Internet Monk aka Michael Spencer said something quite provocative on his Internet Monk Podcast number 93 (available off Itunes or off his site – click on the Internet Monk Radio tab at the very top) where he talked about the product mindset of evangelicism that produces a spirituality that is ‘product oriented’ and has adopted an industrial mindset heavily influenced by revivalism , techniques and methodologies . One thing Spencer said got me (mainly because it rings  true) ‘You really are a product  of certain things that evangeliciasim wants to promote, you are not a person so much shaped by the spirit of God as you are a product shaped by certain processes ‘  By processes he means going to church, having a quiet time etc. This is not something new for Spencer to say indeed he has been saying it for a while. However I wonder how many Christians have really considered their belief structure from this perspective that indeed as much as many Christians want to believe that they are charting their own course that their their theology and worship has actually a long history that has to a large extent boxed them in.

Spencer’s podcast tied into something I had been reading about this week – lex orandi lex credendi – The way you pray determines what you believe. This line basically means that your theology and worship interact. It is kind of like the chicken and the egg argument, you know the one – which comes first the chicken or the egg –  and theologians being the type of people they are debate which comes first and to what extent one affects the other. In short what we believe determines how we worship and how we worship determines what we believe.

In 1984 Roman Catholic theologian Kavanagh argued that worship was the primary source and stimulus of Christian theology. He saw worship as primary theology and theological reflection as secondary theology. Thus if we are going for the whole chicken and the egg argument Kavanagh would definitely be in the worship camp.

On the other hand Methodist Geoff Wainwright 1980  says that the liturgy of the church has always had intellectual stuff in it and is not just about raw emotion and that the two are more like an organic thing rather than two separate entities – an interesting idea especially if you go to some pentecostal services.

 Some things to think about

1) Does theology have a role in limiting worship? Or vice versa

2) If one never analyses their theology does this mean that their worship and growth is likely to remain stagnant or is it possible for such a person because of the lex orandi lex credendi principle to be oblivious to this?

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