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Sunday
May202012

This Week's White Horse Inn

The Worship Experience

The worship wars are over, and most Protestant churches now feature a praise band or worship team. In the quest for relevance, today’s churches offer worship experiences that are in tune with the expectations that parishioners receive from contemporary pop culture. However, some are beginning to recognize that this pop-music worship style lacks a certain transcendence, and in their quest to find a sense of the sacred, many are abandoning evangelicalism and are becoming Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox. So is this new appreciation for Gregorian chants and swinging incense a healthy reaction? What is worship anyway? That’s what’s on tap on this edition of White Horse Inn.

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Reader Comments (13)

I enjoyed listening to the program. I personally know a Christian very well that was a non-denominational Christian for over 20 years. This person wanted to to do an extensive study on church history. He started attending an Orthodox church for about a year in his studies. He eventually became Orthodox.

What is amazing is that he went from not knowing much more than your average feel good non-denominational Christian to pretty much an expert on church history.

Because of him, I did a study of the Orthodox tradition for my own educational reasons (I mean it is pretty historical). One of their Bishops made a 70 page catechism, which I read. I also read a lot of the essay's by the Bishops on their theology.

They have a doctrine of "theosis", which is much the way that we would view sanctification--which a person receives from partaking of the Supper on a regular basis. All of their doctrine is from the Creeds, the Bible and tradition.

They do not believe in purgatory or many of the other doctrines of Rome. They view "forensic justification" as a new teaching and they don't use the term.

In a nutshell, it is pretty much semi-Pelagian, with much more theology, tradition and liturgy than your basic Calvary Chapel type of church. The services haven't changed in close to 2000 years and it is the fastest growng church body in the United States.

For educational purposes, it was well worth my time to study it. However, there isn't a church that nails the Scriptures more than the Lutheran tradition.

I came away with a respect for the Orthodox traditon, however, it still comes down to the "Solas" of the Reformation.
May 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLloyd I. Cadle
Pastor Kim -

You mention on the WHI that anyone that would leave a mainline Christian denomination and join either a Roman Catholic or an Orthodox church would be committing apostasy.

If the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox are mostly semi-Pelagian--much like a Calvary Chapel and most of Christianty today, wouldn't you also consider those churches apostate as well?

Just respectfully asking......
May 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLloyd I. Cadle
Lloyd:

This issue here is not whether someone can be a Christian and attend Calvary. Of course, they can. I was!

Apostasy is defined as someone rejecting the five solas and returning (or embracing) a system which teaches that the merits of Christ (received by faith) are not sufficient to save. To do so is to reject the gospel!

This is what is in view in Hebrews 6, John 10, Galatians 5:4, etc. Someone who professes sola fide and then renounces it because they now feel they must contribute their own good works or merit runs into Paul (and Romans, Galatians, Ephesians,etc.,) John and Peter, to name three.

Those who do not persevere to the end are not saved (because they never were).
May 23, 2012 | Registered CommenterKim Riddlebarger
Pastor Kim -

Thanks for the response. When you hear many of the sermons by Calvary Chapel pastors and much of what you hear on Christian radio there is little difference with what you hear from a sermon preached by a Roman Catholic priest. Neither side embraces the five solas.

In fact, some Calvary pastors teach that the "carnal Christians" will have to go through the seven year tribulation period--which is a short term purgatory. They forfeit the grace that God has given them because they "haven't been walking in the light."

Dispensational theology has Israel going back to the types and shaddows of animal sacrifices during their 1,000 year reign of Christ. They are teaching that the blood of the lamb was not sufficient enough for the forgiveness of sins.

These two groups understand the grace of God much like Rome--except they package it differently. In other words, they get a free pass.

Blessings,
May 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLloyd I. Cadle
Lloyd:

I think you are missing my point.

The people you describe in your last post may have never believed the gospel--they sure don't understand it. They won't get a pass (at judgment) and nobody has been harder on such people than we at the WHI. Read article 29 of the Belgic Confession where the distinction between true and false churches and true and false Christians are spelled out.

The group to which you referred in your first post are members of confessional churches (Lutheran, Reformed) who then drown in the Tiber or Bosporus. These people are apostates--we read of them in Hebrews 6:1-6.
May 23, 2012 | Registered CommenterKim Riddlebarger
Pastor Kim -

I fully understand what your point is. My point is not so much an individual Christian leaving a Reformed or Lutheran church and joining an Orthodox or a Roman church--it is giving a free pass to the semi-Pelagian, synergistic (and even dispensational churches), like a Calvary Chapel (as an example) a free pass for teaching grace plus other stuff (whatever it is) in which they deny the 5 solas.

We need to judge those churches with the same criteria as we do RC and the Orthodox. Those churches are teaching that you have to merit the grace of God just like Rome and the Orthodox. Using the same criteria for all church bodies will easily disqualify Calvary Chapel and many other church bodies right along with Rome and the Orthodox.

Case in point: When I discuss the Gospel with other Christians and we get around to Rome--all they mention is that Rome is not a Christian denomination because of Mary and the Saints, purgatory and the like. I have to mention to them that the main problem is not Mary and the saints (etc.), but faith plus works. They never mention faith plus works because that is what they are getting in their churches (just like Rome and the Orthodox parishiners do).

I know that the WHI does a great job. But, the fact of the matter is that Luther, Calvin and the Reformers would not call Calvary type churches Christian and disqualify the Orthodox and Rome. They would lump Rome, the Orthodox and the Calvary type churches together and disqualify them all based on the five solas. None of these churches would get a free pass. The Reformers would not grade on a curve.

Blessings,
May 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLloyd I. Cadle
Lloyd, you make good points. It seems to me that CC and things like it more or less embody what confessional Protestantism considered Anabaptist or the radical Reformation (i.e. a rejection of sola fide and orthodox sacramentology). Echoing Calvin who said we are assailed by two sects, Horton has made the point that the Reformation was a battle on two fronts, Rome and the Radicals.

It's really a question of the marks of the true church and bidding pious souls to cleave to one and reject false churches. Which means that pious souls do exist in all of these communions, but at the same time you are right to point out that there should be as much vigorous opposition to CC as there is to Rome.
May 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSCZ
SCZ -

If Calvary Chapel type churches have the same Gospel as Rome, it may not be a far reach to say that they both would have around the same percentage of "pious souls" in each.

Oh boy! Would Chuck Smith and Raul Ries have a nightmare over that one. Time for the boys to step up the Altar calls!
May 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLloyd I. Cadle
Lloyd (it's me, Zrim, from another computer), altar calls are a good example to make the point: are we willing to condemn them as strongly as we do the Mass?
May 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterZrim
Zrim -

Good to hear from you! I am just making the point that Rome is semi-Pelagian and synergistic just like Calvary Chapel and many other churches like them including some Baptist churches.

If that is the criteria that we use for what is Christian or not, they need to be excluded from being a Christian denomination just like Rome is. It is a package deal. I believe that is what the Reformers would have done.

I was silly to throw the Altar call out there. And I was wrong to pick on Chuck Smith and Raul Ries. They are teaching a Gospel like Rome but in a little different package--much like most of Christianity today. The Gospel of Rome is no worse than those church bodies.
May 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLloyd I. Cadle
Lloyd (what I mean is that I am SCZ), so to come back to your original point, I think the answer is that decisonist churches are just as apostate as the Roman communion, and so to reject a Reformation church and embrace one or the other would be to apostasize. I sometimes get the sense, though, that some of us former decisionists aren't as ready to pull the proverbial trigger on the descendants of the Radical Reformation as we can be on Rome.
May 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterZrim
Zrim -

Well said. Also, there seems to be such a hatred of Rome--especially from the churches that teach the same Gospel. At least Rome has a theology (a how to book, if you will) rather than a bunch of house rules that are vague. It is a well thought out system. If you ever want a good chuckle, ask a Pentecostal to describe their doctrine of the Trinity.
May 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLloyd I. Cadle
"Apostasy is defined as someone rejecting the five solas"
That's ridiculous.
Sola Scriptura is nowhere in scripture.

I am finally reformed from my former "Reformed" heresy and have found the Truth (Jesus) in the Church he established – not the sect(s) started by deceived men.

Glory to God for all things.
July 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBob

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