Worship and Evangelism, Praise or Encounter with God?

G Tellini

This is the address given to the Annual Meeting of the Society in May 1977 by the Revd Canon Gianfranco Tellini, Vice-Principal of (the Scottish Episcopal Church) Edinburgh Theological College. The paper finds wanting both Protestant and Catholic understandings of worship in its twin focus on the subjective and the dynamic of human towards divine, with the priesthood of Christ being lost. Its object was ‘to keep the faithful devout’. The paper finds two emphases in the Old Testament: cultic priestly action or a royal priesthood expressed in obedience in everyday life. The New Testament favoured the second: Christ himself is the sacrifice, it is the offering of his life in obedience to God, the Temple to be replaced with people, the sacrifice of their lives, Christ is the prototype of this Temple and its keystone. The teachings of Peter Brunner, Von Allmen and Luther are critiqued. Salvation has three ‘moments’: prophecy and announcement, the ‘fullness of time’, the time of Christ becomes the time of the people of God. When we worship, God reveals self through transformative signs, announcing but bringing individual and humankind to fulfilment. In worship we encounter not propositions but God. The paper proposes that ‘worship is fundamentally transforming encounter with the power of the Word in the power of the Spirit … directed towards making of us … an alter Christus: a concrete sacrifice of praise which is at one and the same time both mission and evangelism’.

Volume 08, Number 01 May 1978, p2