Vol.XV No.II Pg.7
April 1978

?You Know What?

Robert F. Turner

Bro. Turner

How does one distinguish "worship service" from Sunday morning Bible class or Wednesday night studies? GE


What is the difference in a "funeral service" and the mourning and remembering done before or after that "service"? Do we remember and honor the dead only when formally assembled for that purposes or is the "service" but a time especially set apart for such honoring and remembering?

I do not believe the "Assembly" is a "sacrament" — some holy institution by which blessings are administered. One does not worship by simply being present; or by mechanically participating in the "five items." I am saying these things to try and guide you in the examination of traditional concepts of "worship services." Previous articles on this theme can be read in PLAIN TALK, V.14, No. 5, p.7; 12-12-7; and 9-1-7. "Worship" is basically a frame of minds an attitude toward God that manifests itself in overt acts. No amount of "form" per se, can constitute "worship," nor is a certain "service" worship, to the exclusion of all other manifestations.

But one with a proper attitude toward God respects the instructions and information concerning worship to be found in the word of God. He meets with fellow saints upon the 1st. Day of the week to sing, prays study, give of his means, and partake of the Lord's memorial supper because he has learned that brethren under guidance of inspired Apostles and Prophets did this. Such things are "authorized." I do not know of a scripture that tells of a single assembling where all of these things were done; although secular history (Ante-Nicean Fathers) gives us several statements about such practices of the church in very early times. I do not know of a scripture that makes "worship" dependent upon "five items." I believe it is a mistake to assume that there is no "worship" done on Wednesday nights or in Bible classes; but I also believe it would be a mistake to assume that we had completed our service of worship on the First Day, when we ignore or count as naught that which the early church did on the First Day.

The subject — question is often asked in conjunction with questions about the conduct of women: may they speak or teach in the "class" but not in "worship'"? I believe man is over woman in all circumstances (1 Cor. 11: 3), and she could no more take positions of authority over man in class than in "worship." Her role as leader in teaching should be confined to assemblies where no men are present. On the other hands her role in "worship" is determined by this same principle, and not by some "sacramental" character of the "worship service."

In the final analysis, it seems we worship and praise God in many ways, every day of the week, alone or with others. But on the First Day we follow the example of first century saints, and come together to break bread (commemorative suppers 1 Cor. 11: 17-f; Acts 20:7), worshipping God and encouraging one-another as a "team." We should make neither more nor less of this than did the early saints.