byron tweet picGreat changes in worship began to accelerate during the 1960’s. As early as 1967, the now prominent Methodist Notre Dame liturgical scholar, James F. White, wrote The Worldliness of Worship, noting the beginning rumblings of change in worship coming to North American church worship. Then, in 1989, White released further observations in Protestant Worship: Traditions in Transition. Not a purely “theological” work, White’s volume noted the challenges congregants were beginning to level concerning “conventional” thinking related to the theology of worship.

That same year, theologian and megachurch pastor, Dr. John Piper, finished his important book on the Church and missions, Let the Nations Be Glad (1993), with the now famous statement, “missions exists because worship does not.” It should be noted that Piper had already published his well-known book, Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist (1986), which, though not normally thought of as a book on worship, presses the issue that delighting in God is the chief duty of the believer.

Then, in 2002, Piper published one of the best theological overviews of New Testament worship teaching in Brothers, We Are Not Professionals: A Plea to Pastors for Radical Ministry. Also during this period the Southern Baptist publishing house, Broadman & Holman, released Henry Blackaby’s, Experiencing God: How to Live the Full Adventure of Knowing and Doing the Will of God.

Although these books investigate the breadth and need for a theology of worship, they still did not provide specific curricula for training local congregational worship leadership. Our examination of this history and its implications for today will unfold as this series continues.