While some have argued recently that the Reformation was a significant cause in the secularization of western society, particularly insofar as it lead to the increasing privatization and individualization of religion, this potential consequence was neither intended nor imagined by the reformers. Even the most radical reformers, such as Austrian Anabaptist Leupold Scharnschlager (d.1563) argued forcefully for the continued discipline of church attendance and communal worship, even in difficult circumstances. It is only when the church is united, he argues, that believers can withstand the challenges of persecution and deception.

Christians Must Meet Regularly

Because manifold deceptions are everywhere making inroads, it is necessary for the called, committed, and obligated members of Christ’s body, wherever they may be in the world or in distress, insofar as it is possible, should not neglect the assembly. Wherever and however they may, according to the place and the persecutions, they should gather together for the sake of their love for Christ, be their number small or great, 2, 3, 4, 6, 10, 15, 20, more or less. Such meetings should take place with wisdom, modesty, reason, discipline, friendliness, and quiet demeanor, especially since we see the day of the Lord drawing near.

Congregational Order, citing Hebrews 10:25.

Hebrews, James, ed. Ronald K. Rittgers. Reformation Commentary on Scripture, NT vol. XIII, p. 144.

 

RCS Series: Spiritual Disciplines


Leupold Scharnschlager | Christians Must Meet Regularly

Johann Spangenberg | Knock on God’s Door with the Hammer of Prayer

Phillip Melanchthon | Daniel and Confession

John Calvin | Fasting and Signs of Humility

Desiderius Erasmus | The Spirit Produced a Supernatural Unity

Johannes Brenz | Good Works Are Our Duty, Not Our Merit

Konrad Pellikan | The Blessing of Giving

John Donne | The Sweet Honey of the Word of God

Tilemann Hesshus | For As Often As You Eat This Bread

Juan de Valdés | Our Life Is a Prayer Before God