Family altar / worship

Discussion in 'Family Forum' started by Anxious inquirer, Feb 21, 2004.

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  1. Anxious inquirer

    Anxious inquirer Inactive User

    Dear readers,

    I was wondering if some of you have heard or read about family worship as the puritans taught. You can think on books by Heywood, Doddridge, Hamilton, James, Barnes etc. Does anyone of you practice actually such worship in the home, and what is your experience as to doing this?

    The Lord has entrusted us with 6 children (oldest is 8 years old an the youngest just 3 weeks). We do try to have such meetings each day and in particular on the Lords day as we for conscience sake do not attend any churchmeeting / fellowship.
    I would like to exchange thoughts / experiences with those who do the same in order to learn from others.

    With kind regards,
     
  2. pastorway

    pastorway Puritan Board Senior

    Anxious,

    You only need to post your questions in one forum, not several.

    Might I ask where you are located geographically so that we might see if anyone knows of a church nearby that you could attend?

    This needs to be your first priority!

    Phillip

    [Edited on 2-22-04 by pastorway]
     
  3. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    Thoughts on Family Worship by JW Alexander.

    But Pastor Way is right. You need to find a church. You need a balanced diet of spiritual edification of which family worship is only a part. The chief portion comes from public worship and the communion of the saints.
     
  4. Anxious inquirer

    Anxious inquirer Inactive User

    Dear Phillip and Patrick,

    I am living in the Netherlands and wrote already, that for conscience sake we do not attend any church meeting / fellowship. This does not mean, that we do not meet other Christians. We do enjoy fellowship with other Christians from different denominational backgrounds. We truly desire to meet in a regular way with other Christians on a Scriptural basis, but this is just the problem these days, and therefore we wait upon the Lord. In the meantime we may testify that the Lord gives what is needed. He blesses, exhorts, encourages, comfort, etc. The Lord has become more precious to us these past years. I might say in all honesty, that we are learning more and more how utterly sinful we are in ourselves and that we only deserve eternal damnation. On the other hand we are daily wondering about His infinite love also shown to us in electing us while we were yet sinners and enemies of Christ. To Him be all honor and praise!

    We know and have experienced (and still do) how difficult, dangerous and hurting it can be to be alone. On the other hand we can testify that He knows and has given whatever was needed. We have lacked nothing.

    I fully agree with the importance of a balanced diet of spiritual edification but differ from you as to the sentence "The chief portion comes from public worship and the communion of the saints". I believe that the chief portion comes by personal reading (feeding) in and meditating on the precious Word and the prayer in the closet, with other words in personal godliness / piety. The personal communion with the Lord is the basis of all other things we practice. How can we pray in public if we haven't learned to pray in our closet and with our families? (Mat. 6 compare that with 1 Tim. 2:8). How are we able to serve the church if we are not able to rule our own house well (2 Tim. 3).

    I also think that your statement "chief portion comes from public worship and the communion of the saints" is a statement, which expresses to my understanding a self-centered way of thinking. It seems to me that the place is important to you because it is the place were I get something, while I believe it is a place where we in the first place learn to bring / offer something. Ofcourse we also receive, and if all is well, we will receive abundantly but the church meeting ought to be Christ-centered. We live in a time where it is normal to think what is in it for me, a time where many Christian passively wait until they get something, and if it doesn't suits them, they will move to another place that suits them. We meet with others to glorify Him and Him alone, we also meet to remember Him in His death (and thereby express the most intimate fellowship with one another), we meet to listen and study together His precious Word to be edified, encouraged, exhorted, comforted etc. We meet together for prayer and have fellowship with one another. But all this is the fruit or result I would say from personal reading and meditating and prayer in the closet (feeding on Christ).

    With kind regards,
     
  5. pastorway

    pastorway Puritan Board Senior

    The selfish way is just us at home......the Bible way is to not forsake the assembling of yourselves together!

    This is not an assembly at home with just your family. It is the local, visible church.

    I am not sure of the church situation in the Netherlands, but surely there has to be a church somewhere near by? Even one you could attend twice a month if the distance is that far.

    There are serious issues to deal with when we break from the local church and a rememdy for this must be sought at all costs.

    How can you know that what you teach and practice at home is Biblical if there is no accountability to elders, to those who would shepherd your soul?

    Phillip
     
  6. Anxious inquirer

    Anxious inquirer Inactive User

    Dear Phillip,

    I had no intention to state that, when we as a family gather together, that we are the local church or assembly. That would be very sectarian and is the last thing I would profess. I have meet several how thought that they were the 'faithful remnant', or those 'preserved', or those who are 'truly outside the camp' etc. I believe this is a plain Laodicean spirit of which all of us need to keep far away. I agree that we ought not to forsake the assembling of yourselves together (Heb. 10:25), but what to do when evil in the church (doctrinal or moral or both) is no more judged but propagated, then I believe only one way is left: "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work. Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart." (2 Tim. 2:19-22). This dear Phillip is what we try to do. We would love to meet with others, but not at the cost of disobeying / forsaking His commands. As you will hopefully agree therefore not "at all costs".

    And yes there are several churches nearby. As a matter of fact there is one within 100 meters distance. But can you understand our problem when we would join a church were: a unmarried woman who lives together with a man is the preacher, or a man preacher who marries two men, or a preacher who speaks all the time of the sinfulness of sin without pointing to the heavenly doctor / healer, who propagates election without human responsibility, or what about preachers who will baptize almost any baby (even of non-professing Christians) teaching that through baptism it is to be assumed the child is born again, etc., etc. What about churches were the elders do not profess to have assurance of faith, or churches were divorce and remarriage, living together without marriage etc. are allowed. What about churches were Arminianism, Arianism and all other sorts of evil all being preached? Should I go on? What I want to share with you, is that it isn't as easy to find a church / fellowship which is gathered truly to the Name of the Lord (Mat. 18:20). And therefore we wait upon His guidance, not to boast in being on our own, but realizing our own failure as to the state of things. We are ashamed of the state of the church these days and it is our prayer not to be something or whatsoever, but to be humble servant of HIM who is so worthy to be praised and served.

    As to how I know whether what I preach is Biblical: First of all I trust the Holy Spirit will show me through reading in and meditating on the precious Word, secondly through brothers and sisters with whom we have practical fellowship, thirdly through the reading of and examinating myself by good literature, fourthly by the providence of God in circumstances in our life, fifthly by prayerful evaluation of our life. I can assure you that a little understanding of our accountability to God the Father, Who is omnipresent, Who knows everything etc, etc. to me is a heavy responsibility and at the same time gives me confidence, especially looking back all these years. He has never and will never leave us alone.

    For this time I will leave it with this, as my intention had to do with sharing / exchanging thoughts as to family worship. I have seen on the site some who have shared their practice and trust the Lord will help me learning from them.

    With kind regards,
     
  7. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Anxious Inquirer:
    Having relatives in the Netherlands, I am a little familiar of the extreme problems you face. The one church is hardly recognizable through doctrine, and the next one is not recognizable through spirituality. It is a land of extremes. I can well sympathize with your situation.

    Still, I would seriously consider pastor Way's comments. If your intention is to truly worship God corporately, then God will honour your prayers to that end; because He has promised that the desire to worship Him in spirit and in truth will not be thwarted. That is, where two or three are gathered in His name, He will be there. I would think that there is more involved if God has forbidden your area to have true and free worship. Because if that is the case, that would be one of the worst curses a region could bear.

    Our modern age allows us to seek each other out in time of need, from all over the world. Your hurt is our hurt; your joy our joy. But this does not replace the community of faithful believers, communing in the ministry of the Word by the Spirit. Maybe this should be more of a concern to all of us, as many have expressed this need, and I too feel it strongly.
     
  8. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    Have a look at this denomination.

    Christelijke Gereformeerde Kerken
    http://www.cgk.nl/

    They are a "sister" denomination to the Free Reformed Churches of North America. I can't vouch for the Netherlands denom. but the FRCNA is a good group. Try em out and see what you can find.
     
  9. Reena Wilms

    Reena Wilms Puritan Board Freshman

    Myself from the Netherlands, i know how complicated this is. The Netherlands is from history a christian protestant country, but now it is absolute the opposite. Not only in the fact that the church is separeted from the State, but also that the decay/false teaching/mencenteredness/liberal are totally corrupting the reformed churches.
    Forexample the Christelijke Gereformeerde Kerken , they have also liberal teachings and are becoming arminian in their doctrine, the are working together with the Roman Catholic church. The same of the Hervormde kerk (reformed state church) there are so much decay, that they have homo sexsuals and female pastors in their church. Now you have to understand that in the Christelijke Gereformeerde Kerken and Hervormde kerk are also faithfull churches who hold to the 3 forms, but are alot of christians who for conscience sake (like Anxious inquirer), cannnot be a part of denomination (even if that particular church hold to the 3 forms) have a (unclean) relationship (because of the same denomination) with those liberal reformed churches.
    I think that you brothers don't understand the problem that Anxious inquirer is facing. The Netherlands is a country with alot of extremes. You know that in the Netherlands there are alot of baptist churches, but not one of them is calvinistic , it all arminian ! And the other (orthodox) reformed churches, many of them, only preached the law, they don't know the Gospel, because they are walking under the joke of the law, and even (as Anxious inquirer himself wrote) alot of pastors in these churches don't know if theyself if they are saved, and also the congregation can not know that, because election (in their vieuwpoint) is a mystery, and nobody can know (or a very few) if he/she is saved. They teach that a person must reach a particular kind steps in brokeniss, if you don't reach that particular kind of steps of brokenis (knowing the deepnes of you sin), than you are not saved. I believe that a person must be broken (through the law) and to know his own sinfullnis, but they go so far in this that the church or pastor wil tell you when you have reached that piont. Which is absolute unbiblical!
    To make clear, there are some reformed churches which have a good balance and in their theology, preaching and teaching and who have no relationships with those liberal churches, but they are view, and not easy to find.

    Ralph.
     
  10. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    [quote:317e30985b]Forexample the Christelijke Gereformeerde Kerken , they have also liberal teachings and are becoming arminian in their doctrine, the are working together with the Roman Catholic church. [/quote:317e30985b]
    Really? That is disappointing that they are slipping into arminianism. What are they working with Rome on?
     
  11. Reena Wilms

    Reena Wilms Puritan Board Freshman

    Dear puritansailor,

    The thing is that in the Netherlands, there is eucumenical organisation called '" samen op weg - together on the way", this means that reformed (and Hervormd)churches are working together with Roman Catholics, they even have together church services. But i have to let you know also that there are good churches among the gereformeerde kerken, but they are in the same denomination with those who are liberal and have the eucumenical spirit with R-C!!

    Ralph
     
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