Some of you know that I have been working sporadically, for the past two years, on a lengthy chapter commissioned by B&H (Broadman Holman) publishers for a book entitled, Perspectives On Christian Worship: Five Views.
Truthfully, it is not the “front burner” book for me, which more has to do with worship and cultural formation, but it has been very important for me to work out my thoughts in this way, with such wonderful partners in dialogue.
I have been asked, out of my experience as a representative and visible practitioner, to present the biblical, theological and philosophical foundations of the contemporary worship movement in a book that will contain four other chapters, focusing on the foundational values of the liturgical, traditional evangelical, blended, contemporary and emerging forms of worship in the Church today.
In this piece, I’ve been asked to advance thinking on the topic of contemporary worship, the vitality of fresh expressions of Christian worship expressed in cultural context, and contemporary worship’s deserved place in the wider body of worship work throughout the millennia.
In this piece, each of the five authors has been asked to submit a chapter of 20,000 – 25,000 words, defending the particular worship tradition they are considered an “expert” voice within. Each chapter is to be written as an academic piece (including extensive footnotes), with a bent toward the popular ear as well, for university usage.
For this reason, we have been given liberty to illustrate the values and perspectives of the tradition of worship we represent with biblical, theological, personal and narrative insights. Each of the five authors has been given a copy of the other chapters, and part of the book will also include our 2000 word responses to one another’s views, reflected at the end of each chapter.
The book, Perspectives On Christian Worship: Five Views, is intended to provide the fairest representation of the largest number of Christians pertaining to views on the issues related to modern worship practices alive in the Church. This book seeks to discuss an important and widely discussed contemporary topic in the Church, and represents the views of a number of traditions: Lutheran, Presbyterian, Vineyard, Baptist, and Emergent, to name a few.
As a “dialogical” work, the book intends to allow the differing traditions to express their views in a way that would be both representative of those holding their view, but also thoughtful in approach to the philosophy and theology under girding that viewpoint. Allowing each writer to respond to the work of the others engages the body of authors in a responsive manner, providing perspectives from differing viewpoints on each author’s work.
CO-WRITERS AND RESPONDENTS:
This chapter will present the traditional Protestant approach to worship found in the Anglican and Lutheran traditions. Yet it will also appeal to Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and other liturgical audiences. The contributor of this chapter will be Timothy Quill (Ph.D., Drew), a Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod liturgiologist from Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Dr. Quill is author of The Impact of the Liturgical Movement on American Lutheranism (Scarecrow/Drew University Studies in Liturgy). He has also written a number of scholarly and popular articles on worship.
Traditional Evangelical Worship (or perhaps the title “Regulative Worship”)
This chapter will present the traditional approach to worship found among most American evangelicals who have their heritage in the Reformed and Free Church traditions. The contributor of this chapter will be Ligon Duncan (Ph.D., Edinburgh), senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church (Presbyterian Church in America), Jackson, Mississippi, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in American, and Adjunct Professor of Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary. He is author or editor of a number of articles and books, including Give Praise to God: A Vision for Reforming Worship (P&R), for which he served as co-editor and contributor.
This chapter will present a blended approach to worship that seeks to combine elements of the traditional and contemporary models found in many evangelical churches today. The contributors of this chapter will be Michael Lawrence and Mark Dever. Michael Lawrence (Ph.D., Cambridge) is associate pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. Mark Dever (Ph.D., Cambridge) is senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church (Southern Baptist Convention) in Washington, D.C., and author or editor of a number of articles and books, including Nine Marks of a Healthy Church (Crossway).
This chapter will present the view of worship popular in today’s contemporary churches, with specific reference to worship movements that rely on contemporary, popular-culture music forms. The contributor of this chapter will be Dan Wilt (B.A., Messiah College, M.Min. (candidate), St. Stephen’s University, New Brunswick, Canada), Director of The Institute Of Contemporary And Emerging Worship Studies of St. Stephen’s University, Worship Development Coordinator of Vineyard Churches Canada, and Senior Editor of Inside Worship magazine.
He is a sought-after worship leader and conference speaker, as well as a published composer and recording artist. He is the author or editor of many articles on contemporary and emerging worship philosophy, and a frequent contributor to popular resourcing websites for contemporary worship leaders. Mr. Wilt is a member of the Association of Vineyard Churches in Canada, and serves as the worship pastor of the St. Croix Vineyard in New Brunswick, Canada.
This chapter will present an emergent view of worship that seeks to combine insights from ancient liturgy with emerging worship forms associated with Generation X. The contributor of this chapter will be Dan Kimball (MA, Western Seminary). Dan is the founding pastor of Vintage Faith Church in Santa Cruz, CA, designed for the emerging post-Christian culture. Dan serves on the emergentYS board and speaks extensively around the country. He has written widely read books such as Emerging Worship, The Emerging Church, and They Like Jesus, But Not The Church: Insights From Emerging Generations (all publications with Zondervan Publishers). Dan is a member of the Emergent Church movement.
WHY I SAID YES
In writing this piece, both in form and content I am purporting a foundational view on Christian worship on behalf of a wide range of contemporary worship movements in our day. The purpose in inviting me to write this chapter, in the mind of Broadman Holman, is that I might bring biblical, theological and philosophical depth to the discussion of the contemporary worship experience in the liturgical discussions of today. It’s been hard work, but a continuing pleasure to write.
At moments, and given our way of faith here at St. Stephen’s University, I feel more drawn to write the Emerging Worship chapter, but Dan Kimball has already become a primary voice in this discussion, so its appropriate that I focus on the contemporary world that has given fresh expression birth in the last 40 years.
Look for it at Amazon this Spring, friends.