CT Wants Ritual

Christianity Today Needs to Return to the Bible


Last week, I noticed that  “Christianity Today” had several articles promoting the unbiblical season of Lent.  Today, I noticed that instead of promoting biblical practices, CT is promoting ritualistic traditions that are not in the Bible.


Return to Ritual
…by Eric Reed | posted 3/13/2009
We keep hearing of churches “returning to ritual.” Such churches often share common elements: weekly Communion, written prayers, creeds, corporate confession, and other things that for some stalwarts may feel awfully Catholic…

“Dimming the lights doesn’t make you liturgical,” said one pastor when asked about the advantages of weekly Communion. “We can create worship services with the candles and creeds, and people would have a great experience, but that’s not a good reason to do it. We shouldn’t reclaim liturgy because it ‘works’ in a postmodern age or because other churches are successful at it. We should do it because it reconnects us with historic Christianity and moves us from my spirituality to our spirituality, dating back 2,000 years.”

Perhaps that’s why we’re hearing of more such churches popping up. For these congregations, the new worship means going old school…

Keith Hileman, associate pastor…At first, we added the emphasis of Advent. We then expanded from a Good Friday Tennebrae service to the Triduum–a three-day service from Maundy Thursday across Good Friday to Easter Morning. At the same time, we began designing a sanctuary…

Eventually the elders unanimously adopted the Nicene Creed as our doctrinal statement…

Trinity Vineyard Christian Fellowship…Dan Rak, pastor… I was reared as a Roman Catholic… as an adult in another Vineyard church, I found the weekly observance of communion familiar and comforting. In that part of Chicago, which was heavily Catholic, weekly communion was what the people felt church “ought to be like.”

So in our new congregation, we began sharing the Lord’s Supper every week prior to the message…and the people come up the center aisle to receive communion… Former Catholics tell me that our practice of communion, while it reminds them of their church experiences in the past, has helped them become acclimated to Spirit-led worship in the present.For those who want a more liturgical experience, we draw from the Christian calendar during Lent and Advent, and we plan what are for us highly liturgical services. I choose my sermon texts from the lectionary during those seasons, although I don’t announce that’s where they come from.

There are seven basic problems with the CT position:

  1. The rituals that CT is promoting are not in the Bible.
  2. CT’s claims that these were true Christian practices dating back 2,000 years is completely false.  There simply is no evidence that the Christians in the Bible nor those who were called by the ministries of the original apostles ever kept such rituals.  Apparently many associated with CT do not understand The History of Early Christianity.
  3. Jesus was not pleased with the Pharisees and others of His time who promoted ritualistic traditions over the Bible.  Actually Jesus taught, “in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:9).  But that is precisely what CT is promoting now.  What CT appears to be doing is promoting traditions of men above the teachings of the Bible as CT does NOT promote the biblical holy days for this period, but instead promotes the compromised positions that were later adopted by Rome and opposed to by people even the Catholics consider to be saints, such as Polycarp of Smyrna (see also Polycarp of Smyrna: The Heretic Fighter).
  4. Maundy Thursday, etc. promote the false idea that certain events in Jesus’ last week of life occured on days of the week that even several Protestant scholars have realized were impossible.  Those who want to know the truth about this should read the article What Happened in the Crucifixion Week?
  5. The faithful did not have weekly communion services, as they came through a heretic named Justin.  And amazingly Justin had a belief that those who currently are in the Roman/Orthodox/Protestant faiths hold, that Justin claimed if you held it you were not a Christian (see Justin Martyr: Saint, Heretic, or Apostate?).  So why would any follow one of Justin’s practices while being condemned by him?
  6. The Nicene Creed was not the original creed found in the earliest writings.  It represented a change due to several compromises.  If the particular Nicene Creed that is being used is the same one that Rome now uses, CT should realize that the Eastern Orthodox claim that one Roman change to it led to the “great schism” between the Greco-Roman churches in 1054 A.D.  Hence, to somehow imply that the “Nicene Creed” is a return to original Christianity is completely and historically false.
  7. The Bible clearly warns of a time that a powerful ecumenical religion is going to come and force worship upon itself (Revelation 13).  And while this religion is likely to call itself “Catholic” as it will likely retain rituals from that tradition, it will in fact be a changed version of that.  Many Catholic writers have warned that their religion would be changed and possibly led by a false leader that they tend to call the antipope.  By promoting ritual now to Protestants that did not have it, CT is actually encouraging Protestants to ultimately turn towards this false ecumenical religion.  One that even many Catholics fear is beginning to rise up in their church.  And one that will take over Europe and the rest of the world.

Does CT not understand that the Bible does not promote the rituals that it is now promoting?

Furthermore, as  “Pastor Rak” does not tell his congregants where he gets his sermon texts, apparently because he does not wish his Protestant congregation to realize that he is becoming so ecumenical with Catholic beliefs and practices.  This appears to be quite disingenuous.

Can CT not understand where its compromises are leading to?  Shouldn’t a magazine from a Protestant tradition instead promote beliefs from the Bible?  Or, like Martin Luther, does CT not truly believe in sola Scriptura?

We are living in perilous times and people need to “contend for the faith that was once for all delivered for the saints” (Jude 3)–the faith that God had recorded in the Bible.  Those associated with CT either need to turn it away from ritual and towards the Bible, or stop supporting it themselves if they are truly interested in the Christianity of the Bible.

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

Tradition and Scripture: From the Bible and Church Writings Are traditions on equal par with scripture? Many believe that is what Peter, John, and Paul taught. But did they?
Is Lent a Christian Holiday? When did it originate? What about Ash Wednesday? If you observe them, do you know why?
Why The Living Church of God Does Not Wear Green on St. Patrick’s Day Should non-Catholics observe a Catholic holiday?
What Happened in the Crucifixion Week? How long are three days and three nights? Did Jesus die on “Good Friday”? Was the resurrection on Sunday? Do you really know? Who determined the date of Easter?
Did Early Christians Celebrate Easter? If not, when did this happen? What do scholars and the Bible reveal?
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?

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