Why Go To Church Twice on Sunday?

Michael G. Brown wrote an article in Banner of Truth Magazine (Oct., 2007)about the importance of preserving Sunday evening worship services. He gives four reasons why it is important to maintain this practice for the health of the church and the believer. Here are summary explanations of the reasons he gives:

1. Evening Worship is Rooted in Scripture

There is no explicit command, but the pattern in Scripture is “evening and morning” extends from creation (Gen. 1-2) to the Old Testament worship in the Tabernacle and the Temple (Num. 28:1-10, cf. Exod. 29:38-39) to the prayers of the psalmists (e.g., Ps. 92:1-2; cf. Ps. 134:1). One would expect this pattern to continue into this age and the New Testament gives an example of evening worship on the first day of the week in Acts 20:7. [Note: Later history provides further examples.]

2. Evening Worship Helps us to Sanctify the Lord’s Day

The two services serve as “bookends” to the day and help the believer and Christian families to sanctify the day to the Lord. The keeping of this day serves not only to set the believer apart from the world, but also to remind them that they are but pilgrims on the way to the eternal sabbath rest that remains. There is no better way to end this day consecrated to the Lord than to gather with one’s fellow believers in worship, fellowship, and prayer (Acts 22:42).

3. Evening Worship, Like Morning Worship, is a Means of Grace

There is a low view of preaching and the sacraments in general among Christians of all stripes, even those who should know better. Preaching is seen as “boring” and small groups, Bible studies, and “fellowships” seem much more exciting. But if, as Scripture points out, God nourishes his people through the preaching of the Word, why would you only want one sermon on Sunday? Rom. 10:17, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” If it is “the preaching of Jesus Christ” that strengthens us (Rom. 16:25), then we must view the evening worship service as another opportunity to grow and to be built up in faith and knowledge.

4. Evening Worship Gives us Continuity with the Historic Christian Church

Some Christians balk at this because it is not their custom. [I minister in a heavily Catholic area where many are used to that “once-a-week” tradition. This is perpetuated in seeker-sensitive and emergent/-ing churches.] But having only one service on the Lord’s Day is not the historic practice of the Church. Early-fourth century historian Eusebius indicates that Christians gathered for worship in the morning and the evening and this tradition continued right on through the Middle Ages, through the Reformation (on the Continent and in England) and right down to this day. Those who have no evening worship service or who abandon their church’s evening worship services have abandoned the historic practice.

While some may have very good reasons for not attending evening worship, the vast majority do not attend simply because they either see little need for it or it is too inconvenient. We live in an age where people seek to do the least that is required of them and they consider one service on Sunday to be enough.

The creation rhythm of six-and-one continues to this day in the observance of the Lord’s Day and the rhythm of morning-and-evening should continue also in our worship, prayers, service, and fellowship.

 

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About Michael R. Jones

Pastor and PhD candidate writing on Paul's theology of suffering.
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