Restoring Family Worship, Part 1: Its Decline and Definition

Discussion in 'Worship' started by Dr. Bob Gonzales, Jun 29, 2009.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Dr. Bob Gonzales

    Dr. Bob Gonzales Puritan Board Junior

    There was a time in the early days of this nation when family worship was a “household word” (no pun intended). Generally speaking, Christian families understood it to be their duty to conduct in family worship in the home. Unfortunately, this commitment to family worship slowly weakened so that few professing Christians engage in family worship today. I believe family worship is a practice that needs to be restored in our homes. That will be the goal of this four-part study. In Part 1, we'll survey its decline and offer a working definition. In Part 2, I'll offer some biblical support. Then we'll consider some of the positive benefits of family worship in Part 3. Finally, I'll offer some practical guidelines for conducting family worship in Part 4.

    Restoring Family Worship, Part 1: Its Decline and Definition

    Just added the next installment:

    Restoring Family Worship, Part 2: Some Biblical Support

    The third installment is now available:

    Restoring Family Worship, Part 3: Some Positive Benefits

    The final installment is available:

    Restoring Family Worship, Part 4: Some Practical Guidelines

    Last edited: Jul 4, 2009
  2. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritan Board Doctor

    Great topic, Bob.

    The quote by Alexander summarizes it well, in both its simplicity and profundity:

    It's as a simple as men taking fifty minutes to lead this in their home on the Lord's Day, read the Bible and discussing it among family, praying together, and singing a hymn or psalm.

    This discipline can be taught as part of a new member's class, ought be a required pattern for church officers, and an ordinary part of the life of every believer.
  3. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    How can you require something the Scriptures do not?
  4. wturri78

    wturri78 Puritan Board Freshman

    Maybe that depends on whether we can substantiate that a man leading family worship is part of "ruling his own household well," given in 1 Tim. as a qualification for elders. I think it's reasonable to infer that it is. A man who does not lead and teach his family in their spiritual lives does not have his household in good order from a Christian perspective.

    Requiring a certain form of family worship probably goes beyond Scripture.

    Just my :2cents:
  5. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritan Board Doctor

  6. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    I getcha... Family worship is required by all families, most certainly by those who are supposed to be role models for the rest of the congregation.

    However, can a church realistically require these things? How does a church confirm whether a family is worshipping in the privacy of their home? How does a church determine what is meant by 'at all times'?
  7. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritan Board Doctor

    Great questions.

    If one goes right down the list for officers (deacons and elders) per I Timothy 3 and Titus 1, one finds that the wife of the officer is also "qualified." She too must meet her qualifications. In addition, she is asked if she consents to her husband serving- if not, he does not serve.

    Being hospitable is also a qualification. Not a perfect home, but not a hidden, dysfunctional life, either.

    So, both husband and wife are examined, in their home, by a team of elders. They are each asked questions such as about their commitment to family worship.

    Remember, Scripture requires officers to have specific giftings God gives (e.g. I Timothy 3), a calling for the office confirmed by others, comprehensive knowledge of Scripture and the doctrines confessed, and an exemplary life.

    In practice of a church discerning the officers God is appointing for them are interviews of the officer candidate, his wife, a couple "outsiders" for character references.

    High church office such as deacon or elder does not require perfection, but it does require substantial compliance with an exemplary life and that must be confirmed. If a man does not have established a pattern of discipline of seeking God through corporate, family and personal worship, he is not qualified.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2009
  8. reformedminister

    reformedminister Puritan Board Sophomore

    I think this is a great topic. I was raised in a Christian home but the only time we prayed together regularly was at meals or at church. We never read the Bible together. I established family worship in my own family about ten years ago. We have been more consitent at some times than others. Ideally, I would like to have it after the evening meal everyday. We have been hit and miss lately, because of our busy schedule. No excuse! The Lord has been convicting me about this. I have read Alexander's book and felt it was a great read and reminder of how important this subject is. I was amazed that puritan families observed family worship every morning and evening. :book2:
  9. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    Abraham worshipped God with his family. Are Christians who don't hold family worship just paying lip service to the fact that Abraham is father of the faithful? [Abraham also tithed to the King-Priest who brought him bread and wine. But that is another subject.]
  10. uberkermit

    uberkermit Puritan Board Freshman

    Dr. Gonzales referenced James W. Alexander's "Thoughts on Family Worship" in his post. I have not read it before now, but have just begun. It seems interesting so far. Here is a link to the full version on Google books:

    Thoughts on Family Worship

    Here is some other related material that is included with some editions of the Westminster Standards and should be of interest for those thinking about the matter of family worship:

    To the Christian Reader, Especially Heads of Families

    Mr. Thomas Manton's Epistle to the Reader

    Directory for Family Worship
  11. KSon

    KSon Puritan Board Junior

    I agree, great topic Dr. Gonzales. The lack of family worship in my home is something that has been a great source of conviction of late. I have been greatly edified by Joel Beeke's "Family Worship" booklet (part of his excellent "Family Guidance" series), which gives a brief foundational basis for family worship, and some very practical ideas for the institution of such.
  12. Idelette

    Idelette Puritan Board Graduate

    I was just about to mention this booklet as well.....Dr. Beeke also has some wonderful sermons on this topic! - Motivations for Family Worship - 17
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2009
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page