Lord’s Day Schedule‚Ä°

  • Sabbath School—9:45 a.m.
  • Morning Worship—10:45 a.m.
  • Afternoon Worship—2:00 p.m.
  • ‡ Regular schedule temporarily suspended.

Recovering Mother Kirk

Recovering Mother Kirk Book Cover

While the title of this book is quite apt, the subtitle (‘The Case for Liturgy in the Reformed Tradition’) is somewhat misleading. Yes, the author D. G. Hart discusses ‘liturgy in the Reformed Tradition’ in several of the essays collected here, and he does so with remarkable faithfulness. But the underlying thesis of this book, the thematic subtitle if you will, is so much more than a recovery of Reformed liturgy. A better subtitle might be ‘The Vital Role of the Offices and Ordinances of the Visible Church for the Spiritual Well-being of God’s People.’

It should be fairly obvious to even the most casual observer that the Visible Church, especially as she is visible in her institutions, has fallen out of favour not only with mainstream America but with the vast majority of conservative American Protestants, as well. Of course, this did not happen overnight and Hart, in his clear and accessible style, reveals the rather surprising history behind this modern Evangelical distaste (dare we say disdain?) for the biblical role and calling of the Visible Church. And it is a surprising survey. It turns out that some very honourable men who were otherwise greatly used of God nevertheless contributed profoundly to this modern Evangelical contempt for the corporate Church.

If disdain and contempt seem like too strong a terminology, then consider with what flippancy the offices and ordinances of the Church are flouted by most evangelicals. Church discipline of any variety is almost non-existent today. It is considered repressive for a Church to hold forth and confess biblical standards of faith and practice, and the height of arrogance actually to enforce those standards. While God calls the Church the ‘pillar and ground of the truth,’ most evangelicals see it as the smorgasbord of spiritual and emotional self gratification. And, like any good smorgasbord, the Church is expected to provide what the consumer demands so that he may take or leave according to his whims and fancies. If he feels dissatisfied, or worse, if he feels uncomfortable, then he simply goes somewhere else. The Church is seen primarily as a venue for meeting the spiritual consumer’s needs.

Ironically, the Visible Church actually is the avenue by which Christ meets the genuine spiritual needs of His people — not the needs of a demanding self-centred customer (who’s ‘always right!’), but the needs of a gathered congregation of humbled forgiven servant-priests who long to know and do the will of their Lord and Saviour.

Hart urges us to recover the biblical perspective on the Visible Church, the perspective so clearly and beautifully confessed in the Reformed and Presbyterian tradition.

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