Use of WCF Shorter Catechism in Worship

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I am seeking some thoughts from different Reformed points of view on a topic related to worship. Not too long ago, our church started reciting the Westminster Confesssion of Faith as part of our worship service. I subscribe to the Westmister Confession of Faith, and I believe that we should spend more time using the cathechism in teaching.
What should be the considerations in determing whether or not or how to use the Westmister Shorter Catechism in worship? The use of the psalms in responsive reading is a wonderful part of worship. It would be nice to do have responsive readings of other areas of the Scriptures in both the new and old testaments as well. The recitation of the Apostle's Creed seems appropriate as a testament to what we believe.
While I don't think the use of the Shorter Catechism is proscribed in worship, as I understand many dear brother's in the Lord might believe, I find its use in worship a problem.
1. The language is antiquarian - "consisteth", "estate", etc. People attending the service might not understand it. The meanings of the questions and answers are not explained.
2. The use of the catechism in this way could contribute to the notion that being a Christian is primarily a matter of having the right answers to the right questions rather than being a new creation justified by faith and sanctified through the workings of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and minds.
3. The Scriptures are more edifying and authoritative. Few can dispute their use in worship.

Seeking His Glory,
Gradie Frederick
Elder, Grace Church (OPC)
Westfield, NJ
Without trying to be too dogmatic on the question, and also wanting to acknowledge the good men who don't see any warrant for creedal statements in worship--

Here's what I think:
1) I think the old language is not a tremendous barrier; I recognize that I have an affinity for it, but that affinity is a trained affinity, not that I use that kind of language. Here is one advantage: preserving the old language underscores the antiquity of this confession--as long as the words themselves remain intelligible, this very obvious connection to the historic church should be retained as expressing solidarity with the past. However, if one wishes to use the "modern language" editions of the same, who can gainsay it?

2) Anything repeated (or repeatable/proverbial) is subject to the same abuse. Of greater importance, in my opinion, is the advantage gained by emphasizing the unity of the church in her activity. When the gathered army of God is assembled for worship, she should be doing her business as a well trained, crisply drilled unit. Worship of the "church militant" is properly done decently and "in rank," or "in order". We all sing with one voice, we pray with one voice, we partake communion as one. We don't typically concern ourselves that such activity will (necessarily) reduce participants to robotic rubrics.

Beside that, the content of the questions themselves speak out strongly against a ritualistic, as opposed to heartfelt, religious observance. And lastly, consider that the converse of the expressed concern is equally as true--ignorance or deprication of such communal vow-taking as expressed in creedal statements could contribute to the notion that being a Christian is primarily a matter of subjective and emotive expressiveness, followed by a passive reception of dry, intellectual discourse.

Folks will come in to one style of service or another, and will gather from it some thing or other. To forrestall error, teaching is what is required. There nust always be the didactic element of instruction going on in some form. Otherwise, ignorance enters unchecked--whether you are using creeds or not.

3) Since the NT does not paint much in the way of word-pictures of worship in the earliest church, we are left to glean information from it's hints. I submit that there are various hints of creedal formulation from the very begninning that made their way by inspiration into the Scriptures. There are the "faithful sayings" of the Pastoral epistles, there are various "verse" or "formulaic" renditions, such as Phil. 2:6-11, 1 John 2:12-14, or Rev. 4:8, 11, to name three.

But were such things worship elements? I incline to the affirmative. Others disagree. My tendency is to predicate such things as both instinctive and integral to the life of the church, provided such things are conformable to the apostolic doctrine and practice. It is their "incidental" mention, the author seeming to assume a casual familiarity with such things in the life of the church; there is an artlessness to the presentation of worship in the NT Scriptures.

Some, then, would see such things (if they were authorized) as the inspired limit of the practice, restricting themselves to such creeds as may be taken verbatim from Scripture. I take them rather as examplary (so also the Lord's Prayer--which might be recited as Scripture, or used as an example), thus favoring the use of creeds.

As a final statement, I think it only fair to insist that I am strongly opposed to regular worship service that is totally "liturgized" nearly as much as one that is "spontaneous." By that I mean that our participation in worship is more than rote recitation and fixed moves, etc. If we adopt such a stance, we are headed toward Roman-style religion. An absence of an "order of worship" on the other hand is an absence of discipline. No army will last long without discipline. We must maintain the proper balance between order in worship, and such variety as may be introduced to the benefit and instruction of the congregation, without distraction and without individualism.

[Edited on 6-28-2006 by Contra_Mundum]
Thanks for an excellent and well-thought out reply. I am not seeking to engage in a larger discussion about the Regulatory Principle of Worship and exclusive psalmody. That discussion has been going on and will continue to take place on this board. As a "lurker" I am continually examining the thoughtful discussion on these topics from the various points of view.
Your key point about the necessity of teaching is critical. It is teaching that is necessary to even transform the Lord's Supper from a ritual to an actual remembrance of the of the body of Christ broken for us and the blood of Christ shed for us. It is teaching that enables us to undergo the proper self-examination necessary to confess our sins and to discern the body of Christ.
So, the recitation of the Shorter Catechism could be part of worship inasmuch as we are saying what we believe as a body of believers. There needs to be some accompanying teaching as you point out. I prefer the Apostle's creed in worship, but not because of I think it is more accurate, but if it is properly understood and taught, it can be a basis of a wider Christian unity founded on the truth.
I agree that there are what seems to be creedal statements in the New Testament that were probably recited in worship in the church (I Cor. 15:3-5). Perhaps there might be a way to leverage these more in worship.
I am not trying to pit heart against the mind, but I must confess that as someone captivated by the teachings of the Reformed faith and as someone who enjoys scholarship, I must be reminded about the importance of holy living and the "most excellent way" described by Paul. I think that the problem arises when we lose the balance which is supported by Scripture and taught in the WCF.

Q. 39. What is the duty which God requireth of man?
A. The duty which God requireth of man is obedience to his revealed will.

Q. 42. What is the sum of the ten commandments?
A. The sum of the ten commandments is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength, and with all our mind; and our neighbor as ourselves.


- Gradie Frederick
Elder, Grace Church (OPC)
Westfield, NJ
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