Send As SMS

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Denkw├╝rdig 

I've had a couple of conversations over the last week or so about ordinances. My pastor just started a new sermon series during the evening service, preaching through Paul's epistle to Titus. As he opened the word last Sunday evening, he read aloud the entire letter, making some remarks about the public reading of Scripture. He praised the practice, reminding us that it was a command from God to do so, but noted that he would "stop short of calling it an ordinance."

This naturally got me thinking about ordinances in the church. The vast majority of doctrinal statements that I have read from evangelical orthodox churches, ministries, and individuals have included a statement to the effect that there are only 2 ordinances for the local church. A random sampling based on googling the word phrase "doctrinal statement" and the word "ordinances" (please note that this sample makes no claim to have evaluated the doctrinal positions of these organizations nor has any reason to believe they are either evangelical or orthodox... they are literally yanked from the first page of the google search results):

... We believe that the local church has two ordinances and that these ordinances picture the saving works of Jesus ...
www.emmanuel-newington.org/seminary/doctrine.htm

... We believe that there are two pictorial ordinances in the Lord's churches: Baptism and the ...
www.bible.ca/cr-american-baptist-association.htm

... We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ has left two ordinances to be observed by the local church in ...
www.abc.edu/welcome/doctrinal_statement.php

... Ordinances: We believe that the two ordinances of the Body of Christ are ...
206.135.15.32/doc.html

We believe the ordinances for the believer are water baptism by immersion and the Lord's supper as a memorial. They are, however, not to be regarded as a ...
www.awana.org/about/default.aspx?id=19

... I believe the only two church ordinances are baptism and the Lord's Supper. ...
www.divide-the-truth.com/doctrine.php

... D. The Ordinances of the Church--Her two ordinances are baptism and the Lord's Supper. ...
bmaweb.net/BMADocs/tx/TXdocstat.htm

... water baptism and the Lord's Supper are the only ordinances of the church and ...
www.fellowshipbibleannarbor.org/doctrinalstatement.shtml

If an ordinance is defined as (a) a regulation: an authoritative rule or (b) a religious ritual of special significance or (c) quantity of military equipment, usually specifying the ammunition for artillery, bombs, or other large weapons, then wouldn't it follow that there are more than just two authoritatively commanded and regulated religious rituals within the assembly of believers?

Isn't there a command "that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people" (1 Tim 2:1)? Isn't there something in there about "addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody" (Eph 5:19)? Isn't there a regulation that "on the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up" (1 Cor 16:2)? Wasn't Timothy instructed to "preach the Word" (2 Tim 4:2)?

If there is concern about these ordinances of worship in the local gathering becoming "rituals", couldn't you say the same thing of communion and baptism? I'm just beginning to wonder if we shouldn't either say there are many ordinances, there are no ordinances, or begin to teach better about what ordinances really are.

Denkw├╝rdig.

Links to this post
Comments:

Post a Comment
Links to this post:

Create a Link

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

I blog ESV Terror Alert Level