Christian juxtapositions: Holy Things and Holy People

Holy Things: A Liturgical Theology. By Gordon W. Lanthrop. Fortress, 236 pp.
Holy People: A Liturgical Ecclesiology. By Gordon W. Lanthrop. Fortress, 246 pp. 

Though the World Council of Churches' consensus document Baptism, Eucharist, and Ministry is a work of enormous significance, it may strike one as bland. Gordon Lathrop, a Lutheran theologian, presents much the same material in two books (the first published in 1993) that are lively, provocative and challenging.

Lathrop approaches the issues from the perspective of a theology of worship. His subtitles may be misleading, since liturgy is often understood as "scripted" worship. That is not, however, the true meaning of the word. Properly understood, liturgy is any form of worship that enables all members of a congregation to participate actively in a service, exercising the royal priesthood which is theirs through baptism.