Need Protestant View of Church Service


#1

Hello, I need to know the Protestant view of church service. Why is a Protestant church service the way it is? I realize the Scripture says:

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” - Hebrews 10:23-25

However, to me, that just says to meet up and encourage one another. When I was a Protestant and in college, I counted going to a Christian party and hanging out as fulfilling what is required in Hebrews 10:23-25.

So, why do Protestant churches have a pastor and a sermon and stuff? Where does the Scripture tell you that a church service be compiled of such?

I’m looking for Scripture verses that dictate the formation of a Protestant Church service. Is “going to church” and being instructed by a pastor necessary vs. just hanging out with Christians?


#2

Hebrews 10:23-25 covers well a reason to “gather together” but there are other verses about what we are to do when we gather.

Here is a typical order of service:[LIST=1]
*]Praise and Worship
*]Greeting
*]Offering
*]Peace (not generally called this in Protestant services)
*]Communion
*]Children dismissed to Sunday School
*]Sermon
*]Altar Call
]Prayer for Needs
]Closing[/LIST]Praise and Worship:
As Christians we try to follow the example of Christ. Jesus and His disciples did sing-
**
Matthew 26:30

30When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

In Eph we see we are to be filled with the Spirit and sing:
**
Ephesians 5:18-20**


be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Heb.2.12

saying, “ I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.”

Greeting

I don’t know if a verse that says “You should have a leader greet everyone and aknowledge the visitors!” But I think it’s kind of a nice thing to do anyhow. :wink:

Offering
Matthew 22:21

21"Caesar’s," they replied.
Then he said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

Galations 6:6
Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor.

We give offerings by the example of the Apostles:

Acts 20:33 I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel.
:34 Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have
provided for my necessities, and for those who
were with me.
:35 I have shown you in every way, by laboring like
this, that you must support the weak.

2Cor  11:8   I robbed other churches, taking wages from them
             to minister to you.
        :9   And when I was present with you, and in need, I
             was a burden to no one, for what was lacking to
             me the brethren who came from Macedonia supplied. 
             
      12:13  For what is it in which you were inferior to
             other churches, except that I myself was not
             burdensome to you? Forgive me this wrong!
        :15  And I will very gladly spend and be spent for
             your souls; though the more abundantly I love
             you, the less I am loved.
             
       9:1   Now concerning the ministering to the saints, it
             is superfluous for me to write to you;
        :2   for I know your willingness, ...
        :5   ... I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren
             to go to you ahead of time, and prepare your
             bountiful gift beforehand, which you had previously
             promised, that it may be ready as a matter of
             generosity and not as a grudging obligation.
        :6   But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also
             reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will
             also reap bountifully.
        :7   So let each one give as he purposes in his heart,
             not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a
             cheerful giver.
        :8   And God is able to make all grace abound toward
             you, that you, always having all sufficiency in
             all things, may have an abundance for every good
             work.
             
       8:12  For if there is first a willing mind, it is
             accepted according to what one has, and not
             according to what he does not have.
        :13  For I do not mean that others should be eased
             and you burdened;
        :14  but by an equality, that now at this time your
             abundance may supply their lack, that their
             abundance also may supply your lack - that
             there may be equality.  
             
1Cor   9:11  If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it
             a great thing if we reap your material things?
        :12  If others are partakers of this right over you,
             are we not even more? Nevertheless we have not
             used this right, but endure all things lest we
             hinder the gospel of Christ.
        :14  Even so the Lord has commanded that those who
             preach the gospel should live from the gospel.
              
Gal    6:6   Let him who is taught the word share in all good
             things with him who teaches. 

#3

Sign of Peace
As far as I know there is no official term for this in the Protestant Service so I called it by the Catholic term. One should never participate in communion if they have a problem among fellow Christians. While Protestants believe they can go directly to God to confess their sins, we must still go to others and confess and ask forgiveness when our sin affects others. This is a short time designated as a last chance to reconcile before Communion begins. While Catholics tend to simply say “Peace be with you” in a symbolic sort of gesture, most protestants will start milling around the building greeting one another and chatting if they have no business to attend to, creating an opening for others to seek out the person they need to reconcile with.

Luke 17:3
3So watch yourselves.
“If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. 4If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.”

Communion:
**
1 Corinthians 11:23-25**
The Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for you Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’"

Dismissal of Children:
Often the sermon is not at a level that children will be able to understand it. To combat this, Many Churches send the children to hear a seperate sermon tailored to them.

Deuteronomy 4:9

9 Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.

Deuteronomy 6:6-7

6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

Acts 22:3

Then Paul said: 3"I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. Under Gamaliel I was thoroughly trained in the law of our fathers and was just as zealous for God as any of you are today.

Ephesians 6:4

4Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Sermon
Colossians 3:16

16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

Alter Call
This is an invitation for people who are not christians to hear what it is all about and told how to go about a changing of their lives toward God. God requires that we also confess He is Lord aloud. Here is a chance to do this.

Mark 16:15

15He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.

Romans 10:9
"If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."

Prayer for Needs

** Matt 21:22**
And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
**
John 15:7**
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
**
James 5:14-15
** Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save him that is sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, it shall be forgiven him.
**
Romans 8:32
**He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not also with him freely give us all things?

Closing
Like the Greeting, let’s be nice.


#4

Hi Guardian,

As you probably know, Protestant church services vary a great deal, and since so many of them were direct splits from Catholicism, I believe that a lot of what they do is left over from their Catholic roots.

Of the groups that I have worked with since leaving Catholicism, the only one that I have seen give any Scriptural support for doing what they do are the Plymouth Brethren. They use the example of the early church in Acts 2:42, which says, “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”

Although this does not dictate exactly how the service itself should be conducted (although the Plymouth Brethren use some passages from I Corinthians to support the way in which they observe the Lord’s Supper), it would seem to indicate that assembling for instruction is part of “going to church.”

Unfortunately, many Protestant denominations have gotten away from a weekly observance of the Lord’s Supper.


#5

I guess what I’m wondering is, it seems all these things of preaching the word and learning doctrine and such can be done on an individual basis, no need to get together formally in a big church. Am I wrong? What stops people from just doing that?

Another thing is, why do Protestant churches have “doctrine manuals”? Why isn’t the Bible the “doctrine manual?” Why need an additional manual? I never got that either.


#6

By ‘Protestant’ I am assuming you are referring to a Baptist or Pentecostal, non-liturgical services. Obviously, many of the historic mainline Christian denominations (Anglican, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Methodist, etcetera) are very liturgical and meet together partly for the celebrations of the sacraments.

Baptists, ‘independent’ Christian Churches, the various Pentecostal bodies such as the Assemblies of God and Churches of God, etcetera, base themselves mainly on New Testament examples of what Christians did, especially as modelled for us in the book of Acts. Someone else has already posted a number of New Testament references to certain elements of Protestant worship. One needs to understand that for many ‘Bible-based’ Protestants, the proclamation of the Gospel virtually as much a sacrament as the reception of Eucharist is for Roman Catholics: such Protestants speak of the preaching of the Gospel as ‘being fed’ and see it being as much of a spiritual nourishment as Catholics see the elements of Holy Communion.


#7

Another thing is, why do Protestant churches have “doctrine manuals”? Why isn’t the Bible the “doctrine manual?” Why need an additional manual? I never got that either.

Never seen a ‘doctrine manual’. Some churches have Confessions or books of Church discipline which set out the specific ways that denomination understands the Bible to teach Church ecclesiology, Church discipline, and collective worship. Such ‘manuals’ as you style them are not deemed equivalent to the Bible but are interpretations thereof.

Most Protestant Sunday Schools have something like a ‘quarterly’ or Bible-study manual, so that all members are studying the same subject or book of Scripture. Such ‘quarterlies’ are considered ‘Bible helps’, guides that help the students and the teacher conduct their study of Scripture in a systematic or structured way. Protestants do not teach that one can study the Scripture helter-skelter, but bear in mind that someone must serve as a teacher.

Hoe that answers your question.


#8

Thanks for all the replies.

Would anyone say that when I was a Protestant, and I studied the Bible by myself or with a few friends, and gathered together with other Christians at parties and other gatherings, that I was wrong to miss the formal Sunday Church?

Or rather, would anyone say that what I did was okay, according to their standards?


#9

The church I attended as a youth did have an answer to this question. The quote was from 1 Cor 14 26-35. Well, they kind of left off the last part but it was what they pointed to when that question was brought up. I hope that helps.

26What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church. 27If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. 28If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God.

29Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. 30And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. 31For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. 32The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. 33For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.
As in all the congregations of the saints, 34women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. 35If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.


#10

I will try to be as straitforward as possible…When I was younger, the order of services was never explained. Why do we partake of communion only once a month? Why does the sermon take the place of the Eucharist? Why are we so lax about the Eucharist? To me it always made sense precisely because that is what I grew up experiencing. The general concensus at the one Presbyterean church was that Luther brought back congregational singing and intellectual scholarship; all because the Catholic Church had strayed from the truth of Scripture. The Catholic priests and laity were oblivious to Scripture and Christ’s message. He also brought back the Eucharist being served in both species (which was already being done in the east), which does not matter to the same extent in Presbytereanism or non-denominationalism (two Protestant groups I was involved in), as Christ is present to give grace in the former and as a memorial in the latter.

When I attended Protestant churches, the question was always: “Am I being fed spiritually.” In other words, was the pastor preaching God’s Word correctly. Preaching, in most Protestant churches, is pretty much the equivalent act to the Eucharist in the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Catholic churches.

I believe the idea behind emphasizing preaching has to do with the fact the St. Paul preached alot! There are, from a Protestant perspective, very few mentions of the Eucharist in Scripture, hence the preaching aspect.

If I think of anything else that might help, I’ll add it later…:thumbsup:

Prayers and petitions,
Alexius:cool:


#11

The church I attended as a youth did have an answer to this question. The quote was from 1 Cor 14 26-35. Well, they kind of left off the last part but it was what they pointed to when that question was brought up. I hope that helps.

26What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church. 27If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. 28If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God.

29Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. 30And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. 31For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. 32The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. 33For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.
As in all the congregations of the saints, 34women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. 35If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.


#12

You were certainly wrong. I see no reasonable doubt that Heb. 10:23-25 and other similar passages are referring to a regular Sunday morning Eucharistic assembly. We know that this is what the early Church did, and 1 Corinthians clearly describes such an assembly. The NT also refers on several occasions to authorized church leaders such as bishops, elders, and deacons (though it can be debated whether bishops and elders are two different offices).

Protestants are not, as a whole, committed to the sort of out-of-context prooftexting you seem to assume. I’m sorry if this was your experience of Protestantism. But historic Protestantism has always recognized the need for thoughtful interpretation of Scripture in its historical context, and for a respectful attention to the Church’s tradition of interpretation (while not giving that interpretation formal infallibility–high-church Protestants would come close, while more low-church Protestants would be more open about their willingness to reject the tradition, but most Protestants except for the most radical and fundamental wings would pay it some attention).

Edwin


#13

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