Peter Leithart’s Liturgical Protestantism

What is the way forward for the evangelical church? Peter Leithart nails it with his suggestion that, as an alternative to the Confessional Protestantism of D.G. Hart and company, Liturgical Protestantism is the best path forward.

Liturgical Protestantism represents a preferable alternative because it not only challenges the pragmatism of evangelicalism but also the dichotomies of sacred/secular, public/private, religious/political of Hart’s version of Confessional Protestantism. . .

. . . Like the Catholic nouvelle theologie, liturgical Protestantism recognizes that Christianity is essentially social and public, and insists that the church engages the world precisely in being church.

. . . Liturgical Protestantism is fundamentally catholic.  It is catholic not because it reduces Confessional requirements or advocates a pietist non-Confessionalism.  It is catholic because it recognizes that the center of the church’s life and identity is not humanly constructed Confessions but the God-Man Jesus, communicated to His people through word and sacrament.

Leithart contends that Liturgical Protestantism sweeps Confessionalists into the stream, dragging them “kicking and screaming, into relevance.”

[Confessional Protestants] are Jonahs, surly prophets who keep transforming pagan sailors and cities in spite of themselves.  Every time they open their mouths in prayer or song, they change the world of baking and banking, without ever leaving the precincts of their sacred space.  Every time they share a common meal of bread and wine, they enjoy the new creation in the midst of the old, and the resurrection life given in baked bread and fermented wine seeps out into the world of baking and banking.

I have a dream: My dream is that Confessional Protestants, having devoted themselves to their rites and hymnals, having assembled for Eucharist and common prayer, having studied to be irrelevant, will find that their trumpets have brought down the walls of a city, and, standing stupefied before the rubble of Jericho, they will stare at the evangelical hordes that surround them, and ask, What next?

Read the whole piece here.

Sola Fide

God doth justify the believing man, yet not for the worthiness of his belief, but for his worthiness who is believed.

-Richard Hooker

A common misconception about sola fide is that it means that people are justified by believing in justification by faith alone. If you believe that you’re justified by faith alone, you’re in. If you’re theology is unclear on how justification works, you’re out. This kind of thinking raises its head in the Protestant church, and particularly in Reformed circles.

But sola fide is clear: you’re justified by faith alone. You’re correct theology is important (in fact, it’s really important), but it doesn’t justify you. Faith in Jesus justifies.

This is why I, a staunch Protestant (and Calvinist, to boot), can learn from G.K. Chesterton. I can learn a lot from him, in fact. And this is why I can appreciate N.T. Wright, even though his theology of how justification works is unclear. These men are, I believe, justified because of their faith in Jesus (which is, of course, a glorious work of God.)

Now I should hope I don’t have to make this qualification, but alas, words tend to be read into places they would clearly not be found. I would be the last to suggest that a heretic who says they believe in Jesus is justified. Or an adulterer, liar, or blasphemer. These will not be found in the Kingdom.