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“The regulative principle may therefore be seen, in a particular sense, as a natural inference from the doctrine of total depravity.”
― Joseph Morecraft (How God Wants Us to Worship Him)
What is a Liturgy?Simply defined a "liturgy" is a fixed form or order of a worship service.
What is Corporate Worship?Corporate worship, as we understand it, is a time set apart on the Lord’s day which includes components of worship that are specifically set out in the Scriptures. These components include: Scripture Readings, Corporate Singing, Gathered (or Corporate) Confession, Scriptural Assurance of Pardon, Corporate Prayer, The Proclamation of God’s Word, and faithful obedience to the ordinances of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Many of us may have never thought that we would find a fixed liturgy to be a meaningful way to approach worship. However, after experiencing it over time, we have found it to be a much more meaningful form of worship because of its connection to Scripture, Church history, and the depth of its ability to illuminate our relationship with each other and our great and Holy God.
Why do we engage in Gathered (or Corporate) Confession?Our approach, though relatively new to us here in our local context, has been the practice of the faithful Body of Christ for centuries. In more modern context, unfortunately, many churches have put aside the corporate confession in favor of only music but the church has historically made the corporate confession central to worship. For most it makes the time of worship more authentic and joyful for it strikes a blow against self-righteousness and humbles us before God as we say what we know to be true of ourselves and the only Lord who saves us. It reminds us that we are not better than others and that it is only grace (an alien righteousness) which makes us what we are. In it we pray for personal sin, for the sins of our local church, our local community, our nation and world. Did you know? The first national day of prayer was proclaimed by Abraham Lincoln? And that it was actually called “A day for national prayer and humiliation” and it was a corporate confession of sin for the nation? Here is part of the text: “We have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us! It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness” * Some information above was adapted from monergism.com ** For more information, please see: "Why Corporate Worship Should Include Corporate Confession" Article by Jonathan Cruse Christ-Centered Worship by Brian Chapell
What is Scriptural Assurance of Pardon and why is it part of our service?Gathered (or Corporate) Confession of Sin, by itself, would bring only despair were it not for our knowledge of God's faithfulness to His promises to His people, His forgiveness and mercy. It is dangerous to dwell on ourselves and our sin if we do not also remember that God delights in forgiving us. So once again, we follow in the footsteps of our fellow believers for centuries and look to those promises from the pages of the Word of God. We know this one thing to be true: if your faith is in Jesus Christ, then you can be assured, based on the sure promise of the Word, that your sins are forgiven.
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