Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Church of Christ worship

This was an interesting thought process for me. I realized I like much of what we do in worship. I am thankful and appreciative of much of what I think we got right. And I realized most of what I like I learned about for wrong reasons.

Our emphasis on attending worship is absolutly right on. It is Biblical and spiritual for God's people to meet together. The theology of the Lord's Supper is sound. Our emphasis on the Word is important. I like communal prayer and praise. I learned to give because it was part of our worship.

I like acapella singing. It can facilitate speaking to one another, and it can certainly make it easier to involve the entire congregation. And I think it is incredibly moving and inspirational for non-believers who visit our services. I have no problem asserting it as a right way to praise God.

But much of what I heard taught about worship was not how to do it right, but how not to do it wrong. And most of that was by interpretation and learned inference. It was not in Scripture. How we do traditionally serve communion was not just right... any other way was wrong. Scripture doesn't say much about how to partake of communion.

The "five acts of worship" became a checklist that had to be fulfilled. Very action oriented. And do not do them incorrectly. Even tho -- again -- there is little in Scripture about the mechanics of worship. And I could not figure out how preaching was an act of worship but not Scripture reading.

The reasons I love our singing are theological and practical. I'm not sure they are Biblical arguements. And to teach the Bible says instumental music is wrong requires a great deal of explaining what the text could mean if you already know that it is wrong. And of course, pitch pipes don't count because they are "aids", not worship. That's a tough sell Biblically.

But I am thankful I grew up in a heritage that values worship. And so did my kids. And their kids are. And I am glad. How can we claim to be a people of God and not gather together?

Wednesday, September 08, 2010


Churches of Christ and Scripture...

L am so thankful to have been raised in a fellowship that puts a high value on Scripture. The church of Christ has long had a reputation as a people of the Book. We studied it, memorized it, debated what it meant, and claimed it as the basis for our faith and practice. Sermons were built around the text.

I also love the fact that every Christian was expected to study the Scriptures personally. It was not enough to hear someone else talk about it. We knew it for ourselves. Bible School was a big deal. I hope and pray we never lose that intensity and focus on the Word.

However, we can certainly abuse our knowledge. Our intensity and passion about what we each think Scripture says can sure cause a lot of fussing and fighting. We can split churches because everyone does not read the Bible the same way. So we have a hard time agreeing to disagree.

Because we place so much emphasis on the Word, we sometimes assume everything we do is what the Bible teaches. And we have a difficult time sorting out what the Bible says from what it teaches based on stories and principles. For example, the Bible is explicit about the sin of homosexuality (what the Bible says). Teaching about internet pornography is not stated, but is taught from application of Scripture ( the "lust" passages). So we need to be careful about the difference between what the Bible says and what it teaches -- and what we interpret it to say or teach.

We were sometimes very inconsistent with how we applied Scripture. We can debate the exact meaning of all Scripture concerning Deacons (men, couples, women, etc.), but I never remember anybody worrying about the I Timothy 5 teaching on widows. Our elders at Southern Hills annoint with oil (see James 5), but growing up that was one of the verses "explained away".

And we have had a difficult time with what to do about the silence of the Scriptures. Is it permissive or prohibitive?

But having said all of that, I sure am glad that I had Church of Christ parents, preachers, teachers, and friends who valued the Word of God as something I needed to know. It's important.

So what do you think?

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