Monday, January 28, 2008

Ryle - worship

The first two of these quotes could be seen as heavily critical of the practices of modern conservative evangelicalism...

For another thing, true public worship must be the worship of the heart. I mean by this, that the affections must be employed as well as our intellect, and our inward man must serve God as well as our body.

J.C. Ryle, Knots Untied - Worship

Reason and common sense alike teach the usefulness of the practice of publicly reading the Scriptures.... What safer plan can be devised for the instruction of such people than the regular reading of God's Word? A congregation which hears but little of the Bible is always in danger of becoming entirely dependent on its minister. God should always speak in the assembly of His people as well as man.

J.C. Ryle, Knots Untied - Worship

Whatever man may please to say, the grand test of the value of any kind of worship is the effect it produces on the lives of the worshippers... The best Church Services for the congregation are those which make its individual members most holy at home and alone. If we want to know whether our own public worship is doing us good, let us try it by these tests. Does it quicken our conscience? Does it send us to Christ? Does it add to our knowledge? Does it sanctify our life?

J.C. Ryle, Knots Untied - Worship

Let me add in a criticism of my own, and one which I think many charismatics do much much better than we do. So often in a good sermon I can sense that God is working in people's hearts and convicting them. And so often afterwards, I can hear the same old conversations about football or work or whatever starting up again and sense the Devil snatching away the seed that was planted. Why do we not follow sermons and/or services with extended periods for prayer, alone or with others? Yes - let people talk about ephemera if they want to, but why do we not encourage a culture of prayerfully taking things to God and struggling with them before God?

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