Episcobapticostals among us

Episcobapticostals among us

Kathryn Lang, of Guntersville, Alabama, grew up Episcopalian, started attending a Southern Baptist church a few years ago, and lately began attending a local Assembly of God church because of the programs for her kids. They’ve taken membership classes at the A/G church, and her oldest son was baptized there.

Her comments in The Huntsville Times’ community column are interesting, in light of what I’ve recently blogged on. She remarks that the main differences aren’t as much theological as practical: Do you think you have a structured service, or an unstructured service? (Perhaps she glosses over the problems rampant in the ECUSA, or maybe her recent church activities have taken her “out of the loop.”) But then she analyzes the apparently unstructured services of the Baptist and Assemblies crowd and, guess what? We’re pretty structured after all.

Some of the services merely have an outline. … The singing, sermon and summons all fall in the same place each week, but don’t tell anyone.

Some of the services are a grab bag. Nothing is written, so you have to pay attention or you might get lost. Even here there usually develops a pattern: Fast song, fast song, slow song, prayer, fast song, offering, sermon, altar call.

Each service seems to be ordered by the traditions laid out by that particular church, the denomination, the pastor, and the age of the congregation. The younger the congregation, the more likely you are to see a guitar in the choir.

But what is most compelling to Kathryn is not the traditions, or lack thereof. It’s the heart of the church, the worship, not the components of the services themselves. She concludes her article with a useful definition of true worship:

Worship is about the lowering of oneself out of respect or awe. It is my lowering myself before God to allow Him to direct my life. Worship is about me pushing down my desires and emotions, and choosing to listen to the words of God and follow His way.

Worship is not about whether you choose to kneel when you pray, close your eyes when you pray or lift you hands when you pray.

True worship is when you see with the eyes of Jesus, you hear with the ears of Jesus, you feel with the heart of Jesus and you speak with the words of Jesus.


[tags]BlogRodent, Pentecostal, Assemblies-of-God, Assembly-of-God, Baptist, Pentecostal, worship, dialog[/tags]

2 thoughts on “Episcobapticostals among us

  1. A Smiley

    I live in northern Alabama where the Episcopal Church is left of Bp. Spong. Ms. Lang was wise to get her children into a different environment; however, to define and compare the churches here by their style of worship is superficial at best. Typical of the Christian formation programs in the local parishes, she has very little background in what we believe and why. I am not surprised at her Baskin-Robbins 31 flavors approach to church attendance.

  2. Rich Post author

    Thanks, Smiley, for stopping by.

    On the whole, I don’t disagree with you. I would think that anyone steeped in the orthodoxy and orthopraxy of the Anglican church, the Baptists, or the Assemblies of God would experience no small amount of dissonance attending one of the other sects.

    On the other hand, it seems to me that the deeper you go in your faith and indoctrination, the more the complexities rise to the surface to reveal themselves as simply that: surface complexities. There are many fundamental core issues that present enough commonality that there is much room for dialog and movement. I retreated at a Trappist monastery for a week and enjoyed a deep, transforming time of worship there. I have worshipped with Anglicans. I have worshipped with Baptists, Methodists, and Presbyterians. I think Lang’s point is that worship is a core fundamental, and I agree with her on that.

    For example, the first Anglican service I ever attended was an ordination service where one of the ordinands was an ordained Assemblies of God minister who was being ordained into the Anglican diaconate prior to his ordination later this year into priesthood. You can read about my brief dialog with Jack here:

    The Anglican Mission in America, Tasty Bread, and Tradition

    And I like these words from Paul W. Lewis, Ph.D. regarding this potential for dialog between our sects:

    “We still recognize that Pentecostals are dominantly Orthodox with Western church roots from the Protestant branch. The common Pentecostal consensus is that Pentecostal theology and hermeneutics is benefited by and benefits from interaction with and in dialogue with other traditions of Christianity.[20] For example, Pentecostals should (and have been in) dialogue with Roman Catholics on the miraculous, with Wesleyans on the quadrilateral and experience, and with Eastern Orthodox believers on the imago dei and the Holy Spirit. Whereas Pentecostals have much to learn about many theological and ethical issues that other traditions have been deliberating for centuries, the Pentecostals can assist in the discussions on experience, missiological practices, and charismatic worship among other areas. This is the hope of the present and future dialogues between Pentecostalism and other Christian traditions.”

    From: “100 Years of Theology



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