The Bible-believing, Full-Gospel….Orthodox Church

I’ve heard before the assertion that the Protestant “Bible churches” or “Full-Gospel churches” really use the Holy Scriptures in their services, while the Catholic and Orthodox churches use “man-made liturgies”. I don’t want to be snarky here so I’m going to suggest that it is most probable that the vast majority of the people making these assertions have never actually attended a Catholic Mass or Orthodox Divine Liturgy nor have read either of them. That said, since it is something likely to come up, I thought I’d stick my neck out on the chopping block for a few minutes and address it.

I’m not going to get into the differences in how Protestants and Catholics and Orthodox believe the Bible was written/inspired/etc. That can be a topic for another day (but there are two good posts here). This is actually looking at how much actual, quoted Scripture is used in the course of the Divine Liturgy (and Mass). I found a fantastic analysis of the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom here (see below) done by the V. Rev. John Matusiak. It’s much, much more than just the Epistles and Gospel. From the Opening Doxology to the Dismissal, the Liturgy is hopscotching all over the Old and New Testaments.  You can’t get away from the Bible no matter where you look. There is also a discussion to be found here.

 The Catholic Mass too is based entirely upon Holy Scripture (article here).

As for how much Scripture is used in the course of a Protestant service, obviously it depends on the brand of Protestantism and that can be wildly divergent. I am vaguely familiar with what is used in the mainline Baptist churches and a little more familiar with what is used in the Episcopal churches and those are certainly seated on different parts of the spectrum. In any event, this was more addressing the assertion that the Orthodox and Catholics do not base their services on the Holy Scriptures, not about how much the Protestants do.

And on a lighter note, a sign I found while looking around…

17 thoughts on “The Bible-believing, Full-Gospel….Orthodox Church

  1. I must say, one of the things I love about your blog is that you are a natural at mixing the serious and the funny in a way that works. And you have a knack for finding some interesting things. This sign had me laughing out loud… and I really needed a laugh right now 🙂 Thanks!

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  2. haha!!! Funny sign.As one who grew up attending only Protestant-based churches, I can honestly say, after hearing mainly misconceptions about Catholic and Orthodox Churches, I have recently attended 2 liturgies (that's a word, right?). I was absolutely delighted at the amount of Scripture used (or referenced), which actually exceeded most Protestant services I've attended.

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  3. Yes, 'Liturgies' is a word. (c; I'm happy that having stuck my neck out on the block, my head didn't get chopped off! I absolutely can't speak to how much word-for-word Scripture is used in the course of any given Protestant service because my familiarity is both narrow and shallow, but I know that I myself was surprised at how much the Orthodox Liturgy was 'lifted' right out of the Bible the first few times I went and I had a Catholic background. Hope you've enjoyed both Liturgies! (And hope to get to see you soon locally. (c: )

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    • This also applies to the Eastern Catholic Churches of the Byzantine Tradition.

      Also, there’s a typo in the reference for the Lord’s Prayet. It states:

      Corinthians 29: 11 (sic)

      1 Corinthians has 16 chapters; 2 Corinthians has 13 chapters. Which Epistle to the Corinthians applies here?

      Third, the article entirely omits the Prayer before Holy Communion, which is based on at least 9 Scripture citations: Matt. 16: 16-18, John 11: 27, 1 Tim. 1: 15; Matt. 26: 49, Mark 14: 45, Luke 22: 47-48; Luke 23: 42; 1 Cor. 11: 23-32; Luke 18: 13

      Full disclosure: I am Ukrainian Greek Catholic and found your blog thru Pinterest.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Margaret,
        I can’t answer the question about the Lord’s Prayer – I hunted around and can only conclude it was a complete typo. Re: the prayer before communion, which are you referring to? The prayers of preparation, the “I believe, O Lord, and I confess…”? I think that is not considered part of the Liturgy itself, but is meant to be recited privately before receiving. In common use is is recited by the whole congregation at some point during the priest’s communion and the time the priest brings out communion. At least I know that’s common practice in the OCA.

        Thanks for visiting and commenting!

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      • Yes, I was referring to the Prayer Before Holy Communion: “O Lord, I believe…”. I provided the Scripture references for that in my original post.

        Is the Prayer Before Holy Communion actually recited privately in the OCA?? That shocks me. I always thought the OCA was very traditional.

        In the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, the entire congregation publicly recites it aloud in unison.

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      • Yes, in the OCA (as far as I am aware – local areas may differ) it is recited in unison. I don’t believe that it is technically part of the Liturgy, however, but part of the preparation for communion prayers.

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      • In the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church the Prayer Before Holy Communion is definitely part of the Divine Liturgy.

        I know some prayerbooks have it as part of one’s private preparation for Holy Communion but it is definitely part of the Divine Liturgy.

        I’ll have to ask my Russian Orthodox cousins about this – it’s very disturbing. It’s so rich in Scripture and really puts one on guard against presumptuously receiving God Himself while inducing humility.

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      • I am hardly an authority here, so I wouldn’t jump to conclusions. My husband is on his way home from Liturgy (I’m home with sick babies) and I can check with him when he gets here.

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      • I did check with my husband. This prayer is not part of the Liturgy, but it is a pious practice in Slavic tradition churches to recite it in unison before communion. In this country is it typically not done in Greek or Antiochian churches.

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