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Worship

(19,016 words)

Author(s): Schmidt-Lauber, Hans-Christoph | Mitchell, Nathan D. | Senn, Frank C. | Galadza, Peter | White, James F. | Et al.
1. NT and Early Church 1.1. Term and Usage The term “worship” (from “worth-ship”) has established itself as a general word for the service that is rendered to God in praise, prayer, proclamation and hearing of the Word, and administration of the sacraments. An older term is “divine service” (cf. the German Gottesdienst, which M. Luther used as a technical term for gatherings for worship), though along with its specific use this term has a broader reference to Christian life and diakonia. A common phrase today for gatherings for worship is “worshi…

Days of Prayer and Repentance

(301 words)

Author(s): Schmidt-Lauber, Hans-Christoph
Israel has its yearly Yom Kippur (day of atonement), with sacrifices for the sins of the people (Leviticus 16). In times of crisis a fast or day of prayer and repentance might also be proclaimed (Judg. 20:26; 1 Sam. 7:5–6; 31:13; Joel 1:13–14, etc.). The Western church developed weekly fasts on Wednesday and Friday, the Lenten fast before Easter, and in a limited sense the Advent fast and seasonal Ember Days based on pagan models. The authorities might also order fasts for special occasions. In Europe and America the Protestant churches followed this tradition. New England Pur…

Emergency Baptism

(491 words)

Author(s): Schmidt-Lauber, Hans-Christoph
Since the early church saw baptism not merely as a rite of initiation but as a means of conferring salvation, as early as the second century it could ¶ be administered by laymen as well as clergy when there was danger of death (so-called clinical baptism). Tertullian and the Fourth Council of Carthage, however, would not allow women to administer it. Because of the consecration of the water and the anointing, which were reserved for priests, the East hesitated to allow emergency baptism by laymen ( Apos. Const.  3.10.1–2). In the West the bishop would subsequently lay on hands (3d cent., Afr…

Benediction

(229 words)

Author(s): Schmidt-Lauber, Hans-Christoph
A benediction, from the Lat. benedicere (praise, bless, consecrate), was originally praise directed to God (Heb. bĕrākôt, LXX eulogia and then doxologia), whether in the form of public worship, house (table) fellowship, or individual prayer. The Eucharist (from Gk. eucharisteō, be thankful, return thanks) took its name from this practice. The NT supplemented Jewish eulogies (Eulogia) by the wishing of grace ( charis) and by formulas of greeting and blessing. In the church there developed blessings of persons (at worship, official acts, ordinations, installations, etc.)…