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The God We Worship: an Exploration of Liturgical Theology, by Nicholas Wolterstorff, Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2015. 180 pp. $11.11; ISBN 978-0-8028-7249-4.
Reviewed by Bruce Flanders, Director, Mabee Library, MidAmerica Nazarene University, Olathe, KS.
The goal of this book is to identify and comment upon points of Christian liturgy shared by various Christian faith traditions, including Orthodox, Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, and Reformed and Presbyterian churches. Wolterstorff, who is Noah Porter Professor Emeritus of Philosophical Theology at Yale University and Senior Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia, focuses not so much upon liturgical texts but on liturgical practices – the ways in which liturgies are “actualized” (p. 4), through listening, singing, speaking, and bodily actions such as standing, kneeling, and so forth. He devotes a great deal of attention to the character of God, and His worthiness – or as Wolterstorff describes it, His “unsurpassable excellence” (p. 39) – as well as His promises in Scripture to listen to and respond favorably to our worship. The author argues that a right understanding of liturgical theology is critical, as it is one of the three primary dimensions of church tradition (the others being Scriptural and creedal); the church assembles “to enact its liturgy.” (p. 167). While not overwhelmingly technical in nature, this book can be characterized as a significantly academic study of the topic, and thus will be more appropriate within academic and seminary library settings.
Faculty and student scholarship related to the MidAmerica Nazarene University Christian Ministry and Formation Department (College of Liberal Arts and Sciences).