Reformed Churchmen

We are Confessional Calvinists and a Prayer Book Church-people. In 2012, we remembered the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer; also, we remembered the 450th anniversary of John Jewel's sober, scholarly, and Reformed "An Apology of the Church of England." In 2013, we remembered the publication of the "Heidelberg Catechism" and the influence of Reformed theologians in England, including Heinrich Bullinger's Decades. For 2014: Tyndale's NT translation. For 2015, John Roger, Rowland Taylor and Bishop John Hooper's martyrdom, burned at the stakes. Books of the month. December 2014: Alan Jacob's "Book of Common Prayer" at: January 2015: A.F. Pollard's "Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation: 1489-1556" at: February 2015: Jaspar Ridley's "Thomas Cranmer" at:

Monday, September 1, 2014

September-->Oh no, not all that Bible reading again! Ezra & Nehemiah

September-->Oh no, not all that Bible reading again! Ezra and Nehemiah
On the first day of Feast Day of Trumpets, Ezra reads the Law to the assembled from the cities from morning till mid-day (Neh. 8.1ff.). 
A few notable points: (1) the length of the reading and (2) no one was whining or sniffling about long Bible readings. This is stunning, sobering, and bracing. Try reading just the Bible for several hours to an assemblage of Americans, Canadians, or Brits. You would be howled down. People would vote with their feet. "We'll not be having it!"

In this instance, priests, Levites, gate-keepers, Nethinim and the people gathered for an annual Feast Day. Dt. 31.9-15 prescribed this lectionary feat, this reading Triatholon, for every seventh year. The purpose of the reading to “all Israel:” the purpose was that men, women and children “may hear and that they may learn to fear the LORD and carefully observe all the words of this law.” The assembly is in the “open square” in front of Water Gate. The people were “attentive to the Book of the Law.” Ezra offered a prayer. The people answered with an “Amen.” Also, Ezra had colleagues as readers and teachers: Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamia, Akuk, Shebbethai, Hodijah, Maaseah, Kelitia, Azariah, Jozabad, Nahan, Peliah, and the Levites. Nehemiah insists on naming them, that is, to show that a “presbytery” teaches and reads God’s Word, not just the bishops. They “distinctly read from the book” (8). They “gave the sense” of the book. When the people heard it, they wept. Apparently, this grief was like Nehemiah’s when he wept (Neh.1.5ff.). But, it would appear that in our time there is a conspiracy by leaders to dilute the essence of the confession of sin: exhibit A is the loss of the “General Confession” at Morning Prayer. Daniel had his grief and his confession (Dan. 9) which he put in writing for “doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness.” Ezra and Nehemiah gave assurance of forgiveness. “Do not sorrow for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” A written, lengthy, corporate, and liturgical prayer follows in Nehemiah 9.

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