1959, An Evangelical bemoaned “decline of worship” and . . .

. . . “the rise of externalism.”

He was Warren C. Young, in the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, in which he asked “Whither Evangelicalism?” citing an earlier complaint, “The Failure of Evangelicalism,” in Eternity magazine, in which that author raised two “timely” criticisms.

Evangelicals have lost the true sense of worship, and the Christian life is measured far more often by external criteria rather than by a biblical and spiritual emphasis.

Young, a teacher at West Side of Chicago-based Northern Baptist Seminary, warned:

If, because of irreverence and externalism [attention to externals, esp. to an excessive degree], Evangelicalism should be written off as an exhausted and empty thing, there may yet come a day when we shall find ourselves in the midst of a revival which some of us will not recognize as such, because it did not come out of our mold, and does not use our shibboleths. [Distinguishing characteristics]

They would be losing their character, he was saying, sounding like a Catholic traditionalist, seeing the Evangelical brand weakened and losing its appeal, “an exhausted and empty thing.”

It’s an odd or at least unexpected reference to turn up in a book about Catholic liturgy, you say? Unexpected, yes. Odd? No.

The same pretty much horrified concern pervades some commentary on the liturgical movement, much of it justified, as when coming from the likes of a founder of the movement, Dom Prosper Gueranger, as regards elimination from the mass of the custom noted in the 2nd blog about Paul Claudel.

1 Comment

  1. Jim Bowman says:

    Reblogged this on Blithe Spirit and commented:

    Catholics not only ones . . .


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