Worship Convergence: Combining the Liturgical/ Sacramental, Evangelical and the Pentecostal Expressions of Worship

Each Christian churches today has their own “style” of worship.  And most of the churches thinks that their “expression” of worship is the “only worship style” that is acceptable to God.  They also think that other churches that is not the same as their worship style is a “dead type” of worship. This is my simple observation on each churches styles of worship because I experienced it myself. Coming from a Roman Catholic, then I went to a Baptist Church, then into an Evangelical Church and then a Pentecostal Church. I also visited a Catholic Charismatic Community, also a Charismatic Episcopal Church then the Metropolitan Community Church Philippines.

THE SACRAMENTAL/ LITURGICAL WORSHIP EXPRESSION

This style of worship gradually develop from the worship expression of the Jewish nation or the Israelites. We must remember that the first Christians were Jews.  Jesus Christ is a Jew and so is his apostles and the first converts to Christianity.  And so they adopted the worship expression from their Jewish culture and customs. They sang hymns.  They celebrated different types of feasts. Central to their community was the Synagogue in which public worship was held.  In the synagogue the word of God is being read, there the prayers are also read from prayer books. The Rabbis or Teacher has a special type of vestments.  The men and women are separated in sitting inside, the men on the right side the women on the left side.

When Jesus Christ was here he presented a new meaning to all of the customs and traditions that they were all doing that time.  Jesus was a Jew and he was obeying diligently as an obedient Jew.  He was not disobeying the Jewish laws, customs and traditions he was giving it a new meaning, or should I say a new expression.  For example when they were celebrating the feast of the passover.  Jesus Christ gave a new meaning to it by saying that the cup is his blood and the bread is his body and whenever they drink from it and eat the bread they remember his death, resurrection and his second coming.  And so when Christianity became popular and became big.  The “center of worship” was the liturgy of the Holy Eucharist or the Holy Communion.  The Central theme of Worship during the first centuries of Christiaity was “remembering Christ”.

And so from that time on as Christianity developed and grew so is the Church became institutionalized.  The Roman Catholic emerged, the Greek Orthodox, the Eastern Churches all of them has the sacramental/ liturgical Style of worship but in a evolved or developed form. Worship for them is not to entertain people like we do it today.  Worship for them is by REMEMBERING CHRIST, his death, his resurrection and his second coming that is central.

But there came a problem, worship became too much ceremonies, too much ritual, the simplicity of worship became non existent. The people became SPECTATORS just watching the priests do their thing.  So it came to a point that it was too boring, too traditional, too formal and too elaborate.  The simple celebration of remembering Christ became so formal that to other people it has lost is original meaning.  We have a saying that TOO MUCH is not good and it was true.  Because in the years that followed the Protestant movement emerged.

THE ELEMENTS OF SACRAMENTAL/ LITURGICAL WORSHIP

  1. The central is the Table of the Lord.  In every liturgical churches you will see a big table at the center of the church.
  2. Special Vestments are worn by priests in celebrating the remembrance. Vestments originated in the Old Testament in which Levites wore special vestments when they are doing their services inside the Jewish Temple.
  3. Prayers are read.  This custom derives from the Jewish Synagogue worship which Jesus and the Apostles was also doing as Jews.  Impromptu prayers are also allowed and it is also practiced in the everyday lives of the Jewish people.
  4. Readings.  The Books of the Jewish people or the Old Testament is being read aloud in the temple or synagogue.  So it is in Liturgical Churches we have the first reading, second reading, psalm readings and the gospel reading.  This is our version of the Jewish Synagogue worship.
  5. Singing of Hymns.  This is the musical expression during the time of Jesus Christ and the apostles.  Chants, prayers that are sung this are some of the music expressions of the Jewish people when they worship God and also when Christianity emerged.  They were called “Sacred Music”.

ON THE NEXT WEBSITE UPDATE…

  • The Biblical Sources and Basis for the Sacramental/ Liturgical Worship
  • The Protestant Worship Expression

All about the Bible – The First Christians: the Series

On November 11, 2010 at 7:39 pm, Bro. Eric Jan Ching Bartolome of Olongapo City sent a text message about a question on the Bible here is his text message:

Ptr. magandang gabi po.  Nakita ko po yung site niyo sa net at nabuksan ang isip ko sa mga kasulatan sa Biblia. Gusto ko lang po itanong kung saan, kailan at kung sino po ang naka discover ng new testament?  Salamat po…”

English translation:

“Pastor Good evening, I have seen your website on the internet and my mind was opened about the scriptures in the Bible.  I would like to ask where, when and who discovered the new testament.  Thank you very much…”

A SHORT HISTORY OF THE BIBLE

Thank you very much brother Eric for your question.  During the time of our Lord Jesus Christ the Bible that they used was the Old Testament or the Holy Scriptures of the Jewish Religion because our Lord Jesus Christ and the first Christians were Jewish. (Matthew 5:17, Matthew 7:12, Matthew 8:17, Matthew 12:17, Matthew 21:4, Matthew 27:9, Luke 4:17)

During the time of the First Christians they also quoted the Books of the Old Testament and they believe that these books are from God. (Acts 2:16, Acts 3:18, Acts 8:30, Hebrews 1:1, Hebrew 11:32, James 5:10, I Peter 1:10, 2 Peter 3:2)

When the Apostles were alive they sent personal and general letters to the churches in different places in Israel and other parts of the world.  The first Christians read these letters and also believed that these are Holy Scriptures.  (Romans 16:22, I Corinthians 5:9, I Corinthians 16:3, 2 Corinthians 7:8, 2 Corinthians 10:9-11, Colosians 4:16, I Thessalonians 5:27, 2 Thessalonians 2:15, 3:14, 3:17, 2 Peter 3:1, 3:16)

During those times the first Christians wanted to know all about the life of our Lord Jesus Christ so there were “many” Christians who attempted to write the Gospels among them was Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. (Matthew 1-28, Mark 1-16, Luke 1-24, John 1-21)

They also wanted to know the history of the church and how it came to be so there were many who wrote books about the history of the first church among them was St. Luke who wrote the Book entitled Acts of the Apostles. (Acts 1- 28)

The first Christians also believed in Bible prophecy and they wanted to know the future of the church and the world so they also wrote books called Apocalypse among these books only the Apocalypse according to John was accepted in our Bibles today but there where many Apocalyptic books that were written during their time. (Apocalypse/ Revelations 1-22)

These books: namely the Gospels, the Apostolic letters, the Apocalypses and other books were circulated among the first Christians during 90 to 300 AD.  There were many books aside from our current Bibles today but we will deal with this in detail on our next website update.  We must understand that during these times the Bible was not collected or even printed in book form like we have today but they were in manuscript form or hand written form and was written on papyrus.

THE CONTROVERSIES REGARDING WHICH BOOKS ARE INSPIRED

In ca 85-160 AD a bishop named Marcion of Sinope founded a new Church and started to collect books that he thinks is of God and others where largely ignored.  He believed that the God of the Old Testament is different from the God of the New Testament so he ignored the books of the Old Testament and accepted the Gospel of Luke and St. Paul’s letters.  During this time the first Church doesn’t have an official Bible like we have today, and because of Marcion’s beliefs the church began to collect the books that they believe was of God.

THE APOSTOLIC & EARLY CHURCH FATHERS AND THE BIBLE

In 160 AD the Apostolic Father Irenaeus asserted that Christians should accept the four Gospels.  Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  In 200 AD, Origen of Alexandria used the 27 books of the New Testament like we have today.  In 367 AD, Athanasius Bishop of Alexandria gave the list of the 27 books of the New Testament.

MAKING THE BOOKS OF THE HOLY BIBLE OFFICIAL

The African Synod of Hippo in 393, approved the Books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament and this decision was repeated at the council of Carthage in 397 and 419. And in this Councils St. Augustine regarded that the Bible canon is already closed.

SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_canon

OTHER BOOKS ASIDE FROM THE BOOKS WE HAVE TODAY

Ethiopian and Syriac Churches

Some Christian groups do not accept the theory that the Christian Bible was not known until various local and Ecumenical Councils, which they deem to be “Roman-dominated”,[citation needed] made their official declarations. For example, the Ethiopian and Syriac Christian churches which did not participate in these councils developed their own Biblical traditions. These groups believe that, in spite of the disagreements about certain books in early Christianity and, indeed, still today, the New Testament supports the view that Paul (2 Timothy 4:11–13), Peter (2 Peter 3:15–16, although it seems that not all the Syriac Church Fathers accepted this book itself as canonical,[28] and indeed it appears the Syriac Bible initially lacked all of the Catholic epistles as well as John’s Revelation), and ultimately John (Revelation 22:18–19, but see the previous note) finalized the canon of the New Testament. Some note that Peter, John, and Paul wrote 20 (or 21) of the 27 books of the NT and personally knew all the other NT writers. (The books which are attributed to authors other than these three are: Matthew, Mark, Luke, Acts, James, and Jude. The authorship of Hebrews has long been disputed.)

SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_canon

So as we can see now, the Bible that we have today and being used in all of the churches existing today is a product of centuries of pain staking work by the Catholic Church.  There are other Churches who has or accepted other books aside from the books that was collected by the Catholic Church.  The Syrian Christians accepted the Gospel according to Thomas and the Ethiopian Christians also accepted other books aside from what we have today.

I hope brother Eric you will be enlightened about the history of how our Bible came to be.  May Jesus Christ our Good Shepherd bless you and your family and friends.  Amen.

If you have any questions about the Christian faith you may send it to our email at cucphilippines@gmail.com or text us at 0929.588.05.88