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According to Bishop Ryle’s great little booklet entitled Worship there are seven things that must take place if we are to consider corporate worship having happened:

  • A set day to meet (sabbath)
  • Leadership (he calls “a ministry”)
  • Preaching of the word
  • Public prayer
  • Reading of the Holy Scriptures
  • Public praise
    • Regular and right use of the two sacraments (Baptism and the Lord’s supper)

He adds a very important word of clarification and caution, writing,

“I commend these seven points to the serious attention of my readers and invite them to consider them well. I can easily believe that I may have said things about them with which some Christians may not agree…I can only tell my readers, as an honest man, what appears to me the teaching of Holy Scripture. I do not for a moment say that no man will be saved who does not see public worship precisely with my eyes. I say nothing of the kind. But I do say that any regular system of public worship which does not give a place to [these things], appears to me deficient and incomplete. If we attend a place of worship where any of these seven points is neglected, I think we suffer loss and damage. We may be doing well; but I think we might be doing better. To my mind these seven parts of worship appear to stand out plainly on the face of the New Testament; and I plainly say so”

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