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Worship by the Book Paperback – August 27, 2002

4.6 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

'What is at stake is authenticity. . . . Sooner or later Christians tire of public meetings that are profoundly inauthentic, regardless of how well (or poorly) arranged, directed, performed. We long to meet, corporately, with the living and majestic God and to offer him the praise that is his due.'---D. A. Carson Worship is a hot topic, but the ways that Christians from different traditions view it vary greatly. What is worship? More important, what does it look like in action, both in our corporate gatherings and in our daily lives? These concerns---the blending of principle and practice---are what Worship by the Book addresses. Cutting through cultural cliches, D. A. Carson, Mark Ashton, Kent Hughes, and Timothy Keller explore, respectively: - Worship Under the Word - Following in Cranmer's Footsteps - Free Church Worship: The Challenge of Freedom - Reformed Worship in the Global City 'This is not a comprehensive theology of worship, ' writes Carson. 'Still less is it a sociological analysis of current trends or a minister's manual chockfull of 'how to' instructions.' Rather, this book offers pastors, other congregational leaders, and seminary students a thought-provoking biblical theology of worship, followed by a look at how three very different traditions of churchmanship might move from this theological base to a better understanding of corporate worship. Running the gamut from biblical theology to historical assessment all the way to sample service sheets, Worship by the Book shows how local churches in diverse traditions can foster corporate worship that is God-honoring, Word-revering, heartfelt, and historically and culturally informed.

About the Author

D. A. Carson (PhD, Cambridge University) is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, where he has taught since 1978. He is co-founder (with Tim Keller) of the Gospel Coalition, and has written or edited nearly 60 books. He has served as a pastor and is an active guest lecturer in church and academic settings around the world.



Mark Ashton (MA, Oxford University; MA, Cambridge University) is vicar of the Round Church (Anglican) at St. Andrew the Great, Cambridge, England.

Kent Hughes was in pastoral ministry for 41 years, the last 27 as senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton. He earned his BA from Whittier College (history), an MDiv from Talbot Seminary and a DMin from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He and his wife, Barbara, have four children and 21 grandchildren. He retired from his pulpit ministry at College Church and was given the title Senior Pastor Emeritus in December 2006. He continues to be involved in training pastors biblical exposition and preaching.

Timothy Keller is the founder and senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Reason for God and The Prodigal God. He has also mentored young urban church planters and pastors in New York and other cities through Redeemer City to City, which has helped launch over 200 churches in 35 global cities to date.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (September 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310216257
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310216254
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #322,411 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"Sooner or later Christians tire of public meetings that are profoundly inauthentic, regardless of how well (or poorly) arranged, directed, performed. We long to meet, corporately, with the living and majestic God and to offer him the praise that is his due." (D.A. Carson)
OK, my knee-jerk reaction to this book was, "Finally, some THOUGHTFUL words on worship!" But let's face it, books on evangelical worship are a dime-a-dozen these days with little new being said and a lack of thoughtfulness (not sincerity). As for books on worship and the theology of worship: the standard has been significatly raised.
Not so with this book! Dr. Carson's introductory essay alone is worth this book. But, there is a lot more that it offers: following some insightful remarks by the editor (Carson) there are three theoretical/applicable studies written by Mark Ashton (Anglican -- Cranmer), R. Kent Hughes (Free Church), and Timothy J. Keller (Reformed).
Each writes from their own tradition (as a pastor), providing a semi-apologetic and a passion for the approach. Further, each writer includes sample services to help show what each tradition "looks like" in practice.
I recommend this to:
1)those tired of reading the same old stuff on worship
2)those unfamiliar with the theology of worship (this is a good intro)
3)those unfamiliar with different doctrinal/denominational traditions
4)church elders and leaders who plan worship
5)those desiring more...
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Format: Paperback
Too often, when Christians discuss worship, they go little further than arguments about styles of music. The "worship wars" that have plagued the modern church are a prime example of this. Many churches have fallen apart and many Christians have been deeply hurt over styles of music. Churches that have sought to be progressive and contemporary have often done away with hymns, throwing away hundreds of years of Christian tradition in the process. Other churches have refused to sing any song written in modern times, indicating an irrational bias towards days gone by. In the process worship has come to be nearly synonymous with music. Church services are often structured around a time of worship, led by a worship pastor, and this is followed by a time of apparently non-worshipful teaching led by a teaching pastor.

These worship wars are a terrible distraction, for as believers who have access to the New Testament we know that worship extends far beyond music. Worship is to encompass all of life rather than only select parts. Worship by the Book is an attempt by four men, D.A Carson, Mark Ashton, Kent Hughes and Timothy Keller, to unravel the meaning of worship as well as to suggest ways that corporate worship, done as the church gathers together, can be most meaningful and most faithful to Scripture.

The book begins with an essay by Carson entitled "Worship Under the Word" in which he builds a framework around which each of the other authors will write. The heart of the essay is a lengthy definition of worship and a twelve-point examination of this definition. It is an unusually long and detailed definition of worship, yet one that for precisely those reasons is exceedingly useful.
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This book would be valuable for most Pastors to read because of its wisdom on the subject of worship. So often, the focus of the Pastor is on preparing and preaching the sermon. While this is a critical part of the worship service and should not be neglected, all of the essayists point to the need for well-planned services from start to finish. God-exalting, Christ-centered, Bible-based services are a worthy goal. This book should challenge Pastors, especially those from a free church background, to plan worship services in a more thoughtful way. The book is practical, with sample worship service outlines from different traditions. Highly recommended for all who want to honor God in corporate worship.
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So an Anglican, a Baptist, and a Presbyterian write a book... yeah, it sounds like it's going to have a good punch line doesn't it? Instead what I found were men who despite their doctrinal differences genuinely want to see the Triune God biblically worshipped by the church universal. Under D.A. Carson's thoughtful direction, Mark Ashton, R. Kent Hughes, and Timothy Keller expound how they bridge the gap of implementing biblical worship in their varying traditions.

Carson begins by highlighting the pros and cons of creating a theology of worship from a systematic matrix versus a biblical framework. After a brief survey on worship, Carson unveils his half-page definition of biblical worship and spends the remainder of his chapter unpacking that definition. I enjoyed watching him weave the implications of worship through the threads of scripture, sarcasm, and saints present and past before concluding with misconceptions and hindrances to corporate worship.

Ashton focuses on the use, disuse, and reintegration of Cranmer's Book of Common Prayer. He passionately argues that a return to Cranmer's philosophy of doctrinally solid, yet culturally relevant liturgy is crucial to re-center and reinvigorate Anglicanism today.

Hughes highlights the Free Church's "free-fall to pragmatism" where utilitarianism has increasingly become the driving force. His fear is that in their pursuit of freedom some congregations are lapsing into unbiblical methodologies. In response, Hughes outlines six distinctives that regulate corporate worship at his church and concludes with ways to keep music Word-centric.

Keller highlights the "worship wars" within the church.
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