Standing for the Reading of the Scripture

Discussion in 'Worship' started by Backwoods Presbyterian, Apr 24, 2010.

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  1. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritan Board Doctor

    I listen to a lot of Rev. Joe Morecraft's sermons on Sermon Audio and one thing that his congregation does is when the Scripture is read they stand in reverence for the Word.

    Does your congregation have this practice? Do you know of another congregation that has this practice?

    Is this traditional?
  2. Skyler

    Skyler Puritan Board Graduate

    Yes, I'm pretty sure it's traditional.

    No, our congregation does not, though many others I have visited do stand (if not for the sermon's main passage, then for the Lord's Prayer or something like that). I wouldn't mind if ours did, personally.
  3. Mushroom

    Mushroom Puritan Board Doctor

    Mine doesn't. Wish they did. I like the concept, but can't find it necessary in light of the RPW. It brings tears to my eyes to read of all the people standing and weeping at the reading of the law in Nehemiah 8. Would that we were as enamored of the Word as our brothers were that day.
  4. dudley

    dudley Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Our congregation does not.
  5. au5t1n

    au5t1n Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    No, just the whole "The Word of the Lord," "Thanks be to God" responsive thing, which I really like.
  6. darrellmaurina

    darrellmaurina Puritan Board Freshman

    It is a traditional practice in some Reformed circles to stand as a mark of respect for the reading of the Word; my understanding, though I have never verified this, is that it was the typical practice of New England Puritanism based on passages such as the Nehemiah reference already cited. I've been in a number of very traditional Congregational churches that did this, or at least did it on special services such as Pilgrim Thanksgiving services.

    My personal view is that the regulative principle applies here and since I am not convinced this is required by the regulative principle, at a very minimum it cannot be required in the churches -- and if that is true, it probably shoudn't be done at all since nothing should be found in the church's worship that cannot be shown to be required by the Bible.

    Perhaps standing as a mark of respect for Scripture is like the Geneva gown -- what once was an important Reformed symbol showing that the pastor is a teacher, not a priest, has now become a symbol of "clericalism" just as much as the ancient Anglican robes were at the time of the Puritans.
  7. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    We do at Midlane Park.

    Funny, though, the Missus and I have worshiped at Chalcedon (Morecraft's church) before, and I don't remember us standing for the reading of the word. That was back in 2006-2007, though. Maybe it's changed, or maybe I'm just forgetful.
  8. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    If we are to show reverence for the reading of the Word then shouldn't we fall on our faces and say "Woe is me!"? That seems more proper.

    But God doesn't command anything so we don't have to.
  9. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    We don't usually stand for the reading of the Word. But I had the congregation do it once when I preached. It fit the point of the sermon and I thought it would help them get that point, plus introduce them to a practice that I believe is not required but has some merit.

    Reactions were interesting. I'm sure a few traditionalists didn't like it (change = bad). But many were very appreciative and the following Sunday an elder who was reading Scripture had us do it again.

    I explained it as signifying two things:
    1) We stand as SERVANTS of God and his Word, like a servant stands when summoned by his master.
    2) We stand as CITIZENS of God's kingdom, like one who has a right to stand before the king's court and have his case heard.
    As such it can be a gospel-honoring practice, as the gospel too teaches us that we are unworthy servants, yet in Christ we are also accpeted not merely as citizens, but as children of God.
  10. Glenn Ferrell

    Glenn Ferrell Puritan Board Junior

    I'm more concerned with standing for prayer. Sitting is not ordinarly appropriate for prayer, while kneeling and standing are.

    If more than one reading is done, perhaps longer ones, sitting may help one lend attention better.

    Difficult to have people stand for scripture reading, prayer and singing. If I must make a choice, I'll suggest people stand for prayer. Certainly, while standing for scripture reading is not wrong, we sit for communion, representing the rest we enjoy as the redeemed in Christ. Sitting while being fed God's word might also represent that same rest. But, standing for prayer demonstrates our dependence and active engagement in imploring God for his aid. If find no RPW basis for sitting during prayer, except where providentially hindered from standing or kneeling. While sitting may not be the best posture for good singing, one must make choices to accommodate the infirmities of the body.

    At SRPC, we stand for the initial Apostolic greeting, Psalm, prayer and assurance of pardon; sit for the next Psalm, first reading, another Psalm, and second reading; stand for the longer prayer before sermon; sit for sermon; stand for prayer after sermon, final Psalm and benediction.
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2010
  11. Herald

    Herald Moderator Staff Member

    We stand for the reading of the Word and prayer.
  12. KMK

    KMK Moderator Staff Member

    We sometimes sit and sometimes stand. I don't want either to become 'tradition'.
  13. jwithnell

    jwithnell Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    We stand for the theatrical presentation. Just kidding! Just kidding!

    Seriously, the Chalcedon church has been following this principle for years, back into the early '80s. They used to read the 10 commandments as a congregation, another practice, though not required, I found very powerful.

    I would definitely not be opposed at another posture for prayer.
  14. Sonny

    Sonny Puritan Board Sophomore

    We stand at Redeemer. I like it allot.
  15. LeeJUk

    LeeJUk Puritan Board Junior

    At least in my church of Scotland parish (im pretty sure it wont be across the board because nothing is across the board in our denomination) a large pulpit bible is carried in at the start of each service at which point the whole congregation stands until the man climbs the steps of the pretty high up pulpit and puts it down.
  16. JM

    JM Puritan Board Professor

    I visited a Regular Baptist church for worship this morning and we stood for the reading of the word. It was the first time I had seen that practice in a Baptist church. On a side note, it was an excellent sermon. Well thought out with lots and lots of scripture quoted, a few Puritans where quoted as well.
  17. AThornquist

    AThornquist Puritan Board Doctor

    We stand for the call to worship when a portion of Scripture is read, which happens after announcements and corporate prayer and is then followed by worship via music and then the sermon.
  18. JumpingUpandDown

    JumpingUpandDown Puritan Board Freshman

    We stand through the readings and kneel through the prayer, I like it a lot too.
  19. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    Standing is a circumstance and not an element. There is liberty.
  20. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    In the two Reformed churches I've belonged to, the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland (1893), and the Free Church of Scotland (1843), this has never been the practice to my knowledge.

    In the FPCoS they stand at prayer during services, and this has traditionally been the practice in the FCoS aswell, although it is not universally practiced now.

    They may well always stand at prayer in worship services in the Free Church (Continuing) (?)

    Traditionally congregations sat for the Psalm singing in the FCoS, but now some stand because it's believed it might help the singing.

    I strongly believe in taking "a stand" on such matters, and making sure I fall out with my brethren over them, and cause as much diificulty for the Church of Christ over them as possible ! (I actually don't look upon it as an issue. There are different postures for prayer given in the Bible.)
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2010
  21. KMK

    KMK Moderator Staff Member

    :) Look at that! Richard has a sense of humor!
  22. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    used to be the whole worship was stood for
  23. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritan Board Doctor

    We do.

    It is not a requirement bibically.
  24. Glenn Ferrell

    Glenn Ferrell Puritan Board Junior

    FCC congregations do stand for prayer; so does the RPCI.
  25. Tripel

    Tripel Puritan Board Senior

    For those of you whose congregation stands for Scripture, how many times are you up and down? In our service, we probably have 4 or 5 scripture readings. And that doesn't include all of the Scripture read during the course of the sermon.
  26. jrdnoland

    jrdnoland Puritan Board Freshman

    We stand for the reading of scripture, we stand for one of the two prayers, we stand for about 1/2 of the songs, we stand for any readings from the confessions. In a normal service we are up and down 6 to 8 times.
  27. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    I believe we stand 5 times total during the worship service. The Scripture reading is immediately after the offering/doxology, so the congregation is already standing and I ask that they remain standing for the reading of God's word. It is not a requirement; we have 2-3 folks who do not stand because of physical infirmities.
  28. JM

    JM Puritan Board Professor

    Is it true that pews were a protestant invention? I attended an Eastern Orthodox church and we never sat down. I read that when the sermon became the focus of the worship service the congregation started using pews.
  29. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    There is some Scriptural basis for sitting at prayer. David sat before the Lord (II Sam 7:18; I Chron17:16); the Children of Israel sat before the Lord (Judges 20:26); Nehemiah sat and prayed (Neh 1:4).

    We sit at the Lord's Table and pray, as we do when grace is being said.

    We may kneel at our bedside to pray and/or commune with God in prayer while lying in our beds. (Psalm 4:4; 6:6; 41:3; 63:6).

    There is also basis for men standing (or sitting?) and raising holy hands to God, as long as they don't turn it into a performance (e.g. I Tim 2:8)

    In the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland it often seemed to be the practice to sit for the first prayer at family worship and kneel at the last prayer.
  30. JM

    JM Puritan Board Professor

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