15—Elizabethian pastoral prayer
NOTE: I originally wrote a segment for each of the 61 points Frank Viola and George Barna make in their book, Pagan Christianity, about traditions in the institutional church not based on scripture. After writing it, I chose to not include this segment merely as I felt that in wouldn’t be an interesting radio commentary.
My name is Tom; this is Simple Church Minute
Methodism in the 18th century was the immediate spiritual spiritual descendant of the work of British evangelist John Wesley. This movement introduced some emotion to worship. People were invited to sign loudly and fervently. In this respect, they were the predecessor to frontier revivalism, the holiness movement, and the Pentecostal/ charismatic branch of the church.
They had a pastoral prayer in their worship that covered all the different facets of public prayer. The notable feature was that it was always done in the dialect the King James Version was written in, with “thee”, “thou”, and “thy.” Now, this dialect wasn’t around for long; anyone who has read Chaucer and Shakespeare in school realizes that the English language changed greatly in only a couple hundred years, and the English of the KJV is somewhere in between. When the KJV was released in 1611, the language was already close to archaic in wording. Nonetheless, in some parts of the church, this dialect lives on in how pastors speak out these formalized prayers, with the trend more dominant in more traditional organizations. Strangely, on the opposite side is a small branch of independent churches, often with leaders of minimal training, which insist that the King James Version is the only appropriate version of the Bible to use. The Bible was originally written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Koine Greek. In all languages, many words do not have exact equivalents in other languages, and languages change in some ways over time. We can believe God inspired the original writers to say what they did in languages that had just the right nuance. We must also recognize that some translators over the years have been influenced by who was paying them, sometimes intentionally, sometimes subliminally.