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The Church’s Language

“The church exists for the world, but it renews its identity when it gathers for worship.  It speaks in the world, but it learns its ‘distinctive talk’ when its members come together around word and sacrament.  Worship is often misconceived as a series of special ceremonies which are intended for the edification of the individual believer.  Yet baptism is not an episode of private initiation but an action involving the entire church.  Confession is not a formula for personal remorse but a moment in the ongoing mutual admonition and absolution of the brothers and sisters.  Eucharist is not a ritual following the sermon from which one may excuse oneself, but the community’s meal with the risen Lord.  Doxology is not a hymn to be sung but a life to be lived.  Preaching is not a virtuoso performance but the language of the church that accompanies the laborious formation of a new people.”

–Richard Lischer, A Theology of Preaching: The Dynamics of the Gospel (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2001), 78-79.


  1. Andrew wrote:

    ha ha, when i first saw the title of this post all i could think was finishing it with ‘…sucks!’

    but this is really good to read. thanks for sharing this.

    Wednesday, May 14, 2008 at 3:49 pm | Permalink
  2. Halden,

    Is the whole book like this, or is this just a rare gem? I’m not familiar with the author, but this quote makes me want to acquire the book!

    Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 1:00 am | Permalink
  3. Halden wrote:

    It’s a really good book, James. If you’re interested in a theology of preaching that is!

    Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 10:37 am | Permalink

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  1. Doxology at limn on Wednesday, May 14, 2008 at 1:14 pm

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