Ecclesiology

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Introduction

Should a Moslem child be baptized and made a member of a church?

Should children be made members? No. They do not vote. They are not disciplined directlyi.

Shoudl baptisms be in church?

Every man a priest? Communion, then.

Should children be baptized? Yes, but with the whole family, not one at a time.

Should children take communion? No. No till they rae old enough to become members, at age 14. At that age, they should vote and come to meetings too.

Should there be bibles in the pews? Yes.

Who should pass the plate for the offering? -_Elders.

who should offer Communion bread and wine ?-_Elders, prudentially, only in churchat large services or interchurch services such as presbytery meetings. 
 Must Christians attend church regularly? Yes.

Must Christians attend church in person, or is a TV or Zoom service OK? In person, normally.

 Should a church member do child care, or give money, or mow the lawn even if they feel bitter about it? Yes. 





Organization of this page

Maybe try Summa Theologica style to questions.


Governance

  • The archbishop of Paris wants to turn Notre Dame Cathedral into disneyland.

"If I remember correctly, the French State, not the Archdiocese of Paris, owns Notre Dame. So, any plans would have to be approved by the ministry of culture. Ironically, secular officials often have better tastes than clerics."

"This is why an Erastian system like England had, or a presbyterian system with laymen as elders, is better than a purely clerical church organization."

The Board of Elders

Chairman

In a congregational system, the pastor should not chair meetings of the elders. In a presbyterian or episcopal system, he should. That's because in the latter, if he does wrong, there is appeal to higher authority.



Church Discipline

  • Should the church discipline people who are baptized but not members? Yes.
  • Should the church discipline children directly, or via their parents? Both, like schoolteachers do.

At top: the Church of England article on this.


The Church Interior

Flying the National Flag

according to the article in Christianity Today, global pastors disagree with the reflexive denunciation of flags as idolatrous. The piece included comments from pastors around the world. Arab ministers affirmed the presence of national flags in their churches. An Egyptian pastor said he agreed “with displaying the flag of my country in the church. The flag of my country only and not other countries, as it is a spiritual and not a political orientation.” The purpose of raising his flag, he argued, was to keep his heart united with his people in “prayer for the salvation of their souls. It’s to remember that I must stand in the gap for my people, that they may know the Lord and see the light of the gospel and to tell my country and my people how much I love them and pray for them.”

A Jordanian minister said he “strongly” believed “that each church building should post the flag on the building and in the sanctuary.” He and his elders made the decision to do so “in order to show our loyalty as citizens to the country of Jordan. We believe that by doing so, we are a good example and testimony to others and also following the teachings of the Bible.” An Indonesian minister said that “when we display the flag in our church, it is not to express idolatry. We want to honor our national identity. It reminds us of our responsibilities as Christian citizens. It’s also a sign of gratitude for living in Indonesia.” A pastor from Nigeria noted that a flag was a “symbol of a country and flying it indicates the importance of the country.” He displayed the Nigerian flag in the church to “present the country perpetually before the Lord for his divine visitation and to also indicate that we love Nigeria dearly. We pray for her every Sunday service.”

Should the Members Be Notified if the Building Is Being Sold?

"Fellowship Church Surprises Miami Congregation with News Church Has Been Sold," Roys Report (2021).




Music

Whether it is right to not sing some verses of a hymn

Yes. Of course, if a verse is in error, it should be dropped. The harder question is what to do if a hymn has 8 verses. First, in all contexts, it is fine to drop a verse if it is poorly written, or even if it falls noticeably short of the other verses.To do otherwise has no reason to it, except antiquarianism. Very possibly the author didn't have more than 3 good verses in mind, but wrote 8 because he thought a hymn had to have that many verses, or he couldn't sell a short hymn for as much money. A hymn can be made better as a poem by shortening sometimes.

Tedium for the congregation is another worthwhile consideration.

Also, one 8-verse hymn can be replaced by two 4-verse hymns. Are the worst 4 verses of Hymn Alpha better than the best 4 verses of Hymn Beta?

During songs, should everyone clap, or nobody clap?

Should musicians be in the front of the congregation, or behind

What is most important in the music?

Hymns: Total experiene, not Classical performance. More like Rock concert. Even more like Church musics-- the audience is MORE important.

Dress

How Should Pastors Dress?

Too many pastors-- even good guys-- dress and act like beta males. When an alpha male confesses publicly to God that he's a miserable worm, it's awesome. When a hipster with a neat beard and carefully casual clothes does it, we just think, "Of course".

Should Women Wear Hats in Church?

Would women wear them just to conform, even though they would oppose them if desired by their husbands for any reason, or by the pastor? They would wear them in dference to the State, juste as they wear masks.

Is It Permissible To Wear Surgical Masks During Church

During covid, many people started wearing masks in church, and many governments require it. Is this permissible? Or is it like a man wearing a hat in church?


Should we pray holding up our hands?


Communion

Is the Communion bread and wine a symbol of Church fellowship? Jesus's death and the coming of the Holy Spirit creates The Church, the fellowship of believers. We are to eat and drink together in fellowship, in intimacy, and we can do that only by the Holy Spirit, since we are very unlike each other. It is impractical to do that in worship, so we do it symbolically. But we should do it literally too. The Church pot-luck is a big deal. So is the home fellowship group that eats together. So is any Christian hospitality. Remember the Jewish seder, also a meal. Aristotle said, I think, that a sign of being friends is eating together.


The Offering

Should Offering Be Taken, or should people donate outside of worship?

Offering-- put change in, put dollar bills in. Part of worship.


General Principles

The Regulative Principle


Behavior in Church Services

Reverence: Should We Be Reverent in Church?

  • We reformed Christians lament how ignorant most Christians (and worldings) are of Theology. But what may be worse is their ignorance of Reverence. We don't even try to teach that, and we scoff at organs, good architecture, liturgy, King James Bible language, dignity.

That's probably why some people switch to Eastern Orthodoxy or Roman Catholicism, despite the blasphemous theology (whatever they say or think is their reason). The vast majority of protestant churches had plenty of reverence and respect for God till about 1980. We have the old joke of uneducated people trying to use KJV bible language to pray. Organs were standard. Pastors were a little scary, rather than guys to have a beer with.



Should pre-written, standard liturgy be used for congregational prayer?

  • 1. Saves work.
  • 2. Higher quality.
  • 3. Avoids errorf and heresy.
4. Avoids empty platitudes.
5. Has the significance that comes from perfect repetition-- frees the mind from detail. Just as being alone is not as boring as being in front of a bore.
6. Feeling of bein at one with other congregations.

Should we stand for the Scripture readings?

  *For Old Testament?
  • For Gospel?
  • For Epistle?


Schism vs. Orthodoxy

  • Bear with your weaker brethren. Sabbatarianism, Creationism. Head Coverings. Divorce. Wedding clothes. A sacred sanctuary, instead of a gym full of running children. Inerrancy.

Timeliness

Should You Walk In Late?

It's a matter of etiquette, not doctrine. If people are praying, either silently, as a group, or the leader praying, it is disrespectful to walk around, blow your nose, slap your naughty child, etc. If you come in and suddenly notice a prayer is in progress, halt and wait for it to end, then keep walking.

On the other hand, if a hymn is being sung, or, in my opinion, liturgy is being read, or during the sermon, it's fine to quietly walk in late.

Is it a sin to be late for church?

Yes, it is a grave sin. It shows disrespect for God Almighty. It requires repentance and a sincere desire to do better in the future.



Worship

  • Raising hands in worship reduces uniformity, becase peple do it differently, and so reduces glorification as a body-- it is only indivudal. Same with singing by bad singers. My own bad clappig—I keep it quiet. We each should worship-- but corporately. The sermon? Hard to figure. Prayers are easier; we all say it in our heads. I guess with the sermon we are all listening together, a corporate act, thinking the same things and showing our faith together.