Guide Worship in the Early Church

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Worship in the Early Church: From the Editor — The Heartbeat of the Church
Contents:
  1. Early Christianity
  2. Early Christian Worship and the Bones of Martyrs
  3. Prayer in the early Church
  4. The Peculiarity of Early Christian Worship

Perhaps these were recited in the assembly as well. It's very clear that the earliest Christians practiced a type of communion; at times this may have taken the form of a "love feast" or full meal rather than just bread-and-wine. There was a problem when some people drank too much. As the church passed from this first period into the time after the apostles, it may have begun to be slightly more institutionalized. The role of the local Bishop was magnified. The process of becoming a church member became more lengthy. Rituals began to develop. I agree with one of my fellow commentators that some aspects of Jewish Temple worship, with the idea of a "holy" building, a special priesthood, and holy artifacts, gradually came into Christian worship.

In no place in the New Testament is there mention of candles although the home probably would have had oil lamps. There is no "altar," no holy water, incense, amulets, statutes, or any other ritual items mentioned as being used during worship in the New Testament..

Early Christianity

The earliest church was simply a group of sometimes-persecuted people who had obeyed God's command to believe on the name of Jesus Christ for remission of sins, and who were meeting for support, encouragement, charity, and instruction. Jeff Hammond The New Testament church seems to have worshipped every day using the most of every opportunity, Acts They were an illegal sect and not very popular, Acts However, we know that they worshipped and had communion, at least in some places, because they gathered on the Sunday 1st day of the week as is recorded in Acts ; 1Corinthians The church services, at least in some places, involved an openness for everyone to share the Word, to share spiritual gifts as every member was considered an important part of the Body of Christ with a freedom to share - Romans ; 1Corinthians ; Ephesians ; 1Peter They also worshipped with a variety of singing and speaking - Ephesians ; Colossians James Bryant I would have to ask you to define what you are considering to be the " early church "?

The Church of Christ, not the denominational one, the " Spiritual " one, was started with Christ, after His resurrection. Paul wrote many instructions on how to accomplish this and hardly any are taught today, from the pulpit. Christians don't, or rather, shouldn't observe holy days and keeping of rituals, in their walk with Christ. Everyday, Everywhere, Anytime, exactly as they were always supposed to be. Bob Kee The early church was comprised of converts from Judaism. As Jewish worship followed a certain order or liturgy, the early Christians would have used that as a model for their own order of worship.

The New Testament records the early Christians as having worshipped in the Temple as well as in synagogues read the accounts particularly in the book of Acts. There is also evidence in the Bible that the early Christians kept to the Jewish practice of daily set time prayers similar to the Muslim practice of five prayer times a day ; ie.

03. Constantine and the Early Church

Acts 10 where Cornelius went to pray at the 9th hour and Peter went to the roof to pray at the 6th hour. Christian worship continued on in the fashion of synagogue and Temple worship with the addition of distinctively Christian elements, such as Holy Communion as well as a Christo-centric focus. Jewish synagogue worship structure, consisting of a litany of prayers, confession, readings from the Scriptures, a brief sermon or homily, and a benediction or blessing, formed the basic core of Christian worship structure which is still retained in form in the liturgical mainline churches, as well as the Roman Catholic and both the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches, and in spirit in the more informal Evangelical churches.

In fact archeological remains of early purpose built churches, particularly of the Oriental Orthodox tradition indicate that they were built based on synagogue architecture with an ark with veil and candle to hold the Word of God, and a seat for the bishop representative of the seat of Moses. Gal Obviously, Paul spent considerable time studying the Scriptures to see where he had erred, and during those years developed his theology of the gospel of Christ and the Christian faith. Remember, he had already been well-steeped in the teachings of the Old Testament.

After his visit with Peter and James, he spent time ministering in the regions of Syria and Cilicia — so much so that the churches of Judea did not know him personally.

While there, Paul communicated to the disciples the gospel he had received from the Lord and had preached among the Gentiles. In that way he would then be able to go forth with the message of the gospel throughout the Gentile world with the full support of all the other apostles. The New Testament does not prescribe a particular pattern or form for church government , but it does provide us with some general principles for governing a church; therefore we can assume that God intended for there to be a lot of organizational freedom for a variety of operations and ministries. There are three titles that have been customarily used by churches to identify their leaders — elders, bishops or overseers , and pastors.

The pastor-bishop-elder is responsible to the Chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ. The term deacon in the New Testament was used of individuals who assisted the bishop or pastor in his duties. Historically, three basic forms of church government have been used over the centuries:. Churches using this form of government are Presbyterian, Methodist, and the Reformed Church.

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Early Christian Worship and the Bones of Martyrs

Congregational — Congregationalism tends to place the governing power in the hands of the entire congregation. Such churches are independent as far as authority and control from the denomination to which they belong.

Congregationalists stress the priesthood of all believers. They also point out that the Scriptures teach that local churches were given the responsibility of protecting themselves against false teachers. Churches using this type of government are Congregational, Baptist, Assemblies of God, Nazarene, and independent churches.

Incidentally, some congregations vary slightly in their congregational approach, by electing a board of directors or elders and giving them the authority to govern the church. Mt Let me close by describing the events of history starting with the fourth century — When Emperor Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire in , the new public image of the Christians encouraged the building of splendid churches and the creation of longer and more colorful services.

Gradually, however, the Communion Table gave way to the Altar, and the officiating clergyman became a priest who went to the altar to offer a sacrifice for the people, which they themselves were not allowed to offer. The importance of this radical departure from NT teaching and practice cannot be overestimated — the worshipers became mere spectators observing the activity of the priest at the altar, and the proclamation of the gospel began to take a back seat.

Doctrinal errors concerning the priesthood of all believers, transubstantiation, penance, and meritorious works all contributed to the decline of worship and the growing dissatisfaction of the worshipers, and these things became major factors in the Reformation. The Reformers placed far more emphasis on doctrine than worship materials , and most of them gave comparatively little attention to the development of liturgy; thus a wide variety of worship services came into being, and the preaching of the Word of God became a predominant feature in the majority of Protestant churches.

As the scientific revolution and spiritual indifference began making inroads against Christianity during the 19th century, the scholarship that had developed in response to rationalism awakened a new spirit of investigation in the Church, and a number of strong theologians surfaced through whom the Scriptures and the doctrines of Christianity would become more widely studied and more intelligently understood. The entire Christian community went to work to counter the unbelieving forces of rationalism.

The Christian community worldwide has grown from 1. If each church averages nearly people, that means Christendom is building nearly churches a day to accommodate them. The 20th century has witnessed massive changes unlike any other age in history. Though Christianity seems so complex in its history and practice, one can forget that at its core it is based on a very simple premise — human beings exist in a state of alienation from God because of sin, and this condition has been healed through the life and saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross.

Such a statement is a clear indication that the world was prepared by God for the arrival of Jesus to do His redeeming work.

Prayer in the early Church

In what way was it prepared? What were the conditions in the world when the New Testament Church began and when it first spread out from Jerusalem? Lk ; This great Empire prepared the physical scene for the spread of the Gospel, to a degree never before equaled, and unapproached in modern times, these vast territories, which embraced all that common men know of civilized life, were under the sway of a single type of culture. Outside its borders humanity only knew savagery, warfare, and semi-civilized tribalism.

All of these conditions favored the easy movement of the messengers of Christ so that along the many roads which Rome had set up for her military purposes the Gospel of peace went out to the world. Christianity entered no empty world.

The Peculiarity of Early Christian Worship

Christianity did not build on virgin soil. The conceptions which it found already existing formed much of the material with which it built its structure. Many of these ideas are no longer those of the modern world. Certain factors in the world of thought into which Christianity came, belong to universal ancient religion and are of aged antiquity. All men, except a few representatives of philosophical sophistication, believed in the existence of a power, or of powers, invisible, superhuman, and eternal, controlling human destiny, and to be worshipped or placated by prayer, ritual, or sacrifice.

No conception of what is now called natural law had penetrated the popular mind; all the ongoings of nature were the work of invisible powers of good and evil, who ruled arbitrarily. Miracles were, therefore, to be regarded not merely as possible; they were to be expected whenever the higher forces would impress men with the important or the unusual.

Part II: The Sabbath in the Gospels and Acts

Besides these general conceptions common to popular religion , the world into which Christianity came owed much to the specific influence of Greek thought. Hellenistic ideas dominated the intelligence of the Roman Empire. Greek philosophic speculation at first concerned itself with the explanation of the physical universe. To Socrates BC the explanation of man himself, not of the universe, was the prime object of thought. Right action, Socrates believed, is based on knowledge, and results in the four virtues of prudence, courage, self-control, and justice.

He is properly described as a man of mystical piety, as well as of the profoundest spiritual insight. The soul, he believed, existed before the body, therefore must be independent of it, and not affected by its decay. This conception of immortality as an attribute of the soul was always influential in Greek thought. A clear perception of a personal God, however, was unlikely attained by Plato; but he certainly approached it closely.

Aristotle BC was of a far less mystic spirit than Plato. To him the visible world was an unquestioned reality. The world is eternal, and is the prime object of knowledge; thus, Aristotle in a true sense was a scientist. Hence, Aristotle presents this celebrated argument for the existence of God. In morals Aristotle held that happiness, or well-being, is the aim, and is attained by a careful maintenance of the golden mean.