Worship Seeking Understanding
- Published: July 1, 2003
- Publisher: Baker Academic
- Page count: 320
- ISBN: 978-0801026232
Worship Seeking Understanding mines the riches of biblical studies, theology, history, music, and pastoral research to provide windows into Christian worship practices. Motivated by Anselm, John Witvliet's "goal is not to explain away the experience of worship or kill and dissect it by esoteric scholarly analysis, but rather to honor and cherish it by asking the questions worship itself prompts."
With this volume, Witvliet attempts to build bridges in three directions at the same time: between theory and practice, among various worship-related disciplines, and across denominational lines. Its broad scope and insightful advice will be welcomed by seminary students, pastors, and church leaders.
"The breadth of disciplines covered is a testimony to Witvliet's own interdisciplinary scholarship and commitment to worship discussions that bring the historian, theologian, and practitioner to the same table. As a result, these essays are grounded in careful scholarship. They are insightful, pastoral, and accessible to a wide audience."—Joyce Borger, Reformed Worship
"One can only be in awe of the vast range of conversation partners that Witvliet has engaged as he has developed these essays. He has chosen many of today's outstanding worship historians, theologians, and leaders with whom to discuss his ideas. . . . Witvliet is able to synthesize vast amounts of information and discern relevant insights in his writings for those serving in ministry. . . . Witvliet's approach is balanced, recognizing the complexity involved in historical and theological discussions of worship. . . . Significant footnotes, a useful index, and a bibliography of additional writings of Witvliet, both scholarly and pastoral, are welcome additions to this book. . . . Scholars, pastors, students, and laypeople will all benefit from this excellent collection of essays."—Mark A. Torgerson, Calvin Theological Journal
"Here is a volume that begins to address seriously the pastoral questions that so often accompany the practice of worship. . . . Witvliet addresses all of these questions in a clear and uncluttered manner. . . . His approach is firmly ecumenical and inclusive. . . . Witvliet's writing is readily accessible to readers with a variety of levels of purpose. The interested student will find something of meaning just as easily as the serious scholar will find themselves inspired and challenged by Witvliet's thoughts. It is a book which should be studied by men and women who lead worship and by those who participate in it. It would serve well as the basis of study for a group considering the liturgical nature of the church both at the local and wider levels."—Rev. Dr. Adrian Burdon, Reviews in Religion and Theology
"Well organized, informative, with numerous pastoral-theological insights. . . . Reformed/Presbyterian and other Protestant pastoral ministers, seminary students, and liturgically active members should find their knowledge of the theological scope of Christian liturgy and their appreciation of the pastoral richness in the details of its ritual practices greatly expanded. . . . By bringing together such a wide range of topical essays, more than half of which first appeared in Reformed or Calvin studies publications, the book should prove a good resource for descriptions and analyses of the history, theology, and current practice of worship in that branch of Christianity to liturgical theologians in other ecclesial communions. A thorough index of names and topics further enhances that possibility."—Bruce T. Morrill S.J., Worship
"Witvliet is well abreast of ecumenical thinking on the subject of worship, and he has such a refreshing concern to address big theological issues (sadly not always obvious in liturgical discussion today) that people of any mainline tradition would derive profit from what he has to say. . . . This book is interesting and stimulating and will prove valuable for all who teach about worship and arrange services."—John Cockerton, Anvil
"Topics range from the Psalter to Geneva during the time of Calvin to culture and liturgy to the sacraments to the North American evangelical megachurch, all capably handled by this emerging Reformed scholar. . . . A careful reading of [this book] would be helpful for all who practice the liturgy on Sunday mornings and seek to live it out in their lives, as well as for pastors and academics seeking to provide leadership to the church."—Laurence C. Sibley, Jr., Westminster Theological Journal