Liturgics

Books

Beginner 

Ronald P. Byars – The Future of Protestant Worship: Beyond the Worship Wars (2002).  A good introduction to thinking about liturgy, full of first-hand experience and historical examples.  Most importantly, Byars refuses to accept the labels, ‘traditonal’ vs. ‘contemporary’ and forces us to think deeper about the issues.

Robert Godfrey – Pleasing God in Our Worship (1999). For the baby liturgist. In not even 50 pages, Godfrey presents the basics of Reformed worship.

Rev. Gregg Strawbridge – Worship & Worship Services

D.G. Hart & John R. Muether – With Reverence and Awe: Returning to the Basics of Reformed Worship (2002). 

Jeffrey J. Meyers – The Lord’s Service: The Grace of Covenant Renewal Worship (2003).

Hughes Oliphant Old – Worship: Reformed According to Scripture.  A must-read for anyone interested in Reformed liturgical history and practice.

James B. Torrance – Worship, Community & The Triune God of Grace.  Although I disagree with Torrance’s over-delicate treatment of feminism at the end, this slender book does present many important truths.

Intermediate

Michael Horton – A Better Way: Rediscovering the Drama of God-Centered Worship (2002). 

Peter J. Leithart – Against Christianity (2003).  Every Reformed minister should read this, if only to look at their tradition from a different point of view.

William D. Maxwell – Concerning Worship (Although rare and somewhat dated, this is a classic of Reformed catholic liturgical thought.)

Howard L. Rice and James C. Huffstutler – Reformed Worship (2001).  Written by a pastor and a seminary professor, both coming from a liberal Presbyterian point of view, it has wonderful history, but questionable application.

Alexander Schmemann – For the Life of the World: Sacraments and Orthodoxy

Advanced

Aidan Kavanagh – On Liturgical Theology (1984, 1992).  [A challenging study by a Roman Catholic, but also a master of the field.]

Frank C. Senn – Christian Liturgy: Evangelical and Catholic (A massive volume by a noted Lutheran, but it gives an overview of just about everything.  The footnotes will lead the curious student to all the standard works in the sub-fields of liturgical study.)

Alexander Schmemann – Introduction to Liturgical Theology (Schmemann is important because he was not afraid to critique his own tradition, that of Eastern Orthodoxy.  We believe we have much to learn from our Orthodox brethren, and Schmemann draws out the best of his tradition and applies it to the modern world.  In order to understand the foreign world of Orthodoxy, we also recommend Hugh Wybrew, The Orthodox Liturgy: The Development of the Eucharistic Liturgy in the Byzantine Rite; Donald Fairbairn, Eastern Orthodoxy Through Western Eyes; and James R. Payton, Jr., Light from the Christian East: An Introduction to the Orthodox Tradition.) 

Geoffrey Wainwright – Doxology: The Praise of God in Worship, Doctrine, and Life (1980).  A liturgical systematic theology.  [Methodist]

Articles

Michael Horton – A Defense of Reformed Liturgy

3 thoughts on “Liturgics

  1. am looking for a contemporary, progressive collection of prayers that are in the reformed tradition and follow the pattern of reformed worship – call to worship, call to confession, assurance of pardon, prayers to use at offertory, prayers of thanks, etc. I find hit and miss prayers that i like but an inclusive, progressive source is aluding me. any ideas?

  2. Hi, Mary Ann:

    I’m sorry, but I can’t be of much help here. My research has been focused on the classic expressions of Reformed worship. Have you looked at books of worship produced by the Presbyterian Church (USA)? They are an “inclusive” and “progressive” denomination.

    I would also recommend Hughes Oliphant Old’s books, Leading in Prayer, a great collection of prayers and a history of Reformed worship.

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