An outstanding guide for students, pastors, and leaders. Beginning with an overview of the theological, biblical, historical, and anthropological foundations of worship, White then offers a thorough discussion of its components---prayer, creeds, music, time, ritual, and art; its role in marking major life events; and challenges to worship such as ecumenism, pluralism, and language. 245 pages, softcover from Westminster/John Knox.
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Review 1 for Foundations of Christian Worship
Date:November 7, 2008
This book provides a broad range of tools for rightly thinking about and leading worship. White sees theology, the Bible, church history, and the human sciences as the four cornerstones upon which the essential features of Christian worship prayer, creeds, music, time, ritual, and art and architecture are built. She then covers standard worship aspects such as baptism, the Lords Supper, the Lords Day, daily prayer, penance and reconciliation, and ordination. Rites of passage calling for special services are also considered along with a number of contemporary issues that challenge Christian worship. The book concludes with 12 case studies that challenge readers to consider how complex life situations can be addressed pastorally and integrated into the worship of the church. These studies would make an excellent team project for a class or workshop on worship.As the title and contents make clear, Foundations is a primer. Positively, it is a great introduction to the subject, as it briefly and accessibly covers the history and most aspects of worship. Its practical scenarios prepare students to design and lead worship. Written for a broad Christian audience, it can serve most denominations.Though a good introduction, its lack of depth means that many will find little need to return to it. Its usefulness would have been enhanced by more comments about the relative worth of different approaches to worship and more footnotes introducing sources that address historical and theological issues. Not all will find the ecumenical flavor of the book a positive. The wide focus on historical practices may lose readers who want to study their own tradition. Particularly those from free church and Pentecostal/charismatic backgrounds may find the liturgical approach espoused here to be outside of their experience.Limitations aside, Foundations of Christian Worship is well worth reading and adopting as a text for introductory classes in worship.