"I know the term itself can be a little slippery. I’ve seen it applied to everything from an ancient prayer book to your morning coffee routine. But where it refers to an intentional structure for our weekly gatherings, liturgy captures something that ought to be precious to all of us." - 9 Marks
I suspect nearly 100 percent of the people who took part in the study and who attend my church believe they are supposed to be reading the Bible through the week and that they feel some guilt that they are not doing so....This leads me to a few points of personal application that may be helpful to you as well." - Challies
Reposted with permission from The Cripplegate.
by Eric Davis
Maybe you’ve heard it. “We can’t make it to church today, so we’ll just do church as a family.” “I can just do church on a hike this morning in God’s creation.” “The church is really the people, so we can do church wherever. God is everywhere, after all.”
Do we really need to go to a building on a certain day for it to count as doing church? If so, isn’t that legalistic?
It’s becoming increasingly popular to fashion new ways to “do church.” But how do we discern what does and does not constitute going to church? God’s word has plenty of wisdom on the issue.
In short, my hike or a Bible open in my living room with the kids is not church. Here are a few reasons why doing church away from church isn’t church.
To assert that we can do church away from church is an unparalleled way to approach life events. Do we approach other areas of life like that?
Husbands, next time you’ve scheduled a family day, just before it happens, tell your wives, “Honey, I’m actually going to do our family time on a solo-camping trip. But I’ll think about you and the kids while I’m sitting out there with the dog and my knife cramming Spam in my mouth. It still counts as family time, right? We don’t have to be all legalistic, honey.”
There are many books on Christian worship: some helpful and some not-so-helpful. Nicolas Alford’s Doxology: How Worship Works clearly belongs in the former category. Though affirming the broader sense of worship (as a way of life), the book intentionally focuses on congregational worship. Alford is preeminently concerned that God’s people worship by the Book. Drawing from the Reformed tradition, he concisely expounds and carefully applies the Regulative Principle of Worship (RPW), which, in essence, is the doctrine of sola Scriptura applied to church life and ministry.
But Alford does more—which is what makes this book superior to many others. First, he prefaces the the major principles that should govern our worship with a chapter that distinguishes between authority and influences. The Bible is the ultimate authority for worship. Nevertheless, there are other considerations that may and, in some cases, should affect the way we understand and apply the Bible. Alford defines and explains these influences in the following order of priority: Confessional/Convictional, Traditional/Cultural, and Preference/Deference.
Second, Alford identifies seven prefatory principles that we must employ as we seek to order our worship aright: the Biblical, Trinitarian, Covenantal, Ecclesiastical, Sabbatic, Governing, and Commissioned principles. These are Scriptural vantage points or perspectives from which we can ascertain the biblical contours of worship more clearly.