Christian Worship

I have been doing a lot of studying this week on music and its place in worship. I found this article online and though I may not agree 100% with the author’s conclusions I found it to be quite helpful.

Here are a couple quotes that I personally believe to be spot on.

“First, it is to be orderly. 1 Corinthians 14:40 says, “Let all things be done decently and in order.” In the immense madness that characterized the Corinthian church and its chaotic worship, the Apostle took great lengths to order their worship. God is a God of order, not frenzy. Screaming up and down the church isles, rolling in the aisle, dancing around the sanctuary is not orderly. Nothing the church does in a worship service should distract other worshippers from worshipping God…”

“God alone determines how sinners approach Him. As a matter of fact, God determines how human beings or angelic beings approach Him as well. As Christians, we must continue to use God’s judgments, commandments and statutes as a rule and line to be drawn against anything which does not have a plain and divine appointment for worship.”

Non-Religious Rant

I HATE NBC’s Racing coverage. I am a MASSIVE NASCAR fan and NBC ruins every race they cover. Wally Dallenbach is a moron. Benny Parsons needs to retire (He’s NASCAR’s version of John Madden) and there has to be someone who is a better play-by-play guy than Bill Weber. NBC didn’t talk about ANYONE who was outside of the top 10 let alone any other car but Hendrick. They did not show ANY video of ANYONE in the back of the pack. I hate NBC with a passion and can’t wait for next year when ABC replaces NBC. Hopefully we will get Paul Paige or Gary Thorne. Also Rusty is an analyst for ESPN and hopefully will transfer to the ABC booth. When NBC comes back this summer I’ll go back to my old ritual of turning on MRN and putting the T.V. on mute.

Food for Thought

This post is one I made on Jesus Creed. I would like to know what people think about this topic.

I really feel like when we are try to categorize people-whether it be race or gender-that we limit their potential. This may move into the realm of social justice but the human need to classify each other is extremely destructive. The “church” defining itself by its racial make-up does not assist to provide a loving and developing relationship with fellow Christians. If we continue to define ourselves by our outward appearence we will never live in harmony by our Christian faith. We should not be worried about the racial make-up but by the strength of the spiritual development of our congregation.

Pittsburgh Presbytery Does the Right Thing

Presbytery affirms its stance on gay ban

By 68-62 vote, petition opposes ordination

Friday, February 03, 2006

By Ann Rodgers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pittsburgh Presbytery will send a petition to the national governing body of the Presbyterian Church (USA), effectively asking it to retain the nationwide ban on ordaining those who are sexually active outside of heterosexual marriage.

The 68-62 vote yesterday came after more than half the original 269 commissioners had left the overtime meeting at Shadyside Presbyterian Church.

The presbytery has a long history of supporting a ban on the ordination of sexually active gay people.

The petition dealt with the denomination’s process for making church law, and came in response to another proposal that would appear to allow a local option on ordination standards.

Such a local option “will have ramifications well beyond the sexuality issue,” said Robert Gagnon, professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, who presented the petition. He is a leading proponent of the belief that gay sex is sinful.

If the local option proposal succeeded, “you will have no binding ordination standards at all,” he said.

The 2.4 million-member Presbyterian Church (USA) has long been torn over issues pertaining to sexual ethics.

In 2001 the denomination’s General Assembly appointed a broad-based Theological Task Force on the Peace, Unity and Purity of the Church to try to address and resolve the disputes. Its recommendations to this June’s General Assembly in Birmingham, Ala., include allowing local presbyteries to discern whether a candidate for ordination has “departed from the essentials of the Reformed faith and polity.”

The Pittsburgh petition says that any ordination standard that the Book of Order singles out from other standards, calls a requirement or makes mandatory by the word “shall,” must be deemed “an essential of Reformed faith and polity.”

At stake is a 1996 standard setting forth “the requirement to live either in fidelity within the covenant of marriage of one man and one woman, or chastity in singleness.” The General Assembly has repeatedly voted to repeal that standard, but the repeal never got the required ratification from a majority of the nation’s 173 presbyteries.

The petition from Pittsburgh Presbytery says that the task force proposal would effectively remove the right of presbyteries to vote on establishing binding national standards.

The Rev. Bebb Stone, pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Mount Washington, opposed the petition.

“For the last several years we have been using our polity and we have been torn asunder into a red state-blue state situation. It seems to me that the task force tried to find another way, to be more purple, perhaps,” she said.

The Rev. Paul Robert, pastor of Eastminster Presbyterian Church in East Liberty, said that his lay governing board had endorsed the petition because the current system of checks and balances keeps the church united.

“Sometimes we don’t agree with the person across the aisle, but we respect the vote,” he said. “The presbytery has the right to enforce the Book of Order. It does not have the right to interpret the Book of Order.”

(Ann Rodgers can be reached at or 412-263-1416.)

Disgracing our Troops

As has been seen all over the news the past couple of days a Washington Post “Cartoonist” made a “cartoon” that depicted an Iraq War Veteran amputee in an effort to demean and discredit Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. As a Marine Corps Veteran who has lost many friends in Iraq and Afghanistan I personally find what this “Cartooonist” did morally reprehensible. I do not overly care about one’s position on the war as we are all free to say and do as we please, but using a wounded vet to make a political point is savage and tasteless. Unfortunately-as Tucker Carlson once said-you cannot legislate taste. I often wonder at the motives of many anti-war protestors. We have seen recently the alliance of anti-war groups with Hugo Chavez who is himself the very epitome of the type of Dictator and attacker of the rights anti-war protesters seem to want to protect. However their hatred for George W. Bush-which I believe is truly rooted in another place-has driven them to hold positions that contradict the beliefs that they themselves claim to hold dear. For example myself as a veteran who attended a liberal college (The University of Pittsburgh) I was often the subject of denigration and humiliation at the hands of so-called liberals who called me such wonderful names as “babykiller” and “terrorist”. Now if these open-minded liberals really believed in taking in all sides do you believe they would act in this manner? The answer of course is no. I have always wondered why these groups such as Code Pink and others think the government is spying on them. I have noticed that they have very little of value to say anyway.

More News on the Emergent Conversation

Since I am exceedingly bored and curious I have been doing a more in depth investigation of the Emergent Conversation. I have found things I like andI agree with the editorial board at Modern Reformation,

Most of us here at Modern Reformation like the Emergent Church folks. Frankly, it’s a bit of a relief to have someone within Evangelicalism making the same points we’ve been trying to make for the past fourteen years. We also like their interest in liturgy, in church history (prior to 1972), and in engaging with Scripture in ways that take it beyond the “handbook for living” genre that so many of our own churches have adopted. And, truth be told, we were always the nerdy kids in the youth group, so now that the cool kids with their cool hair, tats, and body piercings are saying much the same thing we do we can’t help but look around with some appreciation.
But the appreciation is a nervous one. As much as we are warmed by their insightful criticism of Evangelicalism, we just can’t shake the sense that these children of the megachurch are taking their postmodern angst and marketing it to the urban jungles just like their chino-wearing, cool hair dads did in middle America. That, of course, leads us to wonder if Emergent will really offer anything substantially different than what they are critiquing.

I also am energized by their passion and foresight; though I am not one for a coffee-shop mentality and a passive-type Christianity. I really get the feeling that the Emergent Conversation is an attempt to marriage the worship-style and context of “Wal-Mart Church” and the theological impulses of the Reformed movement. Here is another article for your perusal from a special edition of Modern Reformation magazine.
I have noticed from my research that the blogs frequented by “Emergers” are not to fond of D.A. Carson’s take on their Conversation. Look for yourself-I did-and you might just agree with his article.