Liturgical Theology: The Church as Worshiping Community

As I have mentioned before, this website serves the purpose of equipping and empowering worsFreska u kaloti krstionice, manastir Žièa, Srbijahip leaders, theologically and in praxis. Often I attempt to synthesize theology and praxis (such as I did here) in a single article. Sometimes, however, the focus is on theology or praxis. In the case of theology, my desire is to introduce worship leaders to some of the best, modern scholarship on worship and liturgy. Today I offer another book review for this purpose.Read More »

Understanding Liturgy, Pt. II: An Evangelical Definition

Holy_Eucharist_Rite_2In my last article I offered an evangelical perspective on liturgy. While not a conversation that evangelicals have often participated in for some time, the work of numerous theologians, including Robert Webber and Simon Chan has stirred an interest in knowing our Christian history, and therefore an understanding of how those who have gone before us have worshiped. With this uncovering of the past, learning the language of liturgy has become a necessity.

Deterred by the word “liturgy”, many evangelicals are unable to take the time to grasp liturgy and all that it means and encompasses. This article seeks to present a working evangelical definition of liturgy as influenced by its historical definition. I am comfortable offering a working definition for two reasons: one, theology is concerned with uncovering the best human language possible for God and His work, and two, I am more than willing to concede my thoughts to another who appears to use “more right” language than myself (although probably not without a stubborn discussion).Read More »

Understanding Liturgy, Pt. I: An Evangelical Understanding

CommonWorshipBooksThanks to the work of evangelical scholars, particularly Robert E. Webber, there has been a renewed interest in evangelical circles on the history of our faith. The rise in interest in our Christian history has primarily peaked concerning the historic Church’s worship. In this pursuit, “liturgy” has made an appearance within North American evangelicalism

Plenty of scholarship outlines the origination of the word “liturgy”, or leitourgia, so I will not spend time describing its entrance into the Church. Often understood as “the work of the people”, some scholars offer an extended definition, that liturgy is primarily “the work of Christ”, as well as “the work of the people”. The latter definition offsets the tendency to see the liturgy as a good work performed by the Church.Read More »

The Church’s Entertainer: The Worship Leader

You know that feeling when something does not quite seem right? No matter how far you try to push it away, that feeling fixes itself inside you. The evangelical church in America has contracted this bug, and she is uncertain of how to remedy her condition. So what is this possible condition?

A_Photo_of_the_LDI_2013_Conference_in_Las_Vegas,_NV

There are people who fear that she struggles with entertainment in worship.


Worship Leader
, Christianity Today, and Relevant present this issue about the supposed crisis in their magazines, while Jamie Brown and Kevin Carr take to their blogs and share their experiences as worship leaders, some of which include hurts. A Google search consisting of “worship” and “entertainment” will provide many more articles and testimonials working through this topic.Read More »

“Saving Images”

Conversations on images in our evangelical churches have long been absent from our evangelical circles for years. That is, until the recent surge of technology in many churches striving to be “Theotokos_Iverskayacontemporary” and “relevant”. With the development of programs such as ProPresenter and the invention of LED walls, alongside the increasing use of lights during worship service “productions”, images have regained attention within evangelical churches.

Recently, in the July 2015 volume of Worship, “a peer reviewed, international ecumenical journal for the study of liturgy and liturgical renewal”, noted Lutheran liturgist Gordon Lathrop wrote an article titled “Saving Images” that could be very informative for the evangelical images conversation.

Beyond visual images, however, Lathrop encourages a return of verbal imagery in our liturgies. More specifically, he argues for a renewal of verbal biblical imagery in our liturgies.

Images Distract

Read More »

Understanding Worship: A Working Definition

The number of conversations I have had with someone that involved a disagreement because of assumptions about one or more definitions has been frequent. I have learned the importance of words. Therefore, if we are going to continue our conversations about worship, we ought to at least be oriented in the same way. The goal of this article is to offer a working, yet comprehensive, definition of biblical worship.

Celtic_cross

What do I mean my biblical worship? By biblical, I mean that the definition will arise from our study of Scripture. Dictionaries certainly have a definition of worship as utilized in their respective languages, but we want to explore what it might look like to define worship from a biblical perspective.

As a natural extension of “biblical worship”, our definition of biblical worship will be set in a Christian perspective. Worship will be defined differently in each religion, and it could be argued that one could define “worship” for other religions from Scripture and the various events recorded therein. Today, we are focusing on biblical, Christian worship.Read More »

“Ancient-Future Worship”

I remember writing book reports growing up and I always thought that it was a peculiar practice. What value was there in regurgitating what the author said? Now a little bit wiser I can assure there is some value to this practice, as it ensures (or not) that you understand the author’s purpose for writing the book and the thesis therein. It also gives the one writing the review an opportunity to affirm or critique the author.

174px-Zoso_John_Paul_Jones_sigil_interlaced_triquetra_overlaying_circle.svgThis is my first book review here on TalkingWorship.com and it will come from arguably the most influential book on my worship ministry. Influential in that it was the first book I read that truly explored what worship is and how it is enacted and in that it has provided avenues to other authors and books to read in my pursuit of worship and liturgical studies.

Here is Baker Publishing Group’s summary of the book:

“God has a story. Worship does God’s story.Read More »

What Is “Biblical” Worship?

The purpose of this website is primarily for myself. It is an outlet where I can translate the thoughts and ideas in my head to writing. This will be achieved in several ways: writing my own original articles, writing book reviews (coming soon), and writing article reviews. I read published academic material so the articles will frequently appear from peer-reviewed journals. It is important to interact with other authors of the same academic field so that is what I intend to do here today.

Crop_Book_of_Isaiah_2006-06-06Michael A. Farley is an adjunct professor of theological studies at St. Louis University. His article “What Is Biblical Worship? Biblical Hermeneutics and Evangelical Theologies of Worship” appeared in the September 2008 issue of the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society. This article brings up an important topic that evangelical worship leaders must study and be able to articulate their own theology and philosophy. How do we discern what is biblical worship and therefore our theology of worship?Read More »

Turns Out You Are A Theologian Too!

BREAKING NEWS: THIS JUST IN – It turns out you do not need a Doctor of Philosophy in Theology to be a theologian!

Yes, I said it. You do not need to have fancy advanced theologapple-256263_1280ical degrees to be a theologian.
Now before all my academic friends start blasting me out of the water for this statement, let me say this: I personally desire to obtain a Master of Divinity and Doctor of Philosophy in Theology. Academia is a passion for me and I desire to join the conversations of some of my favorite theologians. Education is a joy for me!Read More »

“We’re Gonna Need A Class For This…”

Evangelical Christian conversations have a topical turnaround that competes with pop radio. One week viral articles are about topic A and the next week they are about topic Z. Conversations are discussed and then dropped as if they never happened at all.

ClassroomOne such conversation that I imagine will be out of the mainstream dialogue shortly is that of evangelical liturgicalism. Robert Webber’s Ancient-Future work (Baker Publishing) has breach
ed the spotlight and Melanie Ross has written a book about this supposed contradiction in Evangelical versus Liturgical?: Defying a Dichotomy (2014).

Some churches have simply passed over this dialogue believing that there is no place for such practices (the reasons for this can be numerous: Roman Catholics do that, liturgy is dry and boring, etc.), some have applied certain practices to be “hip”, and others have developed a genuine interest in a liturgical approach to worship.Read More »