Contend Earnestly: 10 Steps to Become a Legalist: Step 7

Monday, August 04, 2008

10 Steps to Become a Legalist: Step 7

Well the series is finally back. After a stint of going crazy on everything from skimboarding to God's Greatest Secret, we come back to the fun of making fun of everyone. What I like about these posts is that they make fun of everyone, I am an equal opportunity blogger. I especially like making fun of the stupid things that I have thought or done in the past, and this one definitely didn't escape my narrowminded PK background.

Step 7 is, People Need To Do Church Like I Do Church. This one takes it from the personal level of being a legalist and letting it spread to your whole congregation. Ahhhh, nothing like making everyone else as miserable as you are.

To make yourself a legalist in this manner, the first thing that you must do is make sure that you believe that there is a certain time and date for meeting at church.

If you are emergent, then it could be any day at any time, since the bars are open 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Lucky you. If you are the emergent type, make sure that you scoff at anyone who would try and keep the tradition of meeting on Sunday mornings, that is just stupid, who cares when Jesus rose again from the dead...hey wait...maybe we could put that in the list of questions, like the virgin birth and homosexuality. But, whatever you do, don't give in to the man...he will make you meet on Sunday mornings at 11am, and that just sucks.

For the other side of the equation, which is my case, would be those who believe that Jesus only shows up between the times of 11am to 12pm on a Sunday morning. This is the decreed time for Jesus to show up. Plus, how could he make the services on the West Coast if those on the East Coast have their church anytime they want? There's a schedule to keep here.

So, make up your mind, either meet in a bar or a park or while hiking with the grizzlies, that I hope eat you, or be one of those that believe that Christ has a schedule to keep. But, pick one, and rant and rave as much as you can on why it is the only way, and the only time, to worship God in the gathering of his people.

Speaking of gathering, step 2 is this: make sure that people know that they must hold the same schedule that you do for the service. This includes some of the stuff we have talked about before. Make sure that you are clear on what kind of music will be played, or not played, at your worship service. Make it clear why hymns are the only way, or why Psalms is the clear choice (even though you won't ever mention the name of Jesus in any of your Psalm hymns...oops), or why rock music that would rival Bono is the best way to reach the masses, errr, I mean worship God. Be clear that your way is the perfect way and that no other is okay. If you are exclusive Psalmody you have to make sure that you have an 80 year old AARP member who has purple hair and still has the same sheets she had on her bed from the turn of the century. If you don't have one of these in your church you can forget your piano or pipe organ. Even though I love these old ladies, it is always funny to see them always playing the organ. Probably because they are the only ones who know how to play it as it was invented at the same time that they were born while the dinosaurs roamed the earth.

If you are not cool with only singing Psalms, make sure that you make fun of those who do and bring in any music that sounds cool. Who cares if you sing the same line 24 times, as long as you get some good close ups of your worship leader closing his eyes and raising his hands on the big screen, you are good

So, whether you are kicking it with Mildred or hanging out with the hippie turned song leader, make it known that it is what God hears and all the others are just banging gongs and clanging cymbals.

Now that you got the day of the week, or lack thereof, and rock songs, I mean worship songs, picked out, it is time to look at how you are going to run the rest of the service.

Every pastor knows that his sermon has to be 45 minutes or longer or they are just lazy. How can you exposit that one verse in less than 45 minutes? That is like asking Moses to part the Red Sea again. I have to be able to tell the congregation how to parse the Greek verb, how it was used during the different centuries in Christendom and then, if everyone hasn't left, I have to then say something about Jesus. So, anyone who thinks they can preach in less than 45 minutes probably went to public school on the slow bus with a helmut on.

On the other side. If you are a preacher that has sermons as long as a fortune cookie's fortune, you want to make sure that the people that come to your service are comfortable and don't get too bored. Everyone who goes to your church have places to go and people to see, they don't have time for these long messages, especially since the worship pastor just got done singing a chorus for 25 minutes. Those preachers that preach for an hour just want to show off their knowledge, but you are lead by the Spirit and you have cool clothes.

Okay, a little more serious now. We need to cool it a little with our thoughts on the actual church service. I will say that preaching needs to be the center because in the early church and how the elders are set up, preaching and teaching were, and are, always center. So, your preaching time should always coincide with the length of your Sunday service, whatever that may be. With the worship music, I personally like a mix of hymns and praise songs and Psalms. I know that some have very hard core thinking on this and that is cool for their congregation, but they need to slow down with evangelizing more on what music they play instead of the Gospel of Christ.

What I believe that is important with the Lord's Day is that God (which includes Jesus for all you exclusive Psalmody guys) is glorified through the worship of song and the word. How you do this is your church's biz, not mine. Some people herald how a proper worship service should take place, which isn't given in the Bible, more than they care of reaching the lost with the glorious gospel. That is a problem.

Be careful in being a legalist in this area as it does divide people pretty easily and I see people leaving the church more on music or how loud the drums are than I do doctrine. For all you Reformed Baptists or IFB guys, a drum is a percussion instrument that you bang with wooden sticks that help the melody, or something like is a link to a picture. And yes, if you let drums in your church that is exactly what the drummer will look like. Also here is a better description from wikipedia.


So, as we look at how we do church, we need to simply ask, "How can I exemplify the theme of the Bible as we meet together as God's people?" "How can we most edify those that come for the glory of the Trinity and not the glory of man?"

How long should the service be? How long should the preaching be? How many songs should you sing? Which songs should you sing? Which order should this all happen? These are questions that are going to be answered by your male elders, but the real question is how do all these show off our God more and more and us less and less.

For He must increase and I must decrease
John 3:30


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