Ulrich Zwingli, a Swiss Reformer - Replaced the alter table with the "Communion" table from which the bread and the wine were administered and carried to the people in little cups on a wooden tray.
(This is in direct opposition to what the Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 12, that Jesus is the head of the church and that He speaks through His entire body, not just one member)
Martin Bucer (1491-1551) instituted the idea that one should be quiet and somber when entering the church building. This practice grew so out of hand that in Puritan New England, people were fined for smiling in church!
Puritans - gave us the long pastoral prayer at the beginning of the sermon, a prayer that could last up to an hour! The sermon became even more important to the Puritans since they believed it was equivalent to God speaking directly to them. Hence, they would punish church members for missing the service by fining them or putting them in stocks! Like the Catholics, Lutherans, and Calvinists before them, the Puritan order of worship was highly predictable, written out in detail and followed to the letter
George Whitfield (1714-1770) - invented the open-air revival meeting and made the sole purpose of preaching to win lost souls. Instituted the use of emotional music to invoke a response from the people.
(While winning souls is a worthy goal, it was not God's sole purpose for his church, which was to have a relationship with His children and thus, make His presence more visible on earth) .
Charles Finney (1792-1875) believed that the sole purpose of a church service was to win converts by any means possible. He turned revivalism into a science and brought it into the church. Many modern churches operate on this premise today. (Turning salvation into a procedure and process is unscriptural and takes the leading and prompting of the Holy Spirit out of the picture)
Aside from the above additions to the order of church, the worship service has changed little in the past 500 years. Basically the modern church service is officiated and directed by a pastor, the sermon is central and the people are passive. In essence, God's people have never broken free from the liturgical restraints they inherited from the Roman Catholics.
So what, you may say, I like the way church is run. I'm used to it. Comfortable. But let's look at some of the negatives associated with our modern church service.
- The current order of worship forbids participation and thus the growth of the Christian community. By silencing the body of Christ, it halts all use of individual gifts to encourage and build up the members. No one is allowed to give a word of exhortation, introduce a Spirit-led song, give a prophesy, word of Knowledge or word of wisdom, etc.
- The current order of worship strangles the headship of Jesus. Since the pastor leads the service, the church is limited to his knowledge and gifts. Jesus, through His Holy Spirit is not permitted to operate through any one else.
- The current order of worship makes for a boring service, lacking the power of God and the spontaneity of the Holy Spirit.
- The current way of doing church actually hinders spiritual transformation. Christians grow by functioning, not passively watching
So, what do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts
(Taken from Pagan Christianity by Frank Viola and George Barna)