Spiritual Religion and Ritualism   8 comments

CPC_6811

Above:  Cathedral of St. Philip, Atlanta, Georgia, April 28, 2013

Image Source = Bill Monk, Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta

(https://plus.google.com/photos/114749828757741527421/albums/5872391793912748097/5872401616857022178?banner=pwa&pid=5872401616857022178&oid=114749828757741527421)

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EDITOR’S NOTE:

My great-grandfather was an old-style Methodist.  I, on the other hand, am an unapologetic and ritualistic Episcopalian.  I have found that

emphasizing…the manner of religious ceremony

creates a holy environment inside which

genuine religious experience

finds a natural home.  In fact, all who adopt a particular pattern of regular worship–liturgy–emphasize the manner of religious ceremony.  My great-grandfather adopted a particular pattern of regular worship–one simpler than mine–but he did adopt a liturgy.  So, even if he did not recognize the fact that he was doing so, he was, so he was guilty of transgressing his own statement at the end of this post.

I have had some negative encounters with people–very conservative Southern Baptists, mainly–who mistake the simplicity of worship for the purity thereof.  But I agree with a Presbyterian college professor who wrote an article about worship in Presbyterian Survey magazine in the 1920s.  Mustiness, he wrote, is not the odor of sanctity.  (If I could find the precise citation on that!)

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 30, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT EUSEBIUS OF CAESAREA, HISTORIAN AND ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF APOLO KIVEBULAYA, ANGLICAN EVANGELIST

THE FEAST OF JOACHIM NEANDER, GERMAN REFORMED MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOSEPHINE BUTLER, WORKER AMONG WOMEN

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Rom. 14, 17

1.  Difficult to appreciate small duties and still give proper emphasis to supreme questions.  Ritualism has attracted far too much attention.

2.  Christ’s kingdom is not eating and drinking–externals.  Man’s trouble first of all is an evil heart.  Jesus emphasized the need of the heart above conduct.  (Matt. 15, 8)  By birth & ritualism the Pharisees were the very best.  But He said:  “Ye are of the your father the devil.”  They made a fetish of externals.  Ritualism cannot change the heart; only the blood can.

3.  His kingdom is spiritual–within.

(a)  Righteousness–conformity to heart & life to the law of God–the heart rightly disposes toward God and man.

(b)  Peace with God & man and joy–a positive experience of heart-felt religion.

4.  How are these things realized, by eating and drinking?  Paul says:  In the Holy Spirit.”  The only divine agent used in the salvation of the lost.

5.  Hence appears the folly of emphasizing as some do the manner of religious ceremony, even baptism, and virtually saying only those are Christians who observe certain customs.  See 1 Cor. 13, 1-3 & 1 Jno. 3, 18.

The greatest thing is to have a genuine religious experience.  Walk by this rule.

GEORGE WASHINGTON BARRETT

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