Scott Aniol: How Belief Affects Our Worship

Although often considered separate ideas, four fundamental realities share a dynamic interplay the form and shape the essence of all people and cultures: worldview, theology, culture, and cultus (worship). Worldview and theology affect one another and to form religion; culture and cultus affect one another as liturgy. But this kind of mutual formation occurs at a macro level as well, between religion and liturgy, impacting and shaping one another at both conscious and subconscious levels.

This interaction was captured long ago in the Latin phrase, lex orandi, lex credendi—“the law of prayer, the law of belief.” This ancient concept recognized the fundamental relationship between acts of worship and belief. Lex credendi is another way to describe religion, the combination of worldview and theology. Lex orandi designates liturgy, the behavioral patterns of both culture and cultus. The relationship between the two, as we have already seen, involves both reflection and formation. In other words, public worship both reveals belief and forms belief. How a community worships—its content, its liturgy, and its forms of expression—reveals the underlying religious commitments (worldview + theology) of those who plan and lead the worship. This may not always be intentional, either. Often church leadership inherits certain ways of worshiping and employs them without ascertaining exactly what kinds of beliefs the worship practices embody, sometimes resulting in worship that does not reflect the church’s stated theological convictions.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Scott Aniol