KB Categories Archives: Theology

The Fullness of the Faith

Sir John Suckling

Donald Richmond:

“In too much fullness is some want…” –Sir John Suckling in Chapters into Verse

Over the past number of years I have repeatedly heard Roman Catholics emphasize the “fullness of [Roman] faith.” Within the grossly misguided context of evangelizing other Christians, this emphasis asserts that Roman fullness has something a bit more to offer than other communities of Christian faith. That is, according to these apologists, Rome has what others lack. And, to be clear, this attribution of lack includes every other Christian community and Church —- with, maybe, some accommodation for our Eastern Orthodox brethren. This emphasis upon Roman “fullness” is unabashedly bold, and clearly evidences a seriously un-catholic bias that un-catholicizes any claim to be truly catholic.

However our Roman family is not alone in its assertions. We all, individually and collectively, have our own definition and description of what this fullness must or must not include. We each have our own Shibboleths, our own self-or-ecclesiastically-constructed Babels, which require rigid adherence. Unfortunately, what may not be required is adherence.  Repentance and reconciliation are called for. These Shibboleths include, and may not be restricted to, those Creeds, Councils, Confessions and Articles which we hold so dear and necessary. To be crystal, fullness is almost entirely determined by the theological “glass” that we have boldly blown for our own purposes.

Sir John Suckling, quoted above, makes an interesting point that directs us to a possibility that I have long-asserted: Sometimes, and more often than not, there can be too much fullness. There is such a thing as being too full. This article posits this position and offers a more reasonable possibility: Less is, in practice, more. And it is this little that should define fullness. When fullness spills beyond the bounds of its original design, as with our Lord’s reference to “new wine in old wineskins,” we no longer have fullness. In such an instance we have flooding, a mess that needs to be cleaned-up and corrected.

What we desperately need is God’s glass and God’s definition of what, within that specific context, fullness actually means, includes and excludes. Of God’s fullness we all want to receive, and not anyone else’s contrivances, even contextually appropriate contrivances appropriate to the time, that have been collected, collated and codified along the way. With the Gospel Greeks, “we would see Jesus” (St. John 12: 21). Often, as with rote rituals, our vision of Jesus Christ is impeded by other things of lesser importance.

To arrive at a reasonable and biblical fullness, a fullness free from excess, there are five priorities we must consider. These will be addressed below.

Fullness is centered upon Jesus Christ as revealed. The good news of the Gospel celebrates the person of Jesus Christ and the plan of redemption that is entirely centered upon what he has done, what he is doing and what he will do. Stated more exactly, Jesus is the program and the plan. In order for us to apprehend this person and plan we must entirely center ourselves within this revelation of God. As has been suggested by Thomas ‘a Kempis, “He who would fully understand the words of Christ, must entirely commit himself to the life of Christ.” Within this broad framework, there is a relationship between the Living Word and the Written Word that must not be over-or-under estimated. And what must not be lost or minimized, and what is crucial to my thesis, is that the centrality of Jesus Christ is not just at the core of the Written Revelation, but, as well, at the core of how we understand this revelation AND ALSO at the very heart of our experience, expression and expectation of this revelation. We have compromised Christ by not appreciating the priorities that guided the experience and expression of the apostolic authors of Written Revelation. This has led to increased separation and not to salvation and sanctification in their most social, communal, implications.

To understand and appreciate what I am proposing we must understand the orientation of the New Testament authors – specifically the four Gospels – and how they approached the Hebrew Bible as they sought to explain how this Old Testament revelation of God revealed Jesus as Messiah. When we study how these New Testament authors resourced the Hebrew Bible we discover that they were highly selective in both their use of texts and in the Text they actually cited. It was the Septuagint they cited, and priority was given to some texts above others —- including not citing some First Testament texts at all. Psalms and Isaiah, as two examples, were repeatedly referenced, while others only minimally or not at all. Only certain Old Testament texts were utilized in order to communicate the Jesus Story, the good news of the Gospel. As such, swaths of Scripture were ignored in order to communicate the overarching purpose of communicating Christ.

What this means for us, and the first step needed in order to define and defend the proper understanding of fullness, is to appreciate that while all of God’s revealed Word is inspired Scripture, there is a primacy of revelation which requires us to capitalize upon certain books or texts and to minimize others. The four Gospels are primary, Acts is secondary, and the Epistles are, fundamentally, commentary almost entirely rooted within the time and the communities to which they were originally intended. To be both brash and blunt, while we must appreciate Paul’s many Epistles, they are not Gospel and they may have minimal relevance to our contemporary setting unless there is an exact match between their intended audience and setting to our own current communities and cultural contexts. They are inspired revelation, but only of a tertiary nature and importance. The story of Jesus is the message, everything else is commentary. Epistles tell us about how this message was to be lived within the varied first century churches. Their relevance is rooted to a particular time, place, community and purpose. When we move beyond that, cherry picking our chosen texts to prove our multitudinous theological positions, we are on dangerous ground. Gospels trump any and every Epistle. Our misunderstanding about fullness is rooted within a misunderstanding of the biblical narrative, and its core message. To gain an appreciation of what fullness actually is and includes, we must embrace the intention of the four Gospels: Jesus is the fullness of the Godhead revealed, and it is his story – not the commentaries about it – to which we must attend. How this relates to our topic of fullness is very simple: If revelation can be prioritized, focusing on who Jesus is and what he taught (and this within the Trinitarian framework the four gospels suggest), then it is entirely reasonable to prioritize other things that enhance this specific message —————— and, at times, minimize those things which do not.

Fullness is concisely communicated in the Acts 2:42 community and is more Petrine than Pauline. The book of Acts is a transitional text that continues to communicate “all that Jesus began to do and teach” AND chronicles how the Christian community began to live that good news. It links us to the Gospel narratives, but also outlines its expansion from Jerusalem and Judea to Samaria and the uttermost parts of the known world. As such, Acts has primary, secondary and tertiary implications and applications. The Gospel message in Acts is the message, while Peter and Paul’s varied journeys are historic information about how that core communication was carried throughout the Empire and beyond. It expresses how the primitive Christian community, namely Peter and Paul (as well as the first followers of Jesus), were obedient to our Lord’s “GO” directive.

Just after Pentecost, the followers of Jesus began to grow in numbers and in self-understanding. Following Peter’s Pentecost Homily, communicating choice words about Jesus, the community of his followers centered themselves upon four priorities: Apostolic Teaching, Fellowship, Breaking Bread and Prayer. These must be briefly commented upon. The “Apostolic Teaching,” at that time, was rather restricted. It focused upon Jesus and his salvific ministry. THIS, and THIS ALONE, was (and is!) the Apostolic teaching. There was no Paul. There were no nuanced messages to attract and accommodate and direct communities, Gentile or Jewish, throughout the Empire. There were no Creeds, Councils, Confessions or Articles. There was, within the Christian community, no dangerous development of doctrine. There was only Peter’s first sermon which presented Jesus as Messiah. With credit to Paul, the Apostolic Teaching was, essentially, what he communicated in 1 Corinthians 15: 1 – 8. From this essential message, the Apostolic Teaching, a fellowship of love was established that resulted in the Breaking of Bread and prayer. The Jesus Story was the center-point of this unfolding. Theology, per se, did not shape the community. Philosophy did not shape this community. Ideas and ideals did not shape this community. Jesus and his story did! To enjoy true fullness, therefore, this must be the primitive priority we must embrace. There is no program but the person Jesus Christ. From Jesus comes Apostolic Teaching, Fellowship, Breaking Bread and Prayer.

Fullness, within this primitive Acts 2 community, exists, expands, and is expressed through what is contained in the Vincentian Canon. The Vincentian Canon tells us that what is truly catholic has been believed “everywhere, always and by all.” These are important and instructive words. If we are really interested in the faith that is truly catholic, that is the faith of the Acts 2 community, we must restrict ourselves to the everywhere, always and by all standard of evaluation. And this is highly restrictive and clearly possible to attain and maintain. Some might suggest that this is an impossible standard. They would argue that there was no time when such a framework actually existed. I would heartily disagree. These few words root us to an infant community which was properly centered upon and within the essential of Jesus Christ. Only for a very short time – the infancy of the Jerusalem Christian community – can this everywhere, always and by all standard be seen, met and maintained. This is when Jesus was central. This is where Jesus was central. This was how Jesus was central. They had no New Testament. They had no Paul. They had only minimal expansion after Peter’s Pentecost proclamation. They had Apostolic Teaching, Fellowship, Breaking Bread and Prayer. These were the everywhere, always and by all standards by which they build a common life of common passion, power and purpose. These must be our essential standard. A truly full faith that is catholic is as simple and as profound as this. As such, fullness is often less, and not more. Apostolic Faith is, therefore, stripped of excess. Could it be that all of our Creeds, Councils, Confessions and Article, possibly appropriate to their time, are little more than factual footnotes?

Fullness limits, if not restricts, Creeds, Councils, Confessions, Articles, and all unnecessary defensive postulations and postures rooted in protective fear. Christians are indebted to the Creeds, Councils, Confessions and Articles of our faith. I am not sure, and I want to be cautious, that every utterance is the faith as envisioned by the Acts 2 community, however. Moreover, I am not sure that the primitive followers of Jesus would affirm everything communicated within these varied documents. In fact, I am almost entirely sure that they would not do so. Even today, among true followers of Jesus, we do not find entire agreement. In some cases, as with our Coptic and Oriental Orthodox brethren, some of these documents and their dictates have isolated Christian communities for over a thousand years. That is, the Creeds, Councils, Confessions and Articles were all aimed at defining and defending historically appropriate understandings about the true Faith, but they also ended up creating disruption, disagreement and division. They, at times, say “no” in a manner that is far too strident and reflect highly contextualized conflicts that may have little bearing upon us today.

However, as I am an Anglican clergyman, this indebtedness to history is pronounced and, in some ways, obligatory. This said, however, unlike the perspective of the primitive (Acts 2) followers of Jesus, and as outlined in the Vincentian Canon, these documents are even more provisional than the New Testament Epistles. They are (being very generous) commentaries upon the commentaries communicated by Paul and the other authors outside of the strict Gospel narratives. They are important, at times pertinent, but highly provisional. Let us, all of us, be honest. When we look at Creeds, Councils, Confessions and Articles there are times when we disregard or discard certain assertions. There is no denomination that gives absolute fidelity to all of these. This is a fact, and numerous examples can be cited. Creeds, Councils, Confessions and Articles continue to distance followers of Jesus from the primitive experience and expression of the early church for whom Apostolic Teaching, Fellowship, Breaking Bread and Prayer were essential. How these may have been exported and explained to an expanding Church is a different matter, and certainly worthy of careful and prayerful consideration. But, importantly, integrity calls us to essentials and not to those exaggerations which, in philosophy and in practice, may separate us from the Christian community’s most ancient forms and formulations. To move beyond these primitive frameworks (and I make an exception for the Apostles’ Creed because it briefly summarizes the Bible basics as found in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and does include the fundamentals. I think it was Dr. Tim Tennant who referred to this Creed as a succinct summary of basic Bible doctrine.) risks imposing non-essentials upon true followers of Jesus who may enjoy an essential fullness without subscribing to the exaggerated fullness which might be nice but not necessary. True fullness, while not always denying or decrying Creeds, Councils, Confessions and Articles, will severely limit and restrict their importance —- refusing to impose what is, at best, commentary upon the entire catholic community. Let us remember that things can be far too full and, consequently, become a flooded mess requiring clean-up. The point is Jesus Christ. The Gospels communicate him. The Epistles comment and expand upon these Gospels. The Creeds, Councils, Confessions and Articles comment upon the commentaries — often excessively expanding upon the primitive functional fullness exhibited in Acts 2: 42.

Fullness must assert no more than the primitive catholicity of the Acts 2: 42 community and assumes the Vincentian Canon as its framework of understanding. Recently I read and reflected upon Norwood’s fine book Reforming Rome: Karl Barth and Vatican II. Among the many excellent points Norwood makes, he draws attention to how Barth increasingly began to think in terms of being an Evangelical Catholic and not in terms of being a Reformed Protestant. This is a productive consideration. In short, if I extrapolate, if we affirm the Acts 2 community, as broadly seen in the Vincentian Canon, we are all catholics if we are followers of Jesus. We are Roman catholic, Anglican catholic, Eastern catholic, Reformed catholic, Protestant catholic. We are, if we affirm what is most essential (primitive Apostolic Teaching, Fellowship, Breaking Bread and Prayer) common catholics who broadly share a common life for a common purpose. With this, our Creeds, Councils, Confessions and Articles begin to fall away. Roman exaggeration, Protestant resistance, Orthodox culturalism and Anglican (unwise) conciliarism all bow before Jesus and the true catholicity that he encourages —- and the primitive followers of Jesus experienced and expressed.

This does not mean that denominational distinctives are necessarily wrong, but they are simply not needed or binding. If you want to emphasize Tradition, Capital T, please feel free to do so. But do not expect others to cross their “T” as you do. Your “T” does not define everyone’s understanding of Apostolic Teaching.

If you want to say “Transubstantiation,” go ahead and say so. But do not make this the deciding factor in Breaking Bread with others —- most especially when we all believe that Jesus meant Body and Blood when he said Body and Blood.

If you want to say “this is us,” please celebrate your identity. But also please avoid saying, along with this, “and with us wisdom will die” (Job). Others, too, have identities that are entirely Christo-centric and entirely in keeping with the Fellowship of the Acts 2 community. In short, they too enjoy catholic fullness.

If you want to be liturgical and pray the Daily Offices (which I highly commend), please do so. But do not assert that any liturgical stance is incumbent upon all. We need not say that Jesus’ “venerable” hands took up the “chalice” to appreciate that Jesus took…blessed…broke…and gave.

These examples, these philosophic proclivities, are almost endless. They are tedious and tiresome.

If we want to return to what is most needed, to what is truly catholic, let us look to Jesus, to what he “continued to do and teach” through the Acts 2: 42, and to what is communicated through the Vincentian Canon. I am not sure we need more fullness, but am quite certain that less fullness may, in practice, be the only fullness God expects or we need.

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The Lord’s Supper: Foundations and Practice in Puritan Liturgy

Marc Brown: For Puritans, worshiping around the Lord’s table was of crucial importance to communal and individual piety. Through which lens did the Puritans view this fundamental worship practice; Lord’s Supper, eucharist, or communion? Perhaps a case could be made that Puritan worship employed all three of these views in some form or fashion. However, through careful exploration, I hope to identify which of these positions most closely aligns with Puritan doctrine and practice.

In this paper, I will investigate the doctrines and worship practices defining Puritan understanding of the Christian covenant meal. I will demonstrate, that the Puritans employed the Lord’s Supper as their preferred model of Table worship. I will trace understanding of the Lord’s Supper from Scripture, to the early church, to Calvin’s Institutes, and finally to Puritan doctrine and liturgy. I will validate my thesis by consulting a number of primary and secondary sources.

Please click here to read the rest of Dr. Brown’s wonderful work.

Image right: “Scottish Communion Service.” Henry John Dobson

 

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Luther’s Spirituality

Marc Brown:

Features of Luther’s Spirituality

Theologian Robert Webber describes a dinner party where the subject of spirituality was introduced. Once broached, the topic generated a number of culturally acceptable responses reminiscent of an article that once described “Spirituality in America” as “what we believe, how we pray, where we find God.”[1]  The article, from Newsweek magazine, defined spirituality as the “passion for an immediate, transcendent experience of God.”[2]  The search for spiritual passion in modern Western culture takes many forms. Webber’s dinner guests identified with many of the forms of spirituality mentioned in the Newsweek article, culminating in the host being asked his belief. When Webber surprised everyone by answering he was a committed Christian, “who believes Jesus to be ‘the way, the truth, and the life,’”[3] the guests responded in startled silence. When Webber asked the guests what they would now ‘do with him,’ one guest responded, “Explain yourself. I’m willing to hear you out.”[4] Webber made clear to his guests that in order to explain himself he would have to tell a story. He quickly added, “All spiritualities are based on a story. You have to know the story of a particular religion to understand its spirituality.”[5] Webber was by no means the first to define his spirituality through the story of the gospel as recounted in Scripture. Martin Luther also defined his spirituality in this way. For Luther, sola scriptura would be no empty battle cry. As Luther grew to understand how the gospel story was at the root of his own spirituality, what changed was more than the opinions of a handful of dinner guests.

[1]J. Adler, “Spirituality in America,” Newsweek, September 5, 2005, 9.

[2]Robert E. Webber, The Divine Embrace: Recovering the Passionate Spiritual Life (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2006), 14.

[3]Webber, The Divine Embrace, 14.

[4]Webber, The Divine Embrace, 14.

[5]Webber, The Divine Embrace, 14.

Image above: “Luther’s 95 Theses.” Ferdinand Pauwels.

Want to read the rest of Dr. Brown’s work? Please click on the link below….

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Talking Life, Ministry, and Worship: Dr. Jonathan Powers

Dr. Jonathan Powers, faculty member at Asbury Seminary and graduate of the Institute for Worship Studies, talked was the guest on this episode of Ancient-Future Faith. Jonathan talked about his love for worship, admiration for Robert Webber, and his current duties at the seminary.

 

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New Orientation… The Spirituality of the Psalms

Audio Resource:

In this episode of Ancient-Future Faith, guest Ellen Koehler (right) was in the studio to talk about an upcoming Lenten series at Epiclesis (an Ancient-Future Faith Church in Sacramento, CA) on the Psalms. Based partly on the work of theologian Walter Brueggemann, the 5-session study will look at how the psalms– what Dietrich Bonhoeffer called “the prayer book of the Bible”– speak to every season of our lives.

 

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How the Early Fathers Teach us to Read Scripture

D.H. Williams:

Ancient-Future Faith Network member and distinguished professor D.H. Williams  recently gave an address at Wheaton College. Dan is professor of patristics and historical theology in the Department of Religion at Baylor University and specializes in Patristic Literature and Theology; History Christianity, Religions of Late Antiquity; and Sociology of Religion.

 

How the Early Fathers Teach us to Read Scripture

Nowadays a fervent acknowledgement has gripped conservative Protestants and our brethren in Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy who openly admit that a re-engagement with the ancient legacy within our present churches is a necessity and just as much a challenge.  New forms of ecumenism have begun to emerge characterized by a surge of books about reading the Bible theologically.[1]  Retrieval theologies  have come into the academic limelight largely because of the limitations of the historical-critical methods, which have been entirely invasive in graduate programs, has left too much of a gap between the Church and the academy by failing to unite exegesis, doctrine and the life of the non-academic Christians.[2]  For a long time we have been faced with a hegemonic pretense of this “modern” approach to the study of Scripture, along with the assumption that writing biblical commentaries is almost exclusively the province of scholarly biblical exegetes.[3]

In a quest for a more flexible and capacious hermeneutic, we look to patristic forms of Biblical exegesis as uncovered in hundreds of sermons, commentaries, and theological works.  Even the most experienced researcher of patristic exegesis will admit that ancient Christianity left us with a vast ocean of texts that can elude our best attempts to comprehend them.  It is neither easy or self-evident to grasp what the early fathers have said on many subjects, but especially when it comes to the pages and pages of Biblical interpretation.  There is also a prevalent illusion among some Evangelicals that patristic writers from different centuries or geographical contexts all spoke with one voice.  The Greek Orthodox theologian George Florovsky rightly observed that while we have seen a renewed emphasis on the authority and return to the early Fathers, it must be a “creative return.”  This implies an element of self-criticism, but also that any such retrieval will be what he called, a Neopatristic synthesis.[4] In other words, the thoughtful reader of the ancients has to reassess both the problems and the answers of the Fathers in such a way that does not violate the ancient context by grabbing bits and pieces of text that will only serves to abstract them from the total perspective in which only they are meaningful and valid. But instead of a neopatristic synthesis, John Behr prefers to speak of a patristic “symphony”for hearing the different voices of the Fathers, whether it be the second or any other century. Saint Gregory of Nazianzus and Saint Basil did not speak the same voice. These are different voices. And there are different voices through time. So, the point of reading the Fathers is not to synthesize all their knowledge into one definitive solution but it is like going back to the earlier scores of the symphony. You have to learn their parts in order that you are harmonized to the melody to sing your part today.[5]

Of course, the ancient writers were not purposely trying to be opaque; just the opposite, in fact.  When it came to explaining the Bible, those that wrote to provide elucidation were doing so to be understood by as many Christians as possible.  Our present quandary has more to do with the fact that a great majority of ancients did not explain the structure or the logic with which they are expounding the text.  However much we wish to retrieve the riches of patristic theology and exegesis, we cannot deny that a historical, cultural and philosophical gulf stands between us and them. And we are not happy that they do not make the kinds of distinctions that we think they ought to make.  We’d do well to respect this distance in our treatment of the primary sources, and avoid what Jarsolav Pelikan called a “tyranny of epistemology”[6] that has dominated especially Protestant hermeneutics since the Enlightenment. We often forget that the patristic interpreters stood much closer to the apostolic era and ought to mirror the writers of the NT much more closely than we do.

This being said, we are not faced with an impossible return to the past, as some have argued.[7]  As we consider reading ancient Biblical exegesis, it is not improper to ask what expectations should have; What marks some of the key differences between the way we read the Bible and how they read it?  And if a degree of retrieval—perhaps a high degree–of these sources is possible, what does that look like when it comes to understanding them?

Let me begin with some mechanics of what one encounters when reading the ancient Fathers and then we’ll look at certain strategies they used for reading Scripture:

 

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A Conversation with Dr. Rick Asche

Microphone (2)Rick Ache FamilyAudio Content: Dr. Rick Asche, a recent graduate of the Institute for Worship Studies and a long-time pastor, was the guest on this edition of “Ancient-Future Faith,” a radio program sponsored by Epiclesis: An Ancient-Future Faith Community. Rick has served in youth and men’s ministry, as well as a lead pastor, and more recently in junior high ministry in Lincoln, California. He recently accepted a calling to join the pastoral team at Epiclesis as Pastor of Intergenerational Discipleship. In this episode of the radio program, Rick talks generational ministry and its biblical mandates.

Click on the play button in the audio player below to hear the conversation with Rick Asche:

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The Christian Tradition of Suffering: An Exhortation to Contemporary Protestantism

D.H. Williams:

sufferingOne cannot read the New Testament and a great many patristic texts and not discover that a common denominator to all who followed Christ was the experience of suffering; whether in the forms of rejection, hatred, deprivation, or some sort of persecution.  Beginning with the Beatitudes (Matt 5:3-10), the imperatives for a blessed life offer us a self-portrait of Jesus, who is himself the Blessed One.  This portrait shows an identification with poverty, gentleness, grief, hunger, and thirst for uprightness, mercy, purity of heart, a desire to make peace, and the signs of persecution. At the same time, Jesus promises, “you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved (Matt 10:22).  What is the disciple’s response?  “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (or hurt you), so that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.”

From the gospel accounts to Acts to the earliest records of Christian executions, the church was born into a tradition of persecution and martyrdom that formed its identity.  The faith of the “chosen people” was essentially a religion of suffering and martyrdom.  The twin aspects, suffering and bearing witness went hand in glove.

Thus far, surveys of retrieval theologies make no mention of this issue, which is a serious omission, since there is a superfluity of literary evidence to show that suffering for and with the Christ who suffered through persecution was a central part of the early church. This facet of Christian experience is just as much a part of the theological inheritance as any other theology.  In all the presentations and dialogues on theological retrieval taking place, westerners who rarely suffer on account of their faith, are in danger of forgetting this elementary feature of the church’s distinctiveness.  But what is meant by such a retrieval unless we are in the midst of a church enduring some form of persecution?

 

AFFN Members may continue reading the entirety of Dr. Williams’ work by logging in, or clicking the .PDF file, below. Not a member yet? Check out this page to learn more about membership in the Network.

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The Relationship of Systematic Theology to Liturgical Theology

old-booksMarc Brown:

Introduction: The Issue

I have always been interested in why there are so many types of theology: systematic, biblical, historical, liturgical, etc. As a pastor who plans and leads worship in the local church, I have spent much time pursuing an understanding of liturgical theology. For good reason, many pastors with whom I have served have been more familiar with systematic theology. Do these disciplines connect? If so, how do they connect? Or, are these two areas of theological reflection separate from each other?

To address my questions, the purpose of this paper is to discover and discuss the similarities and differences between systematic theology and liturgical theology. Through examining the pertinent texts and lecture material, I will formulate an initial understanding of the identity and purpose of systematic theology. Next, I will explore several opinions as to the definition and purpose of liturgical theology. I will consult ideas from several liturgical theologians representing different church traditions so that a wider consensus may be attained. Then, I will compare the identifying characteristics gleaned from these opinions to the identity and purpose of systematic theology. Finally, while providing points of support and disagreement, I will offer my own understanding on the matter.

Positions

Many theologians have attempted to define systematic theology. Some of their definitions include…

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