Relationship of Worship Days to Vision and Mission
I agree with our approach and its biblical and theological basis. However, I’d also like to point out an additional concern. Over the years I’ve wrestled with the “days don’t matter” concept. The problem is, days do matter. Not from a salvific view, but from a concern for the vision and mission of Christian churches. Simply put, observing Old Testament days/festivals in tandem with the GCI (Christian) calendar causes confusion for our members and is odd and unappealing to new members and guests.
Old Testament festivals commemorated God’s covenant relationship with Israel. They pointed to Jesus. Jesus has come. Now the Christian (GCI) Worship Calendar celebrates the life and saving work of Jesus. Celebrating Old Testament festivals is incongruous with new covenant theology and does not accurately reflect who and what we are as a denomination in Christ. It sends a mixed message to others.
We will always have people who hold divergent beliefs about such things as hell, millennium, etc., but these don’t have calendrical markers. And while Christian groups understand and allow such variety, they don’t sponsor Hebrew days as a part of their denominational culture or vision.
Our Christ-centered vision for worship, mission and discipleship needs to be theologically clear and missionally focused. The Christ-centered GCI calendar provides such clarity and focus. Old Testament festivals dilute that focus. Vision is difficult enough to cast and pursue without adding distracting factors. By following the GCI Worship Calendar, GCI congregations worldwide present a unified, Christ-centered approach to worshipping God and living as Jesus’s disciples.
GCI members who choose to observe Old Testament festivals, or participate with non-GCI churches, may do so as long as they do not create division or cause discord. But we will not promote or support Old Testament festivals within our GCI family.
(Randy Bloom, GCI Board Vice Chair)
Position statement: GCI Position on Annual Days of Christian Worship