Concerns For The Future Of Worship

Source: The Complete Library of Christian Worship, Robert E. Webber, General Editor

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.

An Orthodox Concern

Orthodox historians and theologians trace their tradition back to the apostolic faith of the early centuries of Christian history. This "living tradition" of apostolic Christianity, they hold, is preserved in the worship of today.

A Catholic Concern

The following author maintains that worship reflects the changing perceptions of people involved in the ongoing life of the world. It is imperative, therefore, that worship renewal be a continuous process; listening to the report of the social sciences is one way to promote renewal.

A Mainline Protestant Concern

Worship renewal is a corrective to the individualism of much Protestant worship. The liturgical movement is restoring the corporate nature of worship as well as the balance of Word and Table.

An Evangelical Concern

Evangelicals are awakening to the need for worship renewal. True worship renewal does not come about through superficial measures, but through recognizing that worship studies are an essential discipline of Christian theology. Renewal grows out of attention to the biblical and historical sources of Christian worship and the provision of the Holy Spirit.

A Charismatic Concern

Charismatic Christians want to reclaim the fullness of the gospel, particularly the work of the Spirit that results in the experience of God's presence, the realization of the power of God in life, and the response of heartfelt praise.

A Praise-and-worship Concern

The worship style known as "praise and worship" may be described as a continuously flowing style in which more upbeat songs of celebration ("praise") are combined with, or lead into, slower songs or choruses of a more devotional nature ("worship"). The focus in praise and worship is on entering into the presence of the Lord and offering personal adoration to Him through corporate musical expression.