Sunday, August 22, 2010

Church Changes

Below I have included some thoughts from John Calvin. Last Sunday, Randy Gill spoke at our church about how worship has changed over the last 2000 years. He used this quote to show that the changes that have taken place are not as serious as every generation seems to think.

I will take it a step further on an issue that is close to my heart: women's role in the church. The church is one of the last areas reaching toward equality even though Jesus was radical in his treatment of women, the church of the 20th and 21st century has been the last place to treat women equally. Here are Calvin's words:

By this one example we may judge what opinion we should have of this whole class. I mean that the Lord has in his sacred oracles faithfully embraced and clearly expressed both the whole sum of true righteousness, and all aspects of the worship of his majesty, and whatever was necessary to salvation; therefore, in these the Master alone is to be heard. But because he did not will in outward discipline and ceremonies to prescribe in detail what we ought to do (because he foresaw that this depended upon the state of the times, and he did not deem one form suitable for all ages), here we must take refuge in those general rules which he has given, that whatever the necessity of the church will require for order and decorum should be tested against these. Lastly, because he has taught nothing specifically, and because these things are not necessary to salvation, and for the upbuilding of the church ought to be variously accommodated to the customs of each nation and age, it will be fitting (as the advantage of the church will require) to change and abrogate traditional practices and to establish new ones. Indeed, I admit that we ought not to charge into innovation rashly, suddenly, for insufficient cause. But love will best judge what may hurt or edify; and if we let love be our guide, all will be safe.
It's not about women; it's about the fact that what seemed right yesterday may not be right today, and tomorrow, who knows. There's something to think about. Comments are always welcome.


  1. slavery
    long hair
    instrumental music
    modest dress
    church kitchens
    one cup
    sunday school
    The list goes on and on. When will we learn the simplicity of "Love the Lord thy God; and Love your neighbor as yourself; upon these, all the law and the prophets are built."

  2. My denomination ordains women, but that doesn't mean they can find jobs or are treated with equality. ;) I recently wrote an article for them, suggesting that in a world where many people actually believe that the Church (and God) dislikes women, a church that simply practices gender equality stands out, and just by its existence removes some people's objections to God. To me, that is quite a thought. Thanks for this post.