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Showing posts from February, 2014

Humble Confidence: The Appropriate Theological Attitude

I've just got round to reading January's International Journal of Systematic Theology (IJST). I really look forward to it coming in the post: it is the universal problem of research-students-who-are-within a-few-months-of-submission that we become so engrossed in the topic at hand (in my case Karl Barth) that other things pass us by. So, IJST affords me the opportunity to lift my head from the Barthian-pit and read a few other things and have those bits of my mind that remember what it was like to read freely in any area of systematics re-enlivened (avoiding the Barth essays within the journal...for now). Normally I skip over the editorials and head for the articles, but last night I read Steve Holmes' editorial for the January edition. In it Holmes, senior lecturer in Systematic Theology at St Andrews University, considers with what attitude the discipline of theology must engage with other academic disciplines. He outlines two, before settling on the third.

The God We Worship: Liturgy and Theology

Following my reading of +Robert Atwell's book on leading liturgical worship, today I came across Nicholas Wolterstorff's latest project in the form of the Kantzer Lectures: The God We Worship. The videos for each lecture last about an hour, and are really interesting to listen to. So far I've had time for just two of them, but they are quite enticing both because of their peculiar approach to theology and also for the depth of their content.

Wolterstorff sees his project as something similar to Barth's Dogmatics, which he argues is grounded in the proclamatory activity of the Church (which is essentially, he argues, about preaching). For Wolterstorff, liturgical theology is about making explicit the implicit theology of the liturgy, articulating that, and then defending it. It is at the core of the Church's life because worship is a core activity of the Church called and purposed by God. Drawing on the work of Orthodox theologian Alexander Schmeman he develops his…

Advice from a Bishop on Worship and Mission

Recently I've been reading a new book, The Good Worship Guide: Leading Liturgy Well by Robert Atwell, currently Bishop of Stockport to be translated to Exeter later this year. It's sold as a "practical guide to leading worship" (p.xiii). This comes with two health warnings: 1) it is about leading worship within the liturgical structure of the Church of England, so not everyone who wants some help with leading worship will find it obviously useful - though there are principles within that apply to any church congregation in any tradition; 2) by worship, +Robert means much more than songs. Although he is very aware of the charismatic movement within the Church of England - he has been a speaker at New Wine in the past - and makes reference to Hillsongs and modern Christian worship music, when he talks about worship he means everything from the welcome received at the door, through to the liturgical event, the songs, the Communion, the sermon: the whole lot. I find this…