Changed from Glory into Glory: The Liturigical Formation of the Christian Faith

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Imagine a dense forest separating two cities. In order to engage in commerce between these cities, merchants must pass through the forest. For the earliest of these merchants, this was a very difficult task, wrought with many mistakes and casualties. Eventually, though, over time and with experience, the merchants discovered the safest, quickest route through the forest. Once they did, they began to carefully mark the path so that they would remember the best way to go. Even then, each of these early journeys required careful attention to the markers so that they would not stray from the best way. Over time, however, their regular trips along that same route began to form a much more visible path to the degree that years later merchants hardly pay attention; they doze peacefully as their horses casually follow the heavily trod road. Here now is a well-worn path cut through the wood upon which travelers mindlessly pass from one city to the other. This path may seem mundane, but in reality it is embedded with values such as desire for safety, protection from the dangers of the forest, and conviction that this is the quickest way through. The snoozing merchants do not give thought to these values any longer, but the values are there nonetheless, and whether they know it or not, their journey has been shaped by those values. Those values are, as it were, worn into the shape of the path itself.

This fictional story represents the liturgical story of the Christian faith, well illustrating the dynamic, formative nature of the relationship between religion and liturgy. Christian religion is like a path through the forest that was formed long ago, but along which God’s people travel through life every day. Sometimes this formation occurs consciously, but most of the time the journey of God’s people has been shaped by values imbedded in their liturgies in ways Christian pilgrims rarely recognize.

My goal in this presentation is to demonstrate that corporate worship does something far more significant than many Christians recognize—liturgy forms our religion. But as I will show, the reverse is equally true—religion forms our liturgy. This interaction between religion and liturgy characerizes the formation of the Christian faith throughout history, captured in the Latin phrase, lex orandi, lex credendi—“the law of prayer, the law of belief.” This paper is an attempt to flesh out this ancient idea by clarifying both the nature of lex credendi—religion, and lex orandi—liturgy, constructing a framework for understanding the dynamic formative relationship between the two. After doing so, I will briefly survey this relationship through the course of church history, noting the importance liturgy plays in both forming and revealing the Christian Faith. Finally, I will highlight the necessity to recover a lost understanding that worship involves more than simply expressing devotion to God through songs we enjoy; rather, worship forms the very core of who we are as Christians.

What is the Nature of Religion?

Building a framework for observing the formative relationship between religion and liturgy through church history requires, first, defining these two concepts, beginning with religion.

Worldview

For the purposes of this discussion I will define religion as composed of two parts, the first of which is worldview. A worldview consists of a set of assumptions a person holds about reality; it is a lens through which he understands and interprets everything around him. James Sire has provided a helpful and influential definition of worldview:

A worldview is a commitment, a fundamental orientation of the heart, that can be expressed as a story or in a set of presuppositions (assumptions which may be true, partially true, or entirely false) that we hold (consciously or subconsciously, consistently or inconsistently) about the basic constitution of reality, and that provides the foundation on which we live and move and have our being.[1]

Several elements of this definition are important to recognize. First, central to this definition of worldview is that it is “a fundamental orientation of the heart.” In fact, David Naugle has suggested that what philosophers today call “worldview” is essentially equivalent to the biblical concept of the “heart.”[2] In both the Old and New Testaments, the idea of heart refers to “the central defining element of the human person.”[3] He argues that while the philosophical concept of worldview is a relatively recent philosophical development, “what the heart is and does in a biblical way is what the philosophers were getting at unconsciously in coining the term ‘world-view.’”[4] A worldview is not primarily a set of ideas or beliefs; rather, it involves the innate inclinations at our core.

This leads to a second important characteristic of worldview: a worldview is a set of assumptions about the basic constitution of reality. Since worldview is not primarily stated beliefs but rather an orientation of the heart, these assumption about reality are not usually stated or held explicitly; rather, they become formed within us often without any conscious intention. Another word for this is what philosophers have called the moral imagination—an inner image of the world. Everything we encounter filters through and is interpreted by this inner image.

Now, in evaluating a worldview, these assumptions can be stated, and we can consciously and intentionally assess and even change our assumptions—we can reorient our hearts. But in the normal course of life, most people do not evaluate their worldview; rather, these innermost assumptions about reality, assumptions that orient the core of our being, are naturally formed very early in life based on what we experience in the environments in which we grow. Thus, a worldview often develops subconsciously, unless we intentionally reshape our worldview based on other factors.

Third, it is the heart orientation of a worldview that “provides the foundation on which we live and move and have our being.” The inner image of the world formed within us—our moral imagination—interprets reality and thus affects how we evaluate and respond to what we encounter. It is what motivates and moves us to act in certain ways within the various circumstances of life. This is why the Bible commands, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life” (Prov 4:23).[5]

Theology

The second component of a religion is theology. Broadly speaking, theology is explicit answers to the questions that form the assumptions at the core of our worldview. What we believe about the nature of reality, the purpose and meaning of life, the basis of right and wrong, and most importantly God form our theology. Theology and worldview are, therefore, very closely related—they both involve answers to the same sorts of questions, and they both fundamentally influence the way we live. The difference I am drawing between them is that the assumptions that form worldview are fundamentally subconscious and unsated, while the beliefs that form theology are consciously affirmed. Theology is fundamentally propositional, while worldview is affective. Theology is usually more deliberately developed than worldview, often explicitly taught and based on sacred documents, which for Israel and Christianity, of course, is the divine revelation found in Scripture.

Worldview and theology interact dynamically. On the one hand, our fundamental assumptions about the nature of reality affect the kind of theology we are willing to accept; sometimes the worldview a person has inculcated early in life will make accepting certain theological propositions more difficult unless he is willing to adjust his worldview. On the other hand, as we consciously develop a theology, that theology can begin to reform our worldview, especially if we are aware of conflict between our worldview and theology. This lies at the root of Jesus’s command, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me” (Jn 15:1); he was commanding his disciples to change the orientation of their hearts through a change in belief.

Like worldview, our theology fundamentally affects how we live. As A. W. Tozer famously stated, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”[6] However, if a conflict does exist between our worldview and our theology, and we are unaware of that conflict, at the end of the day our worldview is more fundamental. Tozer continued, “The most portentous fact about any man is not what he at any given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like. We tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God.” [7] In other words, we may consciously say we believe certain things, but if we have not worked to change the orientation of our hearts to reflect our stated beliefs, our heart’s orientation is what will ultimately determine how we live.

Religion

Everyone has an implicit worldview—a fundamental orientation of the heart expressed in assumptions about reality, and most people have an explicit theology—conscious beliefs expressed in stated propositions. The combination of worldview and theology is what constitutes a religion. Expressed in this way, all people have a religion, whether they acknowledge it or not. Even atheists have a religion; their worldview consists of an assumption that only matter is real, combined with a theology that denies the existence of God. This produces an atheist religion that affects everything about how they live and interact in society.

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Biblical religion, on the other hand, involves the formation of a worldview and theology in accordance with the Word of God. Conscious belief in the truths of Scripture reorients the believer’s heart toward God, motivating him to live in accordance with God’s will for his glory.

What is the Nature of Liturgy?

This all brings us to the second part of my central thesis—liturgy. Liturgy is a word that I am using to describe the way we “live and move and have our being.” Our English word comes from the Greek term leitourgia, which is simple a compound word comprised of laos—“people” and ergon—“work.” Historically, the term was used to describe various works done in public as a member of community, such as military or political service, or even vocational labor, relationship between friends or family members, and care for the ill. In other words, in its oldest and broad usage, liturgy referred to the common customs and routines of life within a community, what in more recent times we might commonly call “culture.”

Culture

This idea of culture is one of two elements I am considering under the broad umbrella of liturgy. The English word “culture” finds its Latin roots in discussions of the cultivation and care of livestock and crops. It was first used metaphorically to describe differences between groups of people, similarly to how we use it today, no earlier than 1776.[8] The idea progressed through several different uses over time. It first narrowly denoted what Matthew Arnold would call “the best which has been thought and said in the world,”[9] what we today might call “high culture.” But as early as the mid-nineteenth century, anthropologists began to use the idea to designate all forms of human behavior within society, not limited to high culture, including what we might today call “folk culture” or “pop culture.” British anthropologist Edward Tylor is credited for the first influential use of the term in this way when in 1871 he defined culture as “that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired as a member of society.”[10]

In other words, as it is used most commonly today, “culture” refers to the common behavioral patterns of a group of people—their “liturgies”—including their arts, language, customs, and rituals. It is this anthropological understanding of culture as the totality of human practices in a society that has become the predominant use of the idea among Christians and non-Christians alike. The parallel idea in Scripture to anthropological notions of culture is that of social behavior, something about which the Bible has much to say. For example, when addressing the matter of behavior, New Testament authors admonish Christians to “be holy in all your conduct” in contrast to the “futile ways inherited from your forefathers” (1 Pet 1:15, 18). They also identify human labor—both the act and what it produces—as the object of God’s judgment (Rom 2:6) and as an honorable endeavor that can lead unbelievers to “glorify God” (1 Pet 2:12).[11]

It is just this understanding of culture as the behavior of people in society that ties in to our foregoing discussion of religion. As we have seen, our religion—worldview combined with theology—determines the patterns of our behavior—culture. As Roger Scruton notes, culture is “a shared spiritual force which is manifest in all the customs, beliefs, and practices of a people”; it is “a demonstration of a belief system.”[12] This follows closely T. S. Elliot’s classic argument that “no culture can appear or develop except in relation to a religion.”[13] Culture flows out of and reflects the religious commitments, beliefs, and values of a people group, and it does so as it is cultivated over long spans of time. Cultural forms are natural products of the environment in which they were nurtured. All cultural forms, then, are expressions of value systems, and thus culture is fundamentally religious. And like worldview, the development of cultures occurs usually not deliberately or consciously. We simply go about our lives, interacting with other members of society, producing practical tools and creating art, unaware of how our religion is affecting everything that we do.

Conversely, just as religion is what forms culture, so cultures influence the formation of religion, especially for people or societies that do not intentionally shape their religion and its underlying worldview based on conscious theological beliefs. In fact, as I noted earlier, most people’s worldviews are formed without intentional reflection, and the dominant influence for the formation of a people’s worldview is their cultural environment. The implicit assumptions embedded in the core of cultural behaviors form and shape the worldview of the people participating in those cultural behaviors, typically without intentionality or even awareness. Thus, as James K. A. Smith has emphasized in recent years,[14] culture is liturgical, being comprised of rhythms and routines that embody religious values and have power to form those values into those who participate in them.

Cultus

Yet there is a second element within the broader concept of liturgy, actually the more common use of the term today—public worship. While the Greek term leitourgia was originally used to describe all sorts of social works, what I have called “culture,” it later came to refer specifically to public works of worship to God, primarily due to its use in the Septuagint (LXX).[15] The LXX translators deliberately chose this term to uniquely denote the formal service of the priests on behalf of the people of God, and they used it almost exclusively for that kind of work in contrast to other public patterns of behavior. This use of the term set the standard for the years to come, and this is how we typically use the word liturgy today, to refer to corporate worship.

Here, too, there is a relationship to the Latin root for the word “culture,” which originally denoted the cultivation of plants and animals. The term “cultus” grew from this original Latin source alongside “culture,” and referred to the public acts of worship performed by a religious community.[16]

Like theology, cultus is more deliberately formed than culture. Religious communities establish rituals, ceremonies, artistic expressions, and other sacred acts in ways that express and nurture their religion. Yet here, too, there is often an unconscious interplay between cultus and culture. Often people’s worship becomes shaped and molded by the common culture around them. Likewise, the cultic acts of a dominant religious community within a society can have a significant impact upon the cultural behaviors of that society.

Liturgy

Both of these behavioral patterns, culture—the general patterns of a society’s behavior, and cultus—the patterns of a religious community’s worship, are encompassed under the category of liturgy. These are practices that have formed over time within a community that both reflect and form underlying religion (worldview + theology).

Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi

What we have seen, then, is a dynamic interplay between four realities: worldview, theology, culture, and cultus. Worldview and theology affect one another and constitute religion; culture and cultus affect one another as liturgy. But this kind of mutual formation occurs at a macro level as well, between religion and liturgy, impacting and shaping one another at both conscious and subconscious levels.

The ancient concept of lex orandi, lex credendi recognized the fundamental relationship between acts of worship and belief. Lex credendi is another way to describe religion, the combination of worldview and theology. Lex orandi designates liturgy, the behavioral patterns of both culture and cultus. The relationship between the two, as we have already seen, involves both reflection and formation. In other words, public worship and cultural behaviors both reveal religious beliefs and worldview and form religion. How a community worships—in content, liturgy, and forms of expression—reveals the underlying religious commitments (worldview + theology) of those who plan and lead the worship.[17] This may not always be intentional, either. Often church leadership inherits certain ways of worshiping and employs them without ascertaining exactly what kinds of beliefs the worship practices embody, sometimes resulting in worship that does not reflect the church’s stated theological convictions.

This is significant exactly because of the second half of the premise—corporate worship forms the religion of the worshipers. Public worship is not simply about authentic expression of the worshipers; rather, how a church worships week after week progressively shapes their beliefs since those worship practices were cultivated by and embody certain beliefs. This happens whether or not the worshipers consciously recognize it, and therefore if church leadership has not given consideration to how the way they worship is shaping the theology and worldview of the congregation, it is quite possible that worshipers are being formed in ways the leadership does not intend.

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Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi in Church History

This is the great benefit of studying church history through the lens of liturgy. Focusing on worship in Scripture reveals how God deliberately prescribed worship that would form his people as he desires, and tracing the evolution of Christian worship from after the close of the New Testament to the present day helps elucidate how theological beliefs affected the worship practices we have inherited. This kind of study requires, of course, much more detailed inquiry than this presentation permits—I completed a book that does just this on a recent sabbatical; however, I will present here a brief sketch of what might be involved in such an inquiry into the lex orandi, lex credendi phenomenon through biblical and church history, giving attention to worldview, theology, culture, and cultus in each successive period.

Worship in Scripture

The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments lay the necessary foundation for understanding these categories for the Christian religion and for evaluating everything that happens in subsequent church history. The Bible establishes the nature of worship as communion with God in his presence and on his terms such that he is magnified.[18] Adam and Eve’s fall into sin was essentially failure to magnify the worthiness of God to be their master and bring him glory, and thus it was a failure to worship him acceptably. This broke the communion they enjoyed with God and propelled them out from the sanctuary of his presence. Sin prevents people from drawing near to God in worship; it prevents human beings from doing what they were created to do.

However, worship is possible through a sacrifice, the vicarious, substitutionary atonement of the Son of God. Sacrifices in the Mosaic system pictured this kind of atonement, but they were unable to “make perfect those who draw near” (Heb 10:1). But the sacrifice of Christ can perfect those who draw near. Thus those who repent of their sin—their failure to worship—and put their faith and trust in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on their behalf are saved from separation from God and enabled once again to draw near to him in worship.

This Scripture-based theology formed the worldview of God’s people and shaped both biblical culture and cultus. Conversely, God established certain cultic rituals and festivals for Israel as “memorials” (Exod 12:14), i.e., covenant renewal ceremonies wherein the people would reenact God’s work on their behalf and be thus continually formed by it. Fifteen hundred years later, while celebrating the Passover memorial himself, Jesus Christ established a new ordinance, complete with a carefully prescribed liturgy, and commanded his disciples, “Do this in remembrance of me.” This anamnesis—this “remembrance”—is an active reenactment of the death of Christ on behalf of his people in such a way that Christians are shaped by the act. These examples of biblical memorials serve to illustrate the point that biblical liturgies reenact God’s work for his people and thereby form his people’s theology and their worldview—their religion.

Thus the fundamental relationship between biblical religion and liturgy is clearly apparent in Scripture. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the foundation of biblical theology and that which forms Christians through covenant reenactment in corporate worship to live consistent with their Christian beliefs.

Early and Medieval Christianity

The Christian Faith after the close of the NT Scriptures evolved from this basic religious and liturgical foundation. Medieval worldview in general did not shift from that of ancient times; what changed over time was the dominant theology, both for good and for ill. Positively, as Christianity spread to become the controlling force in the West, the unstated assumption that a spiritual world existed became defined in explicit theological terms of Christian Theism. Medievals believed that all things “live and move and have their being” (Acts 17:28) in the Creator who “is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Col 1:17). This did not mean everyone was truly Christian—there was plenty of immorality, unbelief, and corruption, even within the Church. Yet the dominant Christian imagination of the middle ages was to consider everything as part of a unified harmony governed by God, regulated by his law, and intended for his glory.

This religious perspective of the Middle Ages significantly affected both culture and cultus. Culturally, a transcendent Theistic worldview became the crucible in which rich artistic endeavors flourished. The Church itself became a sort of conservatory of the arts, many of the greatest artists of the period being churchmen who created art as a means to picture the divine and nourish the soul. Even the folk art of the period flourished in this environment,

Negatively, however, late Medievals began to understand the relationship between the material and immaterial world sacramentally, that is, they believed that experiencing God came as a result of physical things—sacred places, rituals, relics, and ceremonies. This was a considerable shift from the spirituality of early Christians who believed the reverse, that knowledge and meaning in the physical world came as a result of knowing God. In other words, earlier Christians began with transcendent reality rooted in God and moved from that basis toward an understanding of particulars in the material world. Late medieval scholastic theologians, most significantly Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274), began with the particulars and worked toward the universals. This subtle shift from the Christian realism of early Christianity turned seismic with other theologians, such as William of Ockham (1285–1347). While Aquinas still taught that meaning in the material world finds its source in the nature of God himself (as early Christians had as well), Ockham argued that meaning in the world existed based on the will of God; thus, truth, morality, and beauty are not intrinsic. This way of thinking eventually led to the nominalism of the eighteenth century and had considerable impact on culture and the church.

Reformation

For both religion and liturgy, the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries saw the beginnings of fragmentation. What for hundreds of years had been cultural and liturgical unity flowing from the dominance of Christian religion began to splinter, paving the way for a fundamental shift in worldview.

Theologically, of course, this period was a time of significant reform. The Protestant Reformers, and even counter-Reformation Roman Catholics, consciously emphasized a return to ancient beliefs and practices. For both theological and cultural reasons, this period saw a gradual shift from a dominant emphasis on community to a focus on the individual. Positively, this created a deep appreciation for the value of human dignity and forced people to consider whether they had a personal relationship with God through Christ or if they were simply trusting the Church for their salvation. Negatively, this eventually led to an overly optimistic view of what humanity could do on its own, elevating the individual above all else, including community and even God.

Culturally, the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries can be characterized by a renewed interest in ancient documents and traditions—“Ad fontes!” was the cry of the day, finding expression both in the study of the humanities and classical Greek and Roman literature as well as the translation of Scripture from its original Hebrew and Greek into modern vernacular. But this was also a period in which a culture that had for a long time been cultivated within a united Christian environment now began to give way to splintering culture influenced by competing value systems.

Liturgically, while disagreements concerning worship theology and practice created irreconcilable division between various theologians and their adherents, largely the cause of denominationalism following the Reformation, much about the essence of worship among these disparate groups remained consistent and unified. Each group maintained a focus on worship in their primary gatherings, a worship that was characterized by reverence and intentional faithfulness to Scripture, though what this faithfulness required sometimes differed.

Enlightenment

While the Reformation saw changes in Christian theology and cultus, the eighteenth-century Enlightenment led to fundamental shifts in worldview and culture. What is critical to recognize is that the difference between pre-Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment worldview, theology, culture, and cultus is not simply change of degree but fundamental change in kind. What has occurred since the eighteenth century is the creation of what David Bentley Hart calls an “imaginative chasm between the premodern and modern worlds. [Modern] human beings now in a sense inhabited a universe different from that inhabited by their ancestors.”[19]

The cultural changes resulting from the Enlightenment are perhaps best epitomized in the American and French Revolutions, where democratic ideals overthrew aristocratic and monarchical dominance. Again, these revolutions were both positive and negative. New freedom of religion allowed Christians to worship according to their consciences instead of state mandate. This led some groups toward more purity of religion and less nominal Christianity. Yet extreme individualism, especially in America, continued the growth of privatized, individualistic religion.

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The dominant theology of post-Enlightenment “secular” religion eventually became hedonism—worship of self. What is prized mostly greatly in modern society is self-expression and pleasure, fueled by the growth of commercialism as the driving force of economic life and the cultural result of the Industrial Revolution. The growing dominance of the secular religion has produced an increasingly hedonistic society, perhaps reaching its tipping point in the Sexual Revolution of the 1960s.[20]

The Christian Faith Today

As western culture increasingly embodies the values of secular religion, the effect of these changes upon Christianity has not been negligible. The problem is that Christians have not always recognized these emerging values and assumptions, unknowingly adopting them as they embrace what they consider to be neutral aspects of secular culture. In short, many Christians do not recognize secularism to be the religion (worldview + theology) that it is. As Rod Dreher notes, instead of recognizing and resisting the increasing secularization of the West, many Christians succumbed to it, having placed “unwarranted confidence in the health of our religious institutions.” He continues, “The changes that have overtaken the West in modern times have revolutionized everything, even the church, which no longer forms souls but caters to selves.”[21] He observes that most professing Christians in America have identified their Christianity with being American and have adopted what was more accurately described by Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton in 2005 as Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.[22]

Changed from Glory into Glory

This kind of unnoticed influence of secularism upon Christianity today results from a failure to recognize the inexorable link between worldview, belief, cultus, and culture and thus could be remedied by a renewed attention to this relationship between Christian faith and liturgy. This kind of recovery would involve several considerations that I will simply introduce as I conclude. First, when assessing the health and biblical fidelity of one’s religion, we must certainly address explicit theological convictions, but we must also consider unstated assumptions and heart inclination. Since heart inclination is what most powerfully influences how we “live and move and have our being,” sound Christian faith necessarily involves attention to worldview.

Second, we must recognize that the formation of these assumptions and inclinations involves more than propositional teaching—it requires liturgical formation, the shaping of heart orientation through the aesthetics and rituals of both cultus and culture. Worldview can be shaped through intentional theological reflection, but since heart inclination is more often formed by habit-forming practices—liturgy, Christians should pursue such practices, both inside and outside the church, that will help direct their hearts toward God.

Third, church leaders should give careful consideration, consequently, to how both their creed and their cultus are shaping the theological convictions and worldview assumptions of their people. Church leaders, and indeed all Christians, must carefully identify what kinds of beliefs have shaped their various worship practices so that they will choose to worship in ways that best form their minds and hearts consistent with their theological convictions. More specifically, church leaders should consider the biblical model of worship as reenactment of God’s gracious work of salvation for his people such that, by reenacting what we are in Christ, Christian worshipers become what they are.

As is beautifully expressed in Charles Wesley’s classic hymn,

Changed from glory into glory,
till in heav’n we take our place,
till we cast our crowns before Thee,
lost in wonder, love, and praise.[23]

 

 

[1] James W. Sire, The Universe Next Door: A Basic Worldview Catalog, 5th edition (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2009), 20.

[2] He argues, “As the image and likeness of God, people are animated subjectively from the core and throughout their being by that primary faculty of thought, affection, and will which the Bible calls the ‘heart’” (David K. Naugle, Worldview: The History of a Concept [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002], 267).

[3] Ibid., 266. Naugle observes, “In Hebraic thought the heart is comprehensive in its operations as the seat of the intellectual (e.g., Prov. 2:10a; 14:33; Dan. 10:12), affective (e.g., Exod. 4:14; Ps. 13:2; Jer. 15:16), volitional (e.g., Judg. 5:15; 1 Chron. 29:18; Prov. 16:1), and religious life of a human being (e.g., Deut. 6:5; 2 Chron. 16:9; Ezek. 6:9; 14:3)” (ibid., 268). Likewise in the NT, “the heart is the psychic center of human affections (Matt. 22:37-39; John 14:1, 27; 2 Cor. 2:4), the source of the spiritual life (Acts 8:21; Rom. 2:29; 2 Cor. 3:3), and the seat of the intellect and the will (Rom. 1:21; 2 Cor. 9:7; Heb. 4:12)” (ibid., 268–69).

[4] Naugle, Worldview, 270.

[5] As Naugle suggests, “From a scriptural point of view, therefore, the heart is responsible for how a man or woman sees the world. Indeed, what goes into the heart from the outside side world eventually shapes its fundamental dispositions and determines what comes out of it as the springs of life. Consequently, the heart establishes the basic sic presuppositions of life and, because of its life-determining influence, must always be carefully guarded” (ibid., 272).

[6] A. W Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy (New York: HarperCollins, 1961), 1.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Johann Gottfried Herder, Reflections on the Philosophy of the History of Mankind, 1776.

[9] Matthew Arnold, Culture and Anarchy: An Essay in Political and Social Criticism (London: Smith, Elder, and Co, 1869), viii.

[10] Edward B. Tylor, Primitive Culture: Researches into the Development of Mythology, Philosophy, Religion, Art, and Custom (London: John Murray, 1871), 1.

[11] Scott Aniol, “Toward a Biblical Understanding of Culture,” Artistic Theologian 1 (2012): See.

[12] Roger Scruton, Modern Culture, Continuum Compacts (London; New York: Continuum, 2005), 1, 286.

[13] T. S. Eliot, Christianity and Culture: the Idea of a Christian Society and Notes Towards the Definition of Culture (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1949), 100.

[14] See James K. A. Smith, Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2009); James K. A. Smith, You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit (Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2016).

[15] H. Strathman, “λειτουργία, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1985), 4:219.

[16] Sigmund Mowinckel provided this helpful definition of the original meaning of the word: “Cult . . . may be defined as the socially established and regulated holy acts and words in which the encounter and communion of the Deity with the congregation is established, developed, and brought to its ultimate goal . . . a relation in which a religion becomes a vitalizing function as a communion of God and congregation, and of the members of the congregation among themselves . . . the visible and audible expression of the relation between the congregation and the deity” (Sigmund Mowinckel, The Psalms in Israel’s Worship [Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2004], 15–16).

[17] As Frank Senn has noted, “as a ritual system, liturgy expresses nothing less than a worldview” (Frank C. Senn, New Creation: A Liturgical Worldview [Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2000], xi).

[18] God’s commands to Adam in the garden to “work it and keep it” translate terms most often used in the OT for duties of the Levites. Allen Ross observes, “In places where these two verbs are found together, they often refer to the duties of the Levites (cf. Num. 3:7-8; 8:26; 18;5-6), keeping the laws of God (especially in the sanctuary service) and offering spiritual service in the form of the sacrifices and all the related duties—serving the LORD, safeguarding his commands, and guarding the sanctuary from the intrusion of anything profane or evil” (Allen P. Ross, Recalling the Hope of Glory: Biblical Worship from the Garden to the New Creation [Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2006], 106).

[19] David Bentley Hart, The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2013), 62.

[20] Charles Taylor describes the present culture well: “Everyone has a right to develop their own form of life, grounded on their own sense of what is really important or of value. People are called upon to be true to themselves and to seek their own self-fulfillment. What this consists of, each must, in the last instance, determine for him- or herself. No one else can or should try to dictate its content” (Charles Taylor, The Ethics of Authenticity [Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992], 14).

[21] Rod Dreher, The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation (New York: Sentinel, 2017), 9.

[22] Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton, Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005). Smith followed up his research in 2011 with a study of 18-to-23-year-olds and found MTD to be largely the presumed theology.

[23] Charles Wesley, “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling,” 1747.

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