- Presbyterian worship
Presbyterian worship documents worship practices in
Presbyterianchurches; in this case, the practises of the many churches descended from the Scottish Presbyterian church at the time of the Reformation.
Theology of Worship
Historically, the driving principle in the development of the standards of Presbyterian worship is the
Regulative principle of worship, which specifies that (in worship), what is not commanded is forbidden. [ Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter XXI, paragraph I]
In addition to those detailed in the "History" section below, Presbyterians also historically have held the following Worship positions:
* Only two
Baptism, in which they hold to the paedo-baptist (ie. Infant baptismas well as baptising unbaptised adults) and the Aspersion(sprinkling) or Affusion(pouring) positions, rather than the Immersionposition (although Immersion is valid)
Lord's Supper(also known as Communion or the Eucharist)
Worship at the time of the Reformation
At the start of the
Scottish Reformationin 1560 there was no Reformed standard for worship in Scotland, so the shape the Church initially took was dependent on local Protestant patrons.cite book|author=J.H.S. Burleigh |title=A Church History of Scotland |page= p160-163]
Writing from exile in
Geneva, John Knoxdescribed in detail what should be done at weekly worship in a 'Letter of Wholesome Councell' dated 1556. Protestant preachers fleeing Marian persecutions in England brought with them Edward VI's second Book of Common Prayer(of 1552), which was commended by the Lords of the Congregation. Knox too initially supported it (indeed reportedly, he had influenced aspects of it). However, before leaving Geneva and with the encouragement of John Calvin, he had written his own ' Book of Common Order' and it was this that was printed and approved by the General Assembly of 1562. Enlarged, it was reprinted with the Confession and the Psalms in metre in 1564, and it remained the standard until replaced with the Westminster Directoryin 1643.
Regulative principle of worship(see "Theology of Worship", above) saw many of the previous practices (inherited from the Roman Catholicchurch) cast aside. Two major points which might be unusual by today's standards were:
Exclusive psalmody: the doctrine that, in worship, only the Psalms (from the Bible) were to be sung; singing other words was only to be done outside the worship service [ Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter XXI, paragraph V]
A cappellasinging: the doctrine that no instruments were to be used in worship other than the human voice
Introduction of Continuous Singing
In early times the common method of singing in Presbyterian worship, was
lining out, where a precentor read or sang one line and the congregation repeated it after them. The Directory of Public Worship, ["Of the Singing of Psalms", Directory of Public Worship] says this:
:That the whole congregation may join herein, every one that can read is to have a psalm book; and all others, not disabled by age or otherwise, are to be exhorted to learn to read. But for the present, where many in the congregation cannot read, it is convenient that the minister, or some other fit person appointed by him and the other ruling officers, do read the psalm, line by line, before the singing thereof.
It appears from the wording that this was a practical measure in 1650, not a doctrinal position. Lining out was used by other denominations as well for the practical reasons that many people were not sufficiently literate or because of a lack of hymnals.
From around 1720 onwards, many advocated the introduction of continuous (or regular) singing [ [http://www.earlyamerica.com/review/fall97/sing.html The Regular Singing Controversy: The Case Against Lining-Out] , Linda R. Ruggles] . Continuous singing was introduced into many Presbyterian churches worldwide, even those that consider themselves to be following the traditional Presbyterian line on worship; there are some, who still practise lining out, such as the
Introduction of Hymns
In this context, "hymns" means hymns that are not part of the Bible; the word "hymn" is used in the Bible, but it is claimed by advocates of exclusive psalmody that this refers to a specific type of psalm. [ [http://www.prca.org/sermons/col_3_16.htm Psalms, hymns, and Spiritual songs] , Rev. Ronald Hanko (PRCA)]
After singing psalms for 200 years, in 1861 the
Church of Scotlandfirst formally adopted hymns, with the Free Church of Scotland doing the same in 1872. [ [http://members.aol.com/RSISBELL/keddie7.html Sing the Lord's Song! Part 7] , John W. Keddie] Hymns and other extra-biblical words are now widely used in Presbyterian circles; the details vary from denomination to denomination.
Introduction of Instruments
In the early
nineteenth century, the Revd R. William Ritchie of St. Andrew's Church, Glasgow, attempted to introduce an organ into his church, but was informed by the Presbytery of Glasgow that "the use of organs in the public worship of God is contrary to the law of the land and constitution of our Established Church." [ [http://www.electricscotland.com/history/glasgow/anec121.htm http://www.electricscotland.com/history/glasgow/anec121.htm] ]
1863, the Revd Robert Lee introduced a harmoniuminto worship at Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh. Lee defended instrumental music at the 1864 General Assembly, who declared that "such innovations should only be put down when they interfered with the peace of the Church and harmony of congregations". A pipe organ was subsequently installed in Greyfriars, and first used in 1865. [Laurence James Moore, "Sing to the Lord a New Song: A Study of Changing Musical Practices in the Presbyterian Church of Victoria, 1861 - 1901". Available at [http://dlibrary.acu.edu.au/digitaltheses/public/adt-acuvp49.29082005/02whole.pdf http://dlibrary.acu.edu.au/digitaltheses/public/adt-acuvp49.29082005/02whole.pdf] .]
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