Wednesday, September 06, 2006

This is worth reading.

"Attendance at Morning and Evening Worship"

A Statement from the Session of

Matthews Orthodox Presbyterian Church

Biblically oriented churches have historically conducted both morning and evening worship services on the Lord's Day. Today, this practice is waning. The evening service in most evangelical churches is ill-attended or non-existent. The discipline, by professed Christians, of attendance at both Lord's Day worship services has tragically broken down in the past few decades in our society.........

Matthews Orthodox Presbyterian Church: Papers for the rest of the paper.

Thanks, Wes Bredenhof, for the reference.

3 comments:

Sheldon Spithoff said...

Hello Rev. VanPopta.

Thanks for the postings. I read them from time to time.

However, from my understanding of God’s will laid out in the Bible I haven’t come to the same understanding for our Sunday’s as the authors of this article.God gave a command to the Israelites/all people, during the time of Moses in Exodus 16 and 20 with the 4th commandment, to retain a Sabbath Day after six days of work. This seems to have been command based on a timeless premise. The premise being that man should take a break from his work and otherwise keep from over-exhaustion; hence the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2). Like all of God’s laws this was for our benefit within this broken world of harsh work.
The spirit of the law is for man to live by a principle of personal, social and spiritual benefit by relaxing physically, emotionally and mentally. The exact rituals and regulations surrounding the OT Sabbath, as far as I know, stretched only as far a refraining from daily work. Yet, we see that a) God took the command seriously (Exodus 20, 31:15, etc.) and b) the Jewish religious leaders made a bounding slavery out of it in misguided zeal (note their reaction to Jesus’ healing on the Sabbath). Thus the Sabbath, as a command, has a moral basis and not a ceremonial (guiding or pointing) basis (although we see that the writer of Hebrews using the Sabbath to point to the eternal rest of God’s elect).
Jesus came and in Matthew 5 fulfilled the ceremonial law of the Israelites/all people. The moral law remains (until Jesus’ return – eliminating the need for moral law). Thus the call for a day of rest (a sabbatical) remains. Yet God gives freedom concerning the Sabbath from the regulations and restrictions imposed by humans in the OT. Paul says in Romans 4: “5One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone.” Likewise in Colossians 2 we read, “16Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.” Thus we are told that the day of rest and what one does on this day is free for us to choose as long as one stays within God’s command to refrain from daily work, serve Christ as Lord and live in accordance with our conscience and the Spirit of God. The call to two services spread over our Sunday’s may be a good one but in no way would I consider it a biblical command or principle.
Hebrews 10 makes no connection between our Sunday’s and meeting for fellowship. Instead it seems to suggest that meeting should be done at any convenient time, when the opportunity arises (scheduled or not). The only mention of the Lord’s Day in the Bible comes from Revelations 1 and it doesn’t mention any command to either take a sabbatical on this day or to meet. Rather the regular morning and evening two-service Sunday is a product of tradition, one meant to be free from judgment (that goes for our Evangelical brothers and sisters as well). I am afraid that the article seems to have reverted back to the mentality of the Jewish leaders.

Sincerely,

Sheldon Spithoff

Agricola said...

Hi Sheldon,

Thanks for your comments. You might be interested in a couple of articles and sermons on this topic I have on my website at:

http://www.geocities.com/dsgvp/agricola.html

Agricola said...

Sheldon,

You'll need to go here:

http://www.geocities.com/dsgvp/writings.html