Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Directory for the Public Worship of God, 1645.

Our Presbytery will consider the proposed new Directory for Worship as an amendment to our Book of Order. The proposed Directory passed our General Assembly and will now be voted on by all our presbyteries. I have been reading and studying the new Directory, a task which sent me back to consider again the Directory for Public Worship which the Westminster Divines wrote in 1645. The Church of Scotland approved and widely used the Westminster Directory for Public Worship. Thus from the Church of Scotland, that Directory has been widely influential in American Presbyterianism.

It is a fascinating, intellectual exercise to consider the cultural and theological changes from 1645 to the present. This sentence is part of the section on the Lord's Supper in the 1645 Directory for Public Worship:

"The ignorant and the scandalous are not fit to receive the sacrament of the Lord's Supper."

Interesting discussion questions would be: Why do we not talk this way today? What changed and why?