I made a startling observation while working on the post from July 29. I have observed that there are two systems of worship in use by Christians today. See if you agree. Here is what I see:
- One group of Christians believes the Scriptures give us liberty to choose the elements of Sunday communal worship and the order in which those elements occur. This group does not mandate attendance on Sunday; mandatory attendance on Sundays is not in the Scripture.
- Another group of Christians believes that we must follow the tradition of Sunday worship handed down to us from our spiritual forebearers going back to the Apostles. It is a tradition that must contain certain elements every Sunday in order to fulfill our obligation to worship God. Attendance is mandatory (except for a serious reason).
I was really bothered when I saw this. Let me explain why. I will need to draw from the Old Covenant (OC).
Looking at Exodus 26, imagine if a group of people arose and accused Moses of being wrong about the layout of the tabernacle. Let’s say they decided to build their own tabernacle, believing that God had spoken to them or their leader. Does that seem like something God would have caused? No, and I can think of three reasons why:
1) The set of regulations for worship is intimately tied in with the covenant itself.
2) A new set of regulations requires a new authority structure to maintain and uphold the regulations.
3) A new set of regulations for worship means a new covenant.
In fact, all of these are exactly what happened when the OC was abolished. The old set of worship regulations was abolished, and the new set was established. As we see in Hebrews 10:9:
… He abolishes the first in order to establish the second.
Hebrews 9 reiterates that the OC had one set of regulations for worship (“Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship…”). A careful reading also makes it clear that the New Covenant (NC) is pattered after it. The conclusion is that the NC can only have one set of regulations for worship, not two as we see today.
This realization makes me feel sad. I don’t like it, but that’s what I see.