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Worship by the Book Paperback – August 27, 2002
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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
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.
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.
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Top customer reviews
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'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
Each of the authors bring a different perspective of worship to the book, offering a variety of emphasis; their years of ministry give this book a unique insight of corporate worship.
“Worship by the Book” primarily aims at pastor, seminary students, and other church leaders and offers a theology of worship that comes from Scripture and points directly at Christ.
As more and more Christians seek deeper worship and begin to turn their backs on anemic worship services and Sunday morning concerts that invite the audience to sing along, “Worship by the Book” brings us back to the purpose (and object) of corporate worship.
This book sets itself apart from other “theology of worship” books because of the variety of backgrounds of the authors. One brings liturgy to the table, another a more modern method. But they all point to Jesus.
Consistently, the book illustrates a method of worship, along with an explanation about why it points to Jesus.
I'm not a pastor, worship leader or seminary student. But for years I longed for deep and meaningful worship. This book helped me to identify why the congregation I'm currently in makes my soul, along with my mouth sing!
And the verdict is: Read this book if you lead worship, if you oversee somebody who leads worship, if you sit under a worship leader. Read this book if you want to know why worship works, or why it doesn't.
In the end, I chose this rating because it didn't change my life (5/5 stars is a huge thing) but it made an impact on how I understand corporate worship and why it works.
Buy this book for your worship leaders and pastors. It would make a great gift, especially if it came with a note that said, “this book explains why I love the way our church worships.”
Because of recent reading, I was surprised to notice that all three contributors quoted passages that explicitly stated the Church should sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs and then they completely ignored the role of psalm singing in the services. It seemed to be something ruled out of bounds without even a cursory explanation.
Also, I found it surprising that there were no Lutheran contributors. All three writers referenced Luther in their discussions but no Lutherans were included.
The Anglican took into account the small parish, but the Free Church and Presbytian only addressed their large church context where they have multiple staff people who bear a heavy burden of creating their unique styles of worship. At a small church, there is little that easily transfers in the midst of a full week where one person shoulders most tasks and volunteers are the only way things can be done. It is an interesting idea to pay excellent musicians, but when the budget is stretched near breaking, what suggestions are needed go unmentioned.
To simplify the argument of the book, the Anglican believes the Book of Common Prayer is a great place to start from, but not to hold slavishly to it. Update what can be, but follow the same structure.
The Free Church author is convinced that too much freedom is unhelpful and thus it needs to be restrained by reflecting on traditional patterns without slavishly following them. Preferably to draw from the wide range of Free Church associations.
The Presbyterian author treads the "middle way" of a sorts between contemporary and reformed by having services that are either "contemporary reformed" or "reformed contemporary" - that is, do not lose sight of either edification or God's transcendence.
A book worth considering if you're tired of the typical acrymony in modern works on worship. It has many good ideas and suggestions I'll be returning to, but it is too complicated for the average layman.
One caveat: D.A. Carson's section is weighty and, honestly, can be rather off-putting. What he has to say is important and helpful. However, you may find it preferable to come back to his section after you have read the next two. Wading through Carson's section, if you're struggling with it, may cause you to put the book down and miss out on the rest. That would be a real shame. Skim his section or skip it and return after you are more "inspired."