Offering as an Act of Public Worship

Status
Not open for further replies.

Rev. Todd Ruddell

Puritan Board Junior
Perhaps the OP is worded a bit inelegantly. There are offerings offered in worship by God's command. I believe you mean that passing the plate is not an element of worship, and has no place in the public worship service, correct?
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
It is more appropriately called a "collection," as "offering" supposes some continuation of the Old Testament sacrificial system.

Intimations are not an element of worship, but there are prudent reasons for notifying the congregation of meetings and events. As a matter of good order this can be done at the beginning or end of the service. If a plate or a box has proven to be an inconvenience or inadequate as a means of receiving the people's contribution, prudence might suggest taking up a collection at the beginning or end of the service. As Bownd notes, it should not interfere with the service itself.

Since it is understood that the collection is not an element of stated worship, one should not appeal to the circumstantial arrangements of the past as if they were perpetually binding. It is in the nature of these arrangements to allow for adaptation to new situations.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
For clarification's sake, if the 'collection' is not an element, then it is a circumstance, correct? Or does it lack status at all?
 

Travis Fentiman

Puritan Board Freshman
Todd, you are correct. Elegance is not my forte, though I am willing to learn by God's grace.
 
Last edited:

Logan

Puritan Board Junior
Travis, I'm curious as to whether you came across any other opinions or if there was complete uniformity where it was mentioned. In other words, is this a historical analysis or is it showing who agreed with one position?

For example, in keeping with 1Cor 16:2, I find many commentators of that period specifically say people should store up---or it is appropriate that---collections should be done on the Lord's Day. So far there is agreement. The question would then be, is it appropriate to do this during public worship? You found some that say no, did you find some that say yes?

I ask for curiousity's sake and because I have heard some cite 1Cor 16:2 as support that it is authorized during public worship.
 

TylerRay

Puritan Board Graduate
For clarification's sake, if the 'collection' is not an element, then it is a circumstance, correct? Or does it lack status at all?

It is neither; it has no place in worship as an element nor as a circumstance. It is best taken up either as a box by the entry to the chapel, or, as Rev. Winzer noted, as a passing around of a vessel of some sort (like a plate) before or after the service (i. e., while everyone is still in their places and can comfortably pass the vessel).
 

Rev. Todd Ruddell

Puritan Board Junior
Remember that the Directory for Public Worship, in the section on the Lord's Supper, allowed for a collection for the poor, but even this was not to "hinder the public worship". See the final sentence of this section:

The collection for the poor is so to be ordered, that no part of the public worship be thereby hindered.

Obviously, this collection would be upon the Lord's Day, but outside the public worship.
 

Travis Fentiman

Puritan Board Freshman
Travis, I'm curious as to whether you came across any other opinions or if there was complete uniformity where it was mentioned. In other words, is this a historical analysis or is it showing who agreed with one position?

For example, in keeping with 1Cor 16:2, I find many commentators of that period specifically say people should store up---or it is appropriate that---collections should be done on the Lord's Day. So far there is agreement. The question would then be, is it appropriate to do this during public worship? You found some that say no, did you find some that say yes?

I ask for curiousity's sake and because I have heard some cite 1Cor 16:2 as support that it is authorized during public worship.


Logan, thanks for the questions.

The webpage by no means intends to be a broad history of the variety of ways collecting offerings has been practiced in the post-reformation era. The purpose of the page is to start documenting (I will add much more in the days to come) what I consider to be the Biblical view, which also happens to be the view of Westminster and that of the Church of Scotland from her reformation (1560) through the covenanting era (see especially the William Maxwell quote I just put up today).

There certainly was not complete uniformity in that era. I have run across references (especially in England) of a collection taking place in worship (often as the minister preaches, and hence disrupting that element of worship), but even these references appear simply to show that the collection simply performed an indifferent and convenient function. What I have not found are any references to offering being in the service and being offered to God as an act of worship. It may be that the Dutch and other less reformed countries did such, but I do not know, I have not looked that far yet.

A purpose of the webpage is to (in part) show that what is virtually universally accepted today and taught as reformed worship (that of offering offerings to God in public worship), is by and large not the view of the reformation and puritan era, but an innovation of the last few hundred years.

1 Cor. 16:2 is clear warrant for offerings to be collected on the Lord's Day, but of course, it is no warrant for it being an act of public worship (which the verse does not say). If the Bible is silent on such, and does not prescribe offerings for public worship, then of course, according to the Regulative Principle of Worship, offerings in public worship as acts of worship are forbidden.

Just a note to clarify, in light of Rev. Winzer's comment, the Bible verses and historical quotes on the webpage are not to prescribe a certain method of collecting the indifferent offerings, but only to show (1) that the quoted persons and churches did not hold offering to be an element of worship, and (2) to demonstrate how the moral principles of collecting offerings has often been done by historically reformed churches.

Andrew Myers, whom some on the PB know, is currently writing a thorough Biblical and historical defense of this view, which will be much more persuasive and full than the current article on the webpage, and will be very comprehensive as far as the history of it goes (including the Dutch, French churches, etc.). Hopefully he will have it done in a month or two, and I will put it up on the linked webpage.

Andrew Myers mentioned this to me in private message:

"I was reading Old's "Patristic Roots of Reformed Worship." He says the first Reformed celebration of the Lord's Supper occurred in the city of Menningen, Germany on December 7, 1524. An official liturgy was drawn up there in November 1528 and it shows that the collection of alms occurred after the benediction. I have seen this in several other liturgies that I have read. Sometimes there was a closing exhortation to help the poor and a collection was taken up after the benediction was given."​

Hope this answers your questions. I hope it is profitable. Blessings.
 

Wayne

Tempus faciendi, Domine.
Volume 13 of the Union Seminary Magazine can be found on Google Books and contains an article by Clement R. Vaughn titled Giving an Ordinance of Worship. [p. 82ff.]

Might be something to interact with, to get what appears to be an opposing view.
 

Travis Fentiman

Puritan Board Freshman
Travis, I'm curious as to whether you came across any other opinions or if there was complete uniformity where it was mentioned.


To show the 6% diversity and 94% uniformity of the practice of collecting the offering at the door in the Church of Scotland from the reformation (1560) through the covenanting era, I updated the webpage with a lengthy survey from G.D. Henderson, a fine historian of the Church of Scotland.


I also added an act representative of the Free Church of Scotland from 1848.

Hughes Oliphant Old is quoted to the same effect, who, of course, is one of the leading authorities on the history of reformed worship today.

When did offering take on a prominent role as an element of worship in reformed churches? A tentative answer to that question (awaiting Myers' further research) is that it was in 1788 with the American presbyterian Directory of Worship. Julius Melton, a fine scholar of American presbyterianism, is quoted giving an extended account of such. The history behind it, as with most changes in worship, is not stellar.


A few other quotes were added as well. More will be coming.


Blessings.
 

richardnz

Puritan Board Freshman
There is a useful book on Google books in preview only. Even though only a portion of the book is available, it is enough to show that this is a complicated issue to evaluate when attempting to perform a historical survey .

“John Calvin on the Diaconate and Liturgical Almsgiving” by Elsie Anne McKee

P64 “The almsgiving practices ordained by a great number of sixteenth-century Protestants specifically included the collection of alms in regular worship. This was not the only or universal fashion of gathering charitable funds; it was not uniform in its details, but similar methods and occasions were combined in most cases. Alms might be collected before, during or after the preaching. They might be gathered in the church, at or outside the church door. Alms in kind and especially in coin could be put in special church boxes by individuals or by the specially designated collectors who passed little bags or boxes at stated times or places”

“Among the great majority of the Reformed churches, an alms collection became a part of the regular worship order.”

“Calvin believed that no one should appear before God empty-handed. (Deut 16:16)”

Calvin's Strasbourg and Geneva liturgies contain almsgiving as part of the service.

There is a useful article on the Offertory by Rev Daniel Kleyn of the Protestant Reformed Church at

http://standardbearer.rfpa.org/articles/worship-his-fear-6-offertory

He calls the offertory an element of worship. The focus is on attitude, on giving cheerfully.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top