How Change Is to Happen

Edward Traill Horn and Theodosius Harnack, on liturgics (Outlines of liturgics: on the basis of Harnack in Zöckler’s Handbuch der theologischen Wissenschaften (Lutheran Publication Society, 1890), 7):

It is not the task of the Protestant student of Liturgics merely to discover the present order and traditional parts of Christian worship, that he may submit to them, nor has he to invent a service agreeable to the idea of Christian worship. He has simply to ascertain the service of the Church, which has been developed by its own inherent life, to try it by Holy Scripture and by history, to correct it where necessary upon these principles, and, where the occasion demands, to serve its further developments on principles accordant with its idea and in harmony with its past history.

Reminds me of Schaff and Nevin with their Romantic-Idealist idea of historical development: the goal’s neither to embalm the present tradition received nor to innovate, but rather, with an eye to organic growth, to develop it according to Scripture and the Holy Spirit’s direction of Church history –

– that it may evolve like a Sibelius symphony.


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