My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Much of this book contains weak argumentation. Leithart promotes the practice of modeling modern worship after Old Testament practices, but gives no explanation of why some practices are chosen and others rejected. Here’s an example: “There is no command for pastors to wear robes, but Israel again provides a salutary example. The priests wore distinctive clothing that manifested their office …” If preachers should wear robes because OT priests wore distinctive vestments, why stop with robes? If the priestly practice is a model, shouldn’t pastors wear robes with all the prescribed features of the OT priestly garments?
It seems to me the author picks only the traditions popular in Reformed circles as practices we should carry on because of OT example.
I also found myself puzzled by many of his arguments, such as his continual emphasis on the fact that the church is made up of real people. He brings this up repeatedly in response to the concept of what theologians call “the invisible church.” But it strikes me as a straw man. Those who speak of the invisible church are not suggesting it’s made up of people who are not real. Rather, it simply refers to the fact that since we cannot see the heart, we cannot tell from looking for sure who is a true member of the Church.
I did find a couple things in the book helpful. I liked the reminder that communion should be celebratory. I also very much appreciated his point about how, when speaking with unbelievers, we should think not so much in terms of bringing the conversation from secular things to spiritual things, but rather to show how “secular” things really are spiritual things (pp.110-112).
Most of all, I enjoyed the explanation of how each part of the Old Testament points to Christ. Often, when people attempt that, the connections are contrived. I thought Leithart’s explanation was extremely helpful (pp.60-64).