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Liberty University

Perspectives on Christian Worship

A Book Report Submitted to Dr. Armenio Suzano In Partial Fulfillment Of the Requirements for the Course Current Issues in Worship WRSP 540-D01

By Justin Douglas

09 April 2011 Bibliographical Entry Duncan, Ligon, Dan Kimball, Michael Lawrence, Mark Dever, Timothy Quill, and Dan Wilt, eds. Perspectives on Christian Worship: Five Views. Edited by J. Matthew Pinson. Nashville, Tenn.: B&H Academic, 2009 Author Information To fully understand Perspectives on Christian Worship one must understand the authors and their backgrounds. It is unique that this book includes six different authors, who all bring a different and noteworthy perspective to this work. Mark Dever serves at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington D.C. as the senior pastor. Dever has his Ph.D. from Cambridge in Ecclesiastical History. J. Ligon Duncan III serves at First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Mississippi as senior minister. Duncan has a masters degree from Covenant Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. from University of Edinburgh. Dan Kimball is the founding pastor of Vintage Faith Church. He attended George Fox Evangelical Seminary for his D.Min. Degree. Michael Lawrence serves at Capitol Hill Baptist Church as an associate pastor. Lawrence attended Cambridge University for his Ph.D. in church history. Timothy C. J. Quill has a Ph. D. from Drew University. Dr. Quill teaches many subjects including, missions, homiletics, and liturgy at Concordia Theological Seminary. Dan Wilt attended St. Stephens University for his Masters in Ministry degree. Wilt works for the magazine, Inside Worship, as the creative editor. J. Matthew Pinson serves as the editor of Perspectives on Christian Worship. He carries degrees from Yale University, University of West Florida, and Vanderbilt University. Dr. Pinson has edited numerous articles and four other books (p. viii).

Content Summary Perspectives on Christian Worship dives into five separate views on the art of worship and attempts to explore which view contains the greatest deal of scriptural evidence. The five different views are each authored by an expert in the field of that worship style. Dr. Quill starts the book with the liturgical worship style. Quill makes it clear that this worship places style as secondary and doctrine as the focus. This chapter covers many liturgies that have a deep history and tradition within the Catholic and Lutheran church history. Quill shares a story about how he was encouraged to write his own liturgies and change things up when he led worship as a youth pastor. He continues by sharing that he was lead back to liturgies because they are theologically sound. This book is unique in the fact that every chapter ends with a response from the other authors. Dan Kimball responded to this chapter by expressing a concern that this form of worship is offering itself exclusive as the best option for authentic worship (p. 95). The second section of the book covers traditional evangelical worship and is written by Ligon Duncan. Duncan begins by explaining that even denominations within the evangelical church vary in their worship style and there seems to be little solidarity or agreement on how we should worship (p. 99-100). The chapter continues by offering explanation as to what worship is, the goal and meaning of worship, and what worship should look like. Duncan received many healthy responses to his chapter on traditional evangelical worship. Dan Wilt is the author for chapter five which is titled, Contemporary Worship. Wilt opens his chapter describing a concert like atmosphere where people are gathered to worship Jesus (p.144). Wilt explains that all worship in the church today is considered

contemporary when compared to the biblical age; therefore, the contemporary worship style Wilt refers to is actually a single tile is a mosaic collection of contemporary worship (p. 145). In this chapter Wilt confronts the philosophy of contemporary worship, answers many questions about the roots of worship, and addresses the need for culture to be considered when planning worship. In the following chapter of responses Quill shares that this style places too much emphasis on the song and therefore is offering the congregation a temporary worship experience instead of one they can take into the week (p. 204-205). Authors Michael Lawrence and Mark Dever present the chapter titled, Blended Worship. The authors share the various areas of a worship service that they attempt to blend. They make it clear that truth is not blended or compromised (p. 219-220). This chapter has in depth information about the Biblical and theological history of worship and an argument for how blended is Biblical. Dever explains that this perspective on worship is able to embrace the traditional while also supporting innovation within worship (p. 244). Duncan questions Lawrence and Dever in the response section for this chapter. Challenging the thought of freedom within this perspective, Duncan ponders about how much freedom there really is (p. 275). Kimball rounds out the discussion by presenting Emerging Worship. This chapter clearly sets in place what biblical worship is and what emerging worship is. Kimball has no problem sharing that emerging worship should relate to todays culture and how they communicate with God (p. 297). All the senses are accounted for in emerging worship because Kimball believes it is vital to teach and worship in a way that will be fully comprehended and effective (p. 301). Between all the authors, Kimball takes the brunt of

criticism for his views in the response section of this chapter. Even though Kimball seemed to carry the edgiest view of worship, all the authors were able to find some common ground. Evaluation Each author teaches their own perspective on worship and every author would be considered an expert within the area they are covering. Perspectives on Christian Worship exists for those who are interested in reading a book that covers a broad spectrum of worship styles. This book also provides a decent Biblical argument for each of the five styles of worship one might accept. The book gives quality counter arguments within the response section of each chapter. The responses help give a well-rounded picture of worship and leave the reader with knowledge and a resource for future reference. The format of this book coupled with multiple authors offers a unique reading experience. It is quite interesting to read one authors perspective and then immediately read the antithesis. While many of the authors had contrary opinions to one another, it seems they were well thought out opinions. One could argue that some of the opinions of Timothy Quill, who wrote the chapter on Liturgical Worship, were a bit exclusive. At times Quill appeared to emit a stature that seemed to exclude certain perspectives other then his own as not really worship. With that said, this book does offer healthy discussion from each author in the areas of Biblical truth, church history, worship history, theology and worship evangelism. Each author comes with his own bias toward his expert perspective, but for the most part they seem to understand where the other authors are coming from.

Every chapter carries a legitimate message about the style of worship. These message range from being rooted in the deep tradition of the church to embracing culture to further the impact of the church. Within each chapter the authors do an exceptional job of supporting their view and detailing how it manifests itself within a Sunday service. The authors do show favoritism toward their perspective on worship, but that is the premise of the book. There are many beneficial points made in this book. Kimball shows the reader that when we are disconnected from culture we run the risk of becoming ineffective in our ability to evangelize to the world around us. Dever and Lawrence make the argument that musical style is of little importance and instead argue for a blended atmosphere. Wilt explains contemporary worship as an experience, an event that ultimately focuses our attention on Jesus. Duncan communicates that worship is a life lived not just a song we sing. Quill shares that being rooted in liturgy expresses to the congregation doctrine and a reverence for the history of the church. Each author provides something for even the most bias of readers to agree with. The takeaway from this book is that there are a plethora of worship styles and perspectives within the Christian stream. The best way someone can implement this book is to read through the rationalization of each perspective and then, understanding their congregation, find what fits best within their worship time. It seems as if editor and authors presented the work strategically to give the reader a chance to process all sides and decide for themselves what they feel works best in their ministry. The purpose of Perspectives on Christian Worship is not to tell readers what view is the best, but to allow them to interpret for themselves with the information given. This book offers an

interesting way of collecting the data and offering each author the chance to reply to those who disagree with their stance. Perspectives on Christian Worship continues a discussion that has been at the forefront of Christian debate. This book will serve as a great resource within that discussion and encourage the reader to continue to wrestle with their perspectives and ultimately follow the leading of God.