Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Education


Religious Education, PhD

First Advisor

Roy C. Naden

Second Advisor

C. Warren Becker

Third Advisor

Hans-Jorgen Holman


Problem. The act of worship has not been the central focus of the Seventh-day Adventist church. An evangelistic priority has reduced its worship periods to mostly didactic acts, often leaving believers unsatisfied in their desires to worship. Structural deficiencies are evident in the neglect of liturgical and ritualistic matters. The problem is compounded in that the educative forces inherent in liturgical, ritualistic expressions are not well understood.

Purpose. The purpose of this study was to analyze the nature of liturgy and ritual in order to better understand their contribution and potential as religious education and their impact upon worship. It explored the probable sources of the prevailing prejudice against liturgy in Adventism and noted the relationship between ritual and culture within the church.

Method. This research is a philosophical study in which documentary research has been included to support the line of argument pursued.

Findings. Catechesis, liturgy, and ritual must be combined in order to present a balance in worship form. This is necessitated because the brain has the potential of processing experience through two interpretive modes. Catechesis appeals to the cognitive left hemisphere of the brain, while liturgy--order, ritual, and ceremonial--appeals to the affective right hemisphere.

Resistance to liturgy and right-hemispheric emphasis is apparent in Adventism. This is partly the result of prevailing attitudes in society which prize left-brain-oriented learning, and partly because of the continuing traditions of nineteenth-century revivalism.

The relationship between culture and ritual undoubtedly affects the church and a better understanding of this relationship upon language and the arts--notably music--will allow for a holistic approach to worship.

Conclusions. The Seventh-day Adventist church may retain a strong catechetical emphasis and still allow a more informed participation in its rites. New rites may need to be developed, or old ones reformed, to facilitate worship and learning. Religious educators must become aware of the hemispheric preference of their pupils and plan educational experiences accordingly. A holistic approach to liturgy should prove more satisfying to all worshippers.

Subject Area

Religious education, Seventh-day Adventists Liturgy

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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