Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Christ-Centered Worship discussion #2

Our Session's second discussion of Christ-Centered Worship was this morning covering chapters 4 and 5. Once again, these are the questions I presented to the elders in advance of the discussion.

(Because the chapters were very similar in content— and my questions combined the ideas from both— the questions are not divided by chapter as they were last time.)

  • Calvin led worship in French, because he wanted to be understood. What are some ways that we order our worship "in the vernacular"? In what ways could we do better?
  • Chapell discusses how Calvin both participated in worship and led the congregation as "God's representative" (p. 43). What elements of worship are strongly participatory in our liturgy? What elements could be more so? How do/should our leaders demonstrate equal participation? How do/should our leaders (especially the pastor/preacher) demonstrate a role as God's representative?
  • Are you familiar with the "regulative principle of worship"? What does your familiarity (and agreement) with it suggest to you about what should be included in corporate worship? About what should be excluded?
  • Unlike the Roman Catholic liturgy, Calvin and Westminster put the Confession of Sin and Assurance of God's Pardoning Grace immediately in response to the call to worship and acknowledgement of God's glory— toward the beginning of the worship service. What is the function and place of the Confession of Sin and Assurance of Pardon, in your view? Why?
  • Calvin and Westminster made heavy use of Psalms sung and read. Why do you think the Psalter was so prominent in their liturgies? Why do you think the evangelical church has moved away from using the Psalms more frequently in public worship?
  • In contrast to Luther, Calvin (and Westminster) employed congregational singing frequently and heavily. How do you think song and music "fit" into worship today? What would happen if congregational song was taken out of worship entirely (a la Luther)?
  • Calvin saw the whole Bible as "preachable" (in contrast to Luther, whose preaching focus was narrowed to the New Testament). Westminster did, too, and also employed more frequent readings throughout the liturgy. Does our worship service make good use of all of Scripture? Why do you think so many worship styles/liturgies today include fewer readings than were historically common?
  • There are many individual elements of worship that are included in most or all of the liturgies we've seen so far in Chapell's book. Which ones are included in our liturgy? Which ones are missing? Which ones are placed very differently in ours than in these historic liturgies? Why do you think we have included some but left out others? Why have we placed ours where we have them?

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