Response to Liturgical Worship

December 2, 2010 — 2 Comments

I found this section helpful from Mark Dever and Michael Lawrence out of the book Perspectives on Worship: 5 Views.  This is just a snippet of their response to Timothy Quill’s argument for Liturgical worship (Lutheran Style).  I don’t see anything inherently wrong with liturgical worship, maybe even we (as Baptists) could use it more, however what Dever and Lawrence say still rings true.

At the end of the day, the justification for liturgical worship seems to be limited to the historical and the pragmatic: Christians have found this helpful for centuries, and it is still helpful; so we should not abandon it for contemporary forms.  Early on, Quill acknowledges that Scripture does not explicitly prescribe the use of ceremonies beyond baptism and the Lord’s Supper.  And while much is made of the scriptural character of liturgical rituals, the fact remains that the only inspired ordering of those words is the Scriptures themselves.  So, as he states at the beginning, from within the liturgical perspective, liturgy itself is an adiaphoria (= neither morally mandated nor forbidden)

Mark Dever and Michael Lawrences response to Timothy Quill, Perspectives on Christian Worship: 5 Views, p. 93.

Patrick Schreiner

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I teach New Testament at Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon. I am married with three children. This blog, against all wisdom, includes anything I am interested in. That includes movies, music, theology, culture, hermeneutics, the Gospels, and politics. Feel free to comment and let me know you are reading or that you have found something helpful. I reserve the right to delete unhelpful or rude comments. Many of these posts are simply things I find interesting and therefore I am not asserting I agree with everything I link to.

2 responses to Response to Liturgical Worship

  1. I think you end up with the adiaphoria if you start with the assumption that scripture is the authority. It is not surprising to each liturgical worship fall out with Protestants, with that criterion. That’s too bad. Protestants could really use more incense and some candles. It really sets the mood…

    I would be interested in reading the Orthodox, Catholic, or High Church Anglican perspective on liturgy, assuming there is one in that book. I think I might know what they would say, but still.

  2. (I didn’t mean to suggest that the ‘smells and bells’ style makes a worship style liturgical.)

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