The Liturgy Trap is a helpful introduction to Biblical worship. But it accomplishes more than a basic premise for Christian worship, it is also a helpful refutation to Roman, Orthodox and Anglo-Catholic forms of liturgy. Though Jim criticizes the abusive trap of three of the major Christian traditions, he also finds plenty of reason to criticize modern evangelical sloppiness in worship. According to Jordan “Christian worship…is not a technique for obtaining grace, but is a response to truth.” (xiii)
Jim sees the following practices as serious corruptions to the gospel:
a) veneration of the ’saints’, b) bowing down to created things other than human beings, c) confirmation as a second work of grace, d) exaltation of virginity and celibacy and e) the misuse of the doctrine of real presence. (xvi)
The primary question that seeks to be answered is: “Are these practices Biblical and are they healthy for the life of the people?” Consider the practice of venerating the saints. The Catholic and Orthodox traditions both deny that the acts of veneration becomes an act of worship. The argument is that veneration is simply a form of “prayer” in the mild sense. There is no worship taking place nor are they placing the saints gone before us in a place equivalent to Jesus Christ. Whether this seems harmless or not is not the real question, the question is the one Jim Jordan has already raised: “is this Biblical?” Further, is it a healthy practice for the church? The central error of venerating saints stems from its unbiblical foundation. “The Old Testament forbade consulting the dead.” (18). Even if this were an Old Testament law with no permanent validity to New Covenant saints (even if such faulty logic had any significance) still one would not find any example of a New Testament saint consulting the departed. Therefore any form of revelation either from Mary or any departed saint cannot be authoritative in any sense.
To be continued…