Darlington Reformed Presbyterian Church (PCA), Darlington, PA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
An interesting counterpart to Avery Dulles‘s “five models of church” (institution, mystical communion, servant, herald, sacrament) is the triad of church emphases laid out by Tim Keller in his paper “What’s So Great about the PCA?” (For those who don’t know, PCA = Presbyterian Church in America). Lots could be said about this article or this denomination, but I’m most interested in these qualities that Keller borrows from George Marsden and describes as facets of Presbyterianism in America, and indeed facets of the PCA, resulting in significant infradenomenational tensions:
The doctrinalist impulse puts the emphasis on the corporate and the objective. The stress is on ministry done through church courts—Session, Presbytery, and General Assembly‐‐ and on people being brought to Christ through objective ordinances and processes like baptism and catechism. Continue reading
Can revivalistic emotion and liturgical reverence co-exist? What about spontaneous worship and doctrinal carefulness? Yes, these can be part of the same religious experience–indeed, these seemingly contradictory elements coexisted at the very taproot of evangelical history. I explored this in a post on Christianity Today’s history blog:
Evangelicalism’s Hidden Liturgical and Confessional Past
by Chris Armstrong
The emotional energy of Cane Ridge and other early frontier revivals arose from a strong emphasis on the Eucharist.
Many evangelicals – especially younger ones – are today re-engaging tradition. Other evangelicals worry about this re-engagement. They feel that to move toward a more liturgical form of worship or a more fixed, detailed style of theological “confession” is to give up the freer, more emotional worship style or more grass-roots, straightforward doctrinal and theological style won for us by such evangelical forefathers as the 18th century’s John Wesley or the 19th century’s Charles Finney.
I want to suggest that one way forward to healthier engagement with tradition for modern-day evangelicals is through a look at our own recent past. For American revivalism itself grew on unexpected foundations of liturgy and doctrinal confession. Continue reading
Posted in Resources for Radical Living
Tagged Calvinism, Cane Ridge revival, confessionalism, early republican era, Eucharist, evangelicalism, liturgy, Methodism, Presbyterianism, revivalism, Richard Lovelace, Tradition
This New York Magazine piece describes “the first significant new church to be built in Manhattan since St. Peter’s went up, more than 30 years ago, next to what used to be known as the Citigroup Center,” Tim Keller’s capacious (2,000 seats), conservative, and thriving Redeemer Presbyterian Church:
Thanks to Jay Blossom at InTrust magazine for posting this link via Facebook. What I find most interesting is the in-your-face anti-materialist, anti-worldly-success message Keller’s preaching . . . and how it’s actually drawing in thousands of stressed-out, “type A” Manhattanites.