Why the demise of the evening service.

Discussion in 'Worship' started by NaphtaliPress, Apr 9, 2019.

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  1. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

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  2. Reformed Bookworm

    Reformed Bookworm Puritan Board Sophomore

    I know my church is one of the few in the Denver metro area that does an evening service. Even for ours, it is typically a very slim crowd. The disregard for ending the Lord's Day in worship has been a source of great sadness for my wife and I. Thanks for sharing. I will also share this with my elders as we have been in dialog about this.
     
  3. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    Love his point about maximalism in the Great Commission.
     
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  4. Edward

    Edward Puritan Board Doctor

    Our church offered an evening service, but it proved not to be a viable model.
     
  5. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    Sadly, modern evangelicals have replaced the Lord's Day with the Lord's Hour.
     
  6. TheInquirer

    TheInquirer Puritan Board Freshman

    Excellent. His comment on minimalism clarified several things I have observed.
     
  7. hammondjones

    hammondjones Puritan Board Sophomore

    Moving to a NAPARC church two years ago, a desire to have two services on Sunday really whittled down the options here in the Charlotte metro area.

    Not that I disagree with him, fundamentally, but I think that part of the abandonment of the 2nd service was, yes, a minimalization (or avoidance of over-programming), but in light of the rise of the Small Group / Life Group. I have a spreadsheet of the churches we considered at the time, with various attributes (because I'm like that), and as I look at it I see not one church with Small Groups has an evening service on Sunday. And, not one church with a 2nd service has Small Groups. Admittedly, this is ancedotal evidence, but I became convinced of the connection when I was explicitly told by a NAPARC church that they dropped the 2nd service in order to have more discipleship through Small Groups.
     
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  8. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Someone pointed out to me recently on Facebook and it may have been done so here as well (we have discussed this several times, and of recent time when I announced our church was starting one up again), that the Synod of Dort told ministers there were to have an evening service and to keep having one even if only the minister and his family showed up. Folks won't come if it is not offered. It's not hard to understand if a church abandons the morality of a full day for the Lord's worship, that any practical difficulties will easily seem enough to kill off the evening service.
     
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  9. Gabriel Barnes

    Gabriel Barnes Puritan Board Freshman

    I'm very blessed to be a member of a congregation that quite literally spends the whole Sabbath day together, and that includes two services.
     
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  10. Kinghezy

    Kinghezy Puritan Board Freshman

    That is the type of rationale I would probably hear as well, that we have to be judicial with our resources (aka what draws more people). That was the reasoning given for changing how we do adult education. It seems real easy to put pragmatism ahead of what seems to run counter to the scripture and confession. Strong statement? Maybe.

    @NaphtaliPress I think that was me with the following:

     
  11. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I think part of the problem is we have "to get ready" to go to church. I will be the first to admit that it takes a lot of work to make me presentable to be in company. Hard enough to do such in the AM but to do such twice a day is like having to attend two weddings on the same day.
     
  12. Ben Zartman

    Ben Zartman Puritan Board Freshman

    Not sure how this came about, but our church alternates between two full services and an elongated time where, with a meal in between, we have a regular service and a formal prayer meeting. I much prefer two services, not only because potluck is a gamble I always lose, but because I love to be preached to.
     
  13. Grant Jones

    Grant Jones Puritan Board Junior

    Proud to say most of the congregations in my area (MS Valley) adhere to the biblical pattern of gathering morning and evening.

    I think I remember our Pastor saying recently in a sermon that one of the ways he gauges the spiritual health of a congregation is by how many return regularly to hear the word of God preached in the evenings.

    P.S. An evening gathering also greatly aids families (concerned that is) with the temptations to break the Sabbath.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2019
  14. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    What does this mean: “not a viable model”?
     
  15. Grant Jones

    Grant Jones Puritan Board Junior

    A return to the evening service likely yields evidence of the hunger level for the Word among the sheep.:detective:
     
  16. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Professor

    Will you demonstrate this from Scripture, please?
     
  17. Ryan&Amber2013

    Ryan&Amber2013 Puritan Board Junior

    From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised!
    Psalms 113:3 ESV
     
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  18. Grant Jones

    Grant Jones Puritan Board Junior

    Richard,

    You may find the below article helpful, assuming your question is sincere. This is something one can derive from “good and necessary” consequence. I hope you enjoy the short read.

    http://gospelreformation.net/case-evening-worship/

    P.S. Paul was preaching pretty late when he had a member fall out of the window!:detective:

    Lastly, I assure you the proponents of an evening service in this thread are likely convicted of this from the scriptures and not from some form of sentimentality. Morning and evening gathering IS the conservative sabbatarian position.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2019
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  19. PaulCLawton

    PaulCLawton Puritan Board Freshman

    The URCNA maintains this emphasis in our church order:

    Article 37 – Corporate Worship and Special Services
    The Consistory shall call the congregation together for corporate worship twice on each Lord's Day.


    I will leave commentary on what the rest of Article 37 allows for to another time...
     
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  20. C. M. Sheffield

    C. M. Sheffield Puritan Board Junior

    The title of Psalm 92 is "A Psalm or Song for the sabbath day." And the first sentence speaks of morning and evening worship: "It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night."

    The morning/evening pattern of worship is "a good thing." We should embrace it. I think it's a good pattern not only for the church on the Lord's day, but also from day to day privately and in our families.
     
  21. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    I thought he said something more but not finding it, but here is one place where Nicholas Bownd addresses two services. I can't recommend Bownd highly enough, though admittedly I'm biased having made him a 20 year project on and off; get at NP or at a mere $14 at Reformation Heritage Books, which is a giveaway for a quality 600p hardbound book. https://www.heritagebooks.org/produ...bbathum-veteris-et-novi-testamenti-bownd.html
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  22. JimmyH

    JimmyH Puritan Board Junior

    I'm very grateful that our congregation meets morning and evening on the Lord's Day. A lot of work for the pastor to compose two sermons each week, but well worth it for the flock, and probably for him as well. Building treasures in heaven.

    A couple of years ago we had a power outage due to a hurricane and I had to go to an alternative church on the Lord's Day. I looked for Sunday evening services 'near me' on the internet and there was nothing within 25 miles.

    I was surprised at that, but listened to MLJ on the web for the evening. I later found out there is a Reformed Baptist church 25.1 miles from me. Anyway, unless I'm sick/contagious I'm getting to that evening service.
     
  23. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    The practice of the morning and evening sacrifice in the Old Testament is relevant to this question. Before you dismiss this argument, remember that the OT ceremonies are described by the Westminster Confession as "partly holding forth divers instructions of moral duties" (19.3).
     
  24. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    Are two worship services, complete with preaching, required to fulfill the Scriptural model (as opposed to a Bible study in the evening service, say)?
     
  25. iainduguid

    iainduguid Puritan Board Freshman

    When considering the Scriptural warrant for an evening service, we should distinguish between the Scriptures commending something as a profitable activity and the Scriptures commanding something as a necessary activity. For example, we believe that the Scriptures commend weekly bringing of an offering to church (1 Cor. 16:2); many of us would not want to bind the consciences of those who give monthly, however, and require them to break it up into four weekly installments in order to fulfill this Scripture. Fasting is good and Biblical, and churches may call their people to fast for particular reasons, but generally we don't think Scripture requires us to fast on a particular day each week. To mandate that would be to go beyond Scripture.

    Scripture is clear that the whole sabbath day is for the Lord, not merely the morning. Worship twice on Sunday is a real blessing and privilege, for which we may be truly thankful. As a bivocational pastor in small church plants where it hasn't often been possible, I recognize that it's hard to feed the sheep as good a diet when you only have one sermon a week. I miss evening services. But it is not clear that the scriptures adduced thus far command all churches to have two services on the Lord's Day. It is true that there were two sacrifices in the tabernacle on the Sabbath day, morning and afternoon (3 p.m.). But if that mandates two sabbath services then the daily sacrifices in the tabernacle must also mandate daily services, something probably very few of us do (though may acknowledge what a blessing it might be if we could). Psalm 92 mandates praising God in the morning and at night. But that is to be our duty and delight every day, not just on the Sabbath. Moreover, morning and night is a classic Hebrew merism: two opposites that include everything in between, so if this text is speaking of worship services, it would require us to be in church from dawn to dusk every Sunday. In Psalm 119:164 the psalmist says that he praises God seven times a day. Why isn't that a mandate for seven services every Sunday? Surely that would really help families observe the Sabbath properly? And if you want to use Paul in Troas as a mandate, how many of our churches meet until midnight?

    None of this is an argument against evening services. If you are blessed enough to have one, thank the Lord for it. There is something very fitting to it as a way of keeping the whole day holy to the Lord. But don't overpress the Scriptural case for evening services by turning an encouragement into a command that binds people's consciences.
     
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  26. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Professor

    That verse merely states that we should have the Lord in the front of our minds at all times, praising Him as we go through our day. As an endorsement of a formal, official evening worship service, that's pretty vague.
     
  27. Gabriel Barnes

    Gabriel Barnes Puritan Board Freshman

  28. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    The above dismissal of the argument from the morning and evening sacrifice misses the point of the argument. No one is arguing that it must be followed literalistically. We are merely using it to lend further weight to the contention that the light of nature teaches that God should be worshipped twice a day. Since grace does not abolish nature but perfects it, it is not surprising that the sacrifices were offered twice daily in the temple. It would seem rather odd to jettison this practice with respect to the church's corporate worship on the Lord's Day.

    As with many issues, I get the impression that people are all too quick to justify declension and innovation rather than question why the traditional practice has been set aside (and I am using the term tradition in the good sense here, not in the sense of a mere human tradition).
     
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  29. Afterthought

    Afterthought Puritan Board Junior

    Circumstances are to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence and in accord with the general rules of the word. Meeting twice on the sabbath and doubling the worship on the Sabbath (double sacrifices) is commended in Scripture. Public worship is a privilege. Ordering the circumstance of time: it is clear that having a second service on the Lord's day ought to be the general rule and is spiritually beneficial.
     
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