Worship Today: Contemporary Expression of Worship in One’s Own Culture(s)

The new edition of Foundations contains the papers delivered at our recent Theological Study Conference on the theme of corporate public worship. The sixth and final paper was "Worship Today: Contemporary Expression of Worship in One’s Own Culture(s)" by Stephen Clark, pastor of Freeschool Court Evangelical Church, Bridgend, Director of the EMW Theological Training Course and Lecturer in Systematic Theology, London Seminary. He began his paper with these words:

"In the days of the former Soviet Union, a visitor to one of its cities wished to look around a particular church, only to discover that it had been turned into a museum. This might almost serve as a kind of enacted parable as far as some Christians are concerned: for it has become a cliché amongst many evangelicals in the UK that the church must not allow itself to be caught in a time warp or to be guilty of 'cultural drag'. On the other hand, there are believers who fear the opposite danger, that the church which marries herself to the spirit of the age will become a widow in the following generation. Although the so-called 'worship wars' have died down, this may well be because churches have opted either to be traditional or to be contemporary; therefore the tensions which once existed are no longer there because the church has identified itself either with a traditional culture (and those of a different outlook have moved on) or with a contemporary culture (in which case those of the opposite view have left). It is not at all uncommon in areas which are blessed with a number of evangelical churches for believers moving into such an area to settle in the church where they feel culturally most at home. Where, however, there is only one evangelical church within reasonable travelling distance, it may well be the case that tensions continue to exist..."

The full paper is available here and the complete journal (over 180 pages, including book reviews) can be found here.

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