Evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail (Webber)

Webber, Robert. Evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail.

EDIT: I am no longer enamored of Webber’s project for the following reasons: 1) he never asks, “How did God tell us to worship?”, and 2) The “church” he is looking for in here is non-existent.

Half of the book is Webber’s own pilgrimage to the Anglican church. It’s like an autobiographical account of his ancient-future books. In other words, what distinguishes Christian worship from Mosque worship? It is interesting enough.

The answer is best seen in defining worship as the public enacting of God’s narrative. He does a good job in showing how the sacraments are necessary and how they represent God’s actions: God works through material means. The sacraments, particularly the Eucharist, should be seen as God’s sign of his love to me rather than my own sign of how much I love God .

Webber rightly condemns the legalistic Judaizing of Ron Sider and Sojourner’s who erect man-made conditions for salvation.

Towards the end of Webber’s own narrative he spins out of control by trying to defend Billy Graham from the mean old fundamentlaists who think Graham went soft. Well, I have my problems with Graham, but if you read his sermons over the last fifty years, he has changed. Moreover, in a book about a pilgrimage to a high church tradition, it is not clear why you are bringing Graham up at all.

The second half of the book is a collection of stories of people who grew up in fundie and evangelical homes, yet went Anglican for liturgical reasons. Normally, those arguments are very, very bad. They do capture one thing, however: these people seek some continuity with the older Christian tradition. It is best not to ignore that tradition, but neither should we make it a formal standard.


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