable, non-mandatory practices. Can we agree on that?

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  40. Dr. Hart,

    My reference to observing problems in the PCA in 2011 (in the midst of it) had no timeline connection on when I left in Oct of 2010. Again pathetic. I can acknowledge that many make Lent a prideful thing and that it can have its big problems. I don’t practice lent Nor am I even some big defender of it necessarily. You on the other hand will in Zero ways acknowledge that many Reformed do something similar with second service. Proof that it must be a lynch pin measure is how hard you dig your heels in over it. This dogmatism about second service which is so clearly demonstrated by you in this conversation (you even inextricably tie it to the fourth commandment as if one and the same, yet no where is it scripturally mandated) proves the very heavy ethos which in fact does exist on the topic in NAPARC. It is a common way to approach it in NAPARC. You have proved the point I have been making.

    Our convo here began with me making a very reasonable comment/ observation from your post.
    ……………………….
    DGH-“But for officers in the church to make Lent the norm for a congregation or a communion, then they better come with something more than “it looks like a pretty good idea” and “our motives are generally pious.”

    E. Burns- Yeah, same goes for the “thou must have a second service” kind of ethos. But at the end of the day all NAPARC elders and pastors have to back that is also ….“it looks like a pretty good idea” and “our motives are generally pious.”

    We all have our forms of Lent it would seem.
    ………………………………….

    I will stand by the statement. For many Reformed second service is in fact their Lent equivalent. You could have acknowledged this fact right from the get go, but instead you dig in. Very indicative of the caustic tone within NAPARC.
    In the end you have presented Reformed tradition = mountains. Biblical exegesis = 0
    The math with the ability to bind a conscience still doesn’t add up on second service anymore than it does on the Lent.

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  41. vv, one of the commandments that receives large discussion in the Standards you are willing to invoke is hardly “Scriptural precedent.”

    Everyone should keep the Lord’s Day holy. If you can’t accept that, you aren’t paying attention to the Decalogue.

    No one needs to observe Lent or even has to fast.

    Big difference.

    But you’ve learned the John Frame hermeneutic well. Because A is a little like B, A equals B.

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  42. E. Burns, I dig in my heels because you have consistently misrepresented the position I hold — as in lynch pin.

    I commune with lots of people who don’t come to the evening service. I’m not initiating proceedings against them. Surprise.

    And I still think keeping the entire day holy is something that Jews and Christians have done and that today’s Lent observers don’t pay attention to at all.

    Your entire argument seems to be based on misrepresenting those who criticize Lent and advocated Lord’s Day observance. The PCA misses you.

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  43. DGH – “No one needs to observe Lent or even has to fast.”

    I agree. And no one NEEDS to attend a second service to keep the Lord’s Day holy. Both are beneficial, but not mandatory. You want to condemn one and highly recommend the other with no Scriptural or Confessional warrant.

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  44. DGH- “Your entire argument seems to be based on misrepresenting those who criticize Lent and advocated Lord’s Day observance.”

    This is completely and rediculously false! In no way do I challenge Lord’d day observance. A re-read of all I state above in context and flow make this clear! As I so clearly communicated above it is the inextricable tie of second service to the fourth commandment as if one and the same, yet no where is it scripturally mandated, that I have a problem with. This very heavy ethos which in fact does exist on the topic in NAPARC. It is a common way to approach it in NAPARC. That heavy ethos creates much pride. That is what I have a problem with.

    You are perfect as a NAPARC elder, keep criticizing Keller and looking the other way on guys like Kevin Swanson. Perfect!

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  45. I remain unconvinced of the semantical gymnastics of the verses below by Many Reformed leaders (to list a few) where reformed tradition tries to make the Sabbath more strident than even the Lord of the Sabbath did. Or who harp to much on those who with faith may engage in the process of Lent. Since the substance belongs to Christ, Confessional NAPARC leaders would do well to focus on Him instead of dos and dont’s of a day or abstaining or not, etc. etc.

    “One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. One person esteems one day that’s better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and give thanks to God. Romans 14:2-6

    Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.
    Colossians 2:16-17

    And he said to them, the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.
    Mark 2:27-28

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  46. But Good Friday and Easter are not Methodist. Like infant water baptism, the move from day seven to day one without changing anything (essential) comes from our Eastern and Roman fathers.

    “As a Protestant, I don’t believe tradition alone justifies a practice, but it may be a guide to what practices are wise. Easter and Good Friday are attested as the earliest annual Christian feast days, and with good reason (see No. 8). In the New Testament, Jewish Christians moved weekly worship from the seventh day of the week (Saturday / Sabbath) to the first day (Sunday), in order to mark the significance of Easter. Very, very early, once a year Easter was commemorated in a deeper way. Long before there were “40 days of Lent,” it was traditional for Christians to fast for the 40 hours from Good Friday to Easter, during which Jesus lay in the tomb. This was a powerful reminder that through baptism Christians had been “buried with Christ”

    http://thefederalist.com/2015/04/03/12-reasons-to-celebrate-good-friday/#.WrlX8jQ6-f0.facebook

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  47. I do not believe that one more service is a key to sanctfication. One service is also quite sufficient, would you agree? Or are two the key?

    EB, if by key you mean the means of grace (for sanctification), then I’d rather make weekly communion the cause of so much dander. Would that those who are so inclined to practice the Lenten season put that energy into seeing the sacraments exercised on a regular weekly basis.

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  48. Zrim,

    Amen, amen and amen!

    I couldn’t agree more on the more frequent celebration of the Lord’s Supper! And without a doubt in many reformed circles second service actually becomes an infringement on frequent Lord’s Supper. Meaning – I have frequently seen within reformed bodies a higher emphasis put on a “must have evening service” ethos whereas the Lord’s Supper is relegated to once every 3 months. ???

    I think from a scriptural and exegetical point of view one can make a better biblical case for more frequent celebration of the Lord’s Supper then one can make an exegetical case for a must have evening service.

    Yet in most reformed circles what does the tradition more stridently uphold?

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  49. PS…

    To be clear I’m not saying they are mutually exclusive. Certainly a church could practice both evening services and more frequent Lord’s Supper. I am simply pointing out what to me is an obvious missed placed emphasis.

    But you see reformed tradition must uphold its own forms of pietism….. oh how we love our own programs … Wednesday nights, social committee… women and men’s groups a man appointed time in the evening. Whereas the supper that Christ instituted can get relegated to once every 3 months. ?? Sorry, but we got our own problems.

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  50. What about if we don’t REpair or REplace the Latin chanting? Would that be taking the REgulative principle too far?

    Zwingli—: if you want to fast, do so; if you do not want to eat meat, don’t eat it; but allow Christians a free choice. If you are a person of leisure, you should fast often and abstain from food that excites you; the worker moderates his desires by hoeing and ploughing in the field. You say, ‘but the idlers will eat meat without needing to.’ The answer is that these very same people fill themselves with even richer foods, which enflame them even more than the highly-seasoned highly-spiced meats. If you would be a Christian at heart, act in this way. If the spirit of your belief teaches you thus, then fast, but grant also your neighbour the privilege of Christian liberty, and fear God greatly, if you have transgressed his laws, nor make what man has invented greater before God than what God himself has commanded.

    https://oldlife.org/2017/03/01/time-for-sausage/

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  51. Mr. Burn, “the inextricable tie.”

    That’s what you hear but you are spooked by something.

    The second service is a good way to keep the Lord’s Day holy. Keeping the Lord’s Day holy is something that is required. A mid-week prayer service is not. If you aren’t in an evening service and participating in the means of grace where God actually speaks to his people through the word read and preached, what are you doing to keep the Lord’s Day holy.

    The “heavy ethos.” Are you for real? If you think pride over a second service characterizes NAPARC, you live on another planet.

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  52. Mr. Burns, And you thought two services were too much:

    Sunday was church in Orange City, Iowa, in the first decades of the century. I suspect that is is so even now in the little pockets of piety that dot Northwest Iowa, though it can’t be as still in the town or in the homes as it was in my youth. There were three services, which I attended with simulated docility. The preacher delivered three sermons before his often critical sheep, dressed in a somber Prince Albert, sweating it out in August afternoons without air-conditioning before a whir of variegated hand-propelled fans. He spoke in these churches, some of them large, without the aid of electronic devices, and a voice of good timbre could be heard on the street through the open windows. There were always competitive babies in the crowd, quieted not by artful jouncing but by breast feeding. As the sermon pounded on, squirming little boys were pinched. Sometimes fractious older boys in the back seats were policed by elders. Dutch psalms were fervently sung while a lathering janitor pumped the bellows of the organ at 110 degrees. There was no choir – an irrelevant impertinence.

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  53. Mr. Burns, again you don’t seem to know what you’re talking about. All the programs you think Reformed Protestants like are not what second service people advocate because word and sacrament are the pietisms of Reformed. You seem to confuse Reformed with evangelical. I guess it’s because you went to a PCA congregation that wanted to be Keller.

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  54. DGH – you just don’t get it. One can keep the Lord’s Day holy and not attend second service, just as one can love the Lord with all his heart soul, mind and strength without observing Lent. Both second service and Lent are non-required means to an end. The point is you can’t recommend one and condemn the other.

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  55. Vic,

    100% agree on all your last comments.
    Pointless for me to continue the convo at this stage on this post because as you say Dr. Hart just does not get it.
    Our side of this debate can acknowledge the pitfalls of Lent, However zero ground will be given on the point we are trying to make. Typical and again very much proves the deep seeded ethos of what we have been trying to communicate. No one on this side is “spooked”— The inextricable tie that hardline confessionally reformed folks make between the Sabbath and a must have second service does exist in many (not all) Reformed circles.

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  56. EB, agreed (that the sacraments can get edged out by unworthy emphases), but I think as Darryl has suggested you may be spooked by something re the second service. Not sure what, perhaps we just have different experiences in the P&R world but can’t say I’ve discerned it as a form of “Lentenism.” But don’t wind me up on the Communion Season per the Highland Scot Presbies, which I have.

    VV, I’m losing my edge.

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  57. vv, it’s a free country, right.

    You still keep missing that a second service pertains to keeping the whole day holy. And keeping the whole day holy is in the ten commandments.

    Fasting has no such prominence full stop.

    And you have no allegiance to Reformed tradition. Oh that’s right, you love Keller.

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  58. Mr. Burns, you lie. Ground is given all the time. I don’t bring charges against people who don’t go to evening services. You used to sin if you didn’t observe Lent.

    If you’re not spooked, why do you keep creating a straw man. Second services are good and advisable. They are not required. They are much more important than mid-week services. They are not required. They are one service short of the way some Christians used to observe the Lord’s Day. They are not required.

    Boo!

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  59. Dr. Darryl Hart,

    That which you give with the right hand….

    “Second service are good and advisable. They are not required.”
    (Great, so far we agree. Oh but wait here it comes!!)

    You then take away with the left hand………

    “those who try to keep the entire day holy as five centuries of Protestants have (context here was clearly 2nd service is a more sanctified route/ with appeal to tradition) ……”you really want to play with the Ten Commandments? Are you pro-choice (with that logic)?”” (Again questioning 2nd service is “playing” with the Ten Commandments according to Dr. Hart, not to mention the abortion bit) …..”We would discipline those who mock those who recommend a second service.”…… (Lies- No one mocked second service)…..””second services pertain to KEEPING THE WHOLE DAY HOLY.””

    Dr. Hart, So you believe you can keep the whole entire day holy? My my the power you possess. And a primary way to do that is second service? Hmmmm? What are some other ways you go about achieving all this each Sunday? Since Christ came and shed better light on the Sabbath, declaring the days are but a shadow and making clear that He is the substance, don’t you think (while we still can affirm the Creational establishment of Sabbath) that it indeed should look different for us today? That doesn’t make me a dispensationalist, theological liberal or someone who doesn’t delight in the Sabbath! Please do not misunderstand, I in no way suggest that we be non-engaged about the Sabbath. IE…”my church is golf or a hike in the woods” etc. What it means is I do not agree with every jot and tittle of the reformed confessions and reformed tradition.

    The Biblical path on Lord’s Day is by faith worshiping God, in the Lord Jesus Christ, resting in Him, The Lord of even the Sabbath day. We rest in him, not in executing in our own power exactitude, stridency over a day. A day He has shed a different light on compared to the previously understood Rabinic exactitude….He is Lord of the day and declared that it is for us, not us for the day. I find this more Biblical than the do’s and dont’s you obsess neurotically over.

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  60. By the way….have you ever even been to Orange City, Iowa? Well I have. In fact I am very very familiar with the entire area. You citing some delusional zenith of practiced tradition in that area shows you don’t know what you are talking about. (Not denying the practice you cite from Orange City, my denial is the ideal you tie it to.) No zenith or ideal at all.

    The ethos I have been speaking of absolutely does exist in NAPARC. Again, denial, pride.

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  61. I don’t see why one can’t think a Sunday evening service is advisable while Lent is unhelpful. We are commanded to keep the Lord’s day set apart (not just his morning). One way to help people keep their focus on the Lords Day is to bookend the day with corporate worship. I don’t know who says it is required, but I know many who dismiss it because they just have too much other stuff to do. There are other reasons not to attend a second service of course, but the overwhelming shift in our culture is to not set apart the sabbath.

    Lent has become quite trending among prints of late. More often than not it turns into a season of resolution. Maybe it was my time at ND seeing fliers in the gym for Lenten weihtliss challenges or folks munching on sushi instead of a burger because lent. At the time you couldn’t get meat on campus on Friday – even the Burger King only sold fish sandwiches or veggie burgers!

    I didn’t find any of this spiritually helpful. Explaining why I didn’t bring the family to church on Wednesday to have ashes smudged on our foreheads, why I don’t do anything special for lent, and treat Holy Week like any other was tiresome. Wrapping up the Lords Day with a relaxed Sunday evening service that d included a sermon on the Heidelberg catechism was a helpful way to end the day. I have never attended a reformed church (or any other) where Sunday evening attendance was more than half of Sunday morning.

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  62. Zrim,

    “don’t wind me up on the Communion Season per the Highland Scot Presbies, which I have”

    I don’t mean to wind up, but could you expand on this a little bit more? Also give a little more insight as to Highland Scott presbyterianism and your thoughts on it?

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  63. Sdb,

    No major disagreement from me in regards to Lent.

    I don’t see why one can’t faithfully and regularly attend a weekly worship service of God through the Lord Jesus Christ, not attend evening service, yet still be seen as reformed, delighting in and honor the Sabbath, as well as the 10 commandments.

    Thoughts to the contrary is the fruit of what happens when people make the confessions of higher order than Holy Scripture.

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  64. sdb – “I don’t see why one can’t think a Sunday evening service is advisable while Lent is unhelpful.”

    I agree with you, but that’s not what DGH and others are saying. They seem to be saying observing Lent is sinful – or at the very least unwise – which is what I’m disagreeing with for the most part. I would agree that Lent is unhelpful and is misused, but sinful and unwise? That’s a step too far, and is not logically consistent with the strong “recommendation” of other disciplines such as attending second service.

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  65. As further proof that ethos I am speaking of does in point of fact exist among the more hard line Confessionalist’s in NAPARC…….

    Pastor Chris Gordon makes solid points from his recent article warning of the dangers in going down the road of the CRC. That said we once again see the continued inextricable tie between the 4th commandment and a ‘must have Evening Service’ ethos is long on reformed tradition and far short on solid exegesis. In his interview on Presbycast starting around min 51 in context of second service he indeed refers to it as ….”The main marker of the identity of church….” lamenting its lacking he goes on to suggest not having a second service signals the direction of declension of a church…. ” I believe that strongly” -Chris Gordon

    Again legit point by Curt Day….
    “One cannot hold to the necessarily high regard of the Scriptures when one puts their own set of confessions on too high a pedestal. The confessions eventually start to replace the Scriptures as the highest authority to appeal to. Next, when the New Testament Scriptures explicitly teach one thing about the Sabbath for today and our confessions teach another, there are problems.”

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  66. I wonder if Chris Gordon and other hard line NAPARC Confessionalist are even half as concerned about the “Abandonment” of frequent Lord’s Supper observance, something which we can clearly see instituted from NT scripture, from Christ Himself instructing His Church???? Well, let me go check the list of six features of CRC declension……..Nope, no where to be found.

    So no big whoop to have an evening service every week, but Lord’s Supper only once per month or once every 3 months is AOK. Got it, good to know.

    Reformed tradition = mountains. Bible = 0
    There is that darn Old Life Confessional math again.

    But let’s just move on to ripping into Keller and come back to Harping on those traditions which do Lent again next Easter season shall we.

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  67. E. Burns, in case you didn’t notice, at neither service do Reformed Protestants slaughter animals or burn grain.

    There. That’s different.

    So you disagree with the Reformed tradition. Welcome to most of the world.

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  68. I think there’s value in a second service, but I do agree that some in Reformed circles talk about the evening service as if it is the sine qua non of spirituality. The problem is that it is very hard for some families to get to church for one service, let alone several. If you have several young children, it’s a miracle you can get to the morning service intact let alone another one.

    I once heard a preacher say that he could recognize the people in his church who had a true hunger for God’s Word by whether they attended the evening service. Perhaps this is sinful, but it made me want to never go to an evening service again. It’s also a great comment to encourage a false piety. “I’m clearly more concerned with God’s Word than Joe who only goes to the morning service.”

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  69. Robert,

    Thank you, Robert. Clarity, reality and truth, how sweet the sound.

    Dr. DG. Hart, Tradition, committees, and exalted (where scripture alone deserves) man written confessions.

    Words> Do you you understand them?
    Oh wait you do, especially your own and that of cronies and sycophants. But alas, on this topic of discussion we still have Reformed tradition a tower and God’s Word getting the short end of the stick. Your Sola Scripture is ankle-deep.

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  70. E. Burns, you have yet to show how a second service or keeping the whole day holy means Scripture gets the short end of the stick.

    But if you think man made creeds are so awful, you better take it up with Keller who has written his own catechism.

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  71. Whereas normal (non neurotic) reformed Christians, they agree with the confessions but recognize what the confessional writers themselves said…. that not every jot and tittle of the confessions is necessarily infallible. Hence they ( again the non neurotic reformed) can take exception with some of it yet agree with the majority of it.

    Then there are the Dr. HART types. Longing deeply for Orange City , Iowa circa 1910, the gold standard ya see. All those letters after his name, but the one which really counts is BS.

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  72. D.G. and E. Burns,

    Darryl said:

    E. Burns, you have yet to show how a second service or keeping the whole day holy means Scripture gets the short end of the stick.

    But did E. say that keeping the entire day holy means Scripture gets the short end of the stick? I just thought his point was that mandating a second service as the sine qua non of piety and holiness is no less legalistic than mandating a season of Lent. It’s hard for me to argue with that when Scripture never mandates how many worship services we should have. That doesn’t mean more than one service isn’t helpful of maybe even recommended, but doesn’t it mean we should be careful about binding consciences of those who, for whatever reason, can’t make it to more than one service?

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  73. Robert,

    Yes indeed. You are correct, 100%. I am not now nor have I ever said a second service is bad in and of itself or attacked the Sabbath. I have simply stated that an ethos does in fact exist about second service. Here is how this whole conversation began…….

    Dr. Hart—“But for officers in the church to make Lent the norm for a congregation or a communion, then they better come with something more than “it looks like a pretty good idea” and “our motives are generally pious.”

    E. Burns– “Yeah, same goes for the “thou must have a second service” kind of ethos. But at the end of the day all NAPARC elders and pastors have to back that is also ….“it looks like a pretty good idea” and “our motives are generally pious.”

    Dr. Hart then became un-corked and in the process has absolutely shown that hardline Reformed confessionalist on this subject in fact insist on leading with the burning in their bosom, pious motives and good ideas instead of mandate from scripture. Thinking they’re justified in doing that because their tradition must at all cost be upheld. Keep soldiering on, digging in those heels, don’t give any ground…. all of reformed tradition is counting on it…….
    Can someone say delusions of grandeur?

    They cleary protest too much. The more they dig their heels in on it, the more it is revealed to be an idolatrous sacred cow.

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  74. @EB

    I have been a member of three PCA churches (Midwest, southwest, east coast). None of them had(s) a Sunday evening service.

    No one I have ever met has ever suggested that someone who skips the second service should be disciplined or that a session should be brought up on charges for canceling the second service at their church.

    Many have bemoaned the devaluation of the Lord’s day (and rightfully so). Pointing to the demise of Sunday evening service is a tangible sign of this devaluation. The tradition hasn’t shifted because of concern about bed times for the kids. Rather it reveals is a loss of interest in keeping the Lord’s day holy. That is something that deserves to be resisted.

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  75. sdb,

    Read this entire conversation from top to bottom. I will stand by the point that I’ve been making.

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  76. Furthermore the constant motif of ‘either you 100% agree with us and all the distinctives we promote ‘ OR you are rejecting it ALL is extreme and just ridiculous. The pejorative framework …….Either agree with every jot and Tittle of reformed tradition or you not are not at all reformed, and you are a Tim Keller type to boot (who in fact I’m not the biggest fan of) etc. etc. ……
    This habitual ethos is exactly why so many of these non- PCA smaller NAPARC denominations 50 years from now will be right where they are today ….about 8,000 members and 80% of those are related to one another.
    I get it the pragmatism of the PCA is a problem, but you know what—- many of these denominations aren’t small because they’re the most faithful, that narrative isn’t always true, although I agree sometimes it is, on some issues. However, Sometimes they’re small and ingrown on themselves because they’re the flat out most caustic and good Old boy like.

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  77. Robert, “mandating a second service as the sine qua non of piety and holiness”

    That’s not exactly a quote. Some would say it’s not a fair summary of what I’ve argued and it clearly neglects clarifications.

    So when will you pony up and say a second service is unbiblical? I dare you.

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  78. E. Burns, “the constant motif of ‘either you 100% agree with us and all the distinctives we promote ‘ OR you are rejecting it ALL is extreme and just ridiculous.”

    I guess you’ve never heard of 2k.

    And you seem to have no acquaintance with a 2ker who also subscribes the Westminster Standards:

    Q. 60. How is the sabbath to be sanctified?
    A. The sabbath is to be sanctified by a holy resting all that day, even from such worldly employments and recreations as are lawful on other days; and spending the whole time in the public and private exercises of God’s worship, except so much as is to be taken up in the works of necessity and mercy.

    Q. 61. What is forbidden in the fourth commandment?
    A. The fourth commandment forbiddeth the omission or careless performance of the duties required, and the profaning the day by idleness, or doing that which is in itself sinful, or by unnecessary thoughts, words or works, about our worldly employments or recreations.

    Or maybe that’s why you prefer Keller’s man-made creed and his man-made mandate to transformalismizate — wait for it — THE city.

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  79. Darryl,

    I didn’t say you said that. I said that there are some Reformed people who I have known who give that message with their words even if they don’t say it exactly.

    I think there’s more biblical evidence for an evening service than for Lent, but I don’t see how an evening service could ever be mandated by Scripture unless it was the only worship service a church offers on the Lord’s Day.

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  80. “”The fourth commandment is part of God’s moral law binding all generations. I try to avoid unnecessary work on the Sabbath. I try to avoid shopping at Wal-mart on the Sabbath. I try to avoid eating out on Sunday. I try to go to both morning and evening worship services on Sunday. However, I do not spend the “whole day” exercising private and public worship and doing deeds of necessity and mercy.””

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  81. E. Burn,

    Fine. Then why don’t you complain about all Presbyterian churches or all confessions? You’re obsessed about the Lord’s Day.

    I say troubled conscience.

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  82. Romans 14:5, Col 2:16-17, Mark. 2:27

    I have a very high view of the Sabbath (especially compared to our typical evangelical friends) , but I do not believe 2nd service is a primary marker of maturity the way many NAPARC folks believe. I remain unconvinced of their semantical gymnastics with the verses above (to list a few) where reformed tradition tries to make the Sabbath more strident than even the Lord of the Sabbath did! WCF 21.8 has poor wording as well.

    All thought with in the reformed tradition on the Sabbath IS NOT monolithic, despite what oh so earnest Sabbatarians like Dr. Hart try to convince us of. http://theaquilareport.com/why-i-am-sort-of-a-sabbatarian/

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  83. Pastor Chris Gordon makes solid points from his recent article warning of the dangers in going down the road of the CRC. That said we once again see the continued inextricable tie between the 4th commandment and a ‘must have Evening Service’ ethos is long on reformed tradition and far short on solid exegesis. In his recent interview on Presbycast starting around min 51 in context of second service he indeed refers to it as ….”The main marker of the identity of church….” lamenting its lacking he goes on to suggest not having a second service signals the direction of declension of a church…. ” I believe that strongly” -Chris Gordon

    Hardly a straw man. The point stands and Dr. Hart keep on proven me right on the topic.

    Again legit point by Curt Day….
    “One cannot hold to the necessarily high regard of the Scriptures when one puts their own set of confessions on too high a pedestal. The confessions eventually start to replace the Scriptures as the highest authority to appeal to. Next, when the New Testament Scriptures explicitly teach one thing about the Sabbath for today and our confessions teach another, there are problems.”

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  84. –“There seems to be a consensus among historians that the Puritan approach to the Sabbath reflected in the Westminster Standards is distinctive in the seventeenth-century context for its rigor and that this distinctiveness is to be at least partly explained in terms of the social and economic context of seventeenth-century Britain. “”

    He is exactly correct. Why is it that Reformed confessions written 80 to 100 years before the Westminster were not nearly as strict about Sabbath stridency? The Kings book of sports and its effect on the divines cannot be underestimated. The divines over corrected on this one. The Puritans were a mixed bag.

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  85. “One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. One person esteems one day that’s better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and give thanks to God.
    —Romans 14:2-6

    Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.
    Colossians 2:16-17

    And he said to them, the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.
    Mark 2:27-28

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  86. Darryl,

    Robert, so what would you do if someone in your church rejected session’s call to an evening service and went out for dinner and a concert?

    If that was the appointed time for worship that the elders chose for regular worship and congregants regularly did not attend, then they should be dealt with during disciplinary processes. I don’t believe going out to dinner and a concert are necessarily sinful on a Sunday evening.

    If the congregants attended worship that morning, then the best the elders can do is advise that it would be wise to come to church on a Sunday evening. They don’t have the authority to bind the conscience and discipline the person who regularly attends the other service but cannot or chooses not to come on Sunday night. (And if the church normally worshiped on an evening, the same is true re: the morning service.) I don’t see where 2 services are mandated by the RPW, but maybe I’m missing something.

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  87. Robert,

    While chatting about second service I once had a NAPARC elder put it in a framework very similar to a Dr. Hart is trying to do here. This elder at first glance wholeheartedly agreed with the fact and biblical reality that there is no mandate from scripture for a second service, then turned right around and said however if the elders call a second service the entire congregation is required to go. To which my thought was….”wait a minute!” … I thought a reformed Elder’s authority started and ended with scripture??? Interesting how selective that can be. So much for Sola scriptura. Hello tradition, hyper presbyterianism and Protestant sacerdotalism.

    Again, It’s that taking away with the left hand that which was just given with the right hand.
    We need to call that what it is.

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  88. E.B.,

    And if you have to go to a second service if the elders call for it on a Sunday, why would you not have to go through the whole Lent season if the elders call it?

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  89. Robert, if you think employing others in unnecessary work on the Lord’s day (concert and dinner out) is okay, then I’m hardly going to get you to see the value of the second service.

    And it’s a straw man to say the second service is “mandated” — sheesh, you and e. burns are snowflakes — by RPW.

    Who said anything about RPW?

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  90. ….and in the end while Keller has “the City” Darryl Hart has his Shangri La in the corn fields, dreaming of the mythical zenith of Reformed worlds in Orange City , Iowa. (Forget the fact that he has never been there)

    If you build it they will come. But then they will get driven out because they won’t ever be reformed enough for those caustic overly strident confessionalist who fancy themselves the keepers of orthodoxy.

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  91. Darryl,

    You asked a question, and I answered. When you say “elders call for,” that sounds “mandated” to me.

    The issue isn’t whether I see value in a second service. I do. The issue is whether it is a mark of piety or should be stressed as such the way it is in some NAPARC circles.

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  92. Darryl,

    Why would I think that unbelievers should be observing the Lord’s Day? (re: dinner and a concert) I see a Sabbath principle in creation. I don’t know how the church should expect unbelievers to know which day it should be, nor do I see why we should expect unbelievers to adhere to it. Wouldn’t that be a confusion of the 2 kingdoms somehow?

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  93. Darryl,

    Robert, then why would you go to the morning service called by the elders?

    I’ll go to one of the services that the elders call for because worshipping on the Lord’s Day mandatory. I might even go to both. I don’t see where there is a mandate Scripturally to go to both.

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  94. Darryl,

    I don’t know of any Reformed church that says “It is a sin not to go to a second service.”

    But when you have heard from the pulpit, like I have, that “the people in this church that really care about knowing the Word of God are the people that come on Sunday evening,” then something is seriously wrong.

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  95. Robert, God called the Israelites to eat manna in the wilderness. The church does the same when it calls people to attend to the means of grace.

    Are you too absorbed with spiritual fast food to come to church where you are in communion with other saints?

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  96. Robert, because the Bible says that believers should not employ servants or aliens on the Lord’s Day? Whether or not Appleby’s closes on Sunday, you don’t have to go there.

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  97. Robert, how is that seriously wrong? You’ve simply asserted it. If someone has a high view of preaching and participation in the local body of Christ, then someone who comes to the evening service may signal more than you think it does.

    What if you are guilty of disregarding the import of preaching, worship, and fellowship in the presence of the saints and angels (which happens when the pastor invokes God’s presence at the beginning of the service).

    Church is different from a podcast.

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  98. Darryl,

    Robert, God called the Israelites to eat manna in the wilderness. The church does the same when it calls people to attend to the means of grace.

    Seriously? You are going to compare God calling the people to eat manna in the wilderness, with all the attendant rules, to the elders calling believers to a second service that Scripture nowhere mandates. I thought E. Burns was being a little too harsh about traditionalism on your part, but maybe I was wrong…

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  99. Darryl,

    Robert, because the Bible says that believers should not employ servants or aliens on the Lord’s Day? Whether or not Appleby’s closes on Sunday, you don’t have to go there.

    And the same law also calls for executing people who kindle a fire on the Sabbath. Do you eat only cold leftovers on Sundays and bicycle to church?

    And since when are the servers at Appleby’s my slaves?

    And the servants and aliens were parts of old covenant Israel that they aren’t in the new covenant church, unless you want to kick 2K to the curb and start lobbying the church to adopt specific policies on immigration. I thought you were the 2K guy. Why is it crashing to the ground over the second service?

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  100. Darryl,

    Robert, how is that seriously wrong? You’ve simply asserted it. If someone has a high view of preaching and participation in the local body of Christ, then someone who comes to the evening service may signal more than you think it does.

    Well if you want to create two classes of Christians like the Wesleyans and charismatics do, then I don’t know what to say. To bind consciences from the pulpit when a congregation will include people that have reasons they can’t come to a second service that even you would approve of is sheer legalism.

    One can have a high view of preaching and participation without coming to a second service. And if we want to say otherwise, then why aren’t you measuring yourself against churches that have worship all day on Sunday and break only for lunch? In fact, let’s find a church that doesn’t break for lunch, because those are the people with the REALLY high view of worship.

    What if you are guilty of disregarding the import of preaching, worship, and fellowship in the presence of the saints and angels (which happens when the pastor invokes God’s presence at the beginning of the service).

    That could be possible. It could also be possible that since I have young children, one of whom has some medical complications right now, that I’m sensitive to preachers binding the consciences of everyone in the congregation with a law that is never mandated in Scripture, creating multiple classes of Christians, and otherwise not being sensitive to things that might legitimately keep people away.

    IOW, it’s one thing to say “We have an evening service and we encourage you to attend, as part of your responsibilities on the Lord’s Day is to spend time in worship and with God’s people.” It’s another thing to say, “You aren’t as good a Christian as I am if you don’t come.”

    Church is different from a podcast

    Yep.

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  101. Darryl,

    And how many people have you disciplined for eating out and going to a concert with their family instead of coming to a second service?

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  102. By Dr. Hart’s and many others ovey strident view of Sabbath the list of Reformed leaders in History who would need to be disciplined is long. We could start I guess with the late Dr. R.C. Sproul, his beloved Pittsburgh Steelers that he watched and the diner he spoke of going to, etc. He must not have been really reformed and was no doubt a big Tim Keller type.
    The list goes on and on…..

    But you’ll always have Orange City, circa 1920.

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  103. Robert, connect the dots — compare preaching in the assembly of God’s people to manna in the wilderness. Are you saying you don’t need such sustenance?

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  104. Robert, some services are works of necessity. Appleby’s is part of what you need? Servants or slaves, you are employing them. Or are you one of those customers who doesn’t tip?

    For shame.

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  105. Robert, being Presbyterian implies different kinds of Christians. Some are Reformed (less error). Some aren’t (more error).

    Everyone is gonna grade.

    I do believe you are grading me, Mr. Don’t Judge.

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  106. Robert, why not ask how many people I’ve prayed for who don’t go to the second service? I might even be so devout as to pray for you and E.B. But I won’t tell — hide it under a bushel.

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  107. Dr. Hart,

    You must have me confused with a neurotic over strident Confessionalist. (You are the one positively citing Orange City circa 1920 practice as an ideal)

    So it is Geneva that is the high standard and Orange City as a close good but subordinate standard. Gotcha, good to know.

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  108. E. Burns, I brought up Iowa City to show that I am liberal compared to Reformed Protestants in the past (like Geneva). It also shows that you are anti-Reformed and really don’t have a clue about those who defend the second service. You’re response — “Hart’s never been to Orange City.”

    Whatever.

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  109. Oh I have a pretty good clue alright.

    You then take away with the left hand………

    Inextricably tying a must-have second service to the fourth Commandment…..
    “those who try to keep the entire day holy as five centuries of Protestants have (context here was clearly 2nd service is a more sanctified route/ with appeal to tradition) ……”you really want to play with the Ten Commandments? Are you pro-choice (with that logic)?”” (Again questioning 2nd service is “playing” with the Ten Commandments according to Dr. Hart, not to mention the abortion bit) …..”We would discipline those who mock those who recommend a second service.”…… (Lies- No one mocked second service)…..””second services pertain to KEEPING THE WHOLE DAY HOLY.””

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  110. Yep, a pretty darn good clue.

    On subject of second service he indeed refers to it as ….”The main marker of the identity of church….” lamenting its lacking he goes on to suggest not having a second service signals the direction of declension of a church…. ” I believe that strongly”

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  111. You guys are awesome! Nothing like internecine presby catfights to entertain those of us in the broader eeee-world!

    (Suggestion: loosen up your phylacteries a little bit!)

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  112. DGH – “So when will you pony up and say a second service is unbiblical? I dare you.”

    I’m your huckleberry: Second service is unbiblical. As in not found in Scripture as a mandate for believers, just like Lent. But also like Lent, second service is not anti-Scriptural, meaning there is nothing that prohibits believers from attending a second or third or even fourth service, just as there us nothing that prohibits them from fasting.

    I think the basic question for you is this: is it a sin not to attend second service if offered by one’s church?

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  113. E. Burns, your literacy is still challenged. You wrote quoting me, “mock those who recommend a second service.” That would be your mocking of me.

    Then you deny having “mocked a second service.” I didn’t say you mocked a second service as your quote shows.

    This is what you’re like.

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  114. VV, so for 450 years Presbyterian churches were in sin to have a second service.

    Thanks for clearing that up.

    It fits the black and white paradigm.

    And if someone like me recommends a second service — pretty-please — it’s still sin.

    Oh, great, coming from a Keller supporter to a Keller detractor who never accused the hoverer-over-water of sin.

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  115. Do opponents of second services need to do what Episcopalians are contemplating — ban second services?

    Officials in a handful of domestic Episcopal Church dioceses which have opted out of the denomination’s same-sex marriage liturgies are warily eying the denomination’s upcoming General Convention and the changes it may bring.

    Bishops and deputies will gather this July in Austin, Texas for the triennial governing convention. A multi-year process of revising the church’s Book of Common Prayer, last revised in 1979, is widely expected to begin at this gathering.

    Interestingly, the addition of same-sex marriages conducted within the Episcopal Church has not significantly lessened a decline in the overall number of church weddings, which have dropped by 44 percent in the past decade (14,805 marriages in 2006, compared with only 8,343 in 2016, the most recent reporting year).

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  116. DGH – when did I ever say second service was a sin??? I asked if NOT attending second service is a sin, assuming a second service is offered by my church. Is regularly, intentionally skipping second service a sin or not? That’s all I’m asking.

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  117. The quote was exactly the correct context. So was the one from Pastor Chris Gordon.
    The ethos I have been citing of a must have second service does in fact exist within many NAPARC circles.
    It can be easily found, dont have to look hard. In fact one need look no further than your post here, from top to bottom it comes out from you.

    You are in denial and filled with caustic, ardent, overly strident confessional Pride.
    You will always have Orange City circa 1920.
    (It’s not Iowa City, keep up!)

    Then eventually you can build one of your own taking to a point where it’s just like Geneva of old. To boot, you can ban the practice of Lent there forever. It’s very healthy to have goals.
    Good luck champ!

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  118. V Vic,

    Most reasonable Presbyterian and reformed folks (of which you and I are among) would read this post from top to bottom and simply admit that yes in some reformed circles people make second service a matter of pride and are indeed legalistic about it. The straw man argument here is the one Dr. Hart- no one here is attacking the Sabbath or second service in and of itself.

    It was a simple, true and valid point. But look what Hart wrought with it.
    Dr. Hart types are THE reason (not Keller) small NAPARC denominations will remain small (and by small we are not just talking numbers/ head counting, although that too ) forever. It is this obstinate pride in Traditions and teaching as if Doctrine those traditions of men that will continue keeping them right where they are.
    Oh sure they will reshuffle the deck a bit, but no long term sustainability will come. Sadly. Such a waste.

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  119. E. Burns – DGH and his punctilious Presbyterian ilk have the right intentions: the purity of the Church. The problem is in many cases it is a (Presbyterian) Church of their own making, rather than what Scripture (or even the Confessions) describes it to be. In trashing Lent and elevating things like second service they have imposed a very Romish – or at least rabbinical – mentality to the P&R Church. Maintaining standards is very important, but it’s easy to go too far, as many of them have done. That’s exactly why Confessions and other non-Scriptural constitutional documents need constant, fresh revision: to avoid excessive scrupulosity as well as excessive laxity.

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  120. Petros, not nearly as entertaining as watching eeeevangelicals take culture war sides. “Less filling! Tastes great!” At least over here it’s a topic that actually matters.

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  121. @Zrim, your presby brouhaha about second services and sabbatarianism is actually a great example of an extrabiblical presby internal culture war. That those of you in the fight think it “actually matters” is disappointing, but entertaining nonetheless.

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  122. Petros, right, that the question of how God should be worshiped is just silly extrabiblical brouhaha is a great example of what differentiates the eeeevangelical ethos from the confessional. The former, drawing from experientialism and interiorism, says whatever way one pleases as long as “the heart is right” (which it isn’t but is in fact always compromised). Which explains so much of eeeevangelicalism’s doxological tackiness, triviality, and superficiality. So laugh away, it only bolsters the confessionalist’s conclusion that eeeevangelicalism is bankrupt.

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  123. @Zrim, well at least the eeee-world I’m in is rooted in Scripture, contra the parsing of extra-biblical cultural traditions that is the norm in your confessional world. So, Z, put yourself out there, how often do YOU attend a second Sunday service? The OL world begs to know!

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  124. Petros – “well at least the eeee-world I’m in is rooted in Scripture, contra the parsing of extra-biblical cultural traditions that is the norm in your confessional world”

    That’s painting with too broad a brush, Petros. There are extra-biblical excesses in the Reformed community, to be sure, but the overarching Reformed desire is to be faithful to Scripture, as imperfect as that may be in practice.

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  125. boasting about such small devotion in assembling? This seems like devotion:

    Acts 2:46 DAY BY 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

    Acts 5:42 And EVERY DAY, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.

    Acts 17: 17 So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles and in the market place EVERY DAY with those who happened to be present.

    Hebrews 3:13a But encourage one another DAY AFTER DAY

    Hebrews 10:25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and ALL THE MORE as you see the day drawing near.

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  126. vv, so what is your objection to the second service? You don’t go (as if Redeemer has one) and you object to recommendations for second services.

    If someone is watching the Super Bowl to avoid the evening service, that’s a problem of civic and true righteousness.

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  127. vv and e. burns,

    Most reasonable Presbyterian and reformed folks (of which you and I are among) would read this post from top to bottom and simply admit that yes in some reformed circles people make second service a matter of pride and are indeed legalistic about it. The straw man argument here is the one Dr. Hart- no one here is attacking the Sabbath or second service in and of itself.

    No pride there. (Not sure if either of you are Reformed either, but let’s not go to the 9th commandment.)

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  128. vv, you will concede that for 450 years Reformed churches have had second services? If so, then you can’t say I’m making something up.

    But the Kellers have schooled you well.

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  129. Petros, that would be a good point except that earnest evangelicals like yourself aren’t supposed to laugh at other Christians. I’m telling John Piper and Tim Keller.

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  130. @VV, wrt “There are extra-biblical excesses in the Reformed community, to be sure”. VV, you’re an honest man! It’d be great if that famous presby governance bureaucracy would reign in, rather than contribute to, some of those excesses, don’t you think. And wrt “the overarching Reformed desire is to be faithful to Scripture”. That’s nice, and I don’t dispute that. It so happens to also be the desire of the eeee-world, too, but at least our debates will be about exegesis, and not about Iowa or western Michigan cultural traditions.

    (Still hoping the Z will share his personal 2nd service practices and convictions with all of us.)

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  131. Petro, “the eeee-world I’m in is rooted in Scripture.”

    I’m not sure you should use the Bible to help the drainage of potted plants in the celebration center. Probably not good plant maintenance and not very respectful of Scripture.

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  132. Zrim says: Petros, not nearly as entertaining as watching eeeevangelicals take culture war sides.

    Jesus on assembling and ‘culture war’
    Isaiah 1
    13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings!
    Your incense is detestable to me.
    New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations—
    I cannot bear your worthless assemblies.
    14 Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals
    I hate with all my being.
    They have become a burden to me;
    I am weary of bearing them.
    15 When you spread out your hands in prayer,
    I hide my eyes from you;
    even when you offer many prayers,
    I am not listening.
    16 Wash and make yourselves clean.
    Take your evil deeds out of my sight;
    stop doing wrong.
    17 Learn to do right; seek justice.
    Defend the oppressed.
    Take up the cause of the fatherless;
    plead the case of the widow.

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  133. Petros, mine is the sabbatarian-of-the-non-legalist variety, i.e. the second service isn’t required but is a wise and prudent way of sanctifying the day and has been a profitable habit for many years (one not inherited, mind you, but personally imposed). That said, I’d concede that sabbatarianism is just as vulnerable to legalism as anything else and would that fellow sabbatarians were better able to concede that, especially when they are also good at spotting legalism in other places. Not everyone in my small ordained circle is as persuaded as me on the second service, which seems to be an opportunity to exercise tolerance, charity and patience. While I think EB overstates his case, I also think some sabbatarians talk about the second service the way some Baptists talk about teetotaling: it’s a good and wise way to do it but not required (wink-wink-nudge-nudge, we all know more spiritual and less carnal Christians do it my way).

    ps evangelicalism rooted in Scripture? I know you’re supposed to be the Bible people because you do things like tote yours to church, make sure it’s very visible on your dash and brag about how worn out it is, but from my experience there’s way more sentimentality about the Bible than understanding of it.

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  134. @ Petros:

    Not sure where you are on the Lent thing, but it’s a slam dunk that ashes on the forehead signifying 40 days of fasting are the opposite of washing your face to conceal your fasting — which is what the Bible actually commends.

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  135. @Jeff, I agree w/you re: Lent. In fact, other than baptizing babies, I agree with you on just about everything.

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  136. @Z, well, everyone will have their own anecdotes, won’t they. And yet, here you are, appealing to “but from MY EXPERIENCE…”. Sounds like you need to set DGH straight about second services, though, because there’s a fair bit of “wink-wink-nudge-nudge, we all know more spiritual and less carnal Christians do it DGH’s way” in his writings.

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  137. Dr. Hart,

    What? You’re the only one allowed to make distinctions and classifications? Yeah, maybe in that delusional World in your own mind (The New Orange City, steel trap), but out here in the real world we get to do it too. In fact we do it better than you do it. So yes, you are unreasonable and overly strident.

    Is not going to second service a sin?
    Does it show a less mature Christian?
    Is going to 50% more services the key to sanctification? If No, then why the digging heals on topic? Is Pastor Chris Gordon correct when he states that one of the bigger markers of church declension is a lack in second service? Is he correct when he states that this is an essential mark of what the church is ?

    We already know the answers due to the fact that you’ve drawn this out for so long. Despite what your BS lip service answers are, the dogmatic practice and insistence shows all.

    How about the Elder who states/agrees that indeed second service is not a Biblical mandate however if a session schedules evening service the congregation is “required” to go?

    I thought reformed elders could only attempt to bind a conscience from scripture? I thought their Authority began and ended with scripture and they are not allowed to bind men and women’s consciences where God has made them free?

    Be careful, in fact be afraid, be very very afraid…..your Popish adherence to Elder Authority (man pleasing) and making a Pope out of confessions is showing. (It is you who gives Petros types a lot of fodder)

    You keep bird-dogging this one – Long Live Orange City Circa 1920…….(man! That would make a great t-shirt, picturing you in it with a stenciled bow tie on the front, the back says closed on Sundays, with a picture of a reformed Amish looking type dude, he has a little caption coming out of his mouth that states ” we use cloth diapers and have a garden”)

    As for me and my house we will put a higher importance in emphasis on the doctrines by with this which the church stands and falls….
    Justification, 5 Solas, etc.

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  138. Guess who said this… …””Of course the Bible doesn’t tell us about everything in our lives today. That’s the point. If the Bible is silent, then so should those be who minister or claim the Bible as their authority.””

    If you want to demand, assoiate it with more mature or even “pretty please” a second service, fine no problem. It’s a free country. Just don’t tell me it’s the most righteous Christian practice imaginable, all the while lambasting other Christians for Lent.

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  139. DGH – actually, Redeemer (ES) does have a second service. I think all 3 Redeemer churches do, though the sermon is generally the same (or at least based on the same Scripture) as the first service. I don’t object to second service – that should be abundantly clear by now. I’m assuming that you believe skipping the second service is not per se sinful. Great – we agree on that. Now the next question: is observing Lent per se sinful?

    And justifying something based on 450 years of tradition is the EXACT same argument Catholics make for repudiating things like, you know, the Reformation.

    Jeff – I agree about ashes on the forehead, but isn’t a season of fasting and focused reflection on denying ourselves and taking up our cross to follow Christ potentially edifying? I don’t observe Lent at all, but I can see where it is beneficial in the spiritual life of some Christians. The point is: Lent is a non-mandatory means of personal piety, just as second service is a non-mandatory means of personal piety. We’re just trying to figure out why DGH condemns one out of hand and yet elevates the other to almost-but-not-quite-mandatory status.

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  140. VV: …but isn’t a season of fasting and focused reflection on denying ourselves and taking up our cross to follow Christ potentially edifying?

    Sure. A whole lot of things are potentially edifying. I know someone who was converted in part through reading Jane Austen.

    The more important question is “what are the means of grace”, those things that Christ has enjoined upon His people for receiving His grace. I see these: word, sacrament, prayer.

    Lent is squishy. Is it edifying because it is a species of “prayer”, accompanied by fasting? That works; but it would work just as well if observed by Alice in June and Bob in April. Or is it edifying because we are all setting apart a special season and “doing it together”? That doesn’t work, per Colossians.

    Non-mandatory helps, but not enough. If the church promotes something, the status sits somewhere between mandatory and discretionary for the simple reason that those who refrain are now not “doing what we are doing as a church” — they are not “team players.”

    It’s actually really hard to avoid social coercion in church matters.

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  141. Yes, indeed, well said Jeff. Truly all have their practices which have more to do with tradition and coercion socially within church than it does with sound exegesis.

    Which brings me back to the Lord’s Supper in all of this. Could we all agree that one can find far better biblical exegesis for frequent observance of the Lord’s Supper than one could ever find for Second service Or for Lent??

    So putting the Methodist to the side for a moment (Lent is Methosist) , which do Confessionally minded NAPARC folks more obsess over……..Second Service or frequent Celebration of the Lord’s Supper?
    Hmmmm, let’s go back and look again at that list of 6 abandoned things in the Gordon piece to see if Lord’s Supper is even mentioned.

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  142. Zrim, Some legalisms are better than others.

    What could possibly go wrong by attending a second service?

    What could possibly go wrong with a child respecting his father?

    What could possibly go wrong with a meal sans beer?

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  143. E. Burns, “We already know the answers due to the fact that you’ve drawn this out for so long. Despite what your BS lip service answers are, the dogmatic practice and insistence shows all.”

    I really wish I had it in me to be that dogmatic about a second service.

    Did you forget your meds?

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  144. VV, history isn’t justification. It’s a reason why you should be surprised — that, plus the Westminster Standards that Keller and his company of pastors have subscribed.

    Take it up with Geneva and Westminster.

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  145. E. Burns, if you’re persuaded by the Lord’s Supper then maybe you should think about the Lord’s Day. It’s not yours. So why not go hear your Lord a second time with the saints he’s gathered?

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  146. There you go again conflating. The inextricable tie between a ‘must-have second service’ and the Sabbath itself. So in effect, by that conflating, you are in fact doing just that – making it an upper echelon practice which indicates superior Christian maturity. Yet you have zero solid biblical exegesis for it. At the end of the day all you have is a burning in your bosom about it, tradition and well-meaning pius intentions. Those are in fact very strong drivers even in NAPARC on a whole host of issues. Not that I plead from majority fallacy , but almost everyone here can see it, except you.

    Here is what the Lord of the Sabbath said about His day….”The Sabbath was made for man not man for the Sabbath.”
    Your rabbinic exactitude and Confessional hyper stridency turns this on its heels. We find zero testimony of Scripture where Lord of The Sabbath is on the case of people or religious leaders for not being strict enough about Sabbath, not in the WCF 21.8 sense. (Matt 21-Money exchangers scene was not up the alley of WCF 21.8 business about All the day/ recreation items, it was all about turning God’s house into a profit center, taking advantage of those with traveled long distances for the Passover to worship in the Temple)
    But God in all His wisdom has seen fit to mantain in Holy Writ many examples of warnings against over strident views of Sabbath.

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  147. E. Burns, “Here is what the Lord of the Sabbath said about His day….’The Sabbath was made for man not man for the Sabbath.’”

    So you don’t go to church at all then. Got it.

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