Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The difference between bible study and worship

Many thanks to Pastor D for pointing me to this post at Confessional Gadfly: Evangelism Myth 8 - Study is really where it is at. I'm not sure we are in the same place theologically, but it has given me much to think about. I have, actually, always thought that small groups were where life-change happened best, but after reading this I am reconsidering. I know Tom is always talking about how 'reading-the-bible-on-our-own' is a rather recent phenomenon (and therefore, so would Bible Study be). So... this sounds intriguing. Here's a snippet, but I recommend reading the entire post (it's not much longer than this):
Now, don't get me wrong - I love bible studies. I think they are fantastic for growing in the understanding of God's love for you... But Bible Study isn't the liturgy. What's the difference between Bible Study and the liturgy? In Bible Study we look at what God has done - see it, try to understand it. Nothing wrong with that - in fact, that is very good. But what happens in the Liturgy? Christ's forgiveness is given to us. The Gospel is proclaimed, forgiveness is distributed, Christ is present in His Word and in His Supper.

In Bible Study I can study God's love - I can look at it, examine it, contemplate it. In worship, I receive it, I have it preached into my ear, I have it placed upon my tongue.

In a Bible study I can see and learn the depths of sin - it [is] in worship where I hear, "I forgive you all of your sins."

In a Bible study I can learn about how the prophets talked about how Christ would come - in worship I can hear, "Take and eat, this is My Body, given for you."

In a Bible study I can learn many things from the Word - in worship I receive the Word of life.

Bible study is wonderful and should be encouraged - but the true center of a Christian congregation is the Divine Service where we receive the forgiveness won by Christ Jesus... Too often this passive reception of God is replaced by some good old fashioned active learning.

Be in Church - be passive there and receive from Christ His goodness - something the latest plans completely and always overlook.

Hmm... Innaresting stuff.