This is our second Theopolis Podcast Q&A episode. In this session, Peter Leithart, Jeff Meyers, James Bejon, and I discuss the Spirit in creation, the proper administration of the sacraments, the placement of the sursum corda, and how to speak of Judges 19, the story of the Levite and his concubine, in relation to questions of domestic abuse.
Peter Leithart, James Bejon, Jeff Meyers, and I answer four questions from listeners: 1. Can we believe in the Exodus as an historical event? 2. How should we think about icons? 3. What are the boundaries of sacramental administration? 4. How should we discuss the fulfilment of prophecy with observant Jews?
A brother challenged me after reading my book, where I talk about how sacred space and time are transformed through the Lord Jesus from being temple- and sabbath-oriented, to being person- and whole-life-oriented. He suggested that I am inconsistent to simultaneously hold that attending church is worship per se, and that we enter the heavenly court during this time (a view I briefly argue for here).
He linked me to the work of a brother of yours, Tony Payne of the Sidney Anglicans, who argues for a view in which attending church is not any more worship than any other part of life, but merely an embodiment and acting-out of the communion we have at all times in the Lord Jesus—a view he dubs the “gathered in heaven” model of church.
I’m sympathetic to Tony’s view, but I equally find it hard to abandon the idea that meeting on the Lord’s Day is especially worship in some sense (perhaps something like ritual worship as opposed to mundane worship). Similarly, although I agree that we are, at all times, in the presence of God through his Spirit, there does nonetheless seem something significant about the symbolic representation of drawing near to his throne, which actually does draw heaven and earth together in a way that isn’t true during the ordinary course of life. One possible avenue of relieving this tension that has occurred to me is in the threefold intensification of sacred space in the temple itself; can we perhaps correlate the “mundane” worship of Rom. 12:1 to service in the courtyard, while the “ritual” worship I see hinted at in Acts 13:2; 1 Cor. 14:25 is service in the Holy Place, with Jesus’ everlasting service being in the Holy of Holies?
I have been following the resurgence of interest in ancient liturgies and have read your two part article on Theopolis as well as several podcasts where you speak about this topic. As a lifetime evangelical who has been awakened and inspired by the depths of church history, sacramental theology, and liturgy in the past year, I am incredibly excited to see more and more evangelicals looking into what worship truly means Biblically and how it forms us as worshipers through liturgy.
I am wondering in what ways you could see the “liturgically opposed” churches such as the ones I was raised in embrace some of these historical forms and practices while avoiding the pitfalls you pointed out in your articles? I am a worship leader with a deep desire to shape our services into a more Biblical, liturgical form but don’t really know where to start.
Any other resources you could recommend to me would be greatly appreciated!