Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Twice on a Sunday?

Some stimulating words from Iain D. Campbell:
Ultimately, the issue is not so much about our views of church, but about our views of Christ. He commands us in Scripture not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. He promises to be present in the assembly of his people, where as few as two gather in his name. He promises to enrich his people through his Word and by his Spirit.

If that is the case, then we ought to put a premium on such occasions. While contemporary culture squeezes religion out, by putting pressure on families and on children to be involved in many different activities on the Lord’s Day, there ought, surely, to be something non-negotiable about gathering for worship with the people of God week by week.

Sinclair Ferguson is reputed to have said at a recent conference, in response to the very question about why evening worship is necessary on the Lord’s Day, that if an attractive girl asked a boy to meet her at a particular hour, he would be there. The Bible offers us something better than that: the one who is the chief among ten thousand asks poor sinners to meet him at a particular hour, as he promises to be present in the gathered assembly of his people.

It is a foolish person who passes up a golden opportunity to meet with the risen Lord. Which is why I shall shout loud that Christians should worship together twice on Sundays. At the very least.
Read the whole post here.

Of course if you really want to be Reformed you need to have some preaching services every day.


Unknown said...

Thanks for that. I must have fallen into the heresy that you can meet with the risen Lord at anytime and in any place. Now I have learned that you must have a special building, person and time to do it.
Thank you so much - shame on me for completely misunderstanding the New Testament and work of Christ on the cross - let's start sewing that curtain back up boys!

Martin Downes said...

I know, crazy isn't it! I've totally lost the plot. I'll start dressing up in special robes soon.

Then again if I follow your logic don't I just need a modem or an ipod? Do I really need to meet with a special people at all? A gathered church still needs a place and a time to meet, oh and three special persons not one.

Unknown said...

Fair comment. I agree, there is something special about meeting together on the Lord's day, celebrating communion, teaching and admonishing one another, encouraging, and agreeing in prayer (as well as carrying out church discipline).
However, I find little or no basis in scripture or early church history to say that the magic number has to be'2'.
I just find it interesting that very godly men with excellent exegetical ability (I am not talking about you here - although you are godly and a brilliant expositor) seem to become so legalistic and willing to add to scripture over issues of ecclesiology.
His language was too inflammatory for me (unlike mine!).

Martin Downes said...

I guess it is worth asking what is driving some Christians, or churches, to drop their practice of meeting twice on a Sunday.

Unknown said...

There could be numerous reasons.
But I don't think it is best to start from the point of view that tradition/ culture is our authority. Rather, the question should be asked: what biblical basis is there for 2 meetings on a Sunday?
I think we should question our culture in the light of scripture - not scripture in the light of our particularly short lived culture.

Anonymous said...

I think the suggested Biblical basis for two services on a Sunday comes from the practice of the morning and the evening services under the old covenant Ex 29:38-46 and was the delight of someone like David, Psalm 142:2.

We are not bound to this practice as new covenant people but we are not unaware of it either.

Should we, as new covenant people, be less expressive in our corporate thanks for Christ as our final sacrifice, by meeting once instead of twice? Is it a really a better and clearer expression of worship, as new covenant people, to exercise our freedom to meet once rather than twice?

And perhaps we should ask what biblical basis is there for 1 and not 2 services on a Sunday?

Cynddylan on a tractor said...

I found John Benton's article on this topic in a recent issue of Evangelicals Now to be helpful.

Unknown said...

The point here is the sabbath. God did command it. Are you bound by God's commandments? Not for you salvation, thanks Lord; but as a show of gratitude for that grace? Surely.

He asks for one day out of seven. I guess that's just too much to give the creator of the universe, savior of our souls? That's why I for one, am blessed being in a church that does have two services, worship and catechism.

BTW, there is nothing in scripture that makes Sunday the Lord's day. The fact that the church in Acts may have met on that day to honor the resurrection does not make it doctrine. So no you don't have to meet in the evening, you don't have to meet to be saved, but you do have to meet and reserve the entire day to be obedient.

Augustinian Successor said...

It's not about legal authority. In fact, this smacks of legalism. The Lord's day is what it is - about the Gospel. And the church gathering on Sunday "hosts" the proclamation of the Gospel. And the Gospel is the good news which brings forgiveness of sin. So, justified sinners would "naturally" want to come to church to listen to the Word and the Gospel, to be forgiven, restored and to be killed and raised up in newness of life.

The Holy Spirit is not given except through the Word and Sacraments. And the church is the place of the Word and Sacraments.

Anonymous said...

According to the scripture the Sabbath is a day of rest. If we are running our families ragged trying to make numerous functions at the church on the Sabbath,it is no longer a day of rest. God has released me from the evening service after 40 years of being at the "church" almost all day on Sundays. I do not neglect the gathering of believers on Sunday morning, but we have 2 or 3 at the house on Sunday night, I think God is there too. We need rest and he knows this, he made us. Thank you Jesus for showing me your grace and ultimate freedom! I no longer leave God in the box our culture has placed him in.