Chris Moyles’s commentary on charismatic worship

For those who don’t know, Chris Moyles is the most popular radio presenter in Britain; his morning show, on BBC Radio 1 (essentially a mainstream pop music station), attracts approaching 8m listeners. This video contains an extract from his show dubbed over the TV broadcast – of baptisms in a church in Peterborough – that they are discussing in the extract. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=StEDAjhuiTo] Four things strike me about the comments, considered as useful data for missional concern in the UK: 1. Moyles (who is 35) and his posse belong to a generation that is no longer reflexively cynical about church. Britain, and Europe, is often described as ‘post-Christian,’ but this phrase can mean two very different things, or so...

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Matt Redman’s doxological theology

There is a well-established tradition as to how academic theologians deal with contemporary worship music. You first decry the theological poverty of the music, then point to the traditional liturgy as the perfection of doxological theology, then express a wish that the music was more like the liturgy. Allow me to dissent from the tradition somewhat. Starting at the end, ‘the traditional liturgy’ strikes me as a deeply problematic concept. There are many different liturgical traditions, each instantiating different theological concerns. For some reason, theologians from a broadly evangelical background (who tend to be the ones decrying contemporary worship music, on account of the fact that they have encountered it) tend to point to Anglican liturgies...

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Preaching, worship, and reality

(Further thoughts, relating both to my George Beasley-Murray memorial lecture, text available here in case anyone is interested, and to this post.) Somewhere near the heart of the argument in my GBM lecture was the question, does preaching reflect reality or change it? To take the classic historical example, most of the Lutheran debates about the preaching of the law and the preaching of the gospel turn on the supposition that the preaching of the gospel is effective proclamation: an authoritative declaration that the hearer, merely by virtue of having heard the declaration, is now forgiven and reborn through the atoning sacrifice of Christ (which declaration, of course, demands the response of faith, and permits of no other response). It seems to me that many of...

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A sonnet for Trinity Sunday

To God the Father Great God, within whose simple essence we Nothing but that which is thyself can find: When on thyself thou did’st reflect thy mind Thy thought was God, which took the form of thee: And when this God thus born, thou lov’st, and he Loved thee again, with passion of like kind, (As lovers’ sighs, which meet, become one wind) Both breathed one spright of equal deity. Eternal father, whence these two do come And wil’st the title of my father have, As heavenly knowledge in my mind engrave, That it thy son’s true image may become: And cense my heart with sighs of holy Love, That it the temple of the spright may prove. Henry Constable (1562-1613) (A better doctrine of the Trinity than can be found in most current dogmatics,...

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