Reformed church worship

Is missing church a sin?

There are two truths that have to be acknowledged in this discussion at the outset: Sunday, the Lord’s Day, is the Christian Sabbath.

God’s Word grounds the Sabbath principle not in the Mosaic legislation (i.e., in the judicial or ceremonial laws) but in creation. The Old Covenant, Mosaic, Sabbath has expired, but the creational pattern of rest and work has not. The same Lord who instituted the Mosaic Sabbath observance transformed it by his resurrection from the grave on the “first day of the week” (Matt 28:1), which the apostles called “the Lord’s Day” (Rev 1:10). We know from the New Testament and the earliest post-apostolic writings that the church gathered on the Lord’s Day for worship.

Ordinarily, i.e., by divine ordination and usually, one ought to set aside the Lord’s Day as a day of rest, worship and acts of mercy. Ordinarily, there ought to be two services on the Lord’s Day. That is the biblical pattern, and it has been the Christian pattern until very recently.

Please do not assume that the lax attitude toward the Sabbath and Christian worship that one sees today is the norm. It is quite the opposite. It is the exception. It was not long ago that most congregations, across a variety of traditions, held not only two services on the Lord’s Day but a Wednesday evening service as well.

Today, the second service is fading away. The Wednesday service is entirely forgotten, and it is not unusual for congregations to cancel the Sunday morning service in favour the Super Bowl or public service projects.

Our brothers and sisters in earlier ages, e.g., during the patristic, medieval, Reformation and post-Reformation periods, would be astonished at the ease with which we cancel or drop public worship services.

The second baseline truth in this discussion is that it is the Lord’s revealed will that ordinarily (in the two senses used above) the Christian is to attend to public worship: “not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Heb 10:25; ESV). Read the full article by R. Scott Clark.