Bad worship produces bad theology, and bad theology produces an unhealthy church.
In Liturgical Theology, Simon Chan issues a call to evangelicals to develop a mature theology of the church--an ecclesiology that is grounded in the church's identity as a worshiping community. Evangelicals, he argues, are confused about the meaning and purpose of the church in part because they have an inadequate understanding of Christian worship. As a remedy for this ailment, Chan presents a coherent theology of the church that pays particular attention to the liturgical practices that have constituted Christian worship throughout the centuries. With a seasoned eye and steady hand, he guides the reader through these practices and unpacks their significance for theology, spirituality and the renewal of evangelicalism in the postmodern era.
Chan's proposal advances the conversation among evangelicals regarding the relationship between theology and worship. In contrast to some theologians who have tended to emphasize a sociological analysis, Chan argues that we need to consider what is essential to the church's theological identity. Drawing on the larger Christian tradition, Chan argues that we discover that identity primarily in the structure and significance of Christian worship.
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Simon Chan offers here a timely word to the evangelical church. Things 'liturgical,' once shunned by some, are now being embraced by a generation of believers who have renewed interest in ancient practices and ritual arts. This book provides a solid theological framework for the working-out of best practices as the evangelical world renews its worship.
—Clay Schmit, Arthur DeKruyter/Christ Church Oak Brook Associate Professor of Preaching and Academic Director for the Brehm Center for Worship, Theology and the Arts, Fuller Theological Seminary
Convinced that the practices of the liturgy shape and form faith and life, Chan has written an utterly compelling book that calls the evangelical tradition to a new commitment to worship. It is just the wake-up call that evangelicals need to hear.
—Leanne Van Dyk, academic dean and professor of Reformed theology, Western Theological Seminary
In this day of confusion about the meaning and purpose of worship, Simon Chan returns worship to its place of belonging in the church. His calling to return to the catechumenate, to the ordo of Sunday worship and the reinvigoration of the historic liturgy is especially timely given the postmodern moment in which we live.
—Robert Webber, Myers Professor of Ministry, Northern Seminary
Simon Chan (PhD, Cambridge) is Earnest Lau Professor of Systematic Theology at Trinity Theological College in Singapore. He is the author of Man and Sin, Pentecostal Theology and the Christian Spiritual Tradition, Spiritual Theology: A Systematic Study of the Christian Life, and Liturgical Theology: The Church as Worshiping Community. He is also the associate editor of the Global Dictionary of Theology and the Dictionary of Mission Theology.