Archive for March 2014

Guide to Posts About the Reformed Church in America (1628-)   Leave a comment

Reformed Church in America

Above:  Logo of the Reformed Church in America

Image Scanned from the Paper Slip Cover for Worship the Lord:  The Liturgy of the Reformed Church in America (2005) by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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U.S. DUTCH REFORMED LITURGY SERIES

I.  “United as Members of One Body in True Brotherly Love”:  The Reformed Church in America, 1628-1857:

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/united-as-members-of-one-body-in-true-brotherly-love-the-reformed-church-in-america-1628-1857/

II.  “That We Might Be Accepted of God and Never Forsaken of Him”:  Early American Dutch Reformed Liturgies, 1628-1814:

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2014/05/18/that-we-might-be-accepted-of-god-and-never-forsaken-of-him-early-american-dutch-reformed-liturgies-1628-1814/

III.  “That It May Please Thee to Remove All Sects and Scandals”:  The Reformed Church in America and the Christian Reformed Church in North America, 1857-1913:

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2014/05/22/that-it-may-please-thee-to-remove-all-sects-and-scandals-the-reformed-church-in-america-and-the-christian-reformed-church-in-north-america-1857-1913/

IV.  “God of Our Fathers”:  The Reformed Church in America and the Christian Reformed Church in North America, 1914-1945:

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2014/06/06/god-of-our-fathers-the-reformed-church-in-america-and-the-christian-reformed-church-in-north-america-1914-1945/

V.  “Hope of the World”:  The Reformed Church in America and the Christian Reformed Church in America, 1945-1969:

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2014/06/09/hope-of-the-world-the-reformed-church-in-america-and-the-christian-reformed-church-in-north-america-1945-1969/

VI.  “Lead me, Guide Me”:  The Reformed Church in America and the Christian Reformed Church in North America, 1970-2000:

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2014/06/22/lead-me-guide-me-the-reformed-church-in-america-and-the-christian-reformed-church-in-north-america-1970-2000/

VII.  “Let Us Break Bread Together”:  The Reformed Church in America and the Christian Reformed Church in North America, 2001-2014:

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2014/07/05/let-us-break-bread-together-the-reformed-church-in-america-and-the-christian-reformed-church-in-north-america-2001-2014/

VIII.  “Through the Church the Song Goes On”:  The Reformed Church in America and the Christian Reformed Church in North America–Some Reflections:

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2014/07/06/through-the-church-the-song-goes-on-the-reformed-church-in-america-and-the-christian-reformed-church-in-north-america-some-reflections/

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Incense, Mustiness, and Sanctity:

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2014/03/07/incense-mustiness-and-sanctity/

Greater Dignity and Depth in Worship:

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/12/10/greater-dignity-and-depth-in-worship/

The Doddridge Count:

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2014/02/08/the-doddridge-count/

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Posted March 8, 2014 by neatnik2009 in Reformed (General)

Tagged with

Guide to Posts About the Christian Reformed Church in North America (1857-)   1 comment

Christian Reformed Church

Above:  Logo of the Christian Reformed Church in America

Scanned from the Cover of My Copy of the 1976 Edition of the 1959 Psalter Hymnal

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U.S. DUTCH REFORMED LITURGY SERIES

I.  “United as Members of One Body in True Brotherly Love”:  The Reformed Church in America, 1628-1857:

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/united-as-members-of-one-body-in-true-brotherly-love-the-reformed-church-in-america-1628-1857/

III.  “That It May Please Thee to Remove All Sects and Scandals”:  The Reformed Church in America and the Christian Reformed Church in North America, 1857-1913:

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2014/05/22/that-it-may-please-thee-to-remove-all-sects-and-scandals-the-reformed-church-in-america-and-the-christian-reformed-church-in-north-america-1857-1913/

IV.  “God of Our Fathers”:  The Reformed Church in America and the Christian Reformed Church in North America, 1914-1945:

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2014/06/06/god-of-our-fathers-the-reformed-church-in-america-and-the-christian-reformed-church-in-north-america-1914-1945/

V.  “Hope of the World”:  The Reformed Church in America and the Christian Reformed Church in America, 1945-1969:

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2014/06/09/hope-of-the-world-the-reformed-church-in-america-and-the-christian-reformed-church-in-north-america-1945-1969/

VI.  “Lead me, Guide Me”:  The Reformed Church in America and the Christian Reformed Church in North America, 1970-2000:

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2014/06/22/lead-me-guide-me-the-reformed-church-in-america-and-the-christian-reformed-church-in-north-america-1970-2000/

VII.  “Let Us Break Bread Together”:  The Reformed Church in America and the Christian Reformed Church in North America, 2001-2014:

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2014/07/05/let-us-break-bread-together-the-reformed-church-in-america-and-the-christian-reformed-church-in-north-america-2001-2014/

VIII.  “Through the Church the Song Goes On”:  The Reformed Church in America and the Christian Reformed Church in North America–Some Reflections:

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2014/07/06/through-the-church-the-song-goes-on-the-reformed-church-in-america-and-the-christian-reformed-church-in-north-america-some-reflections/

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Of Their Time:

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2015/07/26/of-their-time/

Greater Dignity and Depth in Worship:

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/12/10/greater-dignity-and-depth-in-worship/

The Doddridge Count:

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2014/02/08/the-doddridge-count/

Adjusting to America:  Moravians, 1735-1848:

link

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Incense, Mustiness, and Sanctity   7 comments

Book of Common Worship 1993

Above:  The Title Page of the Book of Common Worship (1993)

Image Source = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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One does not plead for the use of incense–Presbyterians are not likely to come to that–but at least one may protest against mistaking a general odor of mustiness for the odor of sanctity.

–Kenneth J. Foreman, Professor of Philosophy and Bible, Davidson College, Davidson, North Carolina, in “Better Worship for Better Living,” Presbyterian Survey, August 1932, page 482

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Foreman’s words struck a chord with me a few years ago, when I found the quote while conducting research.  In fact, I chuckled quietly, as I was in a library at the time.  And, as I have affirmed since, Foreman was correct.

The worship of the living God ought to be an activity characterized by decorum and great dignity.  This attitude of mine explains why I dislike revivalism, the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements, and contemporary worship, and why I gravitate toward good liturgy.  And yes, I like the use of incense.  Some of the rural United Methodist congregations my father served in southern Georgia, U.S.A., were musty by Foreman’s standard.  Prolonged exposure and subjection to bad liturgy starved my soul.  Now, fortunately, good liturgy has become my steady diet.

U.S. Presbyterianism, despite its strong Puritan-influenced rejection of formal worship, comes from the Church of Scotland, which had a formal liturgy in the 1500s.  (The Church of Scotland, which has had its liturgical ups and downs over the centuries, retains an edition of the Book of Common Order.)  Formal worship–including frequent Holy Communion–is part of the Reformed Christian heritage–its tradition.  Yet this fact constitutes news to many pious Reformed Christians, especially in the United States, where many such congregations follow worship patterns influenced more by Puritanism and bygone rugged frontier conditions than their Protestant Reformation heritage.  As The Worship Sourcebook, Second Edition (2013), a product of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, states:

The biblical Psalms may well have functioned as a prayer book for the people of Israel.  Some of the earliest Christians compiled their advice about forms and patterns of worship into church order documents, the first of which, the Didache, dates back perhaps into the first century A.D.  Over time, especially in the early Medieval period, these documents grew very complex, with detailed instructions about every aspect of worship.

In the Reformation period Martin Luther and John Calvin called for significant changes to recommended or dictated patterns of worship by simplifying the structure and testing every text by theological criteria.  Out of the various Reformation traditions, the Anglican and Lutheran traditions retained the most detailed instructions.  The Anglican tradition preserved common patterns and texts for worship in the famous Book of Common Prayer, while the Lutherans did so in several editions of service books, adapted for use in each town. The Reformed tradition was also a service book tradition, albeit with far simpler liturgy.  In addition to the influence of Huldrych Zwingli’s liturgy, Calvin’s Genevan liturgies were adapted for use in Scotland and Hungary, while new liturgies that were developed near Heidelberg, Germany, became influential in the Netherlands.  Throughout the early decades of the Reformation, pastors did not create new orders of service for worship each week, as so many do today.  Worship was, to the surprise of many contemporary readers, “by the book.”

Despite this tradition, most evangelical and even many Reformed and Presbyterian congregations in North America have resisted the use of formal service books and set liturgies.  This resistance resulted partly from the influence of Puritan critiques of “by the book worship, which were much more stringent than critiques offered by the Reformers.  Other influences included the formation of early Methodist, Baptist, Anabaptist, and other “free church” congregations. as well as the spread of North American populism, pragmatism, and revivalism.  Congregations in many streams of North American Christianity have long resisted being told how to structure worship and have cherished their ability to respond to their own preferences and sense of what is most effective.

As a result, thousands of North American congregations today owe a great deal both to both a two-thousand-year history of service books and to the legacy of North American freedom and populism.  In recent years amid remarkable changes in the practice of worship, hundreds of those congregations are looking for new ways to appropriate both of these aspects of their identity.  Some efforts go by the names “blended worship,” “convergence worship,” or even “ancient-future” worship.  But despite vast and remarkable growth in contemporary music based on popular styles, many of the best-selling books on worship today are, ironically, studies of worship in the early church, prayer books for formal daily prayer, and books about the recovery of the sacraments.  Recent innovations under the umbrella of terms like “postmodern worship” and “alternative worship” sometimes feature even greater interest in traditional forms and texts than in the “contemporary worship” of the 1980s and 1990s–though in configurations that elude easy categorization.

–Pages 28 and 29

Worship the Lord 2005

Above:  The Cover of Worship the Lord:  The Liturgy of the Reformed Church in America (2005)

Image Source = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

Laudable Reformed Christian rituals and service books exist.  I point, for example, to the Presbyterian Book of Common Worship (1993)  and Book of Occasional Services (1999) as well as to the Reformed Church in America’s Worship the Lord (2005), all of which grace my liturgy library (the Book of Occasional Services as a free PDF).  But how many PC(USA) churchgoers know of their Book of Common Worship?  And how many Reformed Church in America worshipers attend congregations which make little use of the 2005 liturgy?

The first words which enter my mind when I ponder worship in the Presbyterian Church are

decently and in order.

In other words, I think of decorum and great dignity–even if the forms are simpler than they are elsewhere.  Worship patterns vary within denominations, of course, so this generalization does not apply universally among Presbyterians (or members of other denominations).  Yet I affirm the historic Presbyterian commitment to dignity and decorum in worship.

There is a High Church Presbyterian movement; it has existed in its renewed form since at least the middle 1800s.  I have availed myself of archive.org and downloaded certain congregational and semi-official and official service books from Reformed churches.  Such downloaded files join volumes, such as every edition of the U.S. Presbyterian Book of Common Worship (starting with the 1906 edition) as invaluable parts of my liturgy library.  I have found denunciations of these “Episcoterian” tendencies in certain online forums.  Perhaps the authors of some of these posts need to review the history of their own tradition and ponder Professor’s Foreman’s critique.

I will be in my Episcopal parish, bowing to the high altar and to processional crosses most Sunday mornings.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 7, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JAMES HEWITT MCGOWN, HUMANITARIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINTS DRAUSINUS AND ANSERICUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS OF SOISSONS; SAINT VINDICIAN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF CAMBRAI; AND SAINT LEODEGARIUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF AUTUN

THE FEAST OF EDWARD OSLER, ENGLISH DOCTOR, EDITOR, AND POET

THE FEAST OF SAINT PERPETUA AND HER COMPANIONS, MARTYRS