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Religion Library: Protestantism

Worship and Devotion in Daily Life

Written by: Ted Vial

Some Protestant traditions, particularly those labeled "fundamentalist" in the early 20th century, adopted rigorous moral codes to encourage godly living and avoid sin. These were on the forefront of temperance movements and the passing and maintaining of "blue laws" (laws restricting business hours to help maintain the Sabbath; in many parts of the United States, liquor stores are still closed on Sundays). Conservative members of many denominations—particularly Baptist, Methodist, and Pentecostal denominations—have forbidden "worldly" activities that might tempt members into sin, such as card playing, dancing, drinking alcohol, smoking, and attending movies. These strict moral codes have formed one important aspect of the daily religious lives of some Protestants.

Finally, most Protestants believe that genuine faith should bear fruit, that is, it should be transformative, and thus effect the outer life of behavior, attitudes, and choices. Salvation is both a release from the penalty of sin and a growth into the likeness of Jesus Christ. This is called sanctification, which is the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit helping the believer turn away from sin and toward holiness. Regular practices of private prayer, scripture study, meditation, community worship, service, and retreats—all intended to help the believer know and love Jesus–comprise the lives of many Protestants.

 


Study Questions:
1.     What does it mean when a Protestant talks about “calling”? Why is this not necessarily a rare event?
2.     Who was Max Weber? What did he hypothesize about Protestantism and capitalism?
3.     What is Pietism? How did the Moravians exemplify it?
4.     What behavior or activities demonstrate faith in the daily life of a Protestant ?

 
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