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Switch to Forum Live View "Too Much Bible" in Liturgical Worship?
4 years ago  ::  Mar 18, 2011 - 4:18PM #1
tawonda
Posts: 4,367
Over on the Christian-to-Christian Debate forum one of the more Evangelical folk there made the claim that liturgical worship uses too much Scripture -- that it's confusing for the faithful to be bombarded with so much Bible, and that most preachers can't adequately explain each of the lessons in the course of the average sermon.

My first reaction to this was to burst out laughing (much to the startlement of my better half). I mean, that's pretty rich to have an Evangelical saying that we use too much Bible in our worship services. (I'm guessing that that study done not so long ago that showed that liturgical churches do have more biblical content in their worship than non-liturgical services has gotten some traction in Evangelical circles and folks there are trying to come to terms with it.) I also think it's funny that folks who criticize us for being too thinky and sacerdotal are now arguing that all Scripture in the service needs to be vetted through the preacher before it gets to the laypeople...I mean, didn't we hash this out during the Reformation?

So, no; I don't think that we throw "too much Bible" at people at all.

But then again, it's part of my job as a lay minister  to live with and think about and learn about these readings all week long.

What do you think? Do you think laypeople can be trusted to "do the math," so to speak, that thematically ties together the lectionary lessons...and (o my stars and garters) even take some responsibility for learning more about the lessons on their own?

If you're a layperson who doesn't have a church job involving worship planning -- do you feel inundated by Scripture on Sunday morning? How do you deal with our four Sunday readings? Do you "get" the interrelatedness of the lessons? Is there something those of us tasked with worship planning or preaching or education could be doing better to help you process the lectionary portion of worship?
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4 years ago  ::  Mar 18, 2011 - 4:26PM #2
G_Erdner
Posts: 170

It is impossible to have "Too much Bible" in Christian worship.

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4 years ago  ::  Mar 18, 2011 - 4:55PM #3
teilhard
Posts: 51,348

Indeed ... "The Mass" is almost ALL "Scripture" ...


That's GOOD ... !!!


Alleluia ... !!!(Except during "Lent") ...

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4 years ago  ::  Mar 18, 2011 - 9:31PM #4
WannabeTheo
Posts: 400

Mar 18, 2011 -- 4:55PM, teilhard wrote:


Indeed ... "The Mass" is almost ALL "Scripture" ...


That's GOOD ... !!!


Alleluia ... !!!(Except during "Lent") ...





Teilhard,


Why do you use so many quotation marks?


You are correct, almost every line of the liturgy comes from scripture.


In my congregation, I've pushed to read or sing (usually sing) the Psalm responsively by half verse.  Since it was my idea, I've been leading, at least at first, though others have stepped in recently.

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4 years ago  ::  Apr 05, 2011 - 11:04AM #5
Memiller
Posts: 16

Not only the lections, but the Ordinary and Propers (other than the lections) are also almost completely taken from Scripture. So I see two questions:


1) Is there 'too much Bible' in the Ordinary and Propers? Of course not! These are repeated, either every week, or in a cycle, so that there is ample opportunity for the faithful to learn them by heart, and understand where they come from and what they mean.


2) Is there 'too much Bible' in the lections? Well, when you have a long reading like this last Sunday of the man born blind, it may seem like it, but no. It is the business of the Sermon to explicate the text. If there is more there than can be explicated in a single Sermon, there's always next time. I submit there would be more to say about a Biblical text than could be said if we limited the lection to a single verse!


I have never heard this complaint, by the way. Perhaps this may be due to the circles I move in.

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4 years ago  ::  Apr 05, 2011 - 12:23PM #6
teilhard
Posts: 51,348

The "Modern" so-called Church-Growth Movement Folks are heavily into "Entertainment Evangelism," which is supposed to more-or-less TRICK People into taking part in The Life and Mission of The Church ...


They do that in Part by being cheery-and-positive about ALL Things, giving Sermonic Advice about How-to-be-Happy, etc., and avoiding NEGATIVITY as much as possible ... So OFFENSIVE Stuff is down-played or even removed (The Cross, talk about "Sin," etc. ) ...

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4 years ago  ::  Apr 06, 2011 - 9:04PM #7
tawonda
Posts: 4,367

The complainer appears to be one of our Anabaptist brethren looking for a(nother) reason not to approve of lectionaries and liturgical worship.

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3 years ago  ::  Jul 27, 2011 - 3:39PM #8
ericksdahl
Posts: 161

I find that complaint funny.  Most of the evangelicals in my area think we don't have enough bible in our service... until they see that the liturgy comes from the bible...and they see the 3 lesons and the Psalm,   then they are kind of speechless.


Grace & Peace!

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3 years ago  ::  Jul 28, 2011 - 2:22AM #9
Hoppy393
Posts: 2,745

Mar 18, 2011 -- 4:18PM, tawonda wrote:

I also think it's funny that folks who criticize us for being too thinky and sacerdotal are now arguing that all Scripture in the service needs to be vetted through the preacher before it gets to the laypeople...I mean, didn't we hash this out during the Reformation?


It completely depends on the congregation.  Some people in the pews can't make the connections, and some simply don't bother.  It led my congregation to eliminate the Psalm fifteen years ago, then abandon the liturgical readings altogether in the early 2000's in favor of a single scriptural passage (on special occassions they'd put in two).


Honestly, it was the lazy way out.


One reason you'd hear this from an Evangelical (or was it Anabaptist?) is that it's a leftover attitude from the fifties - many Evangelical churches had a mission to minister to as many people as possible, and during that time had many new people at Sunday services who weren't that Bible literate.  The plan was make it simple (at first), but the short order of worship kind of stuck.  Some of these churches never formed true discipleship or Bible study programs after.


Another reason is the preference by the Evangelical crowd for expostional sermons over topical sermons (other complete Bible passages could add flavor and support, but the sermon only goes through one passage).  Although I wouldn't mind the other passages (and sometimes I flip through my Bible during the sermon to get them), I do favor the expositional sermon in that it can help to train members of the congregation in Bible study techniques, and helps to keep everyone on the same page.  So to speak ;-)

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3 years ago  ::  Aug 24, 2011 - 12:32PM #10
AFskypilot
Posts: 352

Been meaning to address this for some time.  I know of a number of non liturgical pastors who have resorted to the three year lectionary because they like the comprehensiveness of the lessons throughout the church year. 


I like to do a combination of expositiory and topical sermons when I preach, but by expositiory I mean I like to get into the particular passage in depth, to get at the sitz in lieben of when it was written, what it might have meant to the first readers, and then find the nexus for today.  From there it is possible to bring in other passages in support of the message of the lesson, but I do not do a shotgun approach, one or two back up passages.


In truth, I will also tell stories, crack a joke or two, relate a modern day parable.  These things stay in a person's mind longer.  Heck I still remember some of the stories my confirmation pastor used in his sermons and that was nearly fifty years ago.  There is a reason why Jesus spoke in parables, you know.

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