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Sabbath – Jewish Shabbat, Sunday, or What?

The fourth Commandment is the only commandment of the 10 Commandments that ever is really argued over by sound, Scriptural Believers.  Why?  Because while the OT is clear about the Sabbath for Jews, the NT Testament brings in much more that comes into play.  Especially in Hebrews where things like a “type and shadow”, “His Sabbath Rest”, “enter the rest” are used to refer to the Sabbath rest.  These verses have been interpreted differently by many believers.

Then we have several places where Paul is adamant that no one is to judge another for what days if any they set aside.  Each is accountable to their own Master.

Romans 14:4-6 (KJV)

4 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.

6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.

There are a multitude of ways that the Sabbath for Believers has been interpreted, all using various verses of Scripture. 

  • No difference, Sabbath is Jewish Shabbat from evening Friday to evening Saturday.

  • Observe Jewish Sabbath rest and Sunday worship as the “Lord’s Day”.

  • Observe Sunday as the New Sabbath Day, the “Lord’s Day”, with all the rules of the Sabbath.

  • Observe Sunday as a Believer’s day to worship due to the resurrection and apostle’s precedent showing change.

  • Observe no day for the Sabbath.

  • Observe everyday as the Sabbath and for worship.

  • Allow each Believer to do what seems best.

I’m sure there are more choices but I can’t think of any more right now.  Later we’ll look at the verses and the reasoning behind several of these choices.

Do you know why you worship on a particular day?  Scripture to back it up?

You just might be surprised at how few know why they worship on a particular day.



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Cultural Religion

“Culture is religion externalized.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Commonly attributed to Henry Van Til

Culture is the expression of a group of people’s core values.  Different people groups have different values and those values are defined by their religious beliefs.  All people have a religious belief even the most devoted and adamant atheist.  An atheist’s religious belief is that there is no God.

A religion is a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a supernatural agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion

A religion is a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe” …  “often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.”  This is why I say all people are religious whether or not they admit it or not.   Even the most violent gangs have some form of code that they live by and conduct themselves by.

So what does our culture worship?

My guess is that by watching and observing people and their interactions our culture worships “themselves”.

Romans 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  ESV

Can others see whom you worship by observing your life?



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Passionate Youth Groups

Pyromaniacs has written about the topic that I discussed in Youth Groups – Losing Your Inhibitions Is a Good Thing !?!  He shares some interesting points about being passionate Christians.  

What is the difference between true Christian passion and artificial passion induced by outside activities like music and activities? 

Worth contemplating!

Peanut-butter Passion by Phil Johnson

‘m a passionate person. People who know me will affirm that. I think Christians ought to be passionate about truth, passionate in our love for God and for one another, and (above all) passionate about the glory of God.

But raw passion is not the point. Passion is valid and edifies only when it’s the right kind of passion, based on legitimate affections for the right things. I’m concerned about the unbridled passions frequently turned loose by people whose only religious affections were cultivated in evangelical youth groups.   (And if I can speak freely: that includes a lot of of our so-called young, restless, and Reformed frends.)  Continue…

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Does Your Church’s Worship Resemble This?

Ezekiel 33:31-32

31  And they come to you as people come, and they sit before you as my people, and they hear what you say but they will not do it; for with lustful talk in their mouths they act; their heart is set on their gain.

32 And behold, you are to them like one who sings lustful songs with a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument, for they hear what you say, but they will not do it.  ESV

The congregation coming and talking up a good talk yet walking out unaffected by anything said?

Beautiful voices, well played instruments, maybe even good words but not actually living and doing what is said?

Does your worship resemble this?

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A Book About Worship by Scott Aniol

I have enjoyed reading several of Scott Aniol’s documents available on his website Religious Affections Ministries.  When I was researching about the Regulative Principle of Worship and also when I was discussing the issue of Rap in worship I benefited greatly from his articles or the external links he provided.  His newest book he has made available for pastors for free. 

Sound Worship

Sound Worship takes the main concepts of Worship in Song and delivers them in a brief, easy-to-read, engaging way. If you want answers to important worship and music questions without all of the research, footnotes, or technical jargon, Sound Worship is for you. See the book’s contents here.

Pastors: Get a free copy of the Teacher’s Edition (full book text included) by contacting us at: [email protected]!

“Get a free digital copy of Scott Aniol’s new book, Sound Worship! http://bit.ly/soundworshipfree

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Worship by Ligon Duncan

Matthew Pinson, J., Perspectives on Christian Worship: Five Views has this from Ligon Duncan

The Protestant Reformers of the sixteenth century, from whom traditional evangelicals have learned much about what Scripture teaches about worship, understood two things often lost on moderns. First, they understood that the liturgy (by which I simply mean here the set forms of corporate worship), media, instruments, and vehicles of worship are never neutral. So exceeding care must be given to the “law of unintended consequences.” Often the medium overwhelms and changes the message. For example, singing “Amazing Grace” to the tune of “Gilligan’s Island” (the meter works, but the tune does not—a light, quasi-sea-shanty, with comedic associations, coupled with gravely serious words) changes the whole tone of what one is doing in singing that text and easily becomes a sacrilege. Second, the Reformers knew that the purpose of the elements and forms and circumstances of corporate worship is to assure that one is actually doing worship as it is defined by the God of Scripture, that one is worshiping the God of Scripture, and that one’s aim in worshiping Him is the aim set forth in Scripture.

So traditional evangelicals care about how we worship, not because we think that liturgy (again, simply meaning the order of service) is prescribed, mystical, or sacramental, but precisely so that the liturgy can get out of the way of the gathered church’s communion with the living God. The function of the order of service is not to draw attention to itself but to aid the soul’s communion with God in the gathered company of the saints by serving to convey the Word of God to and from God, from and to His people. C. S. Lewis puts it this way: ‘As long as you notice, and have to count the steps, you are not yet dancing but only learning to dance. A good shoe is a shoe you don’t have to notice. Good reading becomes possible when you need not consciously think about eyes, or light, or print, or spelling. The perfect church service would be one we were almost unaware of; our attention would have been on God.’ This is why the great Baptist preacher Geoffrey Thomas can say that, in true worship, worshipers ‘have little thought of the means of worship; their thoughts are upon God. True worship is characterized by self-effacement and is lacking in any self-consciousness.’ That is, in biblical worship we so focus on God Himself and are so intent to acknowledge His inherent and unique worthiness that we are transfixed by Him. Thus worship is not about what we want or like (nor do His appointed means divert our eyes from Him), but rather it is about meeting with God and delighting in Him. Praise decentralizes self.

So how was your worship today?


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What Do You Do About Sunday School?

Does your church have a Sunday School?

Does your family attend a church with the typical age divided Sunday School? or is it designed differently?

Does your church have “children’s church” or “youth church”?

Have you given any serious thought to the advantages or disadvantages to Sunday School?

What type material is used in the Sunday School? Is it the typical LifeWay lessons or something different?

My husband and a few people we know such as Mark & Kelly prepare their Sunday School lessons basing them on the Bible more than any canned lesson material.

We have been visiting smaller churches and if they have Sunday School the adults are typically together in the worship area so our children have stayed with us. One church we visit doesn’t have Sunday School but the worship services have a question and answer period at the end where individuals can ask questions and clear up confusion. Sometimes this time period can last a while when the lesson concerned a difficult passage.

The reason I ask about your Sunday School is due the post yesterday – Already Gone – Ken Ham. I found it interesting that my children and Terry‘s children as teens opted out of Sunday School for similar reasons.

How much thought have you given to Sunday School and the lesson material? Or do you participate because it is expected?



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Church Music in the Days of The Puritians

During their day, Puritans would play musical instruments in their homes but never in the church. It just wasn’t done that way. The psalm book that they sang from did not have musical notes or notations but the tune was chosen by the presenter and then the congregation followed. Or at least was supposed to. But with no written music to follow and no musical instruments the singing over the years denigrated into cacophony. Congregations did not even sing the same “tune” the same way.

Judge Sewell according to his diary complained that twice the congregation was started on one tune and quickly charged right into a totally different tune. He soon gave up his job as presenter.

“. . . the Tunes that are already in use in our Churches; which, when they first came out of the Hands of the Composers of them, were sung according to the Rules of the Scale of Musick, . . . are now miserably tortured, and twisted, and quavered, in some Churches, into a horrid Medly of confused and disorderly Noises. . . .Our Tunes are, for the want of a Standard to appeal to in all our Singing, left to the Mercy of every unskilful Throat to chop and alter, twist and change, according to their infinitely divers and no less odd Humours and Fancies. That this is most true, I appeal to the Experiences of those who have happened to be present in many of our Congregations, who will grant me, that there are no two Churches that sing alike. Yea, I have my self heard (for Instance) Oxford Tune sung in three Churches (which I purposely forbear to mention) with as much difference as there can possibly between York and Oxford, and any two other different Tunes. … For much time is taken up in shaking out [the] Turns and Quavers; and besides, no two Men in the Congregation quaver alike, or together; which sounds in the Ears of a good Judge, like Five Hundred different Tunes roared out at the same time, whose perpetual interferings with one another, perplexed Jars, and unmeasured Periods, would make a Man wonder at the false Pleasure, which they conceive in that which good Judges of Musick and Sounds, cannot bear to hear.”

Grounds and Rules 1721, Thomas Walters

Or how about this quote:

“… sad to hear what whining, toling, yelling or shreaking there is in our country congregations.” Master Mace

And another controversy over music and singing.

So villanous had church-singing at last become that the clergymen arose in a body and demanded better performances; while a desperate and disgusted party was also formed which was opposed to all singing. Still another band of old fogies was strong in force who wished to cling to the same way of singing that they were accustomed to; and they gave many objections to the new-fangled idea of singing by note, the chief item on the list being the everlasting objection of all such old fossils, that “the old way was good enough for our fathers,” &c. They also asserted that “the names of the notes were blasphemous;” that it was “popish;” that it was a contrivance to get money; that it would bring musical instruments into the churches; and that “no one could learn the tunes any way.”

Sabbath In Puritan New England by Alice Morse Earle

Here is some more information about Edwards:

And the duty of singing praises to God, seems to be appointed wholly to excite and express religious affections. No other reason can be assigned, why we should express ourselves to God in verse, rather than in prose, and do it with music, but only, that such is our nature and frame, that these things have a tendency to move our affections.

Jonathon Edwards Religious Affections (WJE Online Vol. 2)

Edwards lived at the time when Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) was dominating the world of music. Though the two were separated by an ocean, one was a Congregationalist and the other a Lutheran, and it is probable that Edwards never actually heard any of Bach’s music, Edwards shared a similar vision with the great composer. Bach, as the composer par excellence at the time, used harmony and counterpoint to direct one’s attention to a higher reality. Edwards likened the harmony of music to the proportionality of beautiful physical features on a woman, as musical harmony symbolized future heavenly harmonious relationships. Music, as well, was to him the most perfect means of communication. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that Edwards often enjoyed singing with his wife Sarah. As a result of this love of music, Edwards set about to reform congregational singing. Strict Calvinism (and correspondingly high Biblicism) led many to believe, as Calvin did, that the only appropriate songs to sing in church were those found in the Bible, translated literally from the Hebrew or Greek. Thus, the Psalms (usually unaccompanied by instruments) was the only form of musical worship allowed in New England churches. By Edwards’ time, this had become pure cacophony, especially in contrast to the music epitomized by Bach. People like Cotton Mather, Isaac Watts, and Edwards’ grandfather Solomon Stoddard brought in the “new music,” including hymns, into the churches. Thus it was that Edwards was able to enjoy the advent of this new musical revolution, the style of which he dearly loved.

http://edwards.yale.edu/wiki/Music

The quote from Master Mace seems that we have come full circle back to where we started centuries ago.

“… sad to hear what whining, toling, yelling or shreaking there is in our country congregations.”

Does that not describe many of our contemporary worship services where the noise of the instruments and the screaming of lyrics obscur any possible value in the words?


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Southern Baptists – Changing Quickly

Southern Baptists are quite different then just a few years ago! I know because I grew up Southern Baptist and we didn’t have ballet for worship services or worry about other churches having known homosexuals on staff.

Classical ballet at Pastors’ Conference

… Riley and her church, First Baptist Church of North Mobile, are working to reclaim the arts in worship. While the choir sings, artist Brian Daniel will paint with his hands during one song. In another set, Riley will move in fluid rhythm to an orchestra of violins, electric guitars and other instruments.

“We want to add another dimension to worship,” music minister Jason Breland said. “It will be wonderful if people experience the presence of God and the worship of God in a way that they haven’t experienced before.”…

Southern Baptist EC recommends ceasing relationship with church over homosexuality

The Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee recommended in a unanimous vote Monday afternoon that the denomination cease its relationship with Broadway Baptist Church, a Fort Worth, Texas, congregation that has been the source of controversy over its stance on homosexuality.

The Executive Committee’s recommendation will be considered by SBC messengers during the annual meeting Tuesday or Wednesday.

At issue is whether the church is in violation of Article III of the SBC Constitution, which states that churches “which act to affirm, approve, or endorse homosexual behavior” are not in friendly cooperation. Broadway Baptist has approximately five open homosexual members, including two male couples, according to church leaders. Some of the homosexuals serve on church committees. …

What Rick Warren talks about with the Islamic Convention attenders will be very interesting. You think he will say anything about them believing in a false god?

“Islamic Society reaches out to other faiths” (Link Broken)

For Warren, author of the best-selling “The Purpose Driven Life” who gave the invocation at Obama’s inauguration, the visit to a Muslim convention also fits, said Tulane University assistant sociology professor Shayne Lee, co-author of “Holy Mavericks: Evangelical Innovators and the Spiritual Marketplace.”

Warren has conducted workshops with Jewish rabbis, Lee said, offering tips on how to build their congregations, and established ties with the gay rights community in California. He also was unafraid to endure criticism from conservatives about his role in the Obama inauguration.


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