In Grand Entrance: Worship on Earth as in Heaven theologian Edith humphrey asks can we understand worship in a way that transcends style, relevance, and aesthetics? Taking into account the most contested issues of the "worship wars," she shows how the act of entering into God's presence is central to all true Christian worship.
Regardless of worship style, when we come into God's presence, we praise God alongside angels and with the whole of creation. Seeking to reclaim the forgotten theme of worship as entry into God's presence, Humphrey shows its prominence in the Bible, providing an accessible but thorough study of the Old and New Testaments.
She analyzes key moments in church history to show how worship developed in Eastern and Western churches. She also draws insights from healthy worshiping communities around the globe. The book offers practical guidance on leading worship today to worship leaders, pastors, thoughtful lay readers, and students.
Can we understand worship in a way that transcends style, relevance, and aesthetics? Taking into account the most contested issues of the "worship wars," prominent New Testament scholar Edith Humphrey shows how the act of entering into God's presence is central to all true Christian worship. Regardless of worship style, when we come into God's presence, we praise God alongside angels and with the whole of creation.
Seeking to reclaim the forgotten theme of worship as entry into God's presence, Humphrey shows its prominence in the Bible, providing an accessible but thorough study of the Old and New Testaments. She analyzes key moments in church history to show how worship developed in Eastern and Western churches. She also draws insights from healthy worshiping communities around the globe. The book offers practical guidance to worship directors, pastors, thoughtful lay readers, and students with regards to balanced and faithful worship.
Edith M. Humphrey (PhD, McGill University) is the William F. Orr Professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is the author of several books, including Ecstasy and Intimacy: When the Holy Spirit Meets the Human Spirit, and of numerous articles on the literary and rhetorical study of the Bible.
This book offers a compelling account of the way that God's Spirit works through public worship to lead us from the claustrophobia of our own narcissism into the spacious, luminous reality of the Triune God--a place so expansive that we find ourselves in communion with God's people across centuries and continents and in transformative encounter with the Holy Trinity. This breadth of vision is evoked through discussions of a wide range of biblical and historical scholarship as well as Professor Humphrey's experiences in Salvation Army, Anglican, Presbyterian, Catholic, and Orthodox communities. The book is an especially welcome tonic for all of us exhausted by the quest for endless innovation in church life--a quest that often reinforces rather than challenges the small, isolated spiritual world we occupy. Fittingly, this is not a feel-good book; rather, it is a book of prophetic insight that you will wrestle with, talk back to, argue against, and sing along with.
-John D. Witvliet,
Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary
Worship, like Bible reading, is not about finding something new but about entering into the Old Story--something so old it overwhelms what is new, something so old it expands our future, and something so old it reframes who we are so that we become who we are meant to be. Don't expect Edith Humphrey's book to settle the worship wars. Expect it to go behind the wars into the great tradition where worship was about entrance into the presence of God.
Karl A. Olsson Professor in Religious Studies, North Park University
This is a great book--a must-read for anyone interested in a scholarly yet accessible treatment of Christian worship. Edith M. Humphrey frames her discussion of liturgy as 'grand entrance' and in so doing focuses on a fundamental motive for gathering for public prayer. In ways reminiscent of ancient Egeria, Humphrey describes a variety of Christian churches from the East and the West, noting both strengths and weaknesses in a clear and engaging narrative. Her meticulous scholarship, accessible writing, insightful questions, and balanced critique highlight the radical nature of what it means to enter--together--into God's presence for worship.
-Judith M. Kubicki,
associate professor of theology, Fordham University
In a study that is at once biblical, theological, historical, and practical, Humphrey explores the essence of true Christian worship: awed entrance, body and soul, into the presence of the Triune God. Although Humphrey speaks with the accent of the Eastern Church, her insights illumine a wide range of traditional and contemporary practices, and she poses probing questions that often challenge popular wisdom about liturgy. This is a book not only for worship leaders but also for the whole congregation to study together.
-Ellen F. Davis,
Amos Ragan Kearns Professor of Bible and Practical Theology, Duke University Divinity School
With eloquence and ecumenical hospitality--as well as laser-like insight--Edith Humphrey has given us a much-needed biblical and practical theology for entering into the worship of the Triune God. Anyone who participates in worship and especially anyone who leads in worship, whether traditional or contemporary, liturgical or free, should read this timely book now.
-Michael J. Gorman,
dean, The Ecumenical Institute of Theology, St. Mary's Seminary & University
Grand Entrance is a monograph, a memoir, and much more. Through Scripture, the early church fathers, and the author's own personal experience, it examines the centrality of liturgy in biblical religion and the Christian tradition, bearing witness to the rites of East and West in the process. We are caught up in the author's life story, too, as she traces her movement from an evangelical background very much opposed to ritual worship toward the biblically saturated liturgical tradition of the ancient church. A lively book and a journal of shared discovery.
Pope Benedict XVI Chair of Biblical Theology and Liturgical Proclamation, St. Vincent Seminary; professor of scripture and theology, Franciscan University of Steubenville
Instructed by the great biblical categories of redemption, covenant, worship, and assembly, Edith Humphrey has written a book rich in theology, contemplative wisdom, and practical insight. When I recall the ignorance, insensitivity, and intellectual morass attendant on so much of modern 'liturgical renewal' during almost my whole lifetime, I wish Dr. Humphrey were old enough to have written this excellent work a half century earlier.
-Patrick Henry Reardon,
author, Chronicles of History and Worship; pastor, All Saints Orthodox Church, Chicago
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