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The Importance of Posture

September 20, 2010

David Chilton writes in The Days of Vengeance: An Exposition of the Book of Revelation:

Rev 7:11-12 The angels too are seen here in this heavenly worship service, encircling the congregation around the Throne and giving a sevenfold blessing to God in praise – a blessing both preceded and ended with an oath: Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever! Amen! As in many other Biblical descriptions of worship, the position of the worshipers is noted here: They fell on their faces before the Throne. Official, public worship in Scripture never shows the participants sitting at prayer; public prayer is always performed in the reverential positions of standing or bowing down. The modern, nominalistic platonist, thinking himself to be more spiritually-minded than Biblical characters (even angels!), would respond that the bodily position is irrelevant, so long as the proper attitude is filling the heart. But this overlooks the fact that Scripture connects the attitude of the heart with the attitude of the body. In public worship, at the very least, our churches should follow the Biblical pattern of physical reverence in prayer.

When rationalistic Protestants abandoned the use of the kneeling rail in worship, they contributed to the outbreaks of individualistic pietism that have brought so much ruin to the Church. Man needs liturgy and symbolism. God created us that way. When the Church denies man this aspect of his God-given nature, he will seek to fulfill it by inadequate or sinful substitutes. A return to Biblically based liturgy is not a cure-all; but it will prove to be a corrective to the shallow, frenetic, and misplaced “spirituality” that has been the legacy of centuries of liturgical poverty. (p. 219)

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