Monday, July 21, 2014

Right Worship Establishes Right Doctrine

Orthodoxia means “right praise” or “true worship” rather then “right doctrine.”  But, of course, the praise and worship is “right” only if its is directed to the right God.  Orthodox liturgy is that which prays to and worships the Holy Trinity.  Thus, while the relationship between praying and believing, the lex orandi and lex credendi, is a reciprocal one, the priority of right praise is such that the lex orandi establishes the lex credendi.  Prosper of Aquitaine wrote in the heat of the Semi-Pelagian controversy “legem credendi lex statuat supplicandi” (Let the rule of prayer establish the rule of belief).…

The evangelical content of liturgy has served sometimes as a corrective of the catholic tendency to root liturgy in the culture of the people.  Words and ceremonies are not always shorn of their heathen connotations.  Symbolic actions and objects can be a source of superstition among Christians, and their multiplication can lead to a ceremonial pomp that is foreign to the spirit of Christianity.  It is difficult to reconcile “chancel prancing” with worship done in spirit and truth.  The evangelical principle has served as a critique of the catholic substance of Christian liturgy.... The evangelical critique reminds us that when liturgy is too much shaped by cultural vitalities, it loses its ability to transcend culture or to transform the culture it seeks to address.

Frank Senn, Christian Liturgy

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