Skip to main content

The God We Worship: Liturgy and Theology

Image from Wikipedia
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 thinking around the claim that "The Church actualises herself in the act of performing the liturgy." Liturgy, here, means not a particular traditioned set of practices, but the points of liturgical convergence between several major ecclesial traditions (RC, Lutheran, Episcopal, Presbyterian), and hangs on the broad definition, "Christian worship is liturgical when it is the scripted performance of acts of worship." 

Whatever you think of liturgical worship, these lectures are really worth listening to. They are thoughtful, theological, and full of love for God and His Church. I already feel challenged by how easily I manage to ramble through the liturgy some Sundays, without taking serious time to think about what I'm doing and what I'm leading others in.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

David Clough on Barth

For those who are interested, here  is an interview with Professor David Clough from earlier this year on the subject of Barth's theological development. It has recently made its way online...alas, the interviewer (me!) has been edited out. The interview was for a new DVD Interactive Multimedia Timeline created  by R ev. Dr Tim Hull at St John's College Nottingham. Several high quality scholars agreed to be interviewed, including Dr Karen Kilby, Dr Ben Fulford, Professor Antony Thiselton, Professor David Fergusson, and several others forthcoming. David Clough is Professor of Theological Ethics at Chester University, UK, and wrote his doctoral thesis on the interpretation of Barth's ethics. It was published in 2005 as, Ethics in Crisis: Interpreting Barth's Ethics (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2005).

Godpod and theological resources

I have had a great evening listening to a whole stack of theological podcasts from St Paul's Theological Centre, London, UK. There are over 60 podcasts available from the St Paul's website or on iTunes that cover a whole range of topics in Christian ethics, spirituality, systematic theology, history, Christian biography etc.with experts from across UK. The format is pretty simple: a three way discussion between Dr Jane Williams, Revd Dr Mike Lloyd, Revd Dr Graham Tomlin and a special guest or two each session (I've listenind to Prof. Nigel Biggar, Prof. NT Wright, Dr David Hilborn, Prof. Andrew Walker, Prof. Alister McGrath, and a hosts of others so far). Each lasts a bit less than an hour, but there's plenty to think about and chew over. If you're looking for some really good input, and some fun theological discussion from leading evangelical thinkers, then head over to St Paul's Centre and their Godpod page.

What Do You Call a Group of Theologians?

I think the answer should be "an argument", but perhaps that's unfair. I can test my theory this next week, which sees the start of the annual Society for the Study of Theology (UK) conference on the theme of Holy Writ? (The question mark is very suggestive). It looks really good, and the list of plenary speakers is great: Alex Samely (Manchester); Morwenna Ludlow (Exeter); Henk van den Belt (Amsterdam); Walter Moberly (Durham); Anthony Thiselton (Nottingham); Hugh Pyper (Sheffield). The conference lasts several days and is convening this year at York University. I hope to be able to blog a few thoughts from the conference and some info about the plenary sessions, but I shall be presenting a paper at one of the themed seminars on Wednesday afternoon on the interpretation of Barth's ethics of responsibility so may be a bit distracted until then. So watch this space for more info...