Sunday Morning Liturgy

I have received a few emails asking what a Reformed liturgy would look like. This is a sample of the liturgy we use for our Sunday morning worship. The selection of songs change as do the texts used in the Greeting, Call, Reading of the Law, Sermon and Words of Institution. The music is there as a sample of the genre of music that is sung.

Welcome and Announcements
Prelude – “All Creatures of Our God and King”

God Calls Us to Worship

Scriptural Greeting*

Minister: Gal 1:3-5 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
All: Amen!
Minister: The Lord be with you! (Ruth 2.4)
All: And also with you! (more…)

Beza: The Part of the Word of God called “Gospel”

The Part of the Word of God called “Gospel”: Its authority, why, how and for what end it was written

2940013596092_p0_v1_s260x420After we are made aware of the Law the Gospel is made all the brighter. While the Law produces fear, the Gospel produces hope. In the “Select Works of Theodore Beza”, Beza writes that, after we know the Law we “find the use and necessity of the Gospel”. Seeing a necessity and use of the Gospel, Beza makes a primary argument that there is only one Gospel.

To support the argument that there is only one doctrine of salvation that is called the Gospel. Beza argues the Gospel (Good News) was fully announced and declared to the world by Jesus Christ, the Apostles and recorded faithfully by the Evangelists.

Jesus

John 15:15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.

The Apostles

John 17:8 For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.

2 Cor 5:19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.

2 Cor 5:20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

Recorded by the Evangelists

Eph 2:20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone,

1 Pet 1:25 but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you.

It can be concluded, as Beza argues, that the doctrine of the Gospel was faithfully recorded as a protection against variances of other apparent versions of the Gospel. In support to preservation and recording of the Gospel, Beza makes three more arguments:

  1. They added nothing of their own as far as substance of the doctrine is concerned:
  2. They omitted nothing which is necessary for salvation.
  3. What the Apostles and Evangelists did write, was written in a way for even the simplest person to understand what is necessary for salvation.

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We Know of Our Depravity by the Preaching of the Law

beza-cal

Beza on Calvin’s right (as you look at them).

It has been asked about the doctrine of Total Depravity, “If we are totally depraved, then how did we come to know of this estate of sin and misery?” Beza, in his works discussing the question “For what ends the Holy Spirit use the preaching of the Law?” is helpful here.

Citing John 9:41, (Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains) Beza reminds the reader that in our fallen estate, corruption reigns in us to such an extent, that we are ignorant of our ignorance. In our fallenness, we are pleased with those things which ought to displease us. We suppress the light of truth that we have as Paul states in Romans:

Rom 1:20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

Rom 1:21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Rom 1:22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools;

Rom 2:1 Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.

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Theodore Beza: Similarities and Differences Between the Law and Gospel

2940013596092_p0_v1_s260x420In The Select Works of Theodore Beza, Theodore Beza divides the Word (Books of the Old and New Testament) into two principal parts. One called the “Law” and the other “Gospel”. The Law, for Beza, is a doctrine whose seed is written in our hearts by nature. But this Law is written in the Bible so that we can have a more exact knowledge of it. This list of the two tables (10 Commandments) are a summary of the obedience and perfect righteousness we owe to God and our neighbor. The terms: perpetual life for those who keep the Law perfectly and death for those who do not. (Deut 30:15-20; James 2:10)

While the Law is known to us because it’s written on our hearts by nature, the Gospel is not at all in us by nature. The Gospel is revealed from heaven (Matt 16:17; John 1:13) and “surpasses natural knowledge”. It is through the Gospel that God proclaims to us that he has intended to save us freely by Jesus (Rom 3:20-22) by faith. Jesus must be trusted on for our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption (1 Cor 1:30). Through the Gospel proclamation God not only testifies all of this to us, but by his grace he renews us in way that we can embrace those benefits freely offered (1 Cor. 2:4).

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Still Go to Church on Vacation

I have just returned from two weeks visiting family in Texas and Louisiana. It was trip that went by fast because everyday we were somewhere different. Perhaps you are familiar with these types of vacations that are more exhausting than relaxing. Everyday was a time to play “catch up” with someone. Say goodbyes and pray it wouldn’t be so long till the next time we could sit down with a cup of coffee, beer, etc. Thankfully many of us are on Facebook so we can keep in touch there.

One interesting moment for my household is when we are on vacation and our time away will include a Sunday. If we’re on vacation on the Lord’s Day do we just not go to church? Do we go to a church with different theology? How different can it be? The Lord’s Day in wife’s family was always a day to attend church even if they were on vacation. That was not the case for me when I grew up. I appreciated that my wife’s dad set that example for his children and I wanted to leave my children with that memory as well. So far, every time we have been on vacation, we have found a way to attend a service on the Lord’s Day

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The PCA on the Federal Vision: 9 Points

For those in PCA circles who have been in the sanctification, law, Gospel discussions lately this is a helpful reminder of the declarations by the study committee of the PCA on the Federal Vision. R. Scott Clark had posted the points as adopted by the URCNA on his blog here recently and I thought it would be helpful to see the points adopted by the PCA as well. //

In light of the controversy surrounding the NPP and FV, and after many months of careful study, the committee unanimously makes the following declarations:

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The Quest for the Historical Church: A Protestant Assessment

Below is a guest post by Brandon Addison for the Roman Catholic website Called to Communion. Brandon is a graduate of Westminster Seminary California. (2012, M.Div.) He is currently licensed in the Pacific Presbytery (PCA) where he preaches occasionally. I spoke with Brandon after he wrote this post and posted this with his permission.//

 

Bryan Cross has graciously asked me to write down my thoughts, as a Protestant, on the idea that Jesus founded the Roman Catholic Church (Hereafter RCC). From the outset I want to express sincere appreciation and the hope that Protestants and Catholics will come to better mutual understanding, which may lead to greater unity and proclamation of the Gospel. One of the things that I appreciated most about Evangelii Gaudium is Francis’s emphasis on the mission of the Church. As important as the theology and dogma associated with the Gospel message is, that theology and dogma serve the purpose of bringing the Good News to people who need it most. Even if we disagree about the content of the Gospel message and how it is to be promulgated, I believe that this commitment to the Gospel allows for a charitable spirit as we discuss our differences.

To that end, I would actually make a request because ecumenical dialogue cannot take place without a commitment to prayer. I would ask that readers of this article would invest time into praying for clarity, understanding, and humility. As I prepared this article, I began the process the way that you would approach any topic of this nature—with rigorous reading, writing, and analysis. All of these are vital to fruitful ecumenical dialogue, but I’ve found that these things are not enough to break my heart of pride and hubris. True ecumenical discussions can only take place when we realize that reason alone is not sufficient for us to grasp knowledge of Divine things. We require the grace of God to break down the pride in our hearts and to see things that our stubborn hearts refuse to see. I would simply ask that those who read and or comment to take a moment to reflect and pray for a spirit of humility and understanding. (more…)

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