Nonliturgical liturgy

All Christians, including “non-liturgical” Christians, worship with a liturgy, in the sense of a predictable order of worship that reflects their theology.  The key question is what the liturgy is and what it means.  A new book is out on this subject by Yale worship scholar Melanie Ross, Evangelical versus Liturgical?: Defying a Dichotomy.
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How worship services have changed since 2000

LifeWay CEO Thom S. Rainer cites the findings of the National Congregations Study from Duke University on how church services have changed over the last 10 years.  It isn’t just a matter of contemporary worship styles or the worship wars.  The study cites changes that also, I dare say, apply to liturgical and traditional services.  See the list of 9 changes after the jump. [Read more...]

The Millennials’ longing for liturgy & sacraments

Congregations that want to attract the millennial generation are now being told to ditch their contemporary worship services and to bring back the historic liturgy.   Also, it turns out that young adults today have a “sacramental yearning.”  Church growth enthusiasts, take note. [Read more...]

Charismatic sacrament, charismatic liturgy

Charismatic Christians consider “praise and worship songs” to be, in effect, sacramental, bringing worshippers into the presence of God.  So observes Matthew Sigler, who supports this tradition.  Furthermore, he says, the music and other features of contemporary worship, as the Charismatics devised it, unfolds in a specific sequence according to a theological model.  That is (in my words), it is liturgical.  Problems come, he says, when non-Charismatic Christians lift this music and these worship practices outside of their original context, borrowing them while leaving behind the theology and “pneumatology” that goes with them.

So worship implies a theology, and theology is embodied in worship.  And you can’t just mix and match.  It’s illuminating to hear this from a Charismatic perspective.  And it is both illuminating and ironic to hear an advocate of  contemporary worship (because of his Charismatic theology) agree with us advocates of traditional liturgy (because of our Lutheran theology).  The link and an excerpt after the jump. [Read more...]

Baptists embracing the liturgy

A growing number of Baptists are turning to liturgical worship.  So says the Associated Baptist Press and a new book on the subject.  Why?  Because liturgy is inherently “missional.”  And because it attracts young people.

Now that the church growth movement has come completely full circle, could we Lutherans take up a collection to send a copy of this book, entitled Gathering Together:  Baptists at Work in Worship, to every pastor and district executive involved with throwing out the liturgy in the name of being “missional” and attracting young people?  Maybe they will appreciate liturgical worship now that Baptists are doing it. [Read more...]

Bringing back the Psalms

I’m no fan of N. T. Wright’s “new perspective on Paul” stuff, but his new book about the centrality of the Psalms for Christian worship, prayer, and worldview formation sounds really, really good.  It’s called The Case for the Psalms: Why They Are Essential.  I am forming my opinion from the interview in Christianity Today, which you can sample after the jump. [Read more...]


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