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

 Hi! I’m out of town for a little while and am running some of my favorite posts, especially from the early days.

Originally published 6-10-11

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…

3 thoughts on “Rerun: The Bible-believing, Full-Gospel….Orthodox Church

  1. Those people are either wrong, or went to a special church.

    I grew up in the Evangelical church. (I'm also leaving it for the reason that this entry was questioned on.) In every one I went to, we got anywhere from 2 to 5 scriptures per service. That's it! After that it's all interpretation, and story telling. I've watched the Catholic services on EWTN, and was amazed at the amount of scripture reading! I assume Orthodox is similar. (I'm wanting to become Orthodox)

    Bible believing, perhaps.. Bible reading church?? Not so much.

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  2. Thanks for this! I can't count how many times I've heard a priest or a book reference a list like this, but I've never actually seen one before. I think I'd still like to see a more detailed cross reference sometime – there's probably a book on that.

    I will say, in defense of my fundy past – some protestants read a LOT of scripture in their worship, and spend a lot of time explaining it. But I think the difference that this list exhibits is that every action in the Orthodox liturgy is steeped in scripture. Or rather, our liturgy is scripture enacted, rather than only read.

    Also, I'm wondering if there's an Antiochian list out there. We have different Antiphons, and I'm not sure I remember hearing the responsorial Psalms…

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  3. FWIW, there are two editions of the Divine Liturgy that have a much more complete and detailed list of scripture references. One is The Divine Liturgy Service Book, published by the Serbian Orthodox Church – the translation is that of the OCA, but with some Serbian variants, and all the Scriptural texts in the margin. The other is The Divine Liturgy published by Oxford University Press, an *extremely* hieratic English translation modeled after the King James Version, with each quotation (from the KJV) duly noted in copious footnotes.

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