J. Dudley Weaver Jr. Geneva Press 2002-04-01

The church must continually decide how to change, per the dictum Ecclesia reformata, semper reformanda, “The church reformed, always reforming.” In many congregations the forces of change have created great debates over the form of worship. Christian worship in America is threatened by theological catastrophe under the growing pressure from the pragmatic plans of well-intentioned but ill-informed individuals.

Weaver, a pastor, sees the danger and offers a comprehensive orientation to the history, theology, and praxis of congregational worship for pastors. He discusses the history of worship, defends participation and planning, surveys the service elements of Christian worship, and presents a summary philosophy of the Christian year with specific chapters devoted to the Advent/Christmas/Epiphany and Lent/Easter/Pentecost seasons. Footnotes to contemporary sources demonstrate a broad awareness of current scholarship in the field.

Weaver is committed to change, but only change that fulfills the responsibilities inherent within a sound theology of Christian worship and a proper appreciation of its historical practices. Although written from and for a Reformed perspective of worship, Weaver’s thorough and readable presentations make an excellent primer for anyone interested in a basic understanding of the sources, significance, and practices of Christian worship. Its well-written descriptions should prove beneficial for both students and pastors. Its small size disguises its value as one of the finest short works on Christian worship for the general audience.

About the Contributors

Timothy J. Ralston

Dr. Ralston brings a rich pastoral background to his classroom, having served as an associate pastor and pastor in Ontario and as a director of adult education in the United States. Dr. Ralston is an active member in the North American Academy of Liturgy and the Evangelical Homiletics Society. His research in New Testament manuscripts and worship has taken him into a wide variety of settings and produced numerous scholarly articles. His teaching interests include preaching, worship, and spirituality. His research interests include New Testament manuscripts, liturgical theology and history, the history and practice of Christian spirituality, and spiritual direction. To relax he teaches as a Master Scuba Diver Trainer with the Professional Association of Diving Instructors and enjoys exploring sunken ships and underwater sites throughout the world.