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Robert Webber On Ancient-Future Worship

August 15, 2022

“God instituted the church on the day of Pentecost and even though it has grown like a bramble bush with numerous branches, there is only one trunk and one set of roots that go back to God’s involvement in history authoritatively recorded in scripture.  There is also that common core of universal teachings established in the early centuries of the faith, such as the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed.  My call is to help us recover these common roots of faith and worship.  For these traditions have been received from the Apostles and handed down in the church for centuries. So, if you want a definition of ancient-future worship, it is this:  ‘the common tradition of the church’s worship in Word, Table, and song, practiced faithfully and communicated clearly in every context of the world.’

What stands at the very center of worship is Word and Sacrament through which we do God’s vision for the world; it is proclaimed and enacted. What contextualizes this worship more than anything else is its music.  Music is the vehicle that communicates worship in the language of the people.  Music is also the vehicle of our personal response to the story of God’s work in history.  We also proclaim God’s story in hymn and song, but nowhere in scripture, nor in the history of the church have hymns and songs ever been held as a replacement for Word and Table.  Word and Table remain the God ordained way to remember God’s saving deeds in history and anticipate his final triumph over all that is evil and death. So if you want to do ancient-future worship learn God’s story and do it in Word and Table and use hymns and songs for responses not only from the great treasury of the church through the centuries, but also from music that is current.” – Robert Webber, Ancient-Future Worship