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Archive for August, 2008

Peter Leithart in Against Christianity points out that “Christianity” tends to be an ideology, and that Jesus did not come to set up an ideology but to found a kingdom: Christen-Dom.

Christendom is a total way of life, including thinking. But as a way, it is a walk, a path. “In Him we live and move and have our being.” The way to learn this path is through ritual. Ritual is essential to Biblical religion, but unimportant to ideology.

I recently read a remark to the effect that Old Covenant worship was ritualistic, while New Covenant worship is a celebration response to the resurrection. This was just an offhand remark, so I cannot pretend to know all that was intended it by the person who wrote it. It seemed to mean, however, that (within bounds) New Covenant worship is not patterned by the Bible. Rather, worship is a response to an idea, and if not spontaneous is at least free of any prescribed order.

Now, there is a long tradition of this, I think. Jesus instituted a ritual and prescribed it for the Church, and that ritual is obeyed by virtually no churches. It is clear that the churches have felt that they can do the Lord’s Supper any way they want. This, I submit, is the triumph of ideology. Consider: Jesus clearly commanded us to sit when we eat with Him. This is seen in every feeding of the 5000 and 4000 in the gospels. Jesus instituted the meal sitting. He prayed while sitting. Physical posture was important to Jesus, but is it not important to the gnosticized churches. An ideology about the meaning of the Supper pushes churches into having people stand around, or kneel in humility. Being seated with Jesus in the heavenlies as His queen is not the message in these churches.

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