Can close(d) communion, Confessional subscription and an orderly liturgy save Christianity?

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    Can close(d) communion, Confessional subscription and an orderly liturgy save Christianity?

    I say yes.

    Why?

    You have to have standards. Without standards, the church is weakened. Theology takes back seat to experience, which is subject itself to a person's psychology. Doctrine becomes the plaything of human reason, which is darkened and fallen. The sacred becomes the secular and reverence gives way to relativism.

    Is it time to get serious about our faith, and forget trying to please the world?

    Recently I saw a short article on a news service where they were interviewing converts to Islam- a false, demonic and deceptive religion. One thing that those converts had in common- they saw the Christian church as a people who have thrown away the "rules" to try to win people. But people want direction- and the cult of Islam (like all cults) will do that.

    However, the Church was not left without moral, doctrinal and practical standards. God gave us the immense privilege of being the custodians of truth and the true, narrow path of moral living. So what if the world can't handle it? I think they would respect it more if WE did too!

    This is one reason I am a Confessional Lutheran.

    Comments?


    #2
    For the most part it is true, Christianity has become watered down and almost a shadow of its former self. However, there are still denominations that still hold to strict rules concerning theology and administration of the sacraments, mine included (OPC). I have attended churches in the past that do not protect the elements while administering Communion, which is ultimately to the detriment to the church and those people who are participating, and ultimately bringing judgement on all those involved. From the congregation to the leadership.
    Comment>

      #3
      Originally posted by Knotical View Post
      For the most part it is true, Christianity has become watered down and almost a shadow of its former self. However, there are still denominations that still hold to strict rules concerning theology and administration of the sacraments, mine included (OPC). I have attended churches in the past that do not protect the elements while administering Communion, which is ultimately to the detriment to the church and those people who are participating, and ultimately bringing judgement on all those involved. From the congregation to the leadership.
      One reason I consider my Reformed brethren our closest friends in the Church. While we do not agree on everything, we agree on most things and importantly we agree that orthodoxy and orthopraxy matters!
      Comment>

        #4
        Originally posted by RevT View Post
        This is one reason I am a Confessional Lutheran.
        Hi RevT,

        I have a hard time equating "Reformed" with anything less than being Confessional and Covenantal. I'd also like to add Calvinistic to that, as I have never ran into a Reformed member that despite not belonging to a Presbyterian denomination disagreed with any of the points of Calvinism. How do we define Reformed without a confession?

        Originally posted by Knotical View Post
        However, there are still denominations that still hold to strict rules concerning theology and administration of the sacraments, mine included (OPC).
        Hi Knotical,

        This was one of the reasons my wife and I became members of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. Nice meeting you by the way, Knotical, it is nice to meet another from the OPC, brother! I am a member here in San Jose California.

        Regarding a closed communion, our church verbally fences the communion table, but John Calvin had went so far as to stretch his arms over the elements refusing the Libertines access.

        God bless,
        William
        Comment>

          #5
          Originally posted by William View Post
          I'd also like to add Calvinistic to that, as I have never ran into a Reformed member that despite not belonging to a Presbyterian denomination disagreed with any of the points of Calvinism.
          I'd just like to elaborate on this. I meant this as suggesting that I have never met a Reformed member denying or rejecting the Five Points of Calvinism, just as I have never met a non Lutheran that denied or rejected the Five Solas. Though I have met an occasional Lutheran that thought John Calvin took Luther's works a little too far. And just like you RevT, I consider Reformed brothers, especially Lutherans, though at times I have an issue with Baptist claiming they are Reformed, at times I'd rather consider them "Particular" Baptist, because by definition they are a member of a Baptist denomination holding the doctrine of the election and redemption of some but not all people, but reject Covenant theology. I believe Charles Spurgeon was the one that coined the term Particular and distinguished himself from Reformed theology, though he was a strong Calvinist.

          As far as saving Christianity, I think Reformed in general is a testimony to the depth one takes their theology. I think many hold to religion rather than theology... .

          God bless,
          William
          Comment>

            #6
            Originally posted by William View Post

            I'd just like to elaborate on this. I meant this as suggesting that I have never met a Reformed member denying or rejecting the Five Points of Calvinism, just as I have never met a non Lutheran that denied or rejected the Five Solas. Though I have met an occasional Lutheran that thought John Calvin took Luther's works a little too far. And just like you RevT, I consider Reformed brothers, especially Lutherans, though at times I have an issue with Baptist claiming they are Reformed, at times I'd rather consider them "Particular" Baptist, because by definition they are a member of a Baptist denomination holding the doctrine of the election and redemption of some but not all people, but reject Covenant theology. I believe Charles Spurgeon was the one that coined the term Particular and distinguished himself from Reformed theology, though he was a strong Calvinist.

            As far as saving Christianity, I think Reformed in general is a testimony to the depth one takes their theology. I think many hold to religion rather than theology... .

            God bless,
            William
            Yeah, I hear ya!

            Generally, Lutherans tend to use the word "Reformed" to mean the Churches of the Reformation from the Calvinist stream- often (sadly) including the Arminians in that term because they were born from that movement. I personally tend to think of Reformed as Calvinists who actually believe their Creeds and Confessions- so I use the term in the same manner as you do. I prefer to regard Arminians and Baptists as their own unique brand.

            Comment>

              #7
              I agree with you in part. I think what many in the church have lost is a reverence for God and scripture and therefore lost the passion to study, understand and apply it. Basically, Christians aren't living like Christians.

              As far as liturgy goes, I have only visited a liturgical church, never regularly attended. I respect the tradition, but I do not see it as better or worse than others traditions. I don't think the format of the worship service is what makes a good church, I think it's the dedication to preach the word accurately with love and listen to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

              I think one of out biggest problems is that we don't want to get out of our little boxes where we are comfortable, even though God is unfathomably creative. If we listen to Him and follow Him, our churches will be so full of life, it won't matter what format a particular church uses because God is at work and people are being changed.
              Comment>

                #8
                Originally posted by DancingLady View Post
                I agree with you in part. I think what many in the church have lost is a reverence for God and scripture and therefore lost the passion to study, understand and apply it. Basically, Christians aren't living like Christians.

                As far as liturgy goes, I have only visited a liturgical church, never regularly attended. I respect the tradition, but I do not see it as better or worse than others traditions. I don't think the format of the worship service is what makes a good church, I think it's the dedication to preach the word accurately with love and listen to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

                I think one of out biggest problems is that we don't want to get out of our little boxes where we are comfortable, even though God is unfathomably creative. If we listen to Him and follow Him, our churches will be so full of life, it won't matter what format a particular church uses because God is at work and people are being changed.
                The "comfort box" analogy works in a kind of late 1900's mentality- the fear of mission and aversion to risk that those days characterize needed to be addressed. However, God cares for our worshipful and doctrinal comfort, and gives us a box where our salvation and worship is sure.

                I see your point though.

                But I'd like to elaborate on mine a little. Liturgical worship immediately diffuses the notion that worship is about "what I get out of church". When done and understood properly, it moves the focus from entertainment to a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. Reverence is restored. Order, not emotions prevail. The focus becomes Christ in His word and in His sacraments- His ordained means of grace. We come to church not as cultural Christians waiting to see flashy graphics and hear good music with the expectation that this will lift our spirits but as beggars in need to grace and forgiveness and for such we offer ourselves as living sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving. That's the theology behind it anyway.

                I acknowledge that worship can agree with this theology in other forms, but I advocate a return to liturgical worship as a means of reversing the trend towards self-centered Christianity.

                Comment>

                  #9
                  Originally posted by RevT View Post
                  I say yes.

                  Why?

                  You have to have standards. Without standards, the church is weakened. Theology takes back seat to experience, which is subject itself to a person's psychology. Doctrine becomes the plaything of human reason, which is darkened and fallen. The sacred becomes the secular and reverence gives way to relativism.

                  Is it time to get serious about our faith, and forget trying to please the world?

                  Recently I saw a short article on a news service where they were interviewing converts to Islam- a false, demonic and deceptive religion. One thing that those converts had in common- they saw the Christian church as a people who have thrown away the "rules" to try to win people. But people want direction- and the cult of Islam (like all cults) will do that.

                  However, the Church was not left without moral, doctrinal and practical standards. God gave us the immense privilege of being the custodians of truth and the true, narrow path of moral living. So what if the world can't handle it? I think they would respect it more if WE did too!

                  This is one reason I am a Confessional Lutheran.

                  Comments?
                  Of course you have to have standards, otherwise you wind up trying to " reinvent the wheel" and as a result, you are more than likely to fall into some heresy concocted by human reasoning. Let's take Sir Isaac Newton as an obvious example. he was a brilliant man in every respect, but in theology, he was a mess. He was an Arian! The religion of Isaac Newton, influential scientist, Newton's Arian beliefs - Sir Isaac Newton Online, Articles | Isaac Newton, Newton and the Trinity. When one disregards the Confessions and thinks that he or she can figure it all out on his or her own, then they make religion something they concoct themselves. Newton was very modern in the sense that he ( like most people today) wanted to be thought of as intelligent and an accomplished authority ( Newton truly was, in his field, which was science). There are times when one simply needs to step back and say " well, maybe the Fathers knew what they were talking about and that my pet theories regarding religion should just be put aside in favor of Christ and His Holy Church."

                  Stay the course, stick close to the Confessions, sure, ponder the truths contained in them, but add prayer to your meditations and you might just find yourself in true accord with the truths that God has revealed to generations prior to your own. The fact of the matter is that society is what it always was.. an attempt of large groups of people to deal with the realities of human interactions and the different environments people find themselves in. Liberal Christianity does encourage a " tolerance" of a sort that demands approval of what has always been traditionally considered sinful behavior by Christianity. That does lead to selfishness and an attempt to recreate God in one's own image, rather than allowing the Holy Spirit to refashion one in God's Image. Self- centered Christianity leads to Churches hemorrhaging members who see no need to attend a service where they are going to be told the same thing that the media and society tell them day in and day out: be nice, listen to your heart and go with what feels right.. and if you really want to feel Christian, here are some scientific explanations for the parables and myths that we'll be looking at this week.
                  Comment>

                    #10
                    Yep- I agree!
                    Comment>

                      #11
                      Originally posted by RevT View Post
                      Yep- I agree!
                      This is an enjoyable hour or so long net conversation from the folks at Worldview Everlasting..

                      Comment>

                        #12
                        I think this all very interesting. I am reading the Lutheran Confessions right now. I accepted the Small Catechism after essentially memorising it. I am reading the Augsburg Confession at present. In fact, I am nearly finished with it. Having been raised Roman Catholic Church (RCC) and Anglican I can appreciate the fact that the Augsburg confession shows every intent to maintain the Mass, and all the traditions of the Church that do not conflict with Scripture, hence, the continued use of Liturgy in Lutheran Churches.

                        I am actually one who would have preferred the term "Lutheran" have not been invented, and that we had been left with the name Martin Luther gave us, "Evangelicals". I have found that the term "Evangelical" as used today doesn't mean ANYTHING like what it meant to Luther.

                        Luther never wanted to start a separate Church. He would have been happy correcting the abuses in the old one, if that had been possible. It was only after he was excommunicated that he realised provision had to be made for those whose souls were now in danger by being cut off from the Holy Sacrament. Even in the Augsburg Confession, the text (written by Philip Melanchthon) tried to be as magnanimous toward Rome as it could be, in the hopes that something could be worked out between the two sides and unification be obtained. Obviously, that didn't work.

                        And for good reason. Luther asked for a Council of the Church to look into matters. One was not held until the year of his death, AFTER he had already passed. If things had been done the way he suggested, there wouldn't BE a divided Western Church today, because the Church would have been purified, and we would all be marching under one banner. And Islam would not be near the mortal threat that it currently is.

                        I do believe closed Communion and a Liturgy can help Christianity come to an understanding of itself. But we have to make ourselves known to the rest of the Christian world. We have to get out and preach our strengths.In other words, we need to get out and kick some tail and take some names!
                        Comment>

                          #13
                          Originally posted by Diego View Post
                          I think this all very interesting. I am reading the Lutheran Confessions right now. I accepted the Small Catechism after essentially memorising it. I am reading the Augsburg Confession at present. In fact, I am nearly finished with it. Having been raised Roman Catholic Church (RCC) and Anglican I can appreciate the fact that the Augsburg confession shows every intent to maintain the Mass, and all the traditions of the Church that do not conflict with Scripture, hence, the continued use of Liturgy in Lutheran Churches.

                          I am actually one who would have preferred the term "Lutheran" have not been invented, and that we had been left with the name Martin Luther gave us, "Evangelicals". I have found that the term "Evangelical" as used today doesn't mean ANYTHING like what it meant to Luther.

                          Luther never wanted to start a separate Church. He would have been happy correcting the abuses in the old one, if that had been possible. It was only after he was excommunicated that he realised provision had to be made for those whose souls were now in danger by being cut off from the Holy Sacrament. Even in the Augsburg Confession, the text (written by Philip Melanchthon) tried to be as magnanimous toward Rome as it could be, in the hopes that something could be worked out between the two sides and unification be obtained. Obviously, that didn't work.

                          And for good reason. Luther asked for a Council of the Church to look into matters. One was not held until the year of his death, AFTER he had already passed. If things had been done the way he suggested, there wouldn't BE a divided Western Church today, because the Church would have been purified, and we would all be marching under one banner. And Islam would not be near the mortal threat that it currently is.

                          I do believe closed Communion and a Liturgy can help Christianity come to an understanding of itself. But we have to make ourselves known to the rest of the Christian world. We have to get out and preach our strengths.In other words, we need to get out and kick some tail and take some names!
                          Hey Diego,

                          All really good comments there. Thanks for chipping in!
                          Comment>

                            #14
                            Interesting that you should mention your time in Judaism. I nearly became a Monk and Priest in the Anglican Church, and then lost my Faith in Jesus entirely. I actually spent a lot of time attending Synagogues and other facilities that taught the one God but not Jesus. It was my Vision of Jesus in an LCMS Church that led me back to Faith in him. I had a strong experience of Judaism, however. It was very interesting, certainly. I don't regret my multi-varied experiences during my time of non-belief, as I DID learn a great deal, but I am VERY glad to be BACK in classic Christianity.
                            Comment>

                              #15
                              Originally posted by Diego View Post
                              Interesting that you should mention your time in Judaism. I nearly became a Monk and Priest in the Anglican Church, and then lost my Faith in Jesus entirely. I actually spent a lot of time attending Synagogues and other facilities that taught the one God but not Jesus. It was my Vision of Jesus in an LCMS Church that led me back to Faith in him. I had a strong experience of Judaism, however. It was very interesting, certainly. I don't regret my multi-varied experiences during my time of non-belief, as I DID learn a great deal, but I am VERY glad to be BACK in classic Christianity.
                              Interesting. Judaism has some good points, but I found that the Rabbis tended to be more concerned with keeping the culture and community intact than with truth. I knew that very early as a young child. And there's a very ugly side to some of them when it comes to Jesus and Christians- and I consider those rabbis to be professional liars. Those guys will rage against Jesus but go easy on the Muslims- because Christians don't blow you up- the soft target is the easy one. Others of course are pictures of great piety and should be respected as such, but I have not regretted becoming a Christian because I found that in Christ, I have a relationship with God that is deeper and more personal. Plus, I believe the Christian message of salvation makes sense of the Bible, requires no interpretive gymnastics and is far more plain and powerful.

                              Comment>
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