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Sabbatical, Psalm 50 on Corporate Worship, the Public Reading of Scripture, and Minority Reports
Weekend Newsletter: August 13, 2022
I have not posted much for awhile here because my Session graciously granted me a sabbatical over this past summer. It was a tremendous blessing to spend so much time with my family, studying, and resting, but it is great to be back. We deeply missed our church, but it has been healthy to get back to normal as we prepare for the Fall.
This Week’s Sermon
During the sabbatical we visited various churches, and I did not have any role leading in the worship services. It was a strange perspective for me, since I preach and/or lead worship most weeks in the normal course of my pastoral ministry. It led me to do a lot of thinking about what we are all doing while we are gathered for worship—a theme I posted about at the beginning of the summer:
I wanted to communicate some of the fruit of that meditation in my first sermon upon returning, so I preached on Psalm 50. Here is the introduction from the sermon notes:
In Psalm 50, God indicts his people for their legalism, and calls them to repentance and renewed worship. In this psalm, God presents his case against his people. It is not that his people have failed to do what God has asked them to do in worship, but that they have failed to worship them in the manner in which he calls them to worship him. God’s charge against Israel is not that they have worshiped other gods beside him (First Commandment), or that they have made for themselves graven images (Second Commandment), but that they have worshiped him in a light, flippant, insincere manner—that is, that they have taken his name as a vain thing (Third Commandment). This text confronts us each and every time we gather for worship, in addition to serving as a preview of the judgment on the last day. In worship, God judges his people. (Read More)
And here is the full sermon:
I have two articles to share that I have recently posted elsewhere.
First, at the end of April, I published an article with the Gospel Reformation Network on the issue of the public reading of Scripture at our corporate worship services, entitled, “Who is Permitted to Read the Word Publicly to the Congregation in the PCA?”:
In this article, then, I want to plead with fellow presbyters in the PCA to reclaim the biblical and historically Presbyterian understanding that the public reading of Scripture is an exercise of church authority. Accordingly, I will argue that the Scriptures and our constitution give us sufficient clarity about who is, and who is not, permitted to read the Word publicly. (Read More)
Before reading this article, it may help to read the article about the “Dialogue of Worship” posted above, or to listen to my related sermon on 1 Corinthians 14:26–40.
Second, I published a very technical article on the details of parliamentary procedure related to something that took place at this year’s General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America, “Minority Reports, CCB, & the SJC – Part 1: The Parliamentary Rules”:
At the 49th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), the Committee on Constitutional Business (CCB) presented its annual report, which included the results of its review of the minutes of the Standing Judicial Commission (SJC), according to the PCA’s Rules of Assembly Operations (RAO)….
This year, two members of CCB issued a minority report, arguing that they differed from the majority by finding exceptions with respect to the SJC’s handling of Speck v. Missouri Presbytery. The Moderator ruled that this minority report should neither be heard nor moved as a substitute for the Committee’s report, and, upon appeal, the General Assembly narrowly sustained the Moderator’s ruling by a vote of 970-856.
In this article, I will explore the details of the parliamentary rules concerning minority reports to argue that, in my opinion, this ruling was in error. In a future article, I will argue why maintaining this procedure is so important for the health of the PCA. (Read More)
The second part of this article is coming next week, Lord willing, where I will zoom out from the minutiae of parliamentary procedure, in order to see the importance of this particular procedure in our denomination’s overall polity and health.
The Platte Valley Presbytery meets today in Lincoln, NE. Please pray for our proceedings, and pray for me as I have the joy of preaching the devotional this time around.
Have a blessed Lord’s Day tomorrow!