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It is thoughtful and useful and I think very good to recommend not only for seekers or those re-evaluating their beliefs and church affiliation, but for any adult group wanting a fresh and thought-provoking reminder of key notions of Christian faith. E vangelical Versus Liturgical? Defying a Dichotomy Melanie C. I cannot explain simply my big enthusiasm for this important new work.


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To put it as succinctly as possible, it is a semi-scholarly, very accessible, warm study of how evangelicals in the free church tradition have, in many cases, deepened and expanded their own worship practices, indicating a possible new rapprochement between mainline congregants and scholars who are high church liturgy lovers and those folk with a less complex sort of worship style. The subtitle helps us see why is so very special about this rare kind of approach. Ross knows all this about thoughtful evangelical churches not only because she herself was raised in a nondenominational setting, but because she obviously knows the good work of the likes of the wonderfully generative ancient-future Robert Webber, and the generous ecumenicity of evangelical worship scholars just as John Witvliet.

Her awareness, though, is not just from her past, or her scholarship, but she has spent time visiting two particularly interesting evangelical church communities. Like an anthropologist doing ethnography, she visited and observed a vibrant congregation here in Central Pennsylvania West Shore Evangelical Free and also a multi-ethnic urban mission in Minnesota, Eastbrook Church. These two enlightening case studies offer texture and detail in her examination of how evangelicals gather and do worship these days. And, it gets better: Dr. Ross realizes that to truly understand the differences and similarities of highly liturgical and less formal kinds of worship practices, it will not do to just study how the Bible is use, say, or what printed or extemporaneous prayers are prayed, or how they offer communion or take up the offering.

The meaning of these key acts have to be explored, and to do that, a open-minded but serious discussion of the authority of the Bible must be entertained. Which leads to questions of hermeneutics and, eventually, the theological questions about conversion, sanctification, spiritual formation and mission. Oh my, this is a huge matter, but thank goodness her reflections are succinct and fruitful.

Volumes of work needs done on this, but her relatively brief chapters, while meaty enough, raise the major points of insight and disagreement. What a book! Here is what Jamie Smith says of it:. This is a book that many of us have been waiting for. It is winsome without being wishy-washy; critical yet profoundly charitable.

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Above all it is both sharp and wise. In doing so, she also invites evangelicals to become newly intentional about worship drawing from the deep wells of liturgical theology.


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This book is a win-win-win. Preach it brother. And thanks be to God. I long for inter-denominational conversations that are inclusive of all streams of the river of renewal happening within the global body of Christ. Those skilled at ecumenical conversations within the more traditional large communions — those that struggled with Baptism, Eucharist and Mission in the s, for instance, simple must grow more adept at including evangelicals, charismatics and others who have heretofore not participated much in these kinds of discussions.

To get at ecumenicity by way of this wonderful case study of worship — and to thereby help all of us realize that there need not be a hard dichotomy between ritual and freedom, between ancient tradition and modern experience, between mind and heart, between, as the book says, between evangelical and liturgical — is just wonderful. I cannot recommend this new book more heartily. Kudos to Dr. Ross and the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship who helped produce it.

Here are three groups of people who should read Evangelical Versus Liturgical?

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First, mainline denominational folks or those with traditionally high liturgical forms who may need to be reminded, in their own terms, what the church down the street really does and why they do it. I am routinely surprised at the lack of awareness about, and sometimes animosity shown towards, nondenominational churches, among my liberal friends and this slim book really could go a long way to help ease these tensions, which at least sometimes come from caricature and misunderstanding.

Secondly, I so hope this book will be studied by evangelicals of all sorts, but especially pastors and preachers and those who nowadays are called worship leaders — musicians, singers, church artists. This covers more than what you might get from the good books by Matt Redman, Bob Kauflin, or the Passion Conference messages; it is a sympathetic exploration for rich and artful worship services, rooted in solid theology and ancient ideas.

Defy the dichotomy, anyone? The Black Church Studies Reader addresses the depth and breadth of Black theological studies, from Biblical studies and ethics to homiletics and pastoral care. The book examines salient themes of social and religious significance such as gender, sexuality, race, social class, health care, and public policy. While the volume centers around African American experiences and studies, it also attends to broader African continental and Diasporan religious contexts. The contributors reflect an interdisciplinary blend of Black Church Studies scholars and practitioners from across the country.

The text seeks to address the following fundamental questions: What constitutes Black Church Studies as a discipline or field of study? What is the significance of Black Church Studies for theological education? What is the relationship between Black Church Studies and the broader academic study of Black religions?

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What is the relationship between Black Church Studies and local congregations as well as other faith-based entities? The book's search for the answers to these questions is compelling and illuminating. The Gospel should be experienced and interpreted in indigenous forms, and that in methods of worship, institutions, literature, architecture, and so on, the spiritual heritage of the nation and the country should be taken into use.

According to medieval thinking, two types of knowledge of God, the natural and the revealed, compliment each other. This synthesis was broken at the time of the Reformation. For the reformers, these two kinds of knowledge of God were fundamentally opposed. Since all non-Christian religious beliefs were thought to be based on this dubious foundation of natural knowledge, it followed that all the forms of heathenism were bereft of truth, and that no salvation was to be found within them".

He also indicated that this God could not be identified.

Reason never finds true God, but it finds devils or its own concept of God ruled by the devil. In this he was greatly influenced by the Barthian theology that was popular at that time in Europe. Hallencreutz remarked, "Tambaram became a heated missiological controversy. Despite the controversy it aroused, the conference at Madras had great influence on missionary thinking for several decades.

In , on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the Madras meeting, the World Council of Churches organized a consultation at Madras to evaluate the contribution of Kramer. A true doctrine of the sovereignty of God in creation, redemption and eschatological fulfillment must make room for an anthropology which allows for God to be acting in and through all persons who earnestly seek to be truly human. It is the good news of the humanity of God in Christ which makes exciting the dialogue between Gospel and culture". Madras was a milestone in the sense that it made very clear that carrying the Gospel to the non-Christian world was not simply a matter of practical concern as Edinburgh thought but a theological one.

After the Evanston Assembly in , the World Council of Churches , launched three interrelated studies on: The Word of God and the living faiths of men; The Lordship of Christ over the church and the world; and Common Christian responsibility towards areas of rapid social change. Philip Potter pointed out that it was the third one, on the Christian responsibility towards areas of rapid social change, which brought out, during the following four years, the actual situation of the people in the third world who comprise about two thirds of the population of the world.

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It was in the course of this study that the issues of culture, religion, and social change became apparent and raised questions of how the peoples of the world could participate together in promoting human dignity, justice and peace. One place where this was increasingly perceived and carried out was through the study centers on religion and society, particularly in Asia. Devanandan who spoke on "Called to Witness", raised the question of witness in a world of other faiths.

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He was present at the International Missionary Council meeting in Madras. At New Delhi, referring to the new ferment in other religions, Devanandan said, "There can be sociological and psychological explanations for this phenomenon of the renaissance of other religions.

But if religious faith is to be regarded also in terms of response it would be difficult for Christians to deny that these deep, inner stirrings of the human spirit are in response to the creative activity of the Holy Spirit" 94 He pointed out:. A world renewed in Christ, the new creation, is the sum and substance of the message of the Christian witness, he said. He then posed the questions: Is the preaching of the Gospel directed to the total annihilation of all other religions than Christianity?