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Evangelical versus Liturgical?
Defying a Dichotomy
Melanie C. Ross
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POD; Published: 7/2/2014
ISBN: 978-0-8028-6991-3
Price: $ 22.99
165 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9
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Series: Calvin Institute of Christian Worship Liturgical Studies (CICW)

Foreword by Mark A. Noll

A passionate call for true dialogue between evangelical and liturgical traditions

Why is there such a deep divide between evangelical and liturgical churches, especially when it comes to worship? How did this unfortunate evangelical- liturgical dichotomy develop, and what can be done about it?

In this book Melanie Ross draws on historical analysis, systematic theology, and the worship life of two vibrant congregations to argue that the common ground shared by evangelical and liturgical churches is much more important than the differences than divide them.

As a longtime evangelical church member who is at the same time a teacher of liturgical studies, Ross is well qualified to address this subject, and she does so with passion and intelligence. Evangelical versus Liturgical? is an important addition to the scant literature explaining nondenominational worship practices to those from more historically established liturgical traditions.
Religious Studies Review
"Readers will find much to appreciate, and no doubt will find themselves provoked to work with renewed energy for authentic unity in Christ."
"Provides an urgent and compelling call to rethink an all-too-familiar but practically divisive view of contemporary worship."
Jeremy Begbie
—Duke University
"Melanie Ross's Evangelical versus Liturgical? is a highly readable, carefully written, and critically important challenge to a dichotomy that the church has assumed far too easily."
James K. A. Smith
—author of Imagining the Kingdom: How Worship Works
"This is a book that many of us have been waiting for. It is winsome without being wishy-washy; critical yet profoundly charitable. Above all it is both sharp and wise. Instead of the usual invitation for evangelicals to grow up and become 'liturgical,' Ross empowers free-church evangelicals to see the liturgical wisdom already implicit in their practices - and presses liturgical theologians to appreciate the same. In doing so, she also invites evangelicals to become newly intentional about worship by drawing from the deep wells of liturgical theology. This book is a win-win-win."
Don E. Saliers
—Emory University
"Drawing upon her careful analysis of detailed case studies, and with keen knowledge of ritual and liturgical studies, Melanie Ross opens up a refreshing new chapter in liturgical theology. Clearheaded, wise, and important, this book is a major resource for anyone concerned about contrasts and convergences in worship practice."
Karen B. Westerfield Tucker
—Boston University
"An important work that speaks to today's churches. . . . The fresh vision provided in this book will change discussions about worship in congregations, in ecumenical groups, and among scholars."
Nathan D. Mitchell
—University of Notre Dame
"Focusing more on the connections and less on the dichotomies between evangelical and liturgical churches, this illuminating book by Melanie Ross provides a timely and theologically profound description of evangelical worship. . . . Offers a groundbreaking, fascinating, and balanced understanding of the relationship between evangelicalism and contemporary liturgical Christianity. . . . Brilliant and refreshing."
Todd E. Johnson
—Fuller Theological Seminary
"With biblical studies, theology, liturgical studies, and field research on her palette, Melanie Ross paints a nuanced, insightful picture of worship practices in our day. A tremendous resource for those engaged in ministry for whom worship practices and ecumenical relations are important, this is also a vital book for those who study the contemporary church in North America, offering new categories and definitions for their research."
James R. Hart
—Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies
"This book is a passionate, heartfelt cry for embracing commonalities among all Christian churches while not ignoring the differences that may exist between liturgical and evangelical traditions. Ross calls for us to seek 'local middle ground' in order to overcome the false liturgical/evangelical dichotomy. Her call should resonate with all worshipping communities."
Theology Today
"As Graham Hughes argues, `one enters an unmapped (possibly hazardous)territory in attempting to include evangelical Christianity in an account of liturgical theology.' . . . Ross provides a much-needed entry into this conversation and contribution to the field of liturgical theology."
Worship Leader
"Building bridges between Evangelical and so-called 'liturgical' worship . . . Ross has written a timely exploration of the artificial dichotomy that ostensibly divides churches and Christians."
Presbyterian Outlook
"The author offers a carefully researched argument that the dichotomy between liturgical and evangelical (free church) worship is unnecessary. She provides ample evidence with actual congregations that one can learn from the other. The result will be deeper worship of the people of God."
"This book defies more than a dichotomy. It also defies the odds, as it ably brings together competencies in systematic theology, liturgical studies, oral history, with an evangelical heart. . . . Highly recommended."
Anglican Theological Review
"Helpfully provokes the reader to examine the prejudices that may block our vision of the riches that two Christian traditions offer in what is, ultimately, shared mission."