Puritans

The Biblical Basis for Family Worship (Part 2)

Read the series.

To the Heads-of-Households in Israel

There are a number of passages in the book of Deuteronomy that give parents, especially fathers, the responsibility to teach their children the ways of God. We will confine ourselves to the primary passage in 6:4-9. Verse 4 begins with an imperative: “Hear, O Israel.” That’s not a command to passively allow the sound waves to vibrate the ear drums. That’s a command to believe!  Moses is calling upon the Israelites to hear and to believe and to confess the following truth: “Yahweh our God, Yahweh is one [the idea is, ‘Yahweh is the only one’].” This great truth was to be the very heart of the Israelite’s faith. And how would their commitment to the one true God manifest itself in their lives? Note the next verse: “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” (v. 5). In Galatians 5:16, Paul tells us that genuine faith works through love. Where did Paul get that idea? He got if from Moses. “Hear, O Israel! Confess Yahweh to be your God, and let your faith manifest itself in whole-hearted devotion to Him.”

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The Biblical Basis for Family Worship (Part 1)

In the previous essay, we defined family worship as “the occasion in which the members of a given family gather together in order to participate in special acts of worship, such as the singing of praise, the reading and hearing of Scripture, and the offering of prayer to God.” In this segment of our study, we’ll attempt to provide some biblical support for the practice of family worship.

We must acknowledge at the outset that there is no single proof text which explicitly commands family worship as I have defined it. J. A. Alexander seems to recognize this point as well.

There are some duties so plain, that they are rather assumed, than commanded, in the word of God; and the number of such is greater than might be supposed on a superficial examination… . We are not to wonder, therefore, if we find, even in the New Testament, no separate and explicit injunction to worship God in the family.1

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Whatever Became of Family Worship?

I attended a Christian university along with approximately five-thousand other students, most of whom came from Christian homes. Although I never conducted an official survey, my general impression was that very few of my fellow Christian students had grown up in homes where family worship had been regularly practiced. It seemed to be a foreign concept to most of them. I believe the general ignorance concerning family worship demonstrates just how far Christian families have departed from their Christian heritage.

Family Worship: A Household Word

There was a time in the early days of this nation when family worship was a “household word” (no pun intended). Generally speaking, Christian families understood it to be their duty to conduct in family worship in the home. For example, in 1677 the congregational church of Dorchester, Massachusetts, composed and signed a written covenant in which they pledged to faithfully carry out their Christian duties. Included among their resolutions, they promised

To reform our families, engaging ourselves to a conscientious care to set up and maintain the worship of God in them and to walk in our houses with perfect hearts in a faithful discharge of all domestic duties: educating, instructing, and charging our children and our households to keep the ways of the Lord.1

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Protestants & Pot

"Right now America is in a permissive mood that is legalizing controlled substances, legitimizing prostitution as 'sex work,' embracing gambling as economic stimulant, and accepting pornography as harmless pastime. This permissiveness will run its course, until its excesses will provoke a new more restrictive era. Social Puritanism may recede for a season but it never disappears. Often it just morphs into new arenas." - Mark Tooley

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Lessons from the Thanksgiving Pilgrims (Part 3)

Read Part 1 and Part 2.

In our last installment, we considered three essential lessons that we may learn from the lives of the Thanksgiving Pilgrims. Here are the final two lessons that we will consider.

Perseverance

The Pilgrims model perseverance in the midst of difficulty (Phil. 3:14).

The Pilgrims were persecuted, jailed, harassed, hunted and humiliated. They knew almost every type of danger and embarrassment. Even modern action films cannot match the stories of their harrowing escapes from danger. They were betrayed by a shipmaster in their first attempt to escape persecution in England in 1607, but that did not stop them.

William Bradford and his mentor, William Brewster, are perhaps the most notable in this regard—having led the church in the midst of peril all the way from Scrooby to Plymouth. When the Pilgrim women and children were arrested after the men had successfully escaped to Amsterdam on their second attempt in 1608, it was these two men who stayed behind to care for those wives and children. Yet Bradford still managed to outlast many of his brethren by serving for more than 30 years as governor of Plymouth Colony.

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