Monthly Archives: January 2012

  • Introduction to Christian Worship – Sounds of Church Music

    As the title suggests, White’s next chapter takes up the topic of church music. All told, the chapter is a useful summary of Christian approaches to music historically and across the denominational spectrum. Everyone knows church music is controversial. This has always been the case. But it was especially pronounced during the time of the reformation.

    As we have been saying, reformed churches are marked out not only by their doctrinal statement but also by their actions in worship. Just as works offer the proof of faith so too worship offers a glimpse of what churches really believe. Or to put it another way, we should not expect evangelicals to worship like Roman Catholics and we shouldn’t expect reformed Christians to worship like evangelicals. The theological distinctions of the protestant reformers gave rise to distinct expressions in worship. For example, while … Read More »

  • Introduction to Christian Worship, part 1

    Last week we finished our Sunday School class on Reformed worship. I received a number of encouraging comments from those who attended. I am so glad that it was helpful. You should know, though, that I feel the same way. The thirteen weeks we spent thinking together

    …describing what Christians usually do when they come together defines Christian worship

    about that subject, that I spent reading privately and that you spent questioning and pressing me were very stimulating for me intellectually and spiritually. So much so I don’t want it to end! Because of that I want to keep thinking about these things with you. For the next couple months, then, I will be engaging James F. White, Professor of Liturgical Studies at Drew University, and his writing on the subject of Christian worship. We will begin with his Introduction to … Read More »

  • Introduction to Christian Worship, part 2

    One of the coolest Christmas gifts I got was a calendar. To be honest I don’t use calendars anymore that hang on the wall. Although I have been set free in Christ I have, I will admit, become enslaved to my iPhone which tells me where to be and when to be there. I didn’t use wall calendars, that is, until this one. One of the most interesting things about this calendar, though there are a lot, is that it begins on November 27. That’s right. It begins on November 27, 2011 and ends on December 1, 2012. By now you have no doubt figured out what kind of calendar this is. This is a calendar that marks time as a Christian.

    These are not good days for counter cultural efforts of the church. Sure, cultural warriors abound, but even they … Read More »

  • Introduction to Christian Worship, part 3

    White’s third chapter takes up the necessity of a place for gathered worship as well as the nature of architecture that marks off that space. This discussion is inevitable because Christianity and Christian worship involves people who inhabit a place. As White notes,

    It should not surprise us that a religion whose fundamental doctrine is the incarnation should take space seriously in its worship.James F. White, p. 81

    Ironically, even those who object to ornate architecture or even a designated place for worship inevitably end up gathering in a place—whether it’s a home like the home church movement of a generation past or in a pub like the emergent church movement of the present—and decorating it. I always smile when I am asked by my friends who are philosophically opposed to having a building if they can borrow ours. It … Read More »