Recapturing an Enchanted World: Ritual and Sacrament in the Free Church Tradition

Book, 2020, 240 pp
CommonWord is shocked and saddened by John Rempel's ministerial sexual misconduct, which came to our attention on October 20, 2020. We unreservedly condemn his actions, and stand in solidarity with all victims of sexual violence.

We have determined to remove John's books from our shelves. We do so to signal our condemnation of his actions; to acknowledge the raw wounds that his choices open in the lives of victims of sexual violence; and our need for patient, ongoing reflection in life situations imbued with dissonant complexity. We view this choice as a necessary, provisional time of lament as we acknowledge this brokenness.

How might our worship recapture and reflect the enchanted world of God's nearness in Jesus Christ? In this first volume in IVP Academic's Dynamics of Christian Worship series, John D. Rempel offers a vision for this kind of transformative worship. A theologian and minister in the Mennonite Church, Rempel considers the role of the sacraments and ritual within the Free Church tradition. While the Free Churches rightly sought to cleanse the church of the abuses of sacramentalism, in that process they also set aside some of the church's historic practices and the theology behind them, which ultimately impoverished their worship. In response to this liturgically thin space, Rempel appeals to the incarnation of Christ, whose taking on of flesh can help us perceive the sacramental nature of our faith and worship. By embracing life-giving and peacemaking practices, the worship of not only the Free Church tradition but of the whole body of Christ might be transformed and become enchanted once again.

What makes this book stand apart is Rempel's gift for felicitous language, well-considered examples, and abiding passion for wholehearted worship embodied in word and deed - a true treasure for all who care about worship.-- Marlene Kropf, a professor in spiritual formation and worship, Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Studies, Elkhart, Indiana.

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