Church History Paper Research Question

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Nathan Parker | Forum Activity | Posted: Thu, Jan 19 2017 12:21 AM

I'm writing another research paper for my second half of church history this semester. Here is the topic the professor assigned me:

I have thought about something that might interest you which is a topic of some contemporary concern in churches. We have often heard from the contemporary church growth movement, that the only thing that matters is Content, not Form. The gospel can be communicated in any form. It is applied to both music, preaching, etc. So the title is this "Is Form Irrelevant to the Content of the Gospel?" 

I will likely start with Reimer's book on worship as one of the resources as he goes extensively into this.

I'd also like to know the following:

1. Are are some good books on this topic I can look into for my research? Preferably in Logos/Vyrso format, but if I have to go outside the Faithlife ecosystem, I can. Preferably books that argue from both positions so I can include some scholarly discussion in my paper.

2. I have the Master Journal Bundle 2.1. What search(es) can I run on my journals to find journal articles on this subject?

3. What search(es) can I run on my existing library to dig up relevant content on this subject?

I'm ready to dive in and research, but I just need a little nudge in the right direction of where to look.

Thanks!

Nathan Parker

Visit my blog at http://focusingonthemarkministries.com

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Sascha John | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 19 2017 1:21 AM

Hey Nathan

dit I get it right? How can I present the Gospel in a godly Way OR dit'nt the Way does'nt Matter so long is the Gospel?

Sound like the old "Why should the Devil have all the good Music" Discussion from the 70th

search "present the Gospel " NEAR holy

finds two interresting Artikels in Themelios 3.2. Relativized Holiness in a Relativized Church

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Cynthia in Florida | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 19 2017 8:05 AM
Hello Nathan. I had a paper last year for church history as well. I was given a few options and chose to write on Pierre Abelard. To date it was my favorite research assignment. Anyway, I just wanted to offer you best wishes with your paper and tell you that I'd love to read it when you're done, as this sounds like a rather intriguing topic. If you would, you can send it to cynthia8828 AT att DOT net.

Cynthia

Romans 8:28-38

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Ken McGuire | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 19 2017 10:50 AM

There is a Meme that has been circulating through my Seminary classmates - "Your Google Search does not equal my Theology Degree". Doing this assignment is much more than just coming up with a good search...

It seems like a bit odd of a question for a church HISTORY class essay. What era are we talking? The use of the term "form" suggests it is not about the ancient church, where the Platonic way of talking about the world of "forms" was used to describe precisely what was eternal about God. On the other hand, the ancient church certainly had a concept that there are different ways the same faith can be expressed, as we know from Irenaeus's mediation between Rome and Asia regarding the date of Easter. A library search of Irenaeus NEAR Easter should get you started on this.

As a Lutheran, I would be tempted to dig into what exactly we mean in Augsburg Confession articles 7-8, using Melanchthon's defense of it in the Apology. And then there are the various Reformation Church Orders and the Leipzig and Augsburg Interims, and how this feeds into the Formula of Concord X.... Or putting my toe into ecumenical waters, I would maybe investigate Calvin's service to a "Lutheran" congregation in Strassburg in the 1530's....

Or ditching my whole "Lutheran" history, maybe an investigation of the various ways the Wesley ministered. What did he keep the same from the Anglican BCP? What did he adapt due to local circumstances? How was this viewed by others? After all, they stayed united in England for quite some time. What was the same and what was different about the Anglican/Methodist breakup on both sides of the Atlantic? How does this fit other groups that were influenced by the 1st Great Awakening? And speaking of the 1st Great Awakening, what can we learn from the extensive discussion on the topic during the 2nd?

All these ideas I throw out on the wall can be easily searched to see what if anything my Logos Library has on the topic - which can help me eliminate some options. In general you want to narrow the topic into something that you can managably research and cover in the time you have to write it, and the page limit for the assignment...

The Gospel is not ... a "new law," on the contrary, ... a "new life." - William Julius Mann

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Cynthia in Florida | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 19 2017 11:18 AM

Ken:  Great questions.  It doesn't appear that his professor was specific, so I think that's why I found the topic so intriguing.  I took it as, "generally, regarding the presentation of the gospel, does form (i.e., the methodology of deliverance) matter in presenting the gospel."  I do find it a perplexing as to why this is a church history topic (for me, I think it might fall under ethics in doctrine more than church history), and that's why I would love to see what he does with it.

Cynthia

Romans 8:28-38

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Ken McGuire | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 19 2017 11:22 AM

Often professors give general questions for the assignment with the expectation that this will be a "jumping off point" for more specific questions that can actually can be treated. And your suggestion of Abelard would fit - much of "Sic et Non" could be worked into the discussion.

The Gospel is not ... a "new law," on the contrary, ... a "new life." - William Julius Mann

L8 Orthodox Silver, Lutheran Starter, Academic Essentials

L7 Lutheran Gold, Anglican Bronze

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Cynthia in Florida | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 19 2017 11:31 AM

Ken McGuire:

 And your suggestion of Abelard would fit - much of "Sic et Non" could be worked into the discussion.

Which was exactly what drew me to write about him.  "Yes and No" could absolutely be worked into the discussion!

Cynthia

Romans 8:28-38

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JT (alabama24) | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 19 2017 11:35 AM

Nathan Parker:
I will likely start with Reimer's book on worship as one of the resources as he goes extensively into this.

I don't know this resource, but I would start by looking through his Bibliography. 

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Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :) | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 19 2017 12:28 PM

Nathan Parker:
3. What search(es) can I run on my existing library to dig up relevant content on this subject?

One search idea is the phrase "What did you say" (was thinking about some conversations where was hard to understand words due to noisy surroundings).

Another search idea is "quiet place"

Also thought about human body reaction to form elements: music, light, ...

Keep Smiling Smile

Posts 1751
Nathan Parker | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 19 2017 2:01 PM

Thanks everyone for the discussion! I'll bookmark this page so I can refer back to some of your suggestions, and allow me to clarify a little bit:

1. I'm in the second half of the Church History course, so we're covering Reformation to Modern in this course. It sounds like he's looking for a discussion on modern churches in his topic from what I can tell.

2. I agree that the paper will be far more than searches, I'm just curious as to what I can run in my library to get an idea of what books/articles I already own on the subject and what I need to purchase. Reimer's book on worship will be a good starting point on this (he's in the camp that form does matter), and I'd like to come across a few more books/articles similar to this one, but from both sides of the debate to get some scholarly discussion going on. 

3. I am a little surprised this is for Church History as well, but the professor knows Church History isn't my strongest subject and I'm more of a Theology major. Since he's taught Systematic Theology before, he's trying to give me topics that let me see the theological discussions in Church History to hold my interest. He's been very accommodating. With that said, this looks like a fun topic and one I'm excited about diving into. I can email the paper to those interested in it, plus I post all my papers on Academia.edu (I need to post last semester's Church History paper I did on Jeremias and the historical Jesus). 

4. His bibliography is more "general" in terms of general books on Church History. He doesn't include specific books that would heavily cover this topic. I have read a little on this topic through Reimers, so I can start there, but need to find material I can compare/contrast with Reimers for some lively discussion.

Thanks!

Nathan Parker

Visit my blog at http://focusingonthemarkministries.com

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David A Egolf | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 19 2017 2:17 PM

Missiology comes to mind.  Missions always has to deal with the tension between message and culture.  This problem is always current.  However, one could put a historical spin on it by examining how the missions folks have handled this in the past.

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Kelvin Niblett | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 19 2017 4:24 PM

Pagan Christianity is a great little book in vyrso that would be an excellent steppingstone into some more scholarly works that would enable you to engage with your essay topic and church history.

as the description of the book says:

Have you ever wondered why we Christians do what we do for church every Sunday morning? Why do we “dress up” for church? Why does the pastor preach a sermon each week? Why do we have pews, steeples, choirs, and seminaries? This volume reveals the startling truth: most of what Christians do in present-day churches is not rooted in the New Testament, but in pagan culture and rituals developed long after the death of the apostles. Coauthors Frank Viola and George Barna support their thesis with compelling historical evidence in the first-ever book to document the full story of modern Christian church practices.

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Kelvin Niblett | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 19 2017 4:27 PM

Here is a tiny little extract with the footnotes also attached.

With the advent of the choir in the Christian church, singing was no longer done by all of God’s people but by clerical staff composed of trained singers. 5 This shift was partly due to the fact that heretical doctrines were spread through hymn singing. The clergy felt that if the singing of hymns was in their control, it would curb the spread of heresy. 6 But it was also rooted in the ever-growing power of the clergy as the main performers in the Christian drama. 7

By AD 367, congregational singing was altogether banned. It was replaced by music from the trained choirs. 8 Thus was born the trained professional singer in the church. Singing in Christian worship was now the domain of the clergy and choir.

Ambrose is credited for creating the first postapostolic Christian hymns. 9 These hymns were modeled on the old Greek modes and called by Greek names. 10 Ambrose also created a collection of liturgical chants that are still used today in some Catholic churches. 11 The liturgical chant is the direct descendant of the pagan Roman chant, which goes back to the ancient Sumarian cities. 12


5 Liemohn, Organ and Choir in Protestant Worship, 8–9. Up until the fourth century, congregational singing was a characteristic feature of Christian worship.

6 Edward Dickinson, The Study of the History of Music (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1905), 16, 24.

7 Bauer and Peyser, How Music Grew, 71–72.

8 Rogers, Music through the Ages, 108. The Council of Laodicea (AD ca. 367) forbade all others to sing in church besides the canonical singers. This act was to ensure that the quality of singing could be more homogeneous and controllable by those directing the worship (Davies, The New Westminster Dictionary of Liturgy, 131; Arthur Mees, Choirs and Choral Music [New York: Greenwood Press, 1969], 25–26).

9 Ambrose’s hymns were orthodox. The Arians used hymns plentifully to promote their heretical teachings about Jesus. (Arians believed that Jesus was a creature created by God.)

10 Bauer and Peyser, How Music Grew, 71. "The Greek musical system was the precursor of that of the early Christian church, and the line of descent is unbroken from Greece, through Rome, to the Middle Ages and modern times" (Dickinson, The Study of the History of Music, 9). Actually, the earliest full text we have of a Christian hymn is dated around AD 200. Ambrose simply brought hymn writing to a common peak in the church. Christian music at this time drew from popular Greek idioms. Barry Leisch, The New Worship: Straight Talk on Music and the Church (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1996). 35.

11 Rogers, Music through the Ages, 106.

12 Bauer and Peyser, How Music Grew, 70; Rogers, Music through the Ages, 61. "From words which have survived we know that each [Sumerian] temple practiced well-organized liturgies chanted in the techniques of solo and response (between priest and choir) and antiphony (choir to choir)." See also Dickinson, The Study of the History of Music, 25.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 19 2017 4:32 PM

Pagan Christianity may well be a very good book ... but I had to chuckle at the description ... shouldn't it read "why don't we have pews?" (most Orthodox some Catholic), "why does the pastor preach a sermon each day?" (many Catholics), I'd suspect seminaries derive from rabbinic schools ...

Edit: If this is a quote

Kelvin Niblett:
The liturgical chant is the direct descendant of the pagan Roman chant, which goes back to the ancient Sumarian cities.

I would not trust this source. The psalm tones have been traced to Jewish chant (cantillation) by the similarity between Yemeni Jewish chant and Catholic chant. Listen to The Sacred Bridge recording. Now it may be true that Jewish chant is derived from Sumerian chant or that they share an origin but ... PS chant comes in a variety of forms many without any Roman (or Western) heritage

The Sacred Bridge: Jews and Christians in Medieval Europe  by the Boston Camerata and Joel Cohen

Re: choirs ...

from Worship in Heaven and on Earth: Responsive, Congregational, Reverent ... By John George Norton

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Sascha John | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 27 2017 11:13 AM

Hey Nathan

thought this could be something for you?

https://community.logos.com/forums/t/135212.aspx

Posts 1751
Nathan Parker | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 27 2017 11:17 AM

Sascha John:

Hey Nathan

thought this could be something for you?

https://community.logos.com/forums/t/135212.aspx

Thanks! I'll look into it.

Nathan Parker

Visit my blog at http://focusingonthemarkministries.com

Posts 1751
Nathan Parker | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 27 2017 11:19 AM

By the way, I also asked this question to John Fallahee over at Learn Logos. Here's his response in case it benefits anyone else who needs to write a similar paper in the future.

Great topic. Topics like this are challenging, but an excellent approach is to divide and conquer. I would look at the two opposite and extreme positions and then the middle position.

Since you have one of the extreme positions, its easy to discern the other two. (I am sure you figured this out, but this is relevant for the other questions)

1)        Extreme: Gospel Content, any form/any medium

2)        Extreme: Gospel Content, Strict form/Specific Medium

3)        Middle: Gospel Content, principles limited to several forms

 

Question #1)

To find resources, I would begin with preaching books and evangelism resources since they have been the two primary, traditional ways  to share the Gospel.

•        Search > Basic Search > Preaching Collections > preaching NEAR gospel

•        Search > Basic Search > Preaching Collections > evangelism NEAR gospel

•        Search > Basic Search > Preaching Collections > heading, large text > (gospel, evangelism)

•        NOTE: You can expand this to your whole library for more varied responses

 

Question #2)

•        Search > Basic Search > Journal Collections > heading, large text > (gospel, evangelism) NEAR method*

 

Question #3)

•        Search > Basic Search > all resources > heading, large text > uncheck all word forms in the resource panel menu > Mission OR evangelism

•        Search > Basic Search > all resources > heading, large text > uncheck all word forms in the resource panel menu > philosophy of missions

 

 

This should be more than enough to get you started and help you think of additional resources.

Nathan Parker

Visit my blog at http://focusingonthemarkministries.com

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Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :) | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 27 2017 11:33 PM

Search combination idea is looking for articles (heading, large text) that have evangelism,gospel,mission followed by words in the article title/text: contemporary,method,music,philosophy,preaching

([field heading,largetext,surface] contemporary,method,music,philosophy,preaching) AFTER 88 WORDS ([field heading,largetext] evangelism,gospel,mission)

Keep Smiling Smile

Posts 1751
Nathan Parker | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 27 2017 11:36 PM

Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :):

Search combination idea is looking for articles (heading, large text) that have evangelism,gospel,mission followed by words in the article title/text: contemporary,method,music,philosophy,preaching

([field heading,largetext,surface] contemporary,method,music,philosophy,preaching) AFTER 88 WORDS ([field heading,largetext] evangelism,gospel,mission)

Keep Smiling Smile

Good idea and a search I will try! Thanks!

Nathan Parker

Visit my blog at http://focusingonthemarkministries.com

Posts 270
Kelvin Niblett | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 28 2017 2:56 AM

MJ. Smith:
I would not trust this source

This is why a diverse library with many viewpoints is important, so we don't blindly accept the first thing we read, but research and engage with the topic at hand.

I always appreciate your RC viewpoints on the forums MJ, many of us protestants are ignorant of RC history and theology.

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