The Emerging Church Promise and Failure Part 2

In my last post, I looked at how the emerging church movement is trying to re-construct Christianity in regards to praxis, or the living of a Christian life. Today I’m going to look at the emerging church’s approach to doxology.

Part 2: Doxology or “Doing” Church”

To start, I want to acknowledge that I’m using the word “Doxology” in an unorthodox way. Technically doxology refers to a statement of praise and glory to God. The two we are most familiar with are “Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now, and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen” and the commonly sung:

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye Heavenly Host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

For my purposes, I am using the word doxology in the sense which Geoffrey Wainwright expresses it in the title to his 1978 book: Doxology: The Praise of God in Worship, Doctrine and Life. Doxology is how we live out our theological belief in Christianity when we gather and worship, pray and meditate and then take that experience out into the world we live in. J.I. Packer in his book God Has Spoken (which I haven’t actually read, for the record) puts it this way:

“Theology, as I constantly tell my students, is for doxology: the first thing to do with it is to turn it into praise and thus honor the God who is its subject, the God in whose presence and by whose help it was worked out. Paul’s summons to sing and make music in one’s heart to the Lord is a word for theologians no less than for other people (Ephesians 5:19). Theologies that cannot be sung (or prayed for that matter) are certainly wrong at a deep level, and such theologies leave me, in both senses, cold: cold-hearted and uninterested.”

So for this discussion I am using the word doxology to indicate those ways that we as Christians practice our faith when we worship, gather together for church, meditate, read scripture or engage in other spiritual disciplines.

One of the features of Protestantism is that it is reactionary in nature. Continue reading

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