Asking Pagans Not to Attend Church?

Or, ne paganos adducant liturgiæ, lest they bring pagans to the liturgy.

These days, it seems, most evangelicals think the way to minister to pagans is to invite them to the Church’s worship, supposing that the pagans, seeing our pious worship, will themselves be moved to piety. That was not the practice of the Church in her early days, who instead kept a measure of secrecy (or modesty?) and excluded those who were learning about the faith from seeing or taking part in believers’ worship services. Perhaps this is what we, too, ought to do, since calling people to attend believers’ worship – such as during the Great Awakening – was a practice more characteristic of times when those who were so called were already baptized. Perhaps the distinction between the worship of the faithful and the instruction of the hearers has been eroded by revivalism and forgetfulness, and we should guard it once more in an age when many are strangers again to the Church and to the Bible and its doctrines.

Related: ‘The Prayer Book in the Process of Evangelism’.

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