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What Language Shall I Borrow? The Bible and Christian Worship

Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. / 2007 / Paperback

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What language is most appropriate for worship? Should it lean to the colloquial, perhaps targeting those attending worship for the first time? Or should it be a language with deeper roots, the language of a community that already loves the God to whom worship is offered?

Ronald Byars here argues that the communal worship speech that truly honors both the majesty and the intimacy of God is, in fact, biblical language. Far from limiting worship, biblical language encompasses a vast range of speech from poetry and prose to parable and narrative. Byars explains how this language pushes us beyond what we already think we know, requiring us to think about death and resurrection, beginnings and endings, and how to hold on to faith. It is the language of relationship, both in community and in worship.

The book comprises four parts: (1) Gathering, (2) The Word, (3) The Eucharist, and (4) Sending. Written for both leaders of worship and individual worshipers, this book offers a rich understanding of communal praise. Part of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship Liturgical Studies Series.

The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship Liturgical Studies Series is edited by John D. Witvliet. This series is designed to promote reflection on the history, theology, and practice of Christian worship and to stimulate worship renewal in Christian congregations. Written by pastoral worship leaders from diverse communities and scholars from a range of disciplines, these volumes seek to nurture worship practices that are at once spiritually vital and theologically rooted.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Vendor: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
Publication Date: 2007
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)
ISBN: 0802840140
ISBN-13: 9780802840141
Availability: In Stock
Series: Calvin Institute of Christian Worship

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Publisher's Description

What language is most appropriate for worship? Should it lean toward the colloquial, perhaps targeting those attending a worship service for the first time? Or should it be a language with deeper roots, the language of a community that, for the most part, already loves the God to whom worship is offered?

Ronald Byars argues that the communal speech that truly honors God is, in fact, biblical language, which encompasses a vast range of forms -- poetry and prose, song and proverb, parable and narrative. Byars explains how biblical language becomes liturgical language that pushes us beyond what we already think we know, requiring us to think anew about death and resurrection, beginnings and endings, and the life of faith. What Language Shall I Borrow? is an instructive, eloquent reminder not to retreat from biblical language and images but to fully embrace them in our worship today.

Editorial Reviews

Leanne Van Dyk
— Western Theological Seminary
"Christian worship soaked in the deep wells of Scripture can flow out to nourish believers in faith and life. Ron Byars's book shows us how this is done and what difference it makes. This important contribution in the retrieval of Christian worship is also an indispensable encouragement for pastors and worship leaders and all who wish to understand the drama of worship embedded in the Bible."

Art Ross
— White Memorial Presbyterian Church, Raleigh, North Carolina
"What Language Shall I Borrow? reminds me of Paul Tillich's insight that all faith language is symbolic: until we discover the affirmations of faith that lie behind specific words, we miss much of the power of language. In other words, the language of worship is always ’borrowed language.' Ron Byars's careful work with the language of the Presbyterian Book of Common Worship takes readers behind the actual words used in worship into the gospel affirmations of those words. His book will be a valuable resource to students and leaders of worship who seek to build bridges between ancient words that communicate faith and the ever-present contemporary yearning to be grasped by those words."

Religious Studies Review
"Attractive for personal enrichment or congregation-based teaching."
 
Calvin Theological Journal
"This is an excellent work on liturgy and the language of worship. Byars’ emphases and examples, as well as the pastoral tone of the work, will make your perusal eminently worthwhile. May it be read and followed in churches high and low."
 
Expository Times
"Student ministers, ordinands or trainee lay preachers of any denomination will find this an invaluable checklist for the understanding of the biblical basis of liturgy."
 
Interpretation
"Ronald Byars brings his liturgical expertise, breadth of biblical knowledge, and keen pastoral sensitivity to exploring a crucial issue. . . . Clear and compelling."
 

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