June 19, 2019

Your Mission: “Resacramentalize Evangelicalism”

sacramentUPDATE: Ryan Cordle hits a home run in his response to this piece.

The discussion about the atheist’s report of attending a Planetshaker’s worship experience could be repeated a thousand times a week here at IM, and has been in various forms down through the 8 year history of this site.

Our Irish Catholic friend Martha, not being familiar with American evangelicals, had an epiphany in the middle of the discussion that’s worth reprinting:

Now see, here is the part that makes my head spin.

And I don’t want to sound like a proselytizing Catholic who’s criticizing the non-Catholics, because that’s not my intent, and we’re just as bad in the other direction.

But I did have a real moment of cognitive dissonance (fancy term, heh?) when I tumbled to it that by “worship leader”, people meant the person in charge of the music.

I was going “But…but.. the pastor? minister? whatever you call the guy on the altar? okay, you don’t call it an altar, probably, but… but…”

And that’s the head-spinning bit for me. Prayer isn’t worship, listening to the Scriptures isn’t worship, the service of the Lord’s Supper/Communion isn’t worship.

Worship means singing along (or more like, reading some of these posts, sitting and listening) to sub-rock songs. Worship means having a band (an actual band, with drums and guitars) playing and a soloist warbling.

That’s worship? Or a rock concert for the formerly hip and the non-hip (amongst whom I’d include myself, so not sneering)?

Seriously, as an interested, fascinated, and rather frightened outsider, when did “worship = watered-down secular music” become the equation?

I informed Martha she had just come to the point of understanding the evangelical lamentation that goes on around here better than 90% of evangelicals. (I tried this out on my Facebook page and the response was quite different than the IM audience.)

Evangelicals have an issue with sacraments. Mention the word to them and they start fidgeting in their seats and thumbing their Bibles.

It’s an interesting historical story. A sacrament is something in the physical world that mediates or communicates the presence, power, promises and/or grace of God. Various Christian theologies approach the exact language and reality differently, but the essence of sacramentalism is that if X is present or Y is done, then God is somehow present and at work, no matter what else may be happening.

When Luther called for reformation in Rome (and when Rome later excommunicated him for his criticisms), Luther deserted almost none of his core Catholic sacramentalism, even though he rejected strongly the abuses associated with many of the church’s seven sacraments. His views on Baptism and the Lord’s Supper were quite similar (not identical) to what Catholics believed. Luther reduced the sacraments to three. Anglicans and Presbyterians to two. All these reformation churches kept some version of pre-reformation sacramental thinking because it was Biblical.

For example, the reading/preaching of the Word is described in clearly sacramental ways in reformation theology. The announcement of forgiveness (absolution) is a sacrament for Lutherans. The arrangement of the church facility itself reflected sacramental thinking and an order connected to the presence of God.

Because of this kind of sacramentalism, reformation churches tended to want to simplify worship and to hold on to the prominence of the sacraments in worship without the distractions they believed had accumulated in Roman Catholicism. Sacramentally related aspects of worship itself were also prominent. This led to a distinctive way of thinking about who was the church, what was happening in gathered worship, when and how was God at work in the world and so forth. The font, the table/altar, the scriptures and the pulpit were the anchors of worship in reformation Christianity.

The evangelical movement (yes Lutherans, I know, but it’s too late) had a different view of sacraments. One can see it in movements as disparate as the radical reformers, the Puritans and the Methodists. By the time the evangelical movement is fully birthed in the Wesleyan revival and eventually in the frontier and Pentecostal awakenings in America, the new focus has become the present action of the Holy Spirit, but not tied to the sacraments. It is the emphasis on the present work of the Holy Spirit in ways that are powerful and effective, but much less predictable and consistent. The Spirit now was coming in relation to other factors: what was preached, how men prayed, the genuineness of desire for revival, the seriousness of repentance, etc.

Evangelicals now tend to view the reformation churches as “assuming” all kinds of things that may not be true. Listen to a modern evangelical describe what’s wrong with mainline churches: they are “dead.” The people are unconverted. God isn’t present. It’s all empty ritual. They need revival and a true visitation of the Spirit. This is evangelicalism evaluating its parent and finding her seriously wanting. Like all adolescents, we can hope for improvement with maturity.

Now I am an evangelical, and I believe that the present power of the Spirit is crucial. I believe religion can be dead, and it concerns me whenever there is not evidence of Jesus shaped fruit coming from people who claim to belong to Christ by baptism, etc. I believe much of the glory of the new covenant is exactly at the point of the Spirit doing, through the Gospel of Jesus, a transformative work so that Gospel-love for God and mercy for people is evident in lively ways. It concerns me deeply that the reformation churches often seem conflicted over what it means to be a “Great Commission” people beyond baptizing their own children. These are genuine evangelical concerns that I affirm.

But evangelicals are in sacramental chaos, and the results are quite obvious. Evangelicals are “re-sacramentalizing” in an uncritical and unbiblical way. The Planetshakers article was good evidence, but you can see and hear it everywhere.

What are our evangelical sacraments? Where will evangelicals defend the idea that “God is dependably at work?”

-We have sacramentalized technology.
-We have sacramentalized the pastor and other leaders.
-We have sacramentalized music. (i.e. the songs themselves and the experience of singing.)
-We have sacramentalized leaders of musical worship.
-We have sacramentalized events. (God is here!)
-We have sacramentalized the various forms of the altar call.
-We have sacramentalized the creation of an emotional reaction.

We’ve done all of this, amazingly, while de-emphasizing and theologically gutting baptism. (I’m not buying everyone’s baptismal theology here. I’m simply saying the standard approach now is nothing more than could be accomplished by having someone jump through a hoop.)

We’ve done this while reducing the Lord’s Supper to a relatively meaningless, optional recollection. (And being deeply suspicious of anyone making it more than a glorified sermon illustration.)

We’ve done this while removing any aspects of sacramentalism from our worship and even our architecture. (Public reading of scripture, hymns, tables/altars, baptisteries, pulpits.)

And we’ve given over to whomever wants to speak up the power to say what God is saying, what God is doing, what God is using, what God thinks of whatever we’re doing, what the Spirit is up to and so on.

For example, in the next three months, you can bet your remaining life savings that someone will tell us that God is NOW using church X or method Y or person Z because the official discernment squad said so. (And ditto for saying what God is not doing, who God is not using, etc. from the discernment squad on the other side of the street.)

What’s the answer?

We need to re-sacramentalize our worldview in its entirety. Go read some Anglicans or Catholics about that. We’re ridiculously secularist and modernist in so much of our thinking, and so selective and inconsistent in our idea of how God relates to physical things.

We need to reclaim sacramental thinking in the church and not be such knee jerk opponents of the idea that God dependably uses the physical, sensual rituals Jesus endorsed. We can still argue about the exact way these sacraments operate, but we need to approach preaching, the scriptures, baptism and the Lord’s Supper with a sense that God has committed himself to these things. Yes, faith is the response and No, I am not arguing in favor of everyone’s idea of efficacious sacraments. But many of us have evangelical roots that were far more friendly to the sacraments than we are. We should reclaim those roots and study them closely.

We should adopt a post-evangelical approach to seeing the resources of the broader, deeper, more ancient faith as connected to our own traditions. Again, read some Lutherans, Anglicans and Catholics. Understand that the history of Christianity didn’t start in 1969. See what’s been stored away in our past that we’ve overlooked. Especially read the older evangelical writings on the LS, Baptism and the actual theology and practice of gathered worship.

Find some way to slow down our commitment to pragmatism. Every discussion like this features several people who are leading worship in churches they believe have gone off the rails, and they don’t know how to stop the insane, rampant, “Big Picture/Big Noise” mentality. You just have to say, “we’re going to slow down and think. We’re going to have some theology of worship that evaluates rather than justifies what we’re doing.”

Go visit some reformation churches. Consider how the sacramentalism they’ve held on to could influence your own understanding of worship and the church and enhance your mission of creating/teaching disciples.

Don’t just imitate the latest thing, the latest technology or the latest worship guru. Boldly be a Biblically committed servant and leader. Simplify. Be God centered and God aware. Resacramentalize your own thinking and leadership.

Your mission, IM readers, is to “resacramentalize evangelicalism.”

Comments

  1. imonk,
    great article, only adjustment is the number of sacraments in Anglicanism. Officially there are two dominical sacraments leaving room for our anglo-catholic brethren to hold the other 5.

  2. Tim Boerger says

    It’s funny; just today, I stumbled across a church website touting the congregation’s “dynamic worship,” or something along those lines. In large letters, this web page said (paraphrasing the KJV’s translation of Psalm 22:3): “God inhabits the praise of His people!” And it occurred to me that they meant it quite literally; they had entirely sacramentalized “worship” (by which they meant singing). And the implication seemed to be that the more powerful and dynamic the worship, the more fully God was present.

  3. As a longtime reader who has converted to a very conservative branch of Old Catholicism since I started reading, I say “Thank you!”

    Your journey/thoughts/commentary are always insightful and appreciated. I grew up Evangelical, and I feel your frustration on so many issues.

    Thank you for stepping up to the plate and being willing to share your thoughts and your heart. The openness and generosity and grace with which you speak about us crazy Catholics is a breath of fresh air.

    You’re always in my prayers. Thank you again for the inspiring and honest work you’re doing. It does not go unnoticed.

  4. A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away (Chicago, IL, actually), I memorised the Baltimore Catechism. The only thing I remember from that ancient time is this: A sacrament is an outward sign, instituted by God, that gives Grace (more or less verbatim). I grew-up with seven sacraments, none of which are listed in your article above. I wrote about this in an essay on my blog (http://www.aoibhinngrainne.com/2009/06/eukharisteo-giving-thanks.html) as it relates to Communion.

    Using what I learnt in school lo! those many years ago seems to me a pretty good rule of thumb: does the sermon grant us Grace? the singing? the sound system? the altar call?

    Perhaps some of these things do. But were they instituted by God? Were they part of the Church from time immemorial? Were they believed/taught always, everywhere, by all?

    Maybe. Mmmm…Doubtful.

    Sacraments do not and never have moved with the culture. They stand alone, inviting the culture to move with them as touchstones; foundational pillars by which we gain the grace and strength within whatever culture we find ourselves (Rome, Canterbury, Nashvegas):

    baptism…reconciliation…communion…confirmation…marriage…holy orders…prayers for the sick…

    The hallmarks of life, marked by the love of God, the mercy of God, the Grace of God, each step of the way.

    Why do we forget? Why do we squander these opportunities?

    I feel another essay coming on. Thanks, iMonk.

    • I just wanted to say that I liked this comment that you made:
      “Sacraments do not and never have moved with the culture. They stand alone, inviting the culture to move with them as touchstones; foundational pillars by which we gain the grace and strength within whatever culture we find ourselves (Rome, Canterbury, Nashvegas)”

      Growing up evangelical, but attending an Anglican church in Jerusalem for a year, I realized that one thing I appreciated about the liturgy of the service was that no matter who was leading, I knew that we as the Body of Christ would continue to affirm these time-immemorial truths.

      Despite what they may think, every church has a liturgy (order of service), but in evangelical churches those “liturgies” change with whoever is leading, so it’s as if the pastor himself and perhaps his leadership team determines in some way what is important to the rest of us.

      But with that Anglican liturgy, I realized that rather than submitting to the ordered priorities of the leader, we were submitting to the true authority of God, reaffirming what the Body has received through Scripture, and realigning our hearts and minds to God’s priorities. The Communion service wasn’t just a fancy or emotion-oriented thing, but rather a remembering and recommitting ourselves to Jesus. Like you said about certain sacraments, the Truth doesn’t move with our constantly shifting culture or leadership, but rather remains true now and forever.

  5. “Again, read some Lutherans, Anglicans and Catholics.” What about the Orthodox?

    • I am completely unfamiliar with the orthodox.

      • Christiane/L's says

        Hi Michael,

        I am a Catholic who loves the Orthodox saints.
        If you want to read some of them to get a ‘flavor’ of the Orthodox, try
        St. Tikhon of Voronezh and also St. Seraphim.

        The Orthodox are more in the ‘eastern tradition’ of Christianity and are not as
        influenced by classical western thought as much. There is a mysticism in Orthodox
        Prayers that is beautifully evocative of the Mystery of Christ.

      • Christiane/L's says

        Michael, here is an example of the Orthodox way of praying, which, as a Catholic, I can appreciate:

        “From the Eastern Christian tradition, comes this teaching:

        “Our Lord cries to us in the depths of our hearts,
        “Awake 0 sleeper, rise up from among the dead, and Christ will illumine you”.

        “And you shall be as I fashioned you, a child of light capable of great compassion and love. And then I will awaken within you my Holy Spirit. You will know the profound love without limits I have for you.

        And your flow of tears will witness to the melting of frozen places within you. The softening of your tear stained face will be an invitation for me to take up my abode in your heart. I will remove from you all harsh judgement”

  6. evangelical roots that were far more friendly to the sacraments than we are.

    I’ve gathered that, reading something like Vos’s commentary.

  7. iMonk,

    this is an area I have been confused about for a while now, and while your post above helps, I think I need something more detailed. Can you recommend a book that you feel treats this topic fairly and can help clear this up in detail for me? I can’t afford a lot of books, so one really good book would be preferred over several recommendations (not always possible, I know).

    • I’m no expert, but you might want to look at some titles from Robert Webber. I believe these issues were his life’s work, and he is very broadly and deeply appreciated.

    • CantateDomino says

      How about a web version of Luther’s Small Catechism?

      http://www.bookofconcord.org/smallcatechism.php

      I would suggest you skip the introduction until you’ve read through the rest of the catechism at least once. It’s mostly discussion of the historical context in which Luther found the need to set down sound, biblical doctrine in a short and easy form – “As the head of the family should teach them in a simple way to his household.”

      In most Confessional Lutheran churches today, children are still required to memorize the small catechism before confirmation.

  8. Jim Williams says

    iMonk

    I’m coming in late on the discussion and as a first-timer. Your call to re-sacramentalize evangelicalism is a huge step in a right direction. Much of understanding any newer church tradition such as evangelicalism (I’m speaking of the contemporary North American variety) is knowing that opening a door of innovation usually involves closing a door on something older. Altar calls do replace and tend to close the door on the Christian instinct to “Eucharize.”

    The same progression of open doors—closed doors is seen in the history of what became evangelicalism. As examples, the conversion experience was the goal of a devout life for Puritans; yet, from Jonathan Edwards and “duty faith” came the idea of conversion as the beginning of Christian life. The mature John Wesley saw Perfect Love, or holiness as the goal; whereas, Fletcher saw it to be entered by faith at the beginning of Christian life. The crisis experience of Wesleyan holiness was entered by adherence to the process of growth, prayer, fasting, the Eucharist and works of service to the poor; however, the Nineteenth century holiness movement saw this very same crisis experience of Christian Perfection to be received by faith alone (regardless of feeling) as soon as possible at the beginning of Christian life. Pentecostalism saw a similar shift as the Baptism in the Holy Spirit (also the Wesleyan term for the holiness experience) went from something to be received after much prayer and surrender (tarrying) to today’s take it right now by faith alone. No matter how one argues the merits of any one of these positions, the fact remains: when a newer position is taken, an older position is relegated to the ash heap of forgotten history…along with its theological, biblical, and experiential insights.

    Much of this thread’s discussion centers on open and closed doors giving a critique of one another: dead ritual vs. sacramental worship. Both need to understand their history. It is noteworthy that long before Luther, Catholics both lay and clergy faithfully exhorted the faithful to knowledgeable and heart-felt participation in worship, but never advocated dispensing with the sacraments. (No, I am not RC.) And as was correctly reported earlier in the thread, Luther did not change his view on the sacraments, only on the application of righteousness to the Christian. [And, by the way, discussion of transubstantiation is beside the point, since it is on an attempt to understand how Christ is present. Never did anyone question that Christ was present.]

    Worldviews do have to change. Evangelicals, their antecedent Fundamentalists, and even the most liberal Protestants are all in the same modernistic framework: Enlightenment rationalism. We need to recognize this and understand that our constituency will not change its worldview overnight. Therefore, we do not emphasize a worldview shift as much as line-by-line, here-a-little, there-a-little shifts in appreciation of earlier readings of Biblical texts and also the sharing of sacramental experiences.

    Some books offered for reflection:

    Leonard J. Vander Zee, Christ, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper: Recovering the Sacraments for Evangelical Worship (InterVarsity, 2004). An evangelical (CRC) pastor’s assessment and assistance with the problem.

    Lorna Lock-Nah Khoo, Wesleyan Eucharistic Spirituality (ATF Press, 2005). American Methodism quickly left behind some of Wesley’s emphases. Here is his very sacramental understanding of the Eucharist…one held simultaneously with aggressive evangelism and disciple-making.

    J. Ernest Rattenbury, The Eucharistic Hymns of John and Charles Wesley (OSL Publications, 2006). Someone needs to recover these and set them to music. RC Benedict Goetschel once said that there is nothing in these hymns that could not be sung by a Roman Catholic!

    Timothy Ware (Bishop Kallistos), The Orthodox Church, New Ed. (Penguin Books, 1997). iMonk, you said you were unfamiliar with Orthodoxy. Here is a widely published and very readable introduction, in my mind the best available. It is not Roman Catholicism without a Pope.

    I know this has been long and rambling, but it touches my passionate desires for the church at large. Given with love.

    Jim Williams

  9. For Catholics, communion is a basic reason they hold Mass. It’s the centerpiece of the service. I don’t think I’ve ever been to any Protestant service where communion is the centerpiece.

    • Joe A:

      Uh…..Lutherans. Anglicans. Many Presbyterians and other reformed when they are having the LS in the service.

      • I said I haven’t been to any, not that there weren’t any.

      • Forgot to add…I think communion is much more emphasized in the Mass than in Protestant services, mainly becuase Catholics believe they are consuming the actual body and blood of Christ.

        PS – This opinion is just based on my personal experience.

        • Right. Your experience is wanting. Go to any Anglican Rite service.

          • CantateDomino says

            Or any LCMS or WELS Lutheran Church.
            (Don’t expect to participate in the Sacrament of the Altar, though. They have close(d) communion.)

          • CantateDomino says

            I might caution you, though. Once I visited an LCMS church, I knew I could never go back to my Baptist roots. 😉

  10. Joe Boysel says

    I think it’s a Herculean task, if not an impossible one, to “sacramentalize” most of Evangelicalism. As Ryan has rightly pointed out, Gnosticism has such firm roots in the Evangelical imagination that to inject sacramental theology at this point would bring about severe theological implications. “If A and B… then (gasp!) C!”

    Evangelicalism has much to offer, no question about it. The Evangelical Revival was based in Holy Writ, after all. But the evolution of popular American Evangelicalism, with its over emphasis on individualism, inevitably led to a concept of a relationship with God apart from the Church and the means of grace. Furthermore, this new concept also brought about a “superior spirituality” of those who “know” God apart from the natural world. Thus, for many Evangelical, the sign of a developing spirituality lies in the practice of advancing the spiritual life by distancing one’s self from creation.

    So, ask an Evangelical how one grows in grace and it’s simple: “Don’t do X, Y, or Z, and pray and read the Bible.” (Although, not always in that order). Ask a sacramentalist the same question and she’ll likely say: “Go to Church, listen to the Word, partake in the LS every change you get, inhale the incense, ask for prayers (with oil for healing), go on a nature walk, enjoy a glass of wine with friends, read the Bible, keep silent, make love to your spouse, gaze upon an icon, hold hands with someone who is dying, play with a child, walk a labyrinth, and on and on. In short, use your body! Because sensuality is a key to spirituality.

    Yes, there are latent sacramental aspects in Evangelicalism (e.g. carry-in suppers!) just like there are heretical and hedonistic ones in Sacramental Christianity. Still, Gnosticism is a particularly infesting heresy because it subverts creation and thus establishes a form of idolatry that rivals the creator God, thus leading many astray in the most elementary facet of the faith (Genesis 1!) while creating a sense of superiority through so-called knowledge.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      As Ryan has rightly pointed out, Gnosticism has such firm roots in the Evangelical imagination…

      That explains why Evangelicals seem so prone to Conspiracy Theories. Because Conspiracy Theory is itself the essence of Gnosticism, the Secret Knowledge I and I Alone Posess, the Smugness of being The One Who Knows What’s REALLY Going On.

      Ask a sacramentalist the same question and she’ll likely say: “Go to Church, listen to the Word, partake in the LS every change you get, inhale the incense, ask for prayers (with oil for healing), go on a nature walk, enjoy a glass of wine with friends, read the Bible, keep silent, make love to your spouse, gaze upon an icon, hold hands with someone who is dying, play with a child, walk a labyrinth, and on and on. In short, use your body! Because sensuality is a key to spirituality.

      i.e. Things that are Physical. Things that have an anchor in physical reality. Things that can provide a reality check. There’s a reason the Christian afterlife was Resurrection of a Physical Body instead of floating around as a Soul in Fluffy Cloud Heaven. And a reason we have a God who Incarnated (to the point of getting snuffed as a political prisoner).

      • Joe Boysel says

        Yes! I tell my students that after years of living in Kentucky I’ve developed a bit of a love for bluegrass music, and nothing sounds better than “I’ll Fly Away” with a banjo and mandolin. But as for theology, the song is entirely Gnostic! No, I won’t “fly away”…my body will be raised to life! (And short people will rule the world!)

    • Hello Everyone,

      I realize I am coming in on the middle of this conversation but I must say I agree with everything and also disagree with everything.

      The one thing I know is that no church or religion is perfect in anyway if humans are in charge. No matter how spirit filled, evangelical or sacramental any one is, if they are human and considered to be mankind we will never get it right.. We are flawed everyone of us.

      But if you read the word of God he uses words like friend, relationship. The didciples gave themsleve to meet in the courts everyday, breaking bread together, communing with one anothe and studied the teaching and doctrines of the Apostles.

      My understanding from Isaih is that obedience is better than sacrifice and it is a matter of a broken heart and a contrite spirit that God comes to any one. Personal relationship with Jesus is the only thing they ask and to be worshiped and glorified however it may fit.

      We all have gifts and talents put in us be the creator his self and he is expecting each one of us to use them for his glory and to lift up the son. Religion really has no place in what kind of relationship you have with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

      The Spirit was the gift Jesus sent to us to guide us in all truth and to know the will of God and how he would have us worship him. We all have different personalities and I think God realizes that since he created us.

      I am evangelical but I have a strong reverence awe and honor for God and his house of worship. He has called us to mingle and meet with fellow christians regardless of the temporal things here on earth. Some day I want to dance like David danced before God. One day I want to sing praise of worship to God just as the Psalmist did.

      I am only voicing my opinion and concern for what the Bible says we should do and how we should act and raise the banner of God as the standard we all stand on.

      If you love God have faith and believe that Jesus is his son then trust him to lead you to the places HE has consecrated and made the sacrament viable. It is not the man made things we shuld be worrying about but it’s the spiritual everlasting and eternal things we should be focusing on. And yes if you read your bible it will tell you the do’s and don’ts; and that within itself is a sacrement consecrated by God through his Holy Spirit, Son and his Holy Word.

      Personal relationship, Do you know Jesus? Have you been saved through grace and the santification of the Holy Spirit. You can’t begin to understand until you have made the leap into faith through grace. No ritual sacrement or whatever will ever make sense to anyone unless they first love God and have been saved through grace by faith. Then they have the leading of the Holy Spirit that will guide them into alllll truth concerning the things of God.

      Thank for your time.

  11. I think the most useful part of this post is the argument that evangelicals (as all traditions) are sacramental–that they do believe God is uniquely active in certain activities, and then the discussion as to which activities we view as sacramental.

    Michael is right to simlply point to our standard practices and priorities in answering that question. The question as to what activities are sacramental for evangelicals is no different, in my mind, than asking the following: “What do we think God is doing?” and “How is he doing it? (or, “How do we cooperate?”)

    This post and the comments, more than making me long for more interaction with the traditional sacraments which I do value and appreciate, made me want to take a more sacramental view of all of life.

  12. iMonk, you know how strongly I agree with you on this one. From another perspective (you have touched on this in posts like the one on sacramental traditions and church planting), I also think it is crucial that we “re-missionalize” sacramental traditions so that the best of evangelicalism–the passion to reach the world with the Gospel–will become more characteristic of those parts of the Church.

    In the Lutheran church I attend, we constantly say that we come to worship to receive God’s gifts in order that we might share them with the world, but frankly, the second part of that sentence does not get carried out with as much passion as the first part, especially in sharing the Good News and calling people to faith.

  13. One of the things I LOVE about the Anglican/Episcopalian service is they READ scripture ALOUD–its beautiful.

    My church does take communion and its lovely. Jesus tells us to take communion, and it gives you time in worship to rededicate your life to Christ and to THANK him for his Grace.

    Don’t get me started on the Music—I endure it because supposedly the Kids love it. Why can’t we get any good Christian Rock? I think folks my age despise it because it ALL sounds like Soft Rock!

    🙂

    • Christiane/L's says

      We do read Scripture aloud in my Church also.
      It was meant to be heard.
      Then taken into the heart.
      Then lived.

  14. You did it again. A very thoughtful and important meditation on something that deserves wider discussion. Great job!

  15. denise and wesley says

    Great Post, It is why I read and feel continually edified by your site. Just wondering if anyone here can relate these thoughts to 1Kings 18:21 “How long halt ye between two opinions”. As an Evangelical Christian in a Pentecostal Fellowship Church who grew up RC, I’ve seen many on both sides who treat the other as the so-called Baal worshippers. RC ” improper headship”, Evangelicals “No discipleship”. My heart has grieved for both sides and honestly I felt a real twinge in my soul when you stated so clearly what I’ve felt so personally for years: “Evangelicals now tend to view the reformation churches as “assuming” all kinds of things that may not be true. Listen to a modern evangelical describe what’s wrong with mainline churches: they are “dead.” The people are unconverted. God isn’t present. It’s all empty ritual. They need revival and a true visitation of the Spirit. This is evangelicalism evaluating its parent and finding her seriously wanting. Like all adolescents, we can hope for improvement with maturity.”
    But beyond that, one problem I personally see with the Evangelicals I know is they don’t see the RC as our parents in christ, even if long lost, but do we truly think this to be true? Are they not our long lost brother’s in Christ? I couldn’t possibly articulate these thoughts as well as most on this site, but I’m trying my best to grow and learn in Christ, excuse my lack of clarity but I comment only so that I can learn to present the Gospel in these confusing times more plainly (neither beautiful or ugly), a differant subject altogether. God Bless and Thank You.

  16. Sacraments AND Word. Catholics need real preaching. Protestants need real attention to sacraments. Plain an simple. Both confessions need what they need urgently.