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.
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).
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.