The Anti-Liturgical Oxford Movement

Writing about John Mason Neale, James Jordan says:

While like all of us I appreciate Neale’s contributions to our hymnody, I think the Oxford movement was more anti-liturgical than liturgical, because it was not oriented toward the congregation. In short, it did not arise from the Bible but from romanticism. To my mind the parallels have always been quite superficial.

There are plenty of folks today who want “liturgy,” but it’s all what feels good to them…Whatever WE are, it’s Biblical…High Church Puritan…

Anyone who reads Jordan and Leithart knows they are deeply concerned with liturgy and liturgical reform, but the refreshing thing in their case is that they are constantly engaging the text of the Scripture in order to do so, not just venerating this or that stream of liturgical history. Many, many people who embrace liturgy do so with no general concept of Scriptural guidance for our actions in the Church. Often, they look to history alone, or a love of beauty that leads down all kinds of paths. For what it’s worth, Jordan critiques Anglicanism here.

We cannot repristinate the past. While the move towards liturgy is generally good given the current dreadful environment in most churches, that move should be accompanied by a constant engagement with Scripture.

2 thoughts on “The Anti-Liturgical Oxford Movement”

  1. Joel,

    Indeed this is the grand part of the Federal Vision! It is just that too a spiritual desire and vision. I pray that it continues and grows and grabs the Church both biblically and theologically, “in spirit & truth”!

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