The Worship Quote of the Week for (10/03/2006):

Domesticating Transcendence
Does our knowledge of God (from His revelation of Himself in the Bible) properly shape our experiences of gathered Christian worship? Is it correct to say that our worship of God also shapes our knowledge of Him and our understanding of His kingdom's values? Today's WORSHIP QUOTE is from a brand new book about the church as God's worshiping community.

LATIN ALERT: The author uses a Latin phrase that describes God's revelation of himself in terms of the polarity of FASCINANS ET TREMENDUM. God's presence both attracts us (FASCINANS) and fills us with fear (TREMENDUM). He is both loving and holy.

True worship must reflect the reality of who God is. That is, whatever the liturgical forms may be, they must conform to certain theological norms. But for many advocates of "contemporary worship" this fact is often obscured by attempts at ad hoc constructions of "orders" of worship that pay more attention to what the congregation demands than to what God requires. For example, in many charismatic services today worship is a continuous celebration. One gets the impression from start to finish that God is nice, accommodating and friendly, always expected to meet MY needs and solve MY problems. One gets to see only the divine FASCINANS without the TREMENDUM, love without holiness, immanence without transcendence. This seems to be the predilection of our modern age. The "domestication of transcendence" is not only found among so-called progressive theologians; evangelicals and charismatics are equally guilty of domesticating transcendence through their marketing strategies and seeker-friendly services. Perhaps we all need reminding that Aslan is "not a tame lion"!

—Simon Chan, LITURGICAL THEOLOGY: THE CHURCH AS WORSHIPING COMMUNITY. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press Academic, 2006, pp. 57-58, ISBN-10: 0-8308-2763-3. Simon Chan is a professor of systematic theology at Trinity Theological College in Singapore.

[For a delightful "Aslan" WORSHIP QUOTE from C. S. Lewis' Narnia, please go to]

Have a great week.

Chip Stam
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Music and Worship
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Louisville, Kentucky

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