This era will no doubt be remembered as one where the church most vigorously addressed the renewal of worship. Probably more research and writing centered on liturgy and worship have been produced in the past few decades than during any previous period. Neoorthodox theology within North American mainline Protestantism following World War II led to a renewed interest in Reformation themes. Moreover, the rediscovery of the thinking of Luther, Calvin, Wesley, and others brought about change in the worship of several major denominations. Renewal came to the Roman Catholic church through the leadership of Pope John XXIII (19581963), who convened the Second Vatican Council; the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy formulated by Vatican II set the stage for worship renewal not only within the Roman Catholic sphere but within other Christian communions as well. Equally significant has been the rise of the charismatic movement, a renewal that has spread throughout the world and into nearly every denomination. For the most part, denominations and local churches experiencing worship renewal have been influenced by one or more of these factors. The following three entries explore these themes in depth.
Worship renewalists live by the Reformation axiom semper reformanda: the church must always be renewing itself. In advocating the need for worship and worshipers to be in continual renewal, renewalists recognize the pattern through which movements have moved historically. Normally a new movement becomes institutionalized within a generation, and in turn becomes in need of revitalization. The following six entries call attention to the ongoing task of worship renewal.