Thursday, November 23, 2006

Straining at a Gnat, Reformation-Style?

Two of our non-Reformed readers (one an Anglican, the other an evangelical) have recently questioned the deliberate and conscientious approach of Calvinists toward worship. They comment:
"Why do Presbtyerians have to make everything so confusing?"

"I just don't see how we make such a distinction between our individual and corporate Christianity.... Worship is not about this hill or that hill... it's about the spirit and truth...."
Are we, as we claim, seeking to offer God "acceptable worship, with reverence and awe," or is it in fact true that we are so painstaking in our attention to detail that we "strain at a gnat while swallowing a camel"?

The second comment from our evangelical brother is interesting, particularly because of the many things that are simply assumed without being proven (it can be read in its entirety toward the end of the A Call for Categories thread).

The first thing presupposed is an interpretation of "worship" in John 4 that is individual rather than corporate (which makes the conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan woman nonsensical). Furthermore, our brother assumes that Jesus' point about worship no longer being offered "on this or that hill" means that institutional religion's days are over (as if Reformed believers focus solely on "candles, instruments, songs, robes, dancing clowns, [and] waving flags," while evangelicals "try to stay so close to a rabbi named Jesus that [they're] coughing on the dust he kicks up with his feet").

It seems that our good ol' American, post-Enlightenment sensibilities have so eclipsed the world of Jesus and Paul that the individual has swallowed the Body, the the heart has prevailed over the head, and "Thus saith the Lord" has morphed into "Cogito, ergo sum."