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Evangelical versus Liturgical?: Defying a Dichotomy (Calvin Institute of Christian Worship Liturgical Studies) Paperback – 30 Jun 2014


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Review

Jeremy Begbie--Duke University"Melanie Ross's Evangelical versus Liturgical? is a highly readable, carefully written, and critically important challenge to a dichotomy that the church has assumed far too easily."James K. A. Smith--author of Imagining the Kingdom: How Worship Works"This is a book that many of us have been waiting for. It is winsome without being wishy-washy; critical yet profoundly charitable. Above all it is both sharp and wise. Instead of the usual invitation for evangelicals to grow up and become 'liturgical, ' Ross empowers free-church evangelicals to see the liturgical wisdom already implicit in their practices - and presses liturgical theologians to appreciate the same. In doing so, she also invites evangelicals to become newly intentional about worship by drawing from the deep wells of liturgical theology. This book is a win-win-win."Don E. Saliers--Emory University"Drawing upon her careful analysis of detailed case studies, and with keen knowledge of ritual and liturgical studies, Melanie Ross opens up a refreshing new chapter in liturgical theology. Clearheaded, wise, and important, this book is a major resource for anyone concerned about contrasts and convergences in worship practice."Karen B. Westerfield Tucker--Boston University"An important work that speaks to today's churches. . . . The fresh vision provided in this book will change discussions about worship in congregations, in ecumenical groups, and among scholars."Nathan D. Mitchell--University of Notre Dame"Focusing more on the connections and less on the dichotomies between evangelical and liturgical churches, this illuminating book by Melanie Ross provides a timely and theologically profound description of evangelical worship. . . . Offers a groundbreaking, fascinating, and balanced understanding of the relationship between evangelicalism and contemporary liturgical Christianity. . . . Brilliant and refreshing."Todd E. Johnson--Fuller Theological Seminary"With biblical studies, theology, liturgical studies, and field research on her palette, Melanie Ross paints a nuanced, insightful picture of worship practices in our day. A tremendous resource for those engaged in ministry for whom worship practices and ecumenical relations are important, this is also a vital book for those who study the contemporary church in North America, offering new categories and definitions for their research."James R. Hart--Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies"This book is a passionate, heartfelt cry for embracing commonalities among all Christian churches while not ignoring the differences that may exist between liturgical and evangelical traditions. Ross calls for us to seek 'local middle ground' in order to overcome the false liturgical/evangelical dichotomy. Her call should resonate with all worshipping communities."

"Theology Today" As Graham Hughes argues, one enters an unmapped (possibly hazardous)territory in attempting to include evangelical Christianity in an account of liturgical theology.' . . . Ross provides a much-needed entry into this conversation and contribution to the field of liturgical theology. Jeremy Begbie--Duke University"Melanie Ross's Evangelical versus Liturgical? is a highly readable, carefully written, and critically important challenge to a dichotomy that the church has assumed far too easily."James K. A. Smith--author of Imagining the Kingdom: How Worship Works"This is a book that many of us have been waiting for. It is winsome without being wishy-washy; critical yet profoundly charitable. Above all it is both sharp and wise. Instead of the usual invitation for evangelicals to grow up and become 'liturgical, ' Ross empowers free-church evangelicals to see the liturgical wisdom already implicit in their practices - and presses liturgical theologians to appreciate the same. In doing so, she also invites evangelicals to become newly intentional about worship by drawing from the deep wells of liturgical theology. This book is a win-win-win."Don E. Saliers--Emory University"Drawing upon her careful analysis of detailed case studies, and with keen knowledge of ritual and liturgical studies, Melanie Ross opens up a refreshing new chapter in liturgical theology. Clearheaded, wise, and important, this book is a major resource for anyone concerned about contrasts and convergences in worship practice."Karen B. Westerfield Tucker--Boston University"An important work that speaks to today's churches. . . . The fresh vision provided in this book will change discussions about worship in congregations, in ecumenical groups, and among scholars."Nathan D. Mitchell--University of Notre Dame"Focusing more on the connections and less on the dichotomies between evangelical and liturgical churches, this illuminating book by Melanie Ross provides a timely and theologically profound description of evangelical worship. . . . Offers a groundbreaking, fascinating, and balanced understanding of the relationship between evangelicalism and contemporary liturgical Christianity. . . . Brilliant and refreshing."Todd E. Johnson--Fuller Theological Seminary"With biblical studies, theology, liturgical studies, and field research on her palette, Melanie Ross paints a nuanced, insightful picture of worship practices in our day. A tremendous resource for those engaged in ministry for whom worship practices and ecumenical relations are important, this is also a vital book for those who study the contemporary church in North America, offering new categories and definitions for their research."James R. Hart--Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies"This book is a passionate, heartfelt cry for embracing commonalities among all Christian churches while not ignoring the differences that may exist between liturgical and evangelical traditions. Ross calls for us to seek 'local middle ground' in order to overcome the false liturgical/evangelical dichotomy. Her call should resonate with all worshipping communities."

Jeremy Begbie
--Duke University
"Melanie Ross's "Evangelical versus Liturgical?" is a highly readable, carefully written, and critically important challenge to a dichotomy that the church has assumed far too easily."
James K. A. Smith
--author of "Imagining the Kingdom: How Worship Works"
"This is a book that many of us have been waiting for. It is winsome without being wishy-washy; critical yet profoundly charitable. Above all it is both sharp and wise. Instead of the usual invitation for evangelicals to grow up and become 'liturgical, ' Ross empowers free-church evangelicals to see the liturgical wisdom already implicit in their practices - and presses liturgical theologians to appreciate the same. In doing so, she also invites evangelicals to become newly intentional about worship by drawing from the deep wells of liturgical theology. This book is a win-win-win."
Don E. Saliers
--Emory University
"Drawing upon her careful analysis of detailed case studies, and with keen knowledge of ritual and liturgical studies, Melanie Ross opens up a refreshing new chapter in liturgical theology. Clearheaded, wise, and important, this book is a major resource for anyone concerned about contrasts and convergences in worship practice."
Karen B. Westerfield Tucker
--Boston University
"An important work that speaks to today's churches. . . . The fresh vision provided in this book will change discussions about worship in congregations, in ecumenical groups, and among scholars."
Nathan D. Mitchell
University of Notre Dame
"Focusing more on the connections and less on the dichotomies between evangelical and liturgical churches, this illuminating book by Melanie Ross provides a timely and theologically profound description of evangelical worship. . . . Offers a groundbreaking, fascinating, and balanced understanding of the relationship between evangelicalism and contemporary liturgical Christianity. . . . Brilliant and refreshing."
Todd E. Johnson
--Fuller Theological Seminary
"With biblical studies, theology, liturgical studies, and field research on her palette, Melanie Ross paints a nuanced, insightful picture of worship practices in our day. A tremendous resource for those engaged in ministry for whom worship practices and ecumenical relations are important, this is also a vital book for those who study the contemporary church in North America, offering new categories and definitions for their research."
James R. Hart
--Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies
"This book is a passionate, heartfelt cry for embracing commonalities among all Christian churches while not ignoring the differences that may exist between liturgical and evangelical traditions. Ross calls for us to seek 'local middle ground' in order to overcome the false liturgical/evangelical dichotomy. Her call should resonate with all worshipping communities."
"Worship Leader"
Building bridges between Evangelical and so-called liturgical worship . . . Ross has written a timely exploration of the artificial dichotomy that ostensibly divides churches and Christians.
"Presbyterian Outlook"
The author offers a carefully researched argument that the dichotomy between liturgical and evangelical (free church) worship is unnecessary. She provides ample evidence with actual congregations that one can learn from the other. The result will be deeper worship of the people of God.
"Euangelion"
This book defies more than a dichotomy. It also defies the odds, as it ably brings together competencies in systematic theology, liturgical studies, oral history, with an evangelical heart. . . . Highly recommended. "

About the Author

Melanie C Ross is Assistant Professor of Liturgical Studies at Yale Divinity School and Yale Institute of Sacred Music.

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Amazon.com: HASH(0x8a5c5894) out of 5 stars 4 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8af508d0) out of 5 stars Insightful look at Free Church worship practices, a voice from within the tradition 15 July 2015
By Michael D. Eldridge - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dr. Melanie Ross is emerging as an important voice appealing for a methodology in liturgical studies that properly considers the liturgy in the Free Church traditions. The field of liturgical studies has been dominated by scholars from traditions with more formal liturgies, and as Ross points out, these scholars have often assessed Free Church traditions based on "must have" practices within their own traditions. Ross, with great insight, develops criteria applicable to both Free Church and "Liturgical" traditions. Where others have lumped American Evangelical worship into some trivial replication of Finney's "frontier" model, Ross uses case studies of real congregations that have developed rich liturgical frameworks that include Scripture, prayer, service, symbol, creed, and significant congregational active participation; but these liturgies do not fit well into traditional liturgical features as they have been described by scholars from the formal liturgical traditions.
This book may assume the reader has some familiarity with the mainstream writings on liturgical theology, but even with a minimal awareness of the field, this book is a valuable step toward a liturgical theology that can adequately address worship in a significant segment of the Christian community.
6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8b387bc4) out of 5 stars The author attempts to bridge several gaps as she considers ... 10 Sept. 2014
By D. G. Van Dussen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The author attempts to bridge several gaps as she considers real and perceived differences between evangelical and liturgical theologies and approaches to worship. In so doing, however, she includes too many contested issues based on assumed or generalized connections, so that her main point is almost lost among the apples and oranges.

For example, in attempting to compare and reconcile "evangelical" and "liturgical" camps within the church, she has chosen categories that don't match. "Evangelical" may often coincide with an approach to worship, but it is essentially a broadly conservative theological category. "Liturgical" churches may or may not be theologically liberal, but "liturgical" is essentially a highly traditional approach to worship. Some of her contrasts seem to assume that liturgical worship is linked to liberal theology, including liberal interpretation of Scripture. A quick survey of Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches, as well as many Catholic and Anglican churches, would indicate otherwise. Her connection between orthodox theology and free or frontier worship similarly fails.

A second mismatching comes in the area of sacramental theology, where she mistakenly links evangelicalism with a "theology of ordinances," and liturgical churches with a theology of sacraments. It may be generally true that liturgical churches emphasize sacraments more than non-liturgical churches, but such evangelical churches as those in the Wesleyan tradition would be surprised to find their sacramental theology identified as essentially Baptist. In fact, the beginning of their movement in England has been described as a Eucharistic revival (See Lorna Khoo, Wesleyan Eucharistic Spirituality). One could more accurately and fruitfully draw connections with Orthodoxy, than with a "theology of ordinances."

The very positive argument of this book is that liturgical and non-liturgical (in the usual sense) approaches to worship can appreciate and learn from each other. Some degree of reconciliation is possible, as illustrated in the two evangelical congregations she studied. But the theological context for her study confuses, rather than clarifies the argument.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8b4100b4) out of 5 stars Excellent work. Dr Ross does an excellent job trying ... 14 Feb. 2015
By Nick C. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent work. Dr Ross does an excellent job trying to break down barriers between Evangelical, free worship and Liturgical worship by exploring how each is biblical and both need to appreciate the strengths of their own point of view.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8bc46064) out of 5 stars Five Stars 25 April 2015
By ARMANDO - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great book, in very good conditions and the delivery on time thanks.
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