Is Today's Christian Worship Service Biblical? Let's Trace Its Origin


Before going into how the Christian meeting became a worship service we must first understand what it used to be. When you call something a worship service, then it means the whole meeting is centered on the worship. The Christian meetings in the first century were not worship services, they were called ecclesia. Ecclesia is a meeting where the community gather together to deliberate and make decisions. The first century Christians were a community. They were a self-governing community that did everything by themselves. They were their doctor, they treat each other. They were their farmers and they distributed food among each other. They were their carpenter, masonry, treasury, bankers, charity and everything. They were a self-existing community, depending on themselves and trying as much as they can to help themselves in everything. All of these activities will require a lot of discussion, deliberation and decision making. These are the things that are done in their meetings. If you look at 1 Corinthians 14 you will see that from the beginning it talks about the hymns singing, tongues, prophesying and mutual edification. This is because that is how they start their meetings. Then they move towards the decision making session. This is where Paul said the woman should not speak (1Cor 14:34), rather they should allow the heads of each home discuss and make decisions concerning the community. Then before departing they feast on the blood and flesh of Christ. This was not done as a religious ritual. It was more like a social event as they ate and drank a full meal, and enjoyed fellowship with one another. Some where even getting drunk and Paul had to warn them to eat and drink moderately, and also ensure that the food reaches everyone (1Cor 1:17-22). What I am trying to say is that the first century Christian meeting was not a worship service. We have to understand what worship means to these ancient people, rather than using our current traditions to interpret what they were doing. Worship to the people of the first century is sacrifice, especially blood sacrifices. Yes they may sing and pray, but as long as they are not doing some sort of sacrifice or ritual, or a rite of prostrating themselves before God, then according to them it is not a worship service. So they were not doing a worship service — not according to them (you must interpret a people based on their own culture). If you should meet a first century Christian and ask him about their meeting he would never tell you that it was a worship service, cause according to them it wasn't. How did the first century Christians worship? "Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him. This is the true worship that you should offer." (Rom 12:1). The whole of their lives is their worship. They would never hold worship service because their whole life is their worship and service. So their meetings were not worship services. They were fellowships and they were councils (decision making meetings). In a previous post I explained how man perceive religion. Man perceive religion as a system of appeasing God. And they appease God by carrying out sacrifices. This act of carrying out sacrifices is called worship. Worship to ancient men (the people in the Bible times) is not singing and dancing. Praise is singing and dancing, but worship is sacrifices, especially blood sacrifices. There are three words translated as worship in our English Bible: (1) aboda in Hebrew (also - abad or asab) and latreia in Greek (also - latreuo). The literal meaning is service. The KJV as well as other older translations did not translate this as worship (I guess they felt service is just service, no need translating it as worship even if it involves God). (2) shachac in Hebrew and proskyneo in Greek. The literal meaning is bow down or prostrate. (3) zabach in Hebrew and thusia in Greek literally means sacrifice. None of these words had to do with singing and dancing. Worship in the religious sense is mostly about sacrificing to the gods. So religious men believe they have to carry out certain sacrifices (worship) in order to appease their gods. This worship is what their religion is all about. In fact, it is how man perceive thesis religion. Now we would look at how the Christian meeting moves from a fellowship and council meeting to a religious worship service. It all started around the 3rd and 4th century when many pagans were sweeping into Christianity. Christianity had become the emperor's religion and everybody wanted to be a Christian in order to become favourable to the emperor. Many became Christians for political and social reasons. As the emperor's religious, Christianity attracts a lot of privileges and many people wanted those privileges. So Christianity became filled with people who were not truly converted in their hearts. They were still pagans in hearts, and they brought in pagan ideologies and practices into Christianity. They wanted to continue to do in Christianity the things they used to do in their pagan religion. These people wanted to do blood sacrifices in worship. They were used to doing this, they believe this is what religion is all about. However, blood sacrifices is not allowed in Christianity. Christianity teaches that Jesus offered his blood as a sacrifice unto God, and he did that once and for all. No other sacrifice is needed. However, we were instructed to carry out a ceremony called the Lord’s Supper. In this ceremony we share wine as the blood of Jesus, and bread as his flesh. Now, the Pagans tried to reinvent this Lord's Supper by filling it with their pagan ideology. They assumed the Lord’s Supper is the Christian sacrifice to appease God. So rather than it being a feast as it was in the first century where everyone ate, drank and spent time together, enjoying the Lord in each other. They turned the Lord’s Supper into a religious event where a priest carries out a sacrifice by mystically turning a cup of wine into Jesus's blood and offering it unto God to appease him. Yes, that was what the early church masses were about. It was a sacrifice where Jesus's blood is offered again unto God. Remember, sacrifice (especially blood sacrifice) is what these ancient men called worship. Now because of this sacrifice (worship) this mass was called a worship service and that was how worship service was invented in Christianity. These Christians believe God constantly needs to be appease. As such they would try to do masses as often as possible. They would even do it several times a day. They believe the more you do it, the more God is appease and then he could forgive their sins, answer their prayers and make life and death sweet for them. In fact, these mass was the way of salvation. You have to work for your salvation by going to masses regularly in an attempt to appease God and get him to save you. Thank God for the grace message today, but we still do Sunday worship service. We still hold on to that idea that Christianity is practiced by holding worship services. That is how powerful tradition can be. Though now we understand that we don't need to offer Jesus's blood again in an attempt to carry out regular blood sacrifices. Yes, even though we understand that the wine does not magically turn into Jesus's blood. Yet we still continue to do worship services, ignoring the Biblical meaning of worship and reinvesting it to mean singing and dancing. If you should take your time to study that Bible you are carrying, you will realize worship is not singing and dancing, but mostly about blood sacrifices. How many blood sacrifices have you done in your church? Why then is it called a worship service? The masses in the 4th century were called worship services because they believed they were carrying out a blood sacrifice by turning a cup of wine into blood and offering it unto God. What blood sacrifice are you doing in your church worship services? Can you see how irrelevant the idea of worship service has become since the moment we recant the belief in doing masses as it was done in 4th century Catholic Church. Even till today Catholic Church still carry out their Eucharist in every Sunday worship service. The Eucharist is the worship service. If there is no Eucharist it is not a worship service. Worship was never about singing and dancing. It is a ritual, it is a sacrifice. How can you remove Eucharist, and then claim you are doing worship service? We really don't know what we are doing. One thing about history is that over time things twist and change, and we lose the meaning of certain things yet we continue to do it as a tradition even though it no longer makes sense. Sometimes we invent new meaning in order to cause an archaic practice to make sense. Am I saying we should return to doing Eucharist. Of course no, the idea is pagan. There is no other sacrifice needed. Jesus sacrifice is once and for all. What I am saying is that our meetings shouldn't be a worship service, rather it should be a governmental assembly (more on that later). The purpose of Christianity is not to worship God. Yes, other religion (man's religion) are about worshipping their gods. But when you come to Christianity you have not come into the worship of another god, rather you have come into the manifestation of God and his Kingdom. The main reason God created man is not so we could worship him — God already has angels specifically designed to do that. The purpose of Christianity is to restore man back to the original intention that God had for him, and that is to "reign, rule, govern and have dominion" (Gen 1:28). And of course, to maintain an intimate relationship with God, just as we see with Adam and God in the garden of Eden. Let me quickly highlight the points I am trying to make in this series so that we don't get confused. 1. Thesis religion is all about the worship of their god. 2. This worship is usually sacrifices and rituals. 3. The first century Christians didn't see themselves as a religion as such they were not bothered about doing worship services (carrying sacrifices and rituals). Rather they saw themselves as a community of God's kingdom, and as such they focus mainly on community issues. 4. The 4th century Christians included a lot of pagans who wanted to do religion (the worship of a god). These pagans turned the Christian meeting into a worship ( blood sacrifices and rituals) by claiming to turn wine into the actual blood of Jesus and offering it unto God. 5. As such Christianity moved from the practice of a kingdom to the practice of a religion. Now you get the point I am trying to make? This post belongs to a series. If you interested in the whole series you can follow this link:

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