In Defense of Christian Ritual
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Is Christian worship best conceived as a creative, Spirit-fueled experience that any formalized structure necessarily inhibits, or are there any biblical prescriptions for worship that Christians were meant to follow? In light of recent research from various disciplines—including history, psychology, and New Testament studies—this book argues the latter.
Specifically, In Defense of Christian Ritual will demonstrate three things. First, in contrast to the anti-ritualism so prevalent in modern churches, ritual’s indispensable role in providing biblical context and content is detailed. Second, contrary to modern opinion, a definite pattern of worship is shown to be present both in our earliest New Testament documents and the early church. Finally, new research will reveal that the assumptions about creativity lying at the heart of contemporary worship are fundamentally flawed. Readers will discover that the apostolic teaching embodied in the church’s early ritual, as expressed in its liturgy, was never intended to be outdated or rendered irrelevant in light of current fads. It was never meant to be a relic of the ancient past, but a structured way of bringing the “memoirs of the apostles”—that Jesus died for sinners—to God’s people in the here and now.
About the Author
David R. Andersen holds a Ph.D. from Wycliffe Hall, Oxford/Coventry University and has taught at several American universities. He is also the author of Martin Luther - The Problem of Faith and Reason.