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Discussion in 'Church Calendar and Pretended Holy Days' started by RWD, Apr 19, 2019.
Funny story..... Three years ago I went to a dog shelter to rescue a dog and found out that it was closed because it was Good Friday per the one staff person who was there. I went home and told my family, "I couldn't get a dog because it is Great Friday or something like that."
We've got so many!
Love it! Truly. I think I’ll still try to seize the opportunities afforded to us through days like today.
@Kaalvenist We were just discussing this!
A good Friday, indeed.
Y'all know I'm generally wary of liturgical calendars. But is there truly a restriction against observing the Lord's table (in a worship context) another day of the week? Especially if it specifically remembers the Lord's death until he comes, as commanded?
A casual observer might think that the Lord’s Supper is only to be observed once per month in the morning and every other month in the evening (that’s not a dig), but to your question, there’s no restriction to only partake of communion on Sundays. The church may gather for corporate worship other days of the week, at which times the Supper may be served, but Sunday is to be observed as the Lord’s Day.
I'm curious. What opportunities would those be?
I’m usually wrong but that’s never stopped me before so I’d have to say yes there’s a restriction.
If I were to put out a message about the meaning of the crucifixion on any given Sunday, it would not likely get the attention that it might get on Good Friday. I don’t think that’s such a strange thing. People expect it more. It’s not as weird or pushy to them. Even secular magazines revisit the historical Jesus during Easter week. It’s really no different than a message about the incarnation becoming a bit more palatable to consider during Christmas season than on the Fourth of July or say, Memorial Day weekend. We might say that God sort of tees things up for us at certain times of the year more than at other times of the year. Just as Time Magazine would consider the empty tomb at Easter time, secular music stations will often play Christmas carols in December. Religion seems more in the air a couple times a year.
This sort of thing isn’t restricted to the church calendar either. After 9-11 there were opportunities everywhere to engage friends and neighbors on God’s foreordination of all things and a biblical view of providence - much more so than when the stock market rallies 5% for the week.
Good Lord’s Day!
I'm only on board seizing such opportunities if the superstition, will worship and idolatry are warned against at the same time. Otherwise, you are just reinforcing and not warning against the error which is so part and parcel with the pretended holy days themselves, which are monuments of idolatry not to be trifled with like any other providential occasion. And it is not like there is no danger folks treat such times as holy when a leading Reformed theologian, the late RC Sproul, defended them as actually holy sanctified times on the same terms as the anglocatholics did prior to the second reformation in Scotland; almost identical words as Richard Hooker.
Ryan, there are more than a few of us Baptists who agree that there are 52 holy days per year. No more. No less.
I must be misunderstanding something. If I put forth the meaning of the cross outside of Easter week, I may simply put forth the message of the cross as I did on my FB page. Yet because I took the opportunity to publish that gospel message on Good Friday, I was obliged to warn against the specific sins of superstition, will worship and idolatry?
Let's say for the sake of argument it is okay to have the Lord's supper on another day besides Sunday (which is a interesting question itself, that hopefully Jean gets an answer on). Does it then become inappropriate as part of Maundy Thursday / Good Friday service? Does it matter the elements (either lack of some or additions like the Tenebrea)?
Hopefully, at the very least, the table is being properly fenced. It seems like having the Lord's supper on a day other than the normal gathering, it leads credence to that day being more special. I would just be concerned about the fencing and the elevating of another day.
I would never do so without dropping the other shoe because of the pervasive idolatry of the idea there are holy days and times other than the Lord's Day, and at the least lest I stumble someone who may be led by my silence to retain or go on in such manner of thinking. At minimum think Spurgeon's 'we have no regard to papist holy days' appended to his nativity sermons. We can share the message of the cross any day; but we are obligated to observe the times and circumstances under which we do anything and we must observe the scripture rules governing things which otherwise are in theory indifferent. How much more should we be careful about church services. Think of a reformed minister invited to preach at a church and there is a big painting or stain glass window depicting Christ on the wall behind the pulpit from which he's preaching. The error is so gross and obvious; something Reformed churches tossed out at the reformation as idols. If he is to preach this providence dictates he must say something addressing the setting or circumstance of whatever sermon he was to preach if there had not been an idol there. The same with the church calendar which is a monument to the idolatry of the RCC. It is only less obvious to us because the calendar has been so accepted in otherwise true churches; most are like that congregation that gave no second thought to that big picture of Jesus. How could it be bad; it helps me to worship looking at Jesus, etc.? You can find more on my thinking by searching the board and look in the calendar section of the worship forum.
The question was whether there’s a restriction against observing the Supper on another day of the week. As originally asked, I would not infer (not that you were) that the question being asked is whether the church may replace Sunday observance of the Supper with another day in perpetuity. Rather, I would take it to mean, is it permissible (or not) to observe the Supper on another day in addition to Sunday observances.
Your concern is that of falsely communicating one day as more special than another. I’ll get to that in a moment, but what if a congregation was in the habit of gathering every Wednesday for corporate worship and prayer? In such a case, would the regularity of gathering on Wednesdays alleviate the concern of wrongly implying that Wednesdays are somehow special holy days? If so, then in such cases, observing the Supper on Wednesdays would not present a problem in this regard.
Regarding infrequent gatherings like a particular Thursday once per year, if there is a call to worship and God’s Holy Word is expounded but the Supper is forbidden, what would that communicate, that the Supper is more special than the Word? In other words, to permit the Word in congregational worship while forbidding the Supper is a bit problematic. Not observing the Supper in such cases is one thing but forbidding it is quite another.
At the very least, this appears to be a question of prudence and not one of what is regulated by the Word, which is merely, “as often as you drink this cup...” I get the point and would definitely heed the caution offered, but Sola Scriptura leads me away from definite rules on the matter.
If you post a message about the cross on Good Friday, even if you make no mention of the day, will not the readers readily assume that your message is in observance of the day due to the pervasiveness of its idolatry? And in doing so, do not you scandalize those of Reformed convictions regarding holy days and strengthen others in their idolatrous observances?
You may certainly share the Gospel as on any other day, but you ought to, in the manner in which you do, neither give occasion for a brother to stumble nor give the appearance of countenancing evil.
These celebrations don’t help those who belittle and ignore all the other Lord’s Day gatherings that don’t get the supposed “honor” of falling on a RCC holy day.
The mindset even within many otherwise solid Presbyterian and Baptist congregations is that there is something even more important about these days. Watch your attendance, listen to people’s small talk, watch the flower arrangements, see how request start coming into the pastor and session to do things a “little” different on that day. Some even cancel their regular evening service...... for what reason? I don’t know.
I am thankful for the new ears that come and hear the gospel. May the Lord give new hearts to many this Lord’s Day, but we need less “special Easter Sunday mentality” and more reminding people that these truths are a reality EVERY Lord’s Day and we should desire and in fact are commanded to set the Lord’s Day apart each and every week.
When you step back and give an honest assessment about how many orthodox Protestants react to these RCC holy days, one quickly realizes that sentimentality, “family memories”, and notions of “it just feels right in my heart” have been raised as an idol over what our Lord has commanded in worship. May the Lord grant us reformation! Forgive us oh Lord and by your spirit help your sheep who (myself included) are prone to wonder. Remind your saints this Lord’s Day of the beauty and blessing of your example and command of working 6 days and resting 1 unto the worship of your most Holy Name.
The question of church power comes into play here--which of course is part and parcel of Sola Scriptura. God alone is Lord of the conscience. If a call to worship is given, if the Supper is ministered, it becomes a different matter than a Wednesday night prayer meeting. It is then stated, public worship and it is incumbent upon all congregants to be present, unless providentially hindered, or they are rejecting the call and excommunicating themselves. On what authority can the church exercise the keys in such a manner? Certainly not that of the Scriptures.
In other words, readers will readily assume I’m an idolator? No, I don’t think they will. For one thing, if they’re idolatrous in this regard, they wouldn’t realize it. And if they wouldn’t realize it themselves, then it’s doubtful they’d recognize it in one who wasn’t.
I wouldn’t be scandalizing those whose Reformed convictions are in accordance with a robust understanding of Liberty of Conscience and Sola Scriptura.
It sounds to me that tradition has handcuffed you. You observe special off-limit days.
From the Directory for the Public Worship of God
False premise(s) leading to an unreliable conclusion(s). If my church decided to call worship every Tuesday and Thursday and I wasn’t “providentially” hindered to attend yet exercised my liberty not to in order to exercise other lawful and needful duties, including relaxing from work, that would not be tantamount to excommunication. My attendance would be regular enough. If the church were to try to exercise the keys in this regard, it’d be tyrannical.
Why does one have to realize that they are idolatrous? If you preached a sermon in front of the golden calf and made no mention of its evil, would it be fine because the hearers don't recognize that the calf was idolatrous anyways? They don't assume you are an idolater per se, but that you regard the day. Given that observance of man-made holy days is idolatrous, they assume that you are engaging in an action which we know is idolatrous.
I would encourage you to read Gillespie or another Reformed writer on the matter for you are turning liberty of conscience on its head. We have liberty from superstition, not to it.
Calvin argued that a Christian should not be present at a Mass so as to not seem to approve its evils by his presence. I suppose that he had special off limit places too.
Yea, I agree with Ron here (above). I don't believe scripture warrants that we attend any day other than the Lord's day. The Directory calls for special days of thanksgiving, but I can't say that I believe it is compulsory.
Yes, but what you miss is that the ministry of the Supper and the authoritative preaching of the Word is exercising the keys itself. Excommunication is separating men from the communion of the body of Christ and especially in the Lord's Supper. The reason why we often admonish church members not to lightly excommunicate themselves by not partaking of the Supper is that to allow the Supper to pass by, whether present or no, is a serious matter.
Man does not have liberty to substitute otherwise lawful duties for the public worship of the Lord. To call men to worship before a holy God and then tell them that if you want to spend time with family instead it is fine is a gross contradiction. This is why weekday Bible studies are not regarded as public worship and are not conducted in the same manner and with the same elements as a Lord's Day service.
@Reformed Bookworm, would you mind sending me info in a PM about the 2 outer books above. Maybe links to purchase from RHB. Thanks, G