In discussions of worship, the term ’participation’ covers a lot of ground. It refers not only to concrete acts in gathered liturgy, but also to some of the loftiest claims of Christian theology. In this book, Alan Rathe probes the ways in which North American evangelicals have in recent years regarded the landscape of participation. Rathe presents a broad review of evangelical worship literature through a lens borrowed from medieval theology. This brings into surprising focus not only evangelical understandings but also evangelical identities and the historical traditions they reflect, and offers fresh perspectives on such current theological concerns as God’s triunity, missio Dei, and the practical theology of participation. Offering a fresh contribution to a young but important discipline, the liturgically-informed study of evangelical worship practice, this book reconnects the evangelical tradition to the ’Great Tradition’ and in the process re-appropriates classic concepts that are full of promise for contemporary ecumenical dialogue.
Table of Contents
Contents: Foreword, John D. Witvliet; Introduction; The landscape: what exactly is an evangelical?; The literature: which books to consider?; The lens: 'what language shall I borrow?'; The all-of-life emphasis; The gathered devotion emphasis; The sacramental recovery emphasis; The evangelistic worship emphasis; The organically missional emphasis; Summarizing and analyzing; Reflections (part 1): the enduring past, the surprising present; Reflections (part 2): the (un)foreseeable future; Appendices; Select bibliography; Index.
Alan Rathe earned his PhD in Liturgical Studies from Drew University (Madison, New Jersey, USA). The recipient of numerous academic awards, he has taught seminary worship studies for the past decade, currently at Asbury Theological Seminary (Wilmore, KY). During that time he has also served as worship pastor for a multicultural, evangelical urban church in Flushing, New York. He seeks to bridge his training in ecumenical liturgical scholarship with his extensive practical experience with evangelical worship. More specifically, his ministry and teaching, combined with a lively background in music and theater, have spurred him on to a deep interest in (and scholarly focus upon) the theory and practice of participation.
’If you admire daring books, then Alan Rathe has given us a Star Trek type of book, boldly going where few have gone before. While the topic of participation has been a prominent one in the Liturgical Movement, Rathe now explores this crucial issue among evangelicals. Insights and surprises abound.’ Lester Ruth, Duke Divinity School, USA ’Alan Rathe's work makes two key contributions to the growing literature on the theology, spirituality, and practice of Christian worship. He develops a road map to a significant amount of recent evangelical writing about worship practices. And he provides a window into quite different conceptions of liturgical participation by all worshipers found in this literature‹.’ John D. Witvliet, Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary, USA ’At first read, you might think of Alan Rathe’s Evangelicals, Worship and Participation as a new map, more nearly representing the topography of evangelical liturgical positions and practices. But upon further reflection, you may well conclude as I have that this work is much more of a game-changer. It is like moving from a traditional map to a satellite map with clarity and detail down to the street level. Rathe has given us new insight into Evangelicals, their perspectives on worship and even glimpses of their theological, spiritual and missional DNA. The result is not a simple picture, but its clarity and detail honestly present the diversity and complexity of the current landscape. It will serve as a standard guide for many years to come.’ Todd E. Johnson, Fuller Theological Seminary, USA '[An] intriguing monograph ... Rathe provides an insightful survey of a part of the broader worship ecosystem which has rarely received such attention.' Theology