Depth and Mystery

Any lasting cease-fire in these worship wars is not likely to emerge from a resolution of the so-called culture wars which feed them, or from large-scale conversions of taste, or from carefully buttressed historical arguments about ancient liturgical precedents. Finally, such a cease-fire can only issue from the depth and mystery of the gospel which Christians proclaim. Christian worship is strongest when it is integrally and self-consciously related to the person and work of Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. The study of Christian worship is most helpful to Christian communities when it demonstrated how this has happened in the past and how it might happen in the future in more profound ways.

—John Witvliet, The Doctrine of the Trinity and the Theology and Practice of Christian Worship in the Reformed Tradition (dissertation), Page 304-305

Objective and Subjective

For the true hearing of the Word of God, two things are necessary: the inward working and the outward facts.  Apart from the outward facts there is no Word of God.  The Holy Spirit will not speak unless He bears testimony to Jesus Christ.  But apart from the inward working there is no understanding of the facts.  It is the Holy Spirit who must bear testimony to Jesus Christ.

—G. W. Bromiley, “The Spirit of Christ” in Essays in Christology for Karl Barth, ed. T.H.L. Parker, 142

Objective and Subjective

The subjective operation of the Holy Spirit is complemented always by the objective facts of the Gospel. The subjective operation is necessary. Without it the Gospel is to us mere history.  Jesus is, shall we say, a great religious teacher. The death and reported resurrection are incidents which call for discussion and explanation as best we can.  But the objective facts are also necessary.  Without them faith is subject always to the arbitrary pressure of individual preference and speculation.  Apart from the subjective work, we cannot say that Jesus is the Lord, or His death a death for sin, or His resurrection the first-fruits of the new creation of God.  But if the subjective work is really of the Holy Spirit, it will always be Jesus of Nazareth who is the Lord, and the divine forgiveness and re-creation will be inseparably connected with the historical life and death and resurrection of that man Jesus.

—G. W. Bromiley, “The Spirit of Christ” in Essays in Christology for Karl Barth, ed. T.H.L. Parker, 141

The All-Embracing Gospel

This story is the good news (evangelion).  In worship we signify it (leiturgia); in evangelism we proclaim it (kerygma); in fellowship we experience it (koinonia); in our ministry to each other and in our service to others we live it (diaconia).  It is the very heartbeat of who we are.

—Robin Parry, Worshiping Trinity: Coming Back to the Heart of Worship, 20

The Centrality of the Gospel (3)

When people call for “deeds, not creeds,” asking, “What Would Jesus Do?” without much interest in the query, “What has Jesus done?” identifying themselves as “spiritual but not religious,” they are asking for the law without the gospel.

—Michael Horton, Pilgrim Theology: Core Doctrines for Christian Disciples, 40