This week, the Brits have taken over. Andrew and Alastair have fired Matt and Derek and decide to talk about the regulative principle. In particular, the question has to do with what worship practices found in Scripture can be applied to the church today.

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Posted by JF Arnold


  1. […] This week we had a podcast time and subject lined up, but Matt wasn’t around and Derek couldn’t make it at the very last moment. Andrew has been in some conversations about whether dancing has a place in churches and so, rather than go without a podcast for the week, he suggested that we discuss the question of what is appropriate in Christian worship instead of our original planned topic. A couple of minutes later we started recording. […]


  2. Interesting comments at the 28 min mark about “principles of civility” or “what it means to be a member of polite society”. Alastair highlights a high/low class divide over what should or shouldn’t be done with the body during worship – with the lower classes preferring more physical forms of worship. While I think it’s true that the (British) working classes are more likely to attend charismatic and Pentecostal churches, those more physically uninhibited traditions still expect their congregations to adopt or aspire to upper middle class ways of talking.

    At least that’s been my experience as an adult convert from a working class background.

    The discussions I have with my old un-churched working class friends have zero Christian content but I can at least anticipant the rhythms of those conversations, know when a politically-incorrect comment is genuinely racist/phobic and generally have a laugh with them.

    And whenever I’ve introduced any of them to my new (predominately middle class) Christian friends, I have always been dismayed by their (and my own) apparent need to change how they talk about any given subject in the presence of “godly” people. Out goes the swearing and bullish banter (they all love Trump!) and in comes a fake/bland but good mannered politeness. My evangelical friends take this “civility” at face value and remain largely unaware of how it communicates/represents a lack of authenticity to working class people.


    1. Alastair J Roberts March 16, 2016 at 11:00 am

      The class dimension you mention here is really important (we ought to do a podcast on it at some point, actually). The manner in which class divisions play out within the life of the Church has often struck me (for instance, in debates about ‘Christian masculinity’). I drew upon this Leithart post in the remarks that you mention. It is well worth a read!


      1. I was shocked (?) that neither of you mentioned gender or sex. That’s either explicitly or subliminally in scope in the minds of conservative Christians who are not on board with dancing in church.

        Was there sex-segregation in the synagogue and temple? In the early church? Would that affect how we might perceive the appropriateness of dancing?

        Its clearly some kind of issue in 2 Samuel 6:19-20


  3. […] life and in congregational worship and praise. I enjoyed listening to the podcast Mere Fidelity regarding dancing this evening, and would encourage everyone interested in how to think about dance […]


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