November 27, 2007


Category: Theology - Liturgical :: Permalink

A parable by Doug Wilson:

There was a certain minister who decided one day, while studying the Scriptures, that an appropriate posture while confessing sin was the posture of kneeling. He raised this as a possibility during a congregational meeting, and suggested that the church look into obtaining kneeling benches.

To his surprise, the opposition to this suggestion was immediate and adamant. The spokesman for the opposition declared that such activities “looked Roman Catholic to him, and as for him and his house, they were not about to get on the road to Rome.”

In response, the minister reached for his Bible and opened it, but to his shock and dismay, he was told to “put that down.”

“We don’t care what you might pull out of there,” the man said. “In our Reformed tradition, we don’t kneel. We are not going back to Rome.”

“Certainly not,” the minister said. “You don’t need to. You are already there.”

Of course, the man was shocked and offended, along with those whose heads had been nodding while he had been speaking. “What do you mean by that?” he snarled.

“Our Protestant forefathers protested against the Roman Catholic church because many of their practices were not biblical. They were told it did not matter, that the tradition of their church determined what they were going to do. You have just summarized this position very nicely.”

The man was at a loss for words, and while he was gaping, the minister continued.

“The Scriptures everywhere testify against this attitude. You don’t care what God says to do. You care what it looks like to others. And when we begin kneeling to confess, this will have to be one of the first sins we must confess.”

Posted by John Barach @ 2:50 pm | Discuss (2)

2 Responses to “Kneeling”

  1. Brian Visser Says:

    This parable could have been easily sourced from a congregational meeting at my own church. We are reformed, we always have been reformed, we have been together for generations, and we have our time proven traditions. Thank-you very much.

    There is good in this, and danger in this. I am grateful for the sound traditions of worship in our church, many of which are written into the church order and based on biblical principle. This written and practiced ‘history’ helps keep us from too easily entering into much of the goofiness in the church today, or at least it’s supposed to do that. I am also very grateful for my pastor and others who have at times dared to challenge established practices with re-directions of biblical principle and practice. However the attitude described in this parable is all too evident in my church. This is something we are not alone involved, for I have also seen this wrong attitude in younger reformed churchs, have you also? It really does not take long for this attitude to attach itself to even a newly established practice.

    How do you keep one’s confidence in what they are doing in worship rightly placed in scriptural principle over the long run( and short run)? How do you keep a good practice from morphing into something less?



  2. Gabe Martini Says:

    Ha! This is great. 🙂

Leave a Reply