Sunday, August 23, 2015

Worship: Saturday or Sunday? (Gnats and Camels)

I still have plans to continue my series on divisions and controversies in the church. Today during worship services, the old controversy about the Seventh Day was mentioned. I found myself picturing a debate about it. Here is what I would have wanted a chance to say.

We are here to debate what day to praise God. Are we really here to argue about what day to praise God? I will keep my point very simple: There is no such thing as a wrong day to praise God. We all remember what the Bible says about the Sabbath: it’s a day of rest. There is no command in the Bible that the day of worship is the Sabbath; it’s the day of rest. Search the Bible, you will not find a command saying that the day to worship is the Sabbath. And yet, there is no such thing as a wrong day to praise God.

There is also no command in the Bible that the day of worship is Sunday. Now most of us, we praise God on Sunday because it’s the day of Jesus’ resurrection. When we worship on Sunday, it’s about the resurrection of Jesus, and for that we praise God. And still, there is no such thing as a wrong day to praise God.

Jesus taught us a lot of things. One thing that he taught us was about how we get focused on the wrong things. He says we strain at gnats and swallow camels. Most debates, my friends, are about gnats. The day of worship is a gnat. Whether we love each other, whether we are brothers and sisters and the end of that day, that is the camel. Whether we are Jesus’ people, known for our love, is the camel. Whether we speak the truth with love is the camel. Whether we permit ourselves to stoop to judgment and discord over what should glorify God, that is the camel. If we turn worship into an argument, and if even our worship itself no longer glorifies God, then our zeal over that gnat has done great harm. Let our worship – and our words here – glorify God.


John Flanagan said...

I would like to ask a question and invite any readers of this blog to provide an opinion or a reasoned answer as feedback. It seems to me there are more similarities than differences between the WELS and LCMS. I worship at an LCMS. Yet, there is no altar or pulpit fellowship between the synods. I looked at both sites, WELS and LCMS, and still do not quite understand why these two synods can't come together at least in altar and pulpit fellowship. I have always been totally dismayed at the number of denominations and doctrinal differences among many churches......everyone claiming to read from the same Bible. Unity is always out of reach and I know that among Lutherans, many of the fissures and fractures with ELCA's numerous apostasies render unification with them impossible. But WELS and LCMS should be able to come into fellowship at least, while following separate paths.

Weekend Fisher said...

Someone explained it to me like this, and I'm not 100% sure if they're right because (like you) I find straight talk on the topic fairly hard to come by. The story went roughly like: Back in the day, before ELCA was formed, WELS and LCMS were better friends. Then ELCA was born out of a bunch of other groups, and LCMS (it was said, by the WELS guy who was telling me about it) sat on the fence too long and didn't take a firm stand against ELCA for being ... well, y'know, not totally on board about the virgin birth, or the resurrection, or what Paul said about women, etc. Eventually LCMS decided that ELCA couldn't really be brought back into the fold, but by then WELS had severed ties.

And since then LCMS has had some sort of public display of fellowship with people who aren't even nominally Christian (i.e. Muslim).

Is WELS the only group that hears "Fellowship" and thinks of it as a purity code? Hm ...

What does it look like from the LCMS side of the fence?

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF

Martin LaBar said...

"... there is no such thing as a wrong day to praise God."

Indeed not.