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Showing posts from April, 2015

A return to deep worship

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This post continues an exploration of Deep Church Rising by Andrew G. Walker and Robin A. Parry. For other posts in the series, click a number: 1234. 5, 7,89.

Last time we looked at what happened when parts of the church, seeking cultural relevance, departed from apostolic tradition. One of the results was departure from orthodoxia (right worship). A primary way this manifested (particularly in recent years in the West) was in the embracing of what some refer to as the "entertainment culture." In this setting, worship becomes less about glorifying God and more about providing the next "shot in the arm" to people who tend to view the church as merely one of multiple "voluntary club" alternatives.

The downside of this consumeristic approach to worship is that the participants often quickly weary of the worship offered, and move on to other entertainment options. In what may have been a well-intentioned effort to relate the church to the culture, thes…

The story of Jesus: culturally relevant?

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This post continues an exploration of Deep Church Rising by Andrew G. Walker and Robin A. Parry. For other posts in the series, click a number: 123, 4, 6789.

Last time we noted that the ancient apostolic tradition (also called the "rule of faith") of the church emphasizes the story of Jesus as told in Scripture and established in the four great Ecumenical Creeds. When the church has moved away from this focus, it has lost its "gospel-grounded identity" (p. 82). This has led to what Walker and Parry refer to as the "third schism" -- a divide within the church that continues to diminish its health in our day.

Why this move away from the orthodox telling of the story of Jesus? Largely because of a desire to relate Christianity to the contemporary culture. Though this motive may have been admirable, when unchecked by the ancient rule of faith, it led to deemphasizing, if not entirely abandoning, key tenets of the apostolic faith, including the Trinit…

The rule of faith: right belief, practice and worship

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This post continues an exploration of Deep Church Rising by Andrew G. Walker and Robin A. Parry. For other posts in the series, click a number: 12, 3, 56789.

Last time we looked at Walker and Parry's plea that the church would return to its "apostolic tradition" in order to mend the "third great schism" that plagues much of the church. This tradition, sometimes also called "the rule of faith" has three key elements: right belief, right practice and right worship. In this post, we'll look briefly at each one.

Belief According to the Walker and Parry, rather than merely holding to right propositions, right belief is...
...like a dimmer switch on a light. There is indeed an on and an off mode but the on mode comes in a wide range of degrees of brightness. As the man with the epileptic son said to Jesus, "Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief" (Mark 9:24) (p. 65).  According to Bishop Anselm (d. 1109), rather than a one-time event, righ…

Remembering our future - return to apostolic tradition

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This post continues an exploration of Deep Church Rising by Andrew G. Walker and Robin A. Parry. For other posts in the series, click a number: 1, 2, 456789.

Last time we looked at Walker and Parry's call for a return to the historic "tradition" of the church in order to counter what they refer to as Christianity's "third schism." By "tradition" they don't mean church traditions and customs (like those described by Thom Rainer of LifeWay in a recent blog post), but "the apostolic tradition of the New Testament... handed on and jealously guarded by the community of faith" (p. 49). According to the authors, this apostolic tradition (sometimes called "the rule of faith") has five levels of truth, listed below in descending order of importance:
Primary (dogmatic) truths attested to in Scripture, which have been distilled for the church in the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed of AD 381.Secondary truths attested to in Scri…