A reflective reply to Clayton Coomb’s Unapologetic Apology for Megachurch Worship Practices
(and an introduction to German idealism for Christians)
In a recent keynote address published in the Journal of Contemporary Ministry, Clayton Coombs presented an unapologetic apologetic for contemporary, communal worship in the Christian megachurch context (Journal of Contemporary Ministry, Issue 6 2022). The basis for his argument was a correlation between features of megachurch worship praxis and Christian revivals; interpreting the former through the lens of the latter provided for Coombs undeniable evidence of divine imprimatur upon megachurch worship praxis. This article offers a reflective reply to Coombs, with particular focus on the dichotomy of reason and revelatory experience in Coombs’ implicit epistemology. By recourse to German idealist philosophy, particularly the work of Immanuel Kant, F. H. Jacobi and G. W. F. Hegel, I will show where arguments such as Coombs’ have previously been made – based on a similar epistemological approach – and why utilising ‘God-says-so’ arguments in the context of Christian discourse, a method central to Coombs’ epistemological defence of megachurch worship, raises important ethical and relational questions.
Key words: Pentecostalism, divine command theory, theological ethics, German idealism, Kant, Jacobi, Hegel, theological language, religious epistemology, worship
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