Pages

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Why Protestants do not worship God.

I have come to a startling conclusion after reading two articles that I recently saw online, and that conclusion is that Protestants do not really worship God. I obviously have to qualify and clarify this statement, since it is a most serious charge, but it centers around the fact Protestants must admit that formal worship is a non-essential Christian teaching. If you stop and think about it, the fact is Protestants cannot agree on how or when Christians should worship, and unless a Protestant denomination wants to take a dogmatic stance, they're forced to take on the repugnant position that it doesn't really matter how or when (if ever!) a Christian should worship.

The first article I want to point you to is called "10 Reasons to be Involved in a Church." Before clicking on the link, just let the title of that article sink in. The impression given off is that while it is a good idea to be involved in a church, it is not something absolutely necessary. In fact, it comes off as seeking a church that suits your preferences, not some objective criteria by which all Christians should approach the issue. The article was written because the author claims only 8% of Protestants in Britain and only 40% of Protestants in America attend a church on Sunday. In other words, attending church is now seen as something purely optional to the Christian life. And this makes perfect sense with the "don't tell me how to be a Christian" mentality that Sola Scriptura causes. Not unsurprisingly, all 10 of his reasons are nothing more than suggestions, and none of his reasons include because Christians must worship God a certain way, such as a formal Liturgy. The closest he gets is saying "corporate" worship provides a "unique joy" that private worship does not. This is precisely why the whole idea of denominations are disappearing and collapsing into to go-it-alone 'house churches'. 

This leads me to the second article, "In Praise of Denominations," in which a popular Reformed blogger is trying to validate the idea that bitter doctrinal divisions within Christianity is a good thing! (1 Cor. 1:10-11) For example, he says Denominations are critical because they provide members with "theological precision," the ability to have Church discipline, intervene in controversy, and provide unity. The irony of his arguments in favor of Denominationalism is that these qualities he seeks to "safeguard" are the very things Denominationalism undermines! He doesn't realize that if a Protestant doesn't like what they see in a denomination, they can move on to one that will preach what they want to hear. (2 Timothy 4:3) He doesn't realize that only the Catholic system can truly safeguard these things. It's also important to note that none of the things he sought to "safeguard" included worshiping God a specific way, which one would think should be the most important thing to safeguard. But we can easily see why, and that's because he unwittingly holds that one denomination can be just as good as another, which ultimately means formal worship is a non-essential.

The Church explains that even common sense shows us that it's absurd to suggest one can and should worship God as they please, as if one form of worship was as good as another. And realizing that God should be worshiped in certain ways compels us to seek out that Worship which is in fact the True one. This obviously requires one to find the True Church, which is impossible if Denominationalism is the norm. This practically makes the case for Catholicism in itself! 

One of the best documents the Church has issued in recent years is Dominus Iesus, in which the Church explained that while Protestants are Christians in virtue of having valid Baptism, it is wrong and offensive to speak of Protestant "churches" in any objective or formal sense. Rather, the more accurate term Rome says to use is "communities," and this is because Protestants lack Holy Orders, which is what defines the visible parameters of the Church. Included in this important fact is that Holy Orders are required for a valid Eucharist, which in turn means the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the formal worship God instituted and how God desires to be worshiped. Thus, to lack the Priesthood makes it impossible to truly worship God. And thus, in a very real (though not all extensive) sense, Protestants do not worship God.

34 comments:

De Maria said...

First of all, I'm Catholic. So, you know I'm not coming from a Protestant point of view.

I think the Church says it has the "fullness of Truth" because it does not deny that truth exists outside its parameters.

In the same way, the Church does not teach that Protestants do not worship God. Nor even that any other religion does not worship God. Only that the Catholic Church teaches and provides the most perfect worship of God.

Worship comes in many forms, but they can be broken down to the two basic forms which are the Two Great Commandments. Love of God and love of neighbor.

Another way of putting it, Faith and works.

Faith is love of God. Works is love of neighbor.

And again, the Ten Commandments are another summary of how we worship God.

So, although the Protestants do not have a perfect form of worship, it is worship.

That's how I see it anyway.

Sincerely,

De Maria



Anil Wang said...

De Maria,

You're partially correct, but recognize that the essence of love is sacrifice for the sake of the other. Any worship without this sacrifice, isn't worship. Take faith for instance. If faith is just intellectual knowledge, it is in vain since even the demons believe and tremble (James 2:19). And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing (1 Cor 13). The idea that love is sacrifice exists in many religions in the world and in classical Protestantism, but it is simply not present in modern Protestantism. Without this understanding, worship in any sense of the word simply does not exist.

Also, if you remember the story of Moses, while he was up in the mountain for 40 days, the Jews thought he was dead so they created a golden calf they said was the God that brought them out of Egypt and worshipped it. God was angry at this to decided to destroy all the Jews except for Moses until Moses interceded. Instead only 3000 Jews were killed and the Jews now had to follow 613 commandments instead of just 10 commandments.

Why all this fuss? The 10 commandments had not been given to the Jews at that time, so they could not have been punished for breaking commandments they were not informed of. The simple fact is, they were punished because they did not worship God the way he wanted to be worshipped and chose to worship God the way they wanted to and they didn't bother to wait for God to tell them how to worship him. Their worship also self-serving and lacked any form of sacrifice (i.e. debauchery).

If you're going to a church to sing songs you like, fellowship with people you like, doing worship that make you feel better, and gain prestige among your peers and even some valuable connections, and help you in times of emergency can you truly be said to worship? No, they have their reward among men. (Matt 6:5)

Nick said...

Wow, I think Anil gave a good answer, especially with the Golden Calf example.

De Maria said...

 Nick said...
Wow, I think Anil gave a good answer, especially with the Golden Calf example.


I guess, if he were arguing against someone else. But I think he's arguing several straw men. Not me. Let me show you.

 Anil Wang said…

Hi Anil,
I think I've run across and admired your writings on other sites. I think we frequent many of the same websites. Thanks for responding.

You said:
De Maria,

You're partially correct,

I think you are partially correct as well. Let's see if we can get to a better understanding on this matter.

but recognize that the essence of love is sacrifice for the sake of the other.

Hm?
1. Sacrifice and suffering are necessary elements to prove our love for God and thus to be saved. But they are not the essence of Love.

2. In fact the ultimate proof of one's love is to give up one's life for that person. That is what Christ did for us. But that is proof, not essence.

3. The essence of love is caritas. Caring for the person on a day to day basis. And it is not done in grief, as though it were a pain, but in joy.

4. God says that the essence of our love for Him is OBEDIENCE, not sacrifice.

John 14:23
King James Version (KJV)
23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
35 Although a very good topic, it is besides the point.

Any worship without this sacrifice, isn't worship.

Really? Then all those Catholics praying the Rosary and the Way of the Cross and the Divine Mercy are praying in vain?

Take faith for instance. If faith is just intellectual knowledge, it is in vain since even the demons believe and tremble (James 2:19).

Not the same thing. The demons have no "caritas". They don't care. Do you know even one Protestant who does not care? I can honestly say that I don't.

1st. They love God. They say so. I can't read hearts. So I can 't be their judge.

2nd. They pray to God. I've prayed with them and I've led some in prayer to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. Naturally, I leave out prayers to the Saints on those occasions.

3rd. Although they deny the efficacy of works for their salvation, they still do many good works. I've worked with them. They are basically honest law abiding people who keep the Ten Commandments although they deny that they are efficacious for their salvation.

4. Demons don't worship God. They hate God. They know He exists and they wish that He didn't. Protestants love God and want to be united with Him in heaven.

5. Although Protestant worship is misguided, it is still worship.

And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing (1 Cor 13).

Name even one Protestant who fits that description. I don't know any.

The idea that love is sacrifice exists in many religions in the world

Name one. Love frequently entails sacrifice. But it is not synonymous with sacrifice.

cont'd

De Maria said...

cont'd

Anil also said:
and in classical Protestantism, but it is simply not present in modern Protestantism. Without this understanding, worship in any sense of the word simply does not exist.

Not exactly:
1. All sacrifice in the name of God is worship. Agreed.

2. All sacrifice for love of neighbor is worship. Agreed.

3. But all worship is not sacrifice. And if all worship is sacrifice for you, then I would suggest that you need to look into your heart to see if there is not a problem there. Because for me and for many whom I know, Catholic and Protestant, worship is a joy most of the time. Worship was a chore for me when I was in the world. But that is no longer true.

4. There are sacrifices which amount to sins in the name of pride and lust.

5. Sacrifice and worship of God are not synonymous.



Also, if you remember the story of Moses, while he was up in the mountain for 40 days, the Jews thought he was dead so they created a golden calf they said was the God that brought them out of Egypt and worshipped it. God was angry at this to decided to destroy all the Jews except for Moses until Moses interceded. Instead only 3000 Jews were killed and the Jews now had to follow 613 commandments instead of just 10 commandments. 

Why all this fuss?

The 10 commandments had not been given to the Jews at that time, so they could not have been punished for breaking commandments they were not informed of.


1. You're making a very Protestant error there. The Ten Commandments had not yet been written on stone tablets by the finger of God. But the Commandments were already very much in force. Why do you think that the earth was covered by water in the time of Noah? Why do you think that Scripture says:

Genesis 26:5
Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.

Is Scripture in error? No. The Commandments of God have always been written in our hearts. That is the symbolism of God writing the Commandments on stone tablets. They symbolize our hearts of stone.

2. As far as I know, no Protestant religion embraces debauchery as a form of worship, yet. But even if any do, I would have to say that they are numbered in a very small minority.

The simple fact is, they were punished because they did not worship God the way he wanted to be worshipped and chose to worship God the way they wanted to and they didn't bother to wait for God to tell them how to worship him. Their worship also self-serving and lacked any form of sacrifice (i.e. debauchery).

Debauchery is the key word there. They essentially worshipped their lust and their bodies. Do you know any Protestants who do the same?



If you're going to a church to sing songs you like, fellowship with people you like, doing worship that make you feel better, and gain prestige among your peers and even some valuable connections, and help you in times of emergency can you truly be said to worship? No, they have their reward among men. (Matt 6:5)

You are committing the same mistake they commit when they judge us. You are judging the content of their hearts and you have no right to do so. Perhaps some of them are there for selfish reasons. Who knows? God alone.

Neither you nor I can claim to know that they are all sincere nor that they are all insincere nor to know what percentage of them is one or the other.
But here are the facts that I can muster from our discussion:

1. We don't have to sacrifice something every time we worship.

2. You can't make the claim that Protestants never sacrifice things for God or for their fellow man. At least, I can't. I've seen them do so frequently. And some have done so in my behalf also.

3. You can't know what is in their hearts when they assemble for worship.

P.S. Nick, your spam filter is very hard to read. Especially the number side. The contrast makes it very difficult to discern the numbers. I know its meant to weed out robots. But it also weeds out blind old guys.

Sincerely,
De Maria

Anil Wang said...

De Maria,

WRT the analysis that the worshop of the golden calf was punished because it was man made worship, you can't call it a Protestant error, unless you're calling the Pope a Protestant.:-) I was merely restating Pope Benedict XVI's observation in "Spirit of the Liturgy". You might want to read it. He said a great deal more than I did on what true worship is.

1. We don't have to sacrifice something every time we worship...[And if all worship is sacrifice for you, then I would suggest that you need to look into your heart to see if there is not a problem there.]

Be careful, sacrifice is not necessarily painful or unaccompanied by joy. If you really need a break but your spouse or child needs you, that is a sacrifice, but you do it because you love them and in that love there is joy.

2. You can't make the claim that Protestants never sacrifice things for God or for their fellow man.

Note, I made a distinction from classical Protestants and modern Protestants. Look at a classical Protestant's web site. What will you find? You'll find it tries to sell the church as a service: great facilities, great music, great fellowship, inspirational preaching, child care, no judgement, etc. People in such churches will go church hopping when they are dissatisfied with the services. Pew studies have indicates people in such churches will go through several dozen in their lifetime, trying to find just the right church that agrees with their tastes.

In classical Protestantism and Catholicism, church hopping is unheard of. You might be bored to tears with your church or have other problems, but you stick with it because the church isn't about you, it's about God.

3. You can't know what is in their hearts when they assemble for worship.

I never said I did. As Brother Lawrence pointed out, one can worship God while washing the dishes and taking out the garbage. What I did say is that modern Protestantism does not worship any more than washing the dishes or taking out the garbage can be considered worship.

Nick said...

De Maria,

You are saying a lot of true things but you are over thinking the issue. When the term "sacrifice" is used in this context, it is referring to a formal (particularly God-instituted) worship. For example, God gave the Israelies the Torah and Levitical Priesthood *because* God wanted a certain type of formal worship.

Virtually every civilization has practiced sacrifice in its religious rituals, which essentially consists in a Priesthood and Offering (see Cain and Abel, Noah, and Abraham). The only exception to this is Protestantism and in turn modern society. The issue is not about obedience or slaughtering an animal, but rather that of a cultic ritual centered on giving God honor, appeasing Him, and appealing to Him. Cultic Sacrifice is part of natural law, with man recognizing that (a) He must give God worship, and (b) not all forms of worship are equal.

In annihilating the Cultic Priesthood in Christianity, Protestantism has made itself incapable of offering Cultic Worship to God. And in denying the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Protestantism has formally rejected the very form of worship God instituted as the way He wants to be formally worshiped.

Moses came down the mountain with specific instructions on how to worship God, and the Protestant Israelites chose their own form of worship in the form of a Golden Calf.

De Maria said...

Anil Wang said...
De Maria,

WRT the analysis that the worshop of the golden calf was punished because it was man made worship, you can't call it a Protestant error, unless you're calling the Pope a Protestant.:-)


1. Read it again. The Pope didn't say it wasn't worship of God. He said it was wrongful worship of God. They depicted God as a bull.

2. Protestants don't depict God as a bull.

I was merely restating Pope Benedict XVI's observation in "Spirit of the Liturgy". You might want to read it.

I have the book and I read it cover to cover.

He said a great deal more than I did on what true worship is.

Read this part carefully. The Pope says that they worshipped God in the image of a bull. He did not say that they did not worship God.

Also, that is besides the point, because the Protestants are doing many things wrong, but they are not worshipping God in images of animals.

1. ...Be careful, sacrifice is not necessarily painful or unaccompanied by joy. If you really need a break but your spouse or child needs you, that is a sacrifice, but you do it because you love them and in that love there is joy.

That is besides the point.

You originally argued that all worship entails sacrifice. But in that paragraph you are saying that "sacrifice' is not necessarily painful. Those are two different things. One describes your idea of worship. The other, your idea of sacrifice.

That has nothing to do with your argument that all worship entails sacrifice.

2. ...
Note, I made a distinction from classical Protestants and modern Protestants. Look at a classical Protestant's web site. What will you find? You'll find it tries to sell the church as a service: great facilities, great music, great fellowship, inspirational preaching, child care, no judgement, etc. People in such churches will go church hopping when they are dissatisfied with the services. Pew studies have indicates people in such churches will go through several dozen in their lifetime, trying to find just the right church that agrees with their tastes.

In classical Protestantism and Catholicism, church hopping is unheard of. You might be bored to tears with your church or have other problems, but you stick with it because the church isn't about you, it's about God.


That is all besides the point. You still can't claim that Protestants don't sacrifice things for God. You can't make that claim against either classical or modern Protestants. You can't possibly know what they all have done.

3.....

I never said I did.


It sounded like it to me. Here's what you said:
If you're going to a church to sing songs you like, fellowship with people you like, doing worship that make you feel better, and gain prestige among your peers and even some valuable connections, and help you in times of emergency can you truly be said to worship?

As Brother Lawrence pointed out, one can worship God while washing the dishes and taking out the garbage.

Brother Lawrence is right.

What I did say is that modern Protestantism does not worship any more than washing the dishes or taking out the garbage can be considered worship.

That doesn't follow. The fact is that one can worship God in a modern Protestant setting and while washing the dishes and while taking out the garbage.

De Maria said...

De Maria,

Hi Nick,

You are saying a lot of true things but you are over thinking the issue. When the term "sacrifice" is used in this context, it is referring to a formal (particularly God-instituted) worship.

Ok.

For example, God gave the Israelies the Torah and Levitical Priesthood *because* God wanted a certain type of formal worship.

I think "formal" worship is the key idea here. It is true that Protestants do not worship God the way that He revealed to the Church and is inscribed in Scripture. To that, I agree.

But one can not come to the conclusion that they do not worship God at all, because they do not worship God in the formal manner prescribed by God. There are informal modes of worship also described in Scripture. For instance, praying. And, keeping the Commandments. And, visiting the fatherless and widows and keeping oneself unstained by the world. This is described as "pure religion" before God.

Virtually every civilization has practiced sacrifice in its religious rituals,

Formal religious rituals which were also not proper worship of God.

which essentially consists in a Priesthood and Offering (see Cain and Abel, Noah, and Abraham). The only exception to this is Protestantism and in turn modern society. The issue is not about obedience or slaughtering an animal, but rather that of a cultic ritual centered on giving God honor, appeasing Him, and appealing to Him. Cultic Sacrifice is part of natural law, with man recognizing that (a) He must give God worship, and (b) not all forms of worship are equal.

Agreed.

In annihilating the Cultic Priesthood in Christianity, Protestantism has made itself incapable of offering Cultic Worship to God. And in denying the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Protestantism has formally rejected the very form of worship God instituted as the way He wants to be formally worshiped.

Agreed.

Moses came down the mountain with specific instructions on how to worship God, and the Protestant Israelites chose their own form of worship in the form of a Golden Calf.

Agreed. But note that the Protestant Israelite took the wrong form of worship. They were still worshipping God, only the form was in error. God did not want to be worshipped in the image of a bull.

But the Church teaches that God does want to be worshipped in private prayer and in good deeds towards our fellow man. These sorts of worship, the Protestant shares with us.

In addition, not all Protestant sects are alike. Some share elements of the Mass with us. Therefore, their form of formal worship is imperfect. And their understanding of formal worship is imperfect.


But, iti is still worship. Of God.

Trebor135 said...

De Maria wrote:

"It is true that Protestants do not worship God the way that He revealed to the Church and is inscribed in Scripture. To that, I agree."

A bit off-topic, but how would you convince a Protestant of the sola or solo scriptura persuasion (1) that God has "revealed to the Church" a certain manner of worship and (2) what that worship is supposed to include (both questions about the New Covenant specifically)?

De Maria said...

Trebor135 said...

A bit off-topic, but how would you convince a Protestant of the sola or solo scriptura persuasion (1) that God has "revealed to the Church" a certain manner of worship and (2) what that worship is supposed to include (both questions about the New Covenant specifically)?


Lol! I wish I knew. I've been trying to for years and I don't think I've convinced anyone.

Here is the method that I use, more or less.

1. I explain that the Mass is the new Passover and that Scripture instructs us to keep the Feast:
1 Corinthians 5:6-8
King James Version (KJV)
6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? 7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

2. And that keeping this feast is mandatory:

Hebrews 10:25-31
King James Version (KJV)
25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. 26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28 He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

I also explain that the Eucharist is the most important aspect of the New Passover because it is in the breaking of the bread that Jesus Christ is revealed:

Luke 24:30 And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.....And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.

And I tell them that in the Sacraments, we approach Jesus Christ and ask for healing, just as the ill and lame people of the day:
Matthew 9:27
And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou son of David, have mercy on us.

Acts 22:16
And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

But I don't think I've convinced anyone. Do you have any suggestions?

Nick said...

The question is: how would you convince a Protestant that God has instituted a formalized worship/prayer?

I would begin by showing that not all forms of worship are equal, in fact God does not approve of all forms. In fact, the Torah shows us that God set down specific rituals precisely because He wanted to be worshiped a certain way.

Under the sola scriptura approach, the form of worship is reduced to a "non-essential," meaning Protestants don't need to worship a certain way. But this is self-condemning, for it reduces down to saying Protestants don't have to worship God. This problem is most clear in the fact Protestants cannot agree on whether Christians need to attend a church on Sunday.

The second point to bring up is that both Natural Law and Divine Law show Priesthood-Sacrifice is the proper model of worship. This is confirmed by the early Church practices. If you lack Priesthood and Sacrifice, there can be no worship. Period. This is strike two for the Protestant approach.

In the Protestant model, they have no 'essential' character of worship, meaning there is no mark/quality/sign that defines what consists of true worship versus what does not. Most Evangelicals attend Sunday sing worship songs and hear an exposition of Scripture, but neither of these can be considered an essential quality of formal worship since it's purely ad hoc. For example, the number and type of praise songs that are sung is purely a function of what each individual Protestant Pastor deems fitting. This is why more and more Protestants stay home, because they can just as easily do these things on their own time.

The third point, and a sort of 'strike three' against Protestantism, is that they deny the Church has the authority to define/impose the parameters of liturgy and put obligations on the faithful. For example, definitively teaching that Sunday is the Christian day of worship, along with other Holy Days, and this is not optional.

Trebor135 said...

De Maria wrote:

"I don't think I've convinced anyone. Do you have any suggestions?"

That's unfortunate. Here's one tack you might try:

1) As St. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10:

[14] Therefore, my beloved, shun the worship of idols.
[15] I speak as to sensible men; judge for yourselves what I say.
[16] The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?
[17] Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.
[18] Consider the people of Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices partners in the altar?
[19] What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything?
[20] No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be partners with demons.
[21] You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.
[22] Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?

St. Paul hints that the Christians "sacrifice" to God: he speaks of a "cup" and "table" both "of the Lord" and "of demons". If a Eucharistic sacrifice weren't taking place at Corinth, St. Paul's connecting the worship given to God and that given to idols would be inept.

2) I remember reading that all the churches discovered from the early centuries had altars. If Protestants don't want to be like Mormons in claiming that the faith became completely corrupted straight away, shouldn't we have one in every sanctuary?

3) As St. John records in Revelation 4, 5, and 8, worship in heaven includes a throne, an altar, vestments, chant, and incense. Doesn't the internally consistent nature of this description indicate that there is a proper way to give glory to God? Why should the equivalent we employ on earth be non-liturgical and thus man-made?

4) I like your approach to showing how sacraments aren't a "work" by which one "earns his salvation" because Christ used a comparable methodology in his physical healings. In fact, I would have made the same argument, following Dave Armstrong (see here and, just for fun, here).

5) One response which could be offered is that when St. Paul gives instructions about worship in 1 Corinthians 14, he seems to be describing a Pentecostal service:

[23] If, therefore, the whole church assembles and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are mad?
[24] But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all,
[25] the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.
[26] What then, brethren? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.
[27] If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn; and let one interpret.
[28] But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silence in church and speak to himself and to God.
[29] Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said.
[30] If a revelation is made to another sitting by, let the first be silent.
[31] For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged;
[32] and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets.
[33a] For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.

I can't think of a good rejoinder, actually. Any ideas?

Nick said...

Trebor,

I think you went down the right path with quoting 1 Corinthians 10. I wrote THIS Article a while back dealing with how the Bible is clear the Lord's Supper is a Sacrifice.

As for your comment about 1 Corinthians 14, I don't see how this can be a Pentecostal service when the verses you quote, 26ff, make it clear this is not some random gibberish that everyone in the congregation is supposed to all be doing at the same time. Paul plainly says that the gift of tongues is for the Holy Spirit to communicate a message from a Speaker and and Interpreter, but if there is no Interpreter then the Speaker is to remain silent.

De Maria said...

Hi Trebor,

I like #1, 3.

Don't understand #2.

Thanks on #4. I'll definitely read those links.

In # 5, you ask, One response which could be offered is that when St. Paul gives instructions about worship in 1 Corinthians 14, he seems to be describing a Pentecostal service:....I can't think of a good rejoinder, actually. Any ideas?

I like Nick's. But more. By Pentecostal, I think you mean that it sounds like a service held by those of the Pentecostal denominations, (i.e. Assemblies of God, etc.)

1. I would say it is not so much Pentecostal in that sense, as it is Charismatic.

2. I would also say that 1 Cor 14 can't be divorced from 1 Cor 10 and 11 where he is definitely describing the Eucharistic Meal aka the Mass.

3. And sometimes the Pentecostals forget that 1 Cor 14 ends with this admonition:
1 Corinthians 14:39-40
King James Version (KJV)
39 Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.

40 Let all things be done decently and in order.

And finally, Pentecostals seem to value speaking in tongues above all other gifts. But Scripture says that we should covet to the gift of prophesy more than the gift of tongues in order to edify the Church.

What do you think?

Trebor135 said...

Hi Nick--you wrote:

"As for your comment about 1 Corinthians 14, I don't see how this can be a Pentecostal service when the verses you quote, 26ff, make it clear this is not some random gibberish that everyone in the congregation is supposed to all be doing at the same time. Paul plainly says that the gift of tongues is for the Holy Spirit to communicate a message from a Speaker and and Interpreter, but if there is no Interpreter then the Speaker is to remain silent."

That's probably how a lot of Pentecostals implement the practice of speaking in tongues. But otherwise, the passage from 1 Corinthians 14 lines up very well with their services:

- v. 23: "the whole church assembles", "all speak in tongues"

- v. 24: "all prophesy"

- v. 25: "falling on his face, he will worship God" (cf. 'being slain in the spirit')

- v. 26: "come together", "each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation" (cf. non-liturgical, house-church worship perhaps à la George Barna and Frank Viola)

- v. 27: "speak in a tongue"

- v. 28: "keep silence in church" (as if this arrangement could occur at a weekly gathering of Christians)

- v. 29: "prophets speak"

- v. 30: "a revelation is made"

- v. 31: "you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged"

Trebor135 said...

Hi De Maria--you wrote:

"I like #1, 3."

Great, thanks. :)

"Don't understand #2."

Don't worry about it. I was citing an online article/blog post that I can't for the life of me locate now. :( The point I was seeking to make would have been directed at those Protestants--Anglicans, Lutherans, and Reformed--who are supposed to have some interest in Christian history.

A quick Google search turned up this webpage seeking to use quotes of the pre-Nicene Church era to argue that the earliest Christians didn't actually have altars. The author operates under the belief that Constantine and his reign turned the faith upside down. How to respond to the claims made about pre-"Great Apostasy" worship?

"Thanks on #4. I'll definitely read those links."

Hope they help. :)

"By Pentecostal, I think you mean that it sounds like a service held by those of the Pentecostal denominations, (i.e. Assemblies of God, etc.)"

Correct.

"1. I would say it is not so much Pentecostal in that sense, as it is Charismatic."

All right. It still doesn't look liturgical at all.

"2. I would also say that 1 Cor 14 can't be divorced from 1 Cor 10 and 11 where he is definitely describing the Eucharistic Meal aka the Mass."

Good point.

"3. And sometimes the Pentecostals forget that 1 Cor 14 ends with this admonition [in v. 39-40.]

"And finally, Pentecostals seem to value speaking in tongues above all other gifts. But Scripture says that we should covet to the gift of prophesy more than the gift of tongues in order to edify the Church."

True.

"What do you think?"

Unfortunately, I don't feel an Evangelical would be satisfied... I've outlined in my comment above to Nick why 1 Corinthians 14:23ff looks Charismatic.

De Maria said...

Hi Trebor,

You said,
Unfortunately, I don't feel an Evangelical would be satisfied....

Lol! Story of my life. But I just keep plugging away.

You also said:
All right. It still doesn't look liturgical at all.

Actually, it does. Even a worship service that looks like 1 Cor 14 is liturgical.

First of all, what is Liturgy?

lit·ur·gy
/ˈlitərjē/
Noun
A form or formulary according to which public religious worship, esp. Christian worship, is conducted.
A religious service conducted according to such a form or formulary.


If Pentecostal service is following the form of liturgy presented in 1 Cor 14, then that is their "liturgy", their "form of worship."

Sincerely,

De Maria

Trebor135 said...

Hi De Maria--you wrote:

"Lol! Story of my life. But I just keep plugging away."

Haha. :P

"Actually, it does. Even a worship service that looks like 1 Cor 14 is liturgical."

Hmm, good points. Now the question could be asked: why don't Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, or Oriental Orthodox ever hold such liturgies as described in 1 Corinthians 14? I've been to Catholic Charismatic Masses, but they're a recent phenomenon--starting within the past fifty years. And I've attended Eastern Orthodox Liturgies a number of times*, as well as an Oriental Orthodox (Coptic) Liturgy once, but could never envision them ending up Charismatic-style.

*Which is why the worship depicted in Revelation is so helpful: this catechumen is able to argue, "See, Liturgy is right here, in the last book of the Bible! I mean, there's even incense, which I breathe every Sunday morning. Does your equivalent Evangelical service have any of the elements mentioned here?"

De Maria said...

Hmm, good points. Now the question could be asked: why don't Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, or Oriental Orthodox ever hold such liturgies as described in 1 Corinthians 14?

Could it be because 1 Cor 14 also says:
19 Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.

20 Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.

21 In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.

22 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.

In other words, "speaking in tongue" is a sign unto unbelievers. Why then, would we be doing that in the Mass? The Mass is for believers.

But prophecy is for believers. What is prophecy? Prophecy is speaking the Word of God. Therefore, in the Mass, we read the Scriptures and then explain them. And then we obey the Word and unite ourselves to the Incarnate Word by consuming the Eucharist.

Therefore, when Pentecostals speak in unknown tongues to each other in their liturgy, they are admitting that they are not believers.

But the Catholic Church acknowledges that Catholics are believers therefore she preaches the Word of God, prophesying the Truths of our Lord to us in our Liturgy.

What do you think?

Sincerely,

De Maria

De Maria said...

I'm really enjoying our conversation Trebor. This is the way I like to explore Scripture. I hope you visit me on my blog sometime.

Sincerely,

De Maria

Trebor135 said...

Hi De Maria--you wrote:

"[As we see in this passage], 'speaking in tongue' is a sign unto unbelievers. Why then, would we be doing that in the Mass? The Mass is for believers."

Good point. But I still haven't seen any of the 'ancient churches' hold a service where a non-Christian could come in and be awed by the power of God. Perhaps this was a gift given in such abundance only during the apostolic age...?

"But prophecy is for believers. What is prophecy? Prophecy is speaking the Word of God. Therefore, in the Mass, we read the Scriptures and then explain them. And then we obey the Word and unite ourselves to the Incarnate Word by consuming the Eucharist."

That's an interesting take. I would define prophecy as 'possessing and proclaiming knowledge, principally about the future, to which one could not conceivably have access by natural means'. Where in the Bible do you see prophecy defined as "speaking the Word of God" (i.e., 'reading from Scripture')?

"Therefore, when Pentecostals speak in unknown tongues to each other in their liturgy, they are admitting that they are not believers."

Haha! I'm sure those among the Charismatics who think Catholics and Orthodox aren't Christian would beg to differ. The irony is amusing.

"But the Catholic Church acknowledges that Catholics are believers therefore she preaches the Word of God, prophesying the Truths of our Lord to us in our Liturgy.

"What do you think?"

It all depends on whether we're using "prophecy" correctly--we have to avoid the fallacy of equivocation here.

"I'm really enjoying our conversation Trebor."

Thanks, me too. :)

"This is the way I like to explore Scripture. I hope you visit me on my blog sometime."

Great, I'll have to stop by your blog so we can dialogue more in this fashion. I actually just read a few posts there recently about Islam--I was looking again at a post by Nick on Islam and found my way to your courtroom-setting takedown of the faith founded by Muhammad. It was clever. :)

Trebor135 said...

That last paragraph should say,

"Great, I'll have to stop by your blog so we can dialogue more in this fashion. I actually just read a few posts there recently--I was looking again at a post by Nick on Islam and found my way to your courtroom-setting takedown of the faith founded by Muhammad. It was clever. :)"

De Maria said...

Trebor,

You asked,

Where in the Bible do you see prophecy defined as "speaking the Word of God"

Prophecy is from the root word "prophet" right?

What is the mission of a Prophet in the OT?

Thanks! (for the compliment on my contra Islam article).

Trebor135 said...

Hi De Maria--you wrote:

"Prophecy is from the root word 'prophet' right?"

Sure.

"What is the mission of a Prophet in the OT?"

The most basic aspect that comes to mind is to warn people that what they're doing is sinful/harmful.

But surely you aren't saying that St. Paul didn't have that element in mind while writing 1 Corinthians 14?

"Thanks! (for the compliment on my contra Islam article)."

You're welcome. We can't leave it to the Protestants to refute Islam. I mean, if you think about it, the 'Reformation' and Muhammad's movement are two peas in a pod: they both claim Christ failed to protect his early followers from corrupting the faith, so had to raise up some man to undo the damage. (Plus, debates I've watched online have included the Christian speaker knocking Catholics in some way--claiming they aren't Christian or commit 'Mariolatry'.)

Trebor135 said...

PS: I see now that my most recent comment contained an illogical question... I meant to write,

'But surely you aren't saying that St. Paul had that element in mind while writing 1 Corinthians 14?'

This is what happens when you post too late. :P

Nick said...

I unfortunately had to reinstate Word-Verificaion because the Spam Bots are really at work. I logged into my email to find 15 new emails for comments on my blog, all spam.

The only alternative is that I disallow anonymous or name/url comments, forcing people to log in to Google or Wordpress, but I know this would deter some people from commenting at all.

De Maria said...

Hi Trebor,

The most basic aspect that comes to mind is to warn people that what they're doing is sinful/harmful.

In my opinion, the most basic element is passing on God's message, which amounts to speaking God's word.

But surely you aren't saying that St. Paul had that element in mind while writing 1 Corinthians 14?'

Not foretelling the future. I think St. Paul is using the term prophecy in terms of speaking God's word.

You're welcome. We can't leave it to the Protestants to refute Islam. I mean, if you think about it, the 'Reformation' and Muhammad's movement are two peas in a pod:

Agreed.

they both claim Christ failed to protect his early followers from corrupting the faith, so had to raise up some man to undo the damage. (Plus, debates I've watched online have included the Christian speaker knocking Catholics in some way--claiming they aren't Christian or commit 'Mariolatry'.)

Not only that, but they are both people of the book. They have a book which they interpret any way they want.

Sincerely,

De Maria24

James Rinkevich said...

To actually worship God as a god you need to present a sacrifice that is acceptable to God. As a result of the coming of the messiah the only acceptable sacrifice is that of His body and blood, any thing with out those is unacceptable. Thus Protestants don't worship God as god. Therefore Protestants do not get any benefits from committing to a community

betterway said...

I agree with Nick, maybe even more so.

Protestants regularly and wrongly redefine words to fit their religious philosophy and preconceptions. For example, the entire Protestant Reformation was based Luther's incorrect interpretation of the phrase "works of the law". A simple reading of Romans and Ephesians shows that Paul obviously meant Jewish ceremonial works by which Jews defined themselves as righteous, especially the practice of circumcision and the following of dietary laws.

As a result of Luther's misunderstanding, Protestants now teach that all "works", including works of mercy are as "filthy rags" in the sight of God. This in spite of the fact that Jesus said "whatever you do for the least of these you do for me". Only a terrible confusion of words could ever spawn this great misconception.

Similarly, Protestants can and will define any kind act, or prayer, or dance or song as "worship"

Jesus clearly defined worship at the last supper as the sacrifice, consecration and offering of bread and wine as his actual body and blood. When he said "Do this in memory of me", it was a command, not a suggestion, and not as a starting point from which you could do your own creative thing.

Therefore, it follows that worship occurs when a priest consecrates the bread and wine and offers communion to the laity. Nothing else is worship.

We are forced to the conclusion that Protestants cannot and do not worship, even though they believe they are worshiping when they sing, clap and dance, or preach and pray, or do good works. All of these things have there place and are of value, but they can't be construed to be actual worship.

Anonymous said...

Curiously, at least with the evangelical fundamentalists, look upon God as their own personal god , one in which they can determine for themselves, what God has meant for them. They arrive at this by their own personal interpretation of the bible which they claim is self interpreting. The result is a form of self styled worship which they think is pleasing to God but is not based on any real scripturally sound principles.

Church Supply Store said...

People who believe in God but doesn't worship cannot come under the category of Protestants.

Anonymous said...

Nick,

Is there an OT precedence re a lack of true worship that correlates with the NT?

Nick said...

In response to your question: absolutely! There is lots of OT precedence that God does not approve of random forms of worship, but rather only approves of those forms which He has specifically revealed.

The Torah itself is a detailed set of instructions, especially Leviticus and Deuteronomy, of how God wants to be worshiped. Those who don't worship as He has revealed are, by definition, "not His people."