Worship is better seen as the point of concentration at which the whole of Christian life comes into ritual focus . . . I am not using “ritual” in the pejorative sense of “mere ritual” . . . On my sense of the word, even those communities which pride themselves on their freedom from “ritual” will generally be found to use ritual; only they will not be aware of it, and so will be unable either to enjoy its pleasures to the full or to be properly vigilant about its dangers.

Geoffrey Wainwright in Doxology; stolen from Synodos

Every church has a liturgy. A church that fails to reconcile with this fact will be tempted to either (1) constantly dodge repetition (which is exhausting), or (2) attempt to shape their corporate worship practices (liturgy) merely by avoiding the practices of those churches which are perceived as “liturgical.” Both are trying to define their community by negation, which only leaves a void inevitably filled with something else. Compare with R. Kent Hughes’ remarks in Worship by the Book (ed. D.A. Carson, Zondervan 2002, 147):

For more than 150 years the Free Church tradition operated on the “Scripture only” principle. The last two centuries brought change. In America, where the Free Church tradition had once meant the freedom to order corporate worship according to the Scriptures, it came to mean the freedom to order such worship as one pleased or as one felt it would work best. […] In short, Free Church biblicism deteriorated into Free Church pragmatism.

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