les Davey de France

Alan and Pat live and work in Bordeaux. Alan is a pastor and Pat was a nurse. Now we work with UFM worldwide. Read on! (If you'd like to know what took us to Bordeaux, then start with the archives from September 2004)

Monday, November 29, 2010

It was quite funny, really...

Friday morning I said to a colleague, "so the question is, does Christian worship derive from the temple or the synagogue?"... "Beuh, from the temple, of course !" quoth he.

Friday afternoon, sneaking a quick read of "20 controversies that killed a church" : The pattern of New Testament worship is the synagogue. After God's people in the Old Testament returned from Babylon they no longer had the temple worship with its sacrifices. They gathered weekly in the synagogue to worship. Here they sang psalms, prayed, read the Scriptures and heard expositions of the Scriptures. The early church continued this pattern of worship..." (page 201)

I've been doing a bit of thinking about orders of service. This follows various things :

1) in my background I've been used to the simple British non-conformist "hymn sandwich" - feeling at liberty to modify this according to need - for example splitting the sermon into three parts ( one of my favourite things for carol services and the like )

2) generally my past has been part of the kind of churches that are on a quest for authentic simplicity. "This is us singing for you", rather than "this is our Sunday production"

3) at the same time sister churches in, for example, the USA have shared our heritage and convictions but expressed their worship with robed choirs, organ voluntaries, orchestras and so on. Oho...

4) in the church here in France we had a rather more ... elaborate order of service which allowed great freedom but still had a lot more structure and somewhat less scope for spontaneity

5) meanwhile the group of churches to which we belong has a liturgy book and many churches follow the pattern laid out. The pattern gives much freedom of choice of texts to use, but follows a basic pattern of "covenant renewal" - reading of God's law, confession of sin, announce of pardon, and so on...

Hence my reflection. This is where if I were a student I'd do an essay, or for a masters I'd do some reading up and present a thesis. However I am not... So here's the outline of what I'd think about if I were...

1) Origins of Christian worship and the Old Testament :
a. Temple worship and the Christians
b. The synagogue and the Christians
c. Covenant renewal assemblies in the Old Testament and the Christians

2) Development of Christian worship in the Church Fathers :

3) The Reformation and Christian worship :
a. Anglican and Lutheran solutions
b. Continental reformed churches
c. British non-conformity and reformed churches

4) Where does that leave us today ?

You'll notice that I don't mention the regulative or normative principles. There's a sense in which this question assumes the regulative principle but asks where in the Bible that principle sends us to find our instructions for worship.

OK folks. Please respond.

A) Christian worship is based on Temple or Synagogue or Neither ?
B) What book do you know of that deals with this question best ?

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