I just received two books from Paternoster on which I will be posting some remarks later this Spring (thanks for the review copies). In Gifted Response: The Triune God as the Causative Agency of our Responsive Worship, Dennis Ngien sets out to back-fill the contemporary Church’s emphasis on the practicalities of worship (‘how to’) by analyzing the ‘theo-logic’ of worship in the major thinkers of the church’s history. Ngien’s contention is that the underlying theme in the theologies of Basil, Anselm, Bernard of Clarivaux, Luther and Calvin is that worship is God’s gift, in which we participate. He summarizes:
‘The chief motive of worship is grace – that the God who initiates his movement toward us in order to make worship through the Son in the Spirit possible is the same one who draws us into the heavenly sanctuary through the Son and the Spirit…we are passive recipients of what God actively gives freely and unconditionally’ (xv).
In other words, we need to recover a robust sense of divine agency in our theology and practice of worship.
The other is T.F. Torrance’s posthumously published Incarnation: The Person and Life of Christ edited by Robert Walker. The volume is made up of Torrance’s lectures on Christology and Soteriology delivered in his classes on Christian Dogmatics at New College, University of Edinburgh, during the years 1952-78.
The human life of Jesus on earth is the concrete emodiment of the revelation and reconciliation of God, the actual placeon earth and in history, the one man, where God and man meet. In this man, this new man, God the Creator and Father, God the Judge and Saviour, is face to face with man. In this new man, mankind is placed, whether they will or no, face to face with teh saving majesty and power of the living God’ (p. 128).
As I said, I should be able to start posting on these later this Spring. For now, most of my energy is being devoted to finishing up my doctoral thesis in preparation for submission sometime in May. To do that we moved back to the States (Muskegon, MI), and I am now daily holed up in a little third floor study of a home graciously rented to us by a missionary family serving in Africa.
Any readers living in West Michigan? I would love to grab a cup of coffee sometime – on me!