Author Archives: David de Bruyn

Cessmaticism: The Strange Hybrid of Contemporary Christian Worship

Cessmaticism: The Strange Hybrid of Contemporary Christian Worship

This entry is part 6 of 6 in the series Strange Lyre: The Pentecostalization of Christian Worship You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

We began this series by making the claim that Pentecostalism has quietly (or not so quietly) colonised Protestant worship, even in those churches and groups that explicitly reject Pentecostal theology. We have described the distinctives of Pentecostal worship, not in terms of its views regarding the operation of the charismatic gifts, but in terms of… Continue Reading

Strange Lyre: Nothing But Feelings

Strange Lyre: Nothing But Feelings

This entry is part 5 of 6 in the series Strange Lyre: The Pentecostalization of Christian Worship You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Pentecostal worship places great emphasis on intensity. By intensity, they mean a strongly felt experience of emotion, intimacy, joy, wonder, or happiness. Indeed, this is a close cousin of the ecstasy in ecstatic utterances. The experience sought is one where active seeking gives way to a passive experience of overwhelming pleasure or emotion. Critically examining… Continue Reading

The Idols of Intensity and Extemporaneity

The Idols of Intensity and Extemporaneity

This entry is part 4 of 6 in the series Strange Lyre: The Pentecostalization of Christian Worship You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

A polarized debate goes on between different stripes of Christians over the place of experience in Christianity. One side asserts that experiential faith (what the Puritans used to call “experimental religion”) is fundamental to a living, supernaturally-empowered relationship with Christ. The other side asserts that experiential religion is of passing interest, for spiritual experiences range… Continue Reading

Pentecostal “Praise and Worship”: A Radical Departure from Historic Worship

Pentecostal “Praise and Worship”: A Radical Departure from Historic Worship

This entry is part 3 of 6 in the series Strange Lyre: The Pentecostalization of Christian Worship You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Christian worship has often had a remarkably similar shape across traditions. Bryan Chapell showed in his work Christ-Centered Worship that corporate worship (sans communion) in Roman, Lutheran, Reformed and Evangelical traditions had a very similar form: a Call to worship, a Kyrie or Confession, followed by Thanksgiving, an Old Testament reading, a New Testament reading,… Continue Reading

Early Beginnings of Pentecostal Worship

Early Beginnings of Pentecostal Worship

This entry is part 2 of 6 in the series Strange Lyre: The Pentecostalization of Christian Worship You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

An easy error for a historian to commit is to equate or link events or movements in history that are similar, while ignoring or underplaying their differences. One example of this is when historians of worship note that modern negative reactions to contemporary pop-rock worship contain similar objections to ones levelled against the hymns of… Continue Reading

Strange Lyre: The Pentecostalization of Christian Worship

Strange Lyre: The Pentecostalization of Christian Worship

This entry is part 1 of 6 in the series Strange Lyre: The Pentecostalization of Christian Worship You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

It’s hardly disputable that global Christianity has been overwhelmed and colonized by the Pentecostal and charismatic movements. After Roman Catholicism, the Christianity identified variously as charismatic, Pentecostal, Prosperity Gospel, or Latter Rain (with all its permutations and differences) makes up by far the largest percentage of what is classified as Christian. In just over 100… Continue Reading

Imagination, Illumination and Faith: a Proposed Connection

Imagination, Illumination and Faith: a Proposed Connection

This entry is part 9 of 9 in the series Christian Imagination You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

We have already showed the importance of imagination for shaping on overall Christian outlook and sensibility. Still, for many Christians these things seem abstract and somewhat arcane. But what if what we are calling imagination is very close to, or identical to the biblical concepts of faith and illumination? If imagination is either identical to… Continue Reading

Discerning the Christian Imagination: Consensus and Canonicity

Discerning the Christian Imagination: Consensus and Canonicity

This entry is part 8 of 9 in the series Christian Imagination You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Determining if a poem, hymn, musical piece, novel, devotional work, painting or other work should be considered a helpful work of Christian imagination is mostly an act of considering its meaning. Does its content agree with the truths of Scripture? Does its form remain consonant with that content, and shape the appropriate responses in us?… Continue Reading

Discerning the Christian Imagination: Analogies and Proportion

Discerning the Christian Imagination: Analogies and Proportion

This entry is part 7 of 9 in the series Christian Imagination You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

If Christians should grow in their ability to discern superior Christian works of imagination, how should they do this? Must every Christian pursue some kind of music appreciation, literary criticism or aesthetic theory in order to recognise Christian from non-Christian or sub-Christian imagination? Likely not, though no Christian should scorn the pursuit of knowledge, wisdom… Continue Reading

Shapers of Christian Imagination

Shapers of Christian Imagination

This entry is part 6 of 9 in the series Christian Imagination You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

How is Christian imagination shaped? A true but not very helpful answer would be to say, “everything shapes imagination”. Visits to the doctor, watering the garden, schoolwork, housework, trading and every other activity shapes our outlook on reality in small or big ways. But it is also true to say that certain actions imprint the… Continue Reading

Christian Imagination Fleshed Out

Christian Imagination Fleshed Out

This entry is part 5 of 9 in the series Christian Imagination You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

What does the Christian imagination look like when it is fleshed out? We can imagine it as a spectrum, beginning with Scripture itself and working its way out from the explicitly biblical to what is only implicitly so. The Bible. Scripture itself is the archetype of all Christian imagination. Its content and form are the… Continue Reading

Imaginative Knowledge

Imaginative Knowledge

This entry is part 4 of 9 in the series Christian Imagination You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

If Christian imagination is the best way of referring to how Christians know and perceive the world, does thinking of it in this way have any practical effect on our lives? Much in every way. If imagination is the ultimate way that we understand reality, then this affects how Christians communicate the faith to believers,… Continue Reading

Imaginative Knowing

Imaginative Knowing

This entry is part 3 of 9 in the series Christian Imagination You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

If “Christian imagination” is really another way of saying Christian knowing, or Christian knowledge, why persist in calling it imagination? Why not simply call it by the more regular words, such as knowledge, worldview, understanding, presuppositions or, for the more philosophically inclined, epistemology? The answer is that the Christian (or true) way of knowing is… Continue Reading

Imagination and Understanding Reality

Imagination and Understanding Reality

This entry is part 2 of 9 in the series Christian Imagination You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Should Christians persist in referring to “Christian Imagination”? Since we are concerned with truth, should we not avoid terms that have connotations of what is merely fantastical or unreal? We may choose to drop the term Christian imagination. If we do, however, we will have to use several other terms in its place, to capture… Continue Reading

Christian Imagination is Not Imaginary Christianity

Christian Imagination is Not Imaginary Christianity

This entry is part 1 of 9 in the series Christian Imagination You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Christian imagination is not a term that will immediately draw approving responses. These days, Christianity is on the back foot anyway, and anything that sounds as if Christianity is dabbling in the unreal, the fantastical, or the faked, seems unhelpful. But G. K. Chesterton reminds us, “But imaginative does not mean imaginary. It does not… Continue Reading

Conclusion: Beauty as Love

Conclusion: Beauty as Love

This entry is part 34 of 34 in the series Doxology: A Theology of God's Beauty You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

In this series, we have considered the meaning of beauty, objections to beauty, and how beauty is to be sought. We’ve answered the objections that beauty is “subjective”, or that it is nothing more than personal preference. We have also found that parallels exist between finding beauty in general revelation, and finding it in special… Continue Reading

The Practices of Correspondent Love

The Practices of Correspondent Love

This entry is part 33 of 34 in the series Doxology: A Theology of God's Beauty You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

The practices, or disciplines of the Christian life function to nurture correspondent love. The disciplines are not themselves the sum and substance of communion with God. Instead, they are the gymnasium, or rather the exercises, that develop and strengthen ordinate love for all of life. The process of experiential communion with God extends to family… Continue Reading

The Process of Correspondent Love

The Process of Correspondent Love

This entry is part 32 of 34 in the series Doxology: A Theology of God's Beauty You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Love for God’s beauty is known not only by imagination and through changed nature, but also by exposure. The writer of Theologia Germanica wrote, “And he who would know before he believeth, cometh never to true knowledge…We speak of a certain Truth which it is possible to know by experience, but which ye must believe… Continue Reading

The Position of Correspondent Love for God

The Position of Correspondent Love for God

This entry is part 31 of 34 in the series Doxology: A Theology of God's Beauty You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

One’s nature determines much of one’s desire for God. What is inherited from Adam and from biological ancestors, partly determines what one desires. Unless the human’s sin nature is miraculously transformed, he or she is without power to love God ultimately, and without the position or tools to pursue God (Jer. 13:23; Rom 3:10–12; Eph.… Continue Reading

Loving God’s Beauty

Loving God’s Beauty

This entry is part 30 of 34 in the series Doxology: A Theology of God's Beauty You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

At this point, it will be helpful to summarise our argument in five steps. Step one: God’s beauty is his love for his own being. Step two: God’s beauty is perceived and apprehended by love for God. Step three: This love must be a correspondent love: one which corresponds with God’s love in degree and… Continue Reading