Good Friday in NOLA

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DavidL

Puritan Board Freshman
I'm in New Orleans on a layover today looking for a church to attend this evening for a Good Friday service. I'm kind of striking out with the 3 PCA churches here (one isn't having one at all, one is having theirs late at 7:45 PM which is pushing it for my 4 AM departure from the hotel tomorrow, and the other has a noon one that might work but that's kind of an odd time). Any leads/recommendations on a church in New Orleans that might have a service this evening? I can watch my home church's service online, but that's no substitute for being in the house of the Lord.
 

jw

Administrator
In all seriousness, your desire and your intent, I think, are well-placed, but you may want to ask yourself why Good Friday is a thing. You may also want to figure out why in the world a professing Reformed Presbyterian church would even countenance such a thing. It is borne of will-worship. I am not saying that such is your intent, or the intent of many who -with sincerity- seek to honor the Lord, but I am asserting that such is sincerely wrong, in that the Lord has not called for such things, and -to borrow a phrase from my pastor- if the Lord orders steak, we don't bring Him tacos (even though we really like the tacos).

Please don't hear my as taking an opportunity to bludgeon you with the Regulative Principle Hammer, cuz that's not really my intent. I once was the fool standing in front of hundreds of people with a guitar in hand belting through "praise songs" and leading others in it. Thankfully, the Lord has rescued me from that, and continues to expose other hypocrisies that are not so visible to others. So, I am thankful for His mercies, and His continued work on me. I pray more and more that Reformed & Presbyterian churches will cast aside these monuments of idolatry, and give the glory due to the Lord's Name in seeking Him how He has commanded, not based on lies of when He was born. When he was killed, buried, etc. Instead, that with the greatest vigor and strength, we might fill up His holy day with the worship with which He is pleased, and then fill the other six days with the work of our hands (with which He is also very pleased).

This pitting a particular Sabbath day -and that based on the whims of men, not the command of God- as somehow being more special, more holy, more memorable than every other Sabbath day is to be lamented, and has given the enemies of God occasion to blaspheme, just as Rabshakeh did with the people of God, when he thought Hezekiah's reforms were against the Lord by removing the high places. Lord, help us. And I most certainly agree with you that there is no suitable replacement with regard to a worship service than gathering together with the Lord's people, in the Lord's house.
 

reformed grit

Puritan Board Freshman
(((hugz)))

Bless his heart, I've been to Nawlins too, and meaning no disrespect, when I checked into the hotel (a 'nice' one, mind you), the concierge asked if I wanted a girl for my room. I'm mostly anti-Romanisms too, but one could do a lot worse than asking for a religious service on a Friday night.
 
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retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Junior
The church I attend is doing a good Friday service tonight. I am torn on whether to go or not. I see @jw concerns above and agree, but at the same time, Calvin, Spurgeon, and many other reformed pastors throughout history preached on more than just Sunday. These services were not required as far as I can tell, but they were available to be attended. Part of me tries to see the service tonight, not as a good Friday service, but rather another worship service.

I am thinking the main issue is not that there is an extra service though, but rather we are "celebrating" something that we were not commanded to.
 

DavidL

Puritan Board Freshman
In all seriousness, your desire and your intent, I think, are well-placed, but you may want to ask yourself why Good Friday is a thing. You may also want to figure out why in the world a professing Reformed Presbyterian church would even countenance such a thing. It is borne of will-worship. I am not saying that such is your intent, or the intent of many who -with sincerity- seek to honor the Lord, but I am asserting that such is sincerely wrong, in that the Lord has not called for such things, and -to borrow a phrase from my pastor- if the Lord orders steak, we don't bring Him tacos (even though we really like the tacos). Please don't hear my as taking an opportunity to bludgeon you with the Regulative Principle Hammer, cuz that's not really my intent. I once was the fool standing in front of hundreds of people with a guitar in hand belting through "praise songs" and leading others in it. Thankfully, the Lord has rescued me from that, and continues to expose other hypocrisies that are not so visible to others. So, I am thankful for His mercies, and His continued work on me. I pray more and more that Reformed & Presbyterian churches will cast aside these monuments of idolatry, and give the glory due to the Lord's Name in seeking Him how He has commanded, not based on lies of when He was born. When he was killed, buried, etc. Instead, that with the greatest vigor and strength, we might fill up His holy day with the worship with which He is pleased, and then fill the other six days with the work of our hands (with which He is also very pleased).
Thank you for your thoughts. I'll have to give this due prayer and consideration. My initial thoughts have been that I think they can be bring together the church to remember the wages of our sin, recognize the wrath that Christ bore on our behalf, the love and mercy and grace of God in making away for our sins to be atoned, and doing so through the reading of God's word and the singing of Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. Yet I can see a danger in "will-worship" as you so labeled if this is adding some sort of ill-conceived special Sabbath to what is commanded.

But while we're on the Regulative Principle, as I think about this I'm trying to parse out how letting "the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God" applies on other days throughout the week. Curious what your thoughts are: can this be done in a manner that does not elevate such a gathering above the Lord's Day (or even replace), and is consistent with worshipping God as he has directed?
 
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jw

Administrator
Brothers, I'm sorry for the practical hit & run, but I'm a little swamped. I will try to return and respond a little later.
 

reformed grit

Puritan Board Freshman
Robert McCurley's sermon linked above is a good one, esp. on the regulative principle of worship, of subscription here at the PB. If I may, there certainly are more worthy sources, but I offer an equally old brief series on my blog Here. Looks like I messed up the link, but just scroll down to the first article on Christmas, if you like.
 

reformed grit

Puritan Board Freshman
Historically, we were pretty much all papists, 'till we weren't.
It may be significant to acknowledge many reformed Christians were reintroduced to Good Friday, rather than as a Roman continuance.

As a lowly old humiliated grape-juice Christian, I just stare into space when someone yells enthusiastically, "HEY! Over at Martin's church they're singing beer-hall songs with a pipe-organ!!" .
 
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fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
Are you a papist? Then why would you attend a good friday service?
I don't see how it is Papist to have a church gathering with Scripture readings and hymns and a brief exposition of God's Word around the theme of Christ's atonement for sin. That is what we are doing. It is not a substitute for the Lord's Day worship. It is not mandatory. In one sense it is no different than a Reformation Day celebration. There are no anti-Biblical practices attached to it (e.g. Lent or putting on of ashes).
 

Andres

Puritan Board Doctor
I don't see how it is Papist to have a church gathering with Scripture readings and hymns and a brief exposition of God's Word around the theme of Christ's atonement for sin. That is what we are doing. It is not a substitute for the Lord's Day worship. It is not mandatory. In one sense it is no different than a Reformation Day celebration. There are no anti-Biblical practices attached to it (e.g. Lent or putting on of ashes).

I'm all on board with what you've described! Are you referring to it as a good friday service, though? Are you referring to this as "holy week" in any capacity? Those are what I take umbrage with as there is no day commanded to be set apart as holy except for the Lord's Day. Oh wait, I also take umbrage with man-inspired hymn, but that's for a different thread :)
 

reformed grit

Puritan Board Freshman
Ashes, footwashing, and genuflection really fell out of favour here in the South with the influx of carpetbaggers after the War of Northern Aggression.
(just kidding)

(not really)
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Junior
I'm all on board with what you've described! Are you referring to it as a good friday service, though? Are you referring to this as "holy week" in any capacity? Those are what I take umbrage with as there is no day commanded to be set apart as holy except for the Lord's Day. Oh wait, I also take umbrage with man-inspired hymn, but that's for a different thread :)
As far as I can tell, the service my church is holding tonight is going to be mostly what Pastor Greco described, but I would not be surprised if the word "good friday" got dropped a few of times.
 

Zach

Puritan Board Senior
Exactly. They shouldn't hold or attend "holy week" services either.
I understand what you're getting at, brother. I know that their worship isn't enitrely biblical and is insufficiently Reformed. But 500 years of Lutheran and Anglican history show that Good Friday is not just a practice for Roman Catholics. Add to that the fairly deep roots of the liturgical calendar in the history of the Church catholic and saying that anyone who participates in a Good Friday service is a "Papist" begins to look like a serious and uncharitable overstatement.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
It isn't Presbyterian. I know the arguments for holding services on the pretended holy days, and Durham in Scandals, places such a question for those who reject such days or say they do as one of offense (so, the rules governing something in theory indifferent rather than one of proscription in the RPW/second commandment). But there also is a clear principle for rejecting monuments of idolatry that is simply not taken seriously enough in my opinion. We have a Lent issue in Presbyterian churches because we have allowed the other two big days, and in the PCA at least you will hear the same argument for observing the pretended holy days as Anglocatholic Richard Hooker who essentially takes RC Cardinal Bellarmine's view. Prime case, compare RC Sproul's defense of them with Hooker and it is identical. If you have such towering giants in Presbyterianism doing that, the rejection of these things becomes significantly more important to get back to right principles of worship. Given all that I think these observances are doing far more damage than the assumed good (gospel presentation opportunity etc.). Ask the random attendee some questions and you'll find out quick if they are being taught at least by practice that such times are indeed more special and of a certain obligation. Or let the pastor try skipping these things and you will find out just how attached to them for wrong reasons folks are.
 

Andres

Puritan Board Doctor
I understand what you're getting at, brother. I know that their worship isn't enitrely biblical and is insufficiently Reformed. But 500 years of Lutheran and Anglican history show that Good Friday is not just a practice for Roman Catholics. Add to that the fairly deep roots of the liturgical calendar in the history of the Church catholic and saying that anyone who participates in a Good Friday service is a "Papist" begins to look like a serious and uncharitable overstatement.
Yes, but where did these man-made church days and seasons originate? But fair enough. I can concede the “Papist” argument against man-made holy days is insufficient. How about this: has God commanded His people to worship Him via man made holy days? The answer is no He has not, therefore to do so violates the regulative principle of worship and God's second commandment.

Q. 108. What are the duties required in the second commandment?
A. The duties required in the second commandment are, the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God hath instituted in his word... (emphasis mine).
 

reformed grit

Puritan Board Freshman
I don't mean to overrun our good brother's thread, but it truly is a sad state of affairs in both the PCA & OPC (and others). AND I would insist it is these denominations which need to be cleaned and revived, NOT the creation or splitting off of new denominations. We already have a shameful reputation toward microdenominationalism (yeah, I guess that is a word).
 

Zach

Puritan Board Senior
Yes, but where did these man-made church days and seasons originate? But fair enough. I can concede the “Papist” argument against man-made holy days is insufficient. How about this: has God commanded His people to worship Him via man made holy days? The answer is no He has not, therefore to do so violates the regulative principle of worship and God's second commandment.

Q. 108. What are the duties required in the second commandment?
A. The duties required in the second commandment are, the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God hath instituted in his word... (emphasis mine).
Yes, showing that dismissing Good Friday as Roman Catholic is not accurate and not particularly respectful to our Anglican and Lutheran brothers and sisters was really my point in bringing it up.

Like you say, it's ultimately much more a question about whether we worship according to the normative principle or regulative principle of worship, whether the church can bind consciences and command observance, and then, within Reformed churches, what applying the regulative principle requires and looks like. For instance, I'd challenge whether or not Reformed churches that have a Good Friday service are worshipping "via" a man made holy day like you say and instead say, like Pastor Greco put it, that they're gathering for worship that's regulated according to Scripture at a particular time to consider a particular topic. We can disagree as brothers about whether or not that violates the regulative principle and the second commandment or not, but calling everyone who went to church tonight a Papist isn't helpful or charitable.
 

Andres

Puritan Board Doctor
We can disagree as brothers about whether or not that violates the regulative principle and the second commandment or not, but calling everyone who went to church tonight a Papist isn't helpful or charitable.
I didn’t call everyone who went to church tonight a papist, I implied those who celebrate the man-made holy day of good friday were behaving like papists in doing so. As I noted above, the issue isn’t worshipping God on days other than the Lord’s Day, rather the issue is worshipping God in ways He has not instituted in His word. Just like my local congregation will certainly gather for corporate worship this coming Lord’s Day but we will in no way celebrate the man-made holy day known as easter.
 

Zach

Puritan Board Senior
I didn’t call everyone who went to church tonight a papist, I implied those who celebrate the man-made holy day of good friday were behaving like papists in doing so. As I noted above, the issue isn’t worshipping God on days other than the Lord’s Day, rather the issue is worshipping God in ways He has not instituted in His word. Just like my local congregation will certainly gather for corporate worship this coming Lord’s Day but we will in no way celebrate the man-made holy day known as easter.
I think the post, "Are you a papist? Then why would you attend a Good Friday service?" is far less nuanced than what you said above and even misses the substance of the issue being debated. That's really all my posts were trying to point out, brother. But you're right, you didn't call people who attended services tonight a papist, that was an overstatement on my part. Please forgive me.
 

Rome2Geneva

Puritan Board Freshman
I don't see how it is Papist to have a church gathering with Scripture readings and hymns and a brief exposition of God's Word around the theme of Christ's atonement for sin. That is what we are doing. It is not a substitute for the Lord's Day worship. It is not mandatory. In one sense it is no different than a Reformation Day celebration. There are no anti-Biblical practices attached to it (e.g. Lent or putting on of ashes).
Thank you for this. I don't understand the level of scruples that seems to surround this issue. If Christians want to gather to do what you say above I don't see why anybody would have an issue with it. I also don't see any church trying to elevate this to the level of Lord's Day worship. Maybe some do but I haven't seen it.

As for Easter, we celebrate the Resurrection every Sunday. Why is it on this particular Sunday people take issue with it? Is the problem with the word "Easter"? Is it an issue for a church to focus on a Resurrection passage on that particular Sunday rather than continuing through whatever book they may be going through?

Forgive my ignorance but as it is right now I just don't get the adamant opposition attitude regarding this issue.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
On one hand, it isn't Presbyterian. The evidence is pretty clear on that point. I think the opposition stems from this fact: if a family chooses not to go to a Holy Week service, can the pastor rebuke them for it? If so, then he has practically bound their conscience.
 

Rome2Geneva

Puritan Board Freshman
On one hand, it isn't Presbyterian. The evidence is pretty clear on that point. I think the opposition stems from this fact: if a family chooses not to go to a Holy Week service, can the pastor rebuke them for it? If so, then he has practically bound their conscience.
Absolutely, and I agree. I grew up with "holy days of obligation" which were a mortal sin to miss mass on. These observed days must always be voluntary and subordinate or separate from the Lord's Day.

Thank you. I'm trying to get a better grasp on this particular issue.
 
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