Reformation Worship: Liturgies from the Past for the Present (eBook)

Jonathan Gibson
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Reformation Worship is an invaluable tool for pastors, worship leaders, and anyone interested in seeking to craft public worship services in the great tradition of the early Reformers.

Authors Jonathan Gibson and Mark Earngey help to transform corporate worship by including twenty-six liturgies, along with historical introductions that provide fresh analysis into their origins.

Christians learn to worship from the generations of God's people who have worshipped before them.

We sing psalms, because thousands of years ago, God's people sang them. Five hundred years ago, the leaders of the Reformation transformed Christian worship by encouraging the active participation and understanding of the individual worshiper.

Christian worship today is built on this foundation. Jonathan Gibson and Mark Earngey have made worship resources from the Reformation era accessible by compiling the most comprehensive collection of liturgies from that era into newly translated modern English from the original German, Dutch, French, Latin, and early English.

The structure of the liturgies, language, and rhythm continue to communicate the gospel in word and sacrament today. They provide a deep sense of God's call to worship and an appreciation for the Reformers as, first and foremost, men who wanted to help God's people worship.

This book will also be of great interest to theological scholars and students who wish to understand early Reformation leaders. A useful tool for individuals, Reformation Worship can be used as a powerful devotional to guide daily prayer and reflection.

By providing a connection to Reformation worship, Gibson and Earngey hope their work will inspire readers to experience what John Calvin described as the purpose of all church worship: "To what end is the preaching of the Word, the sacraments, the holy congregations themselves, and indeed the whole external government of the church, except that we may be united to God?"


Jonathan Gibson, PhD, is ordained in the International Presbyterian Church, UK, and is the assistant professor of Old Testament and Hebrew, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia. He is coeditor with Mark Earngey of Reformation Worship, contributor to and coeditor with David Gibson of From Heaven He Came and Sought Her, and Covenant Continuity and Fidelity: A Study of Inner-Biblical Allusion and Exegesis in Malachi. He is married to Jacqueline, and they have four children.

Mark Earngey (DPhil candidate, Oxford) is ordained in the Anglican Church of Australia (Diocese of Sydney) and is a doctoral candidate in historical theology at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford University. He is coeditor with Jonathan Gibson of Reformation Worship. Mark is married to Tanya, and they have three children.

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"Jonathan Gibson and Mark Earngey, using skillful academic scholarship, have assembled one of the most eminently practical volumes for ministers and church leaders who oversee public worship. A perusal of the various liturgies and service orders reveals how much freedom there is to craft services of worship, and yet at the same time the commonalities shine through and begin to impress themselves on the reader. This book, then, protects from two dangers. On the one hand, it keeps us from conducting worship in a way that is cut off from the wisdom of our Christian ancestors; on the other hand, it prevents the rigidity of thinking only one order of service is biblical. I highly recommend this book!"
Tim Keller, Pastor Emeritus, Redeemer Presbyterian Churches, New York City

"Much is written today about Reformed worship without a lot of engagement with formative liturgies of our tradition. This well-selected collection makes it easier to see in concrete, practical terms how the truths of God's Word shaped the worship of God's people. I'll definitely be using this in class."
Michael Horton, J. Gresham Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics, Westminster Seminary California

"This is a long, dense book filled with five-hundred-year-old liturgies, so you might not believe me when I say I am absolutely thrilled that this volume is seeing the light of day. Every Reformed and Presbyterian pastor with a book budget should get this on their shelves. The vision for worship presented in these pages is refreshing, reverent, realistic, and just what we need in our day. Corporate worship rooted in the Reformation can be, and should be, so much more than four songs, a sermon, and a closing prayer."
Kevin DeYoung, Senior Pastor, Christ Covenant Church (Matthews, NC); Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary (Charlotte, NC)

"In this extraordinary volume, the Reformation is played out, not on the vast scale of European nations, but in the simple, familiar terrain of the Sunday Service. What did the Reformation look like in church? That's the question this volume answers with care, specificity, and helpful interpretive essays, with lots of primary sources. Having read this book thoroughly, I can say that I've been personally helped by it spiritually. The gospel is presented in the form and substance of these beautiful examples of corporate worship, from which we have much to learn today. I highly recommend you buy, read, and then use this book."
Mark Dever, Pastor, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington, DC; President,

"Calvin once said, 'The whole form of divine worship is nothing but mere corruption.' At Calvin's Geneva, at Zwingli's Zurich, in Knox's Scotland, and, of course, at Luther's Wittenberg, God used the Reformers not merely to bring about theological reform but to bring about a reform of all matters of church practice, especially the liturgy and form of worship. This delightful book brings together a supremely rich and rewarding collection of these Reformation liturgies. May it serve the church today as we seek to praise and adore God in biblical fidelity and earnestness."
Stephen J. Nichols, President, Reformation Bible College

"The book you now hold in your hands, or that perhaps lies on your desk, is a resource of almost unparalleled richness in its field, representing as it does an immense labor of love on the part of its editors and translators. Here, gathered together in one large volume, are liturgies crafted by some of the leading figures in the Protestant Reformation and employed by them to aid worship in a wide variety of places and churches."
Sinclair B. Ferguson, Chancellor's Professor of Systematic Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary (from the Foreword)

"Every church has a liturgy or pattern of public worship. The question is: Does your church worship God according to his Word? The desire to answer 'yes' with a good conscience energized the sixteenth-century Reformation. Whether we come as eager students of Christian history or as worshipers hungry to bring to God what pleases him, this fascinating book of liturgies provides much food for thought and life. A treasure house of enlightening and helpful material!"
Joel R. Beeke, President, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids

"Learning from the past is part of our Christian fulfillment of the fifth commandment. We honor those who came before us as we listen attentively and allow the past to challenge our present preoccupations. In that very act, we honor the God who placed us in our own time and place, but with this inheritance. Jonathan Gibson and Mark Earngey have done us a great service in making the liturgies of the Reformation accessible to us. The range in this collection is one of its greatest strengths. The deeply theological consideration of what makes for the honoring of God and the edification of his people when they gather, which shapes each of these liturgies, stands in stark contrast to our contemporary preoccupation with entertainment and professionalism. Of course, liturgy is not the only way we worship the God who made us and redeemed us. Worship is undoubtedly an all-of-life affair (Rom. 12:1Ð2). Nevertheless, we need to learn how to respond to God's overflowing grace when we are together, and this resource will serve that need for many years to come."
Mark D. Thompson, Principal, Moore Theological College, Sydney

"Concern for the proper worship of God was central to the Reformation, even as it is central to our most important theological debates today. Nothing is more important than our understanding of worship, for our concept of worship is inescapably tied to our understanding of God and his sovereign authority to reveal the worship he desires, deserves, and demands. This book reminds us that worship matters and must be dictated by the Bible. Reformation Worship is a unique and valuable resource that both pastors and laypeople can turn to repeatedly for biblical wisdom on corporate worship."
R. Albert Mohler, Jr., President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

"We are in the midst of a fifty year-long, worldwide recovery and resurgence of Reformation theology, especially in the doctrine of God, Scripture, and salvation. A crying need remains for a recovery of the Reformation doctrine of the church, and especially its theology of worship. That's why this book is so timely and important. We study the Reformed liturgies of the past, not because the past is infallible and finally authoritative, nor because we pine for some golden age to which we may repair, but because we want to learn the inner logic of their biblical convictions and practice, see the blind spots of our own, and more faithfully lead God's people in his praise in our own time. One thing our Reformation forbears understood with crystal clarity: A theology of grace requires a pattern of worship that is consistent with it, flows out of it and fosters it, if it is to flourish in the church. Learn this, and a hundred other vital truths as you read and reflect on Reformation Worship."
J. Ligon Duncan, Chancellor and CEO, Reformed Theological Seminary

"Gibson and Earngey provide a rich treasury of resources from within the Reformed tradition that help inform contemporary worship planning, reformation, revitalization, and innovation that is needed for churches remaining faithful to gospel principles and mission. Those considering what it means to reflect the Reformers' desire to'reform worship according to the Word of God' will find many of their principles well described to inform today's practice."
Bryan Chapell, Pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church; author of Christ-Centered Worship.

"A brilliant resource! This volume should be in the hands of every minister, worship leader, seminary student, and liturgist."
Andrew Atherstone, Latimer Research Fellow at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, and member of the Church of England's Liturgical Commission

"With historical accuracy and fresh insights, this volume highlights both the unity and diversity among the Reformers' worship practices—a liturgical treasure-trove."
Mika Edmondson, Pastor, New City Fellowship OPC

"The renewal of the Reformed churches as theologically, confessionally, and faithfully catholic will not come about through better doctrinal formulations, mission and outreach programs, or even more effective preaching per se. The Church is at bottom the liturgical community of God in Christ by the Spirit, and the recovery of this identity and orientation is the tragic missing ingredient in much that passes today for retrieval. Indeed, the lecture-hall or coffee-shop paradigms of worship in many Reformed churches only make audible and visible that we have lost our way. In contrast, 'Where [the eucharistic] Christ is, there is the catholic church,' said Ignatius—and the Reformed tradition has zealously affirmed this biblical and confessional truth. Though often overlooked, the majority of the great figures of the Reformation and post-Reformation periods were actively involved in liturgical reformation by way of the construction of new liturgies, vigorous treatises on the Word and Sacraments, and explanations of the Creeds confessed by the Church. This collection of liturgies by Gibson and Earngey is therefore nothing short of thrilling, not only for its refreshing reminder of what it meant to be Reformed, but for the clear result of such a reminder: A pointer to the way forward, the way we now must go. Reformation Worship ought to be carefully studied by all who lead and participate in Reformed worship and education. The editors are to be enthusiastically thanked for their important work."
Mark Garcia, President & Fellow in Scripture and Theology, Greystone Theological Institute

"The crying need for the Church to rediscover theologically rich liturgy, which is both beautiful and edifying, is ably met here. The four most important words our people hear each week are 'Let us worship God.' This terrific resource for minister and church will help us all to do that better."
Paul Levy, Minister, IPC Ealing, London

"What refreshing treasure has come the Church’s way, from the vintage reserves of Reformation worship! Here we have select, newly translated liturgies to meditate upon, to cull, and then to enrich the gathered worship of God's people. The variety is inspiring and energizing, from Oecolampadius (who implemented the first evangelical liturgy of the Reformation), to Bucer (with his sample confessions and thanksgivings all offered in a single liturgy), to Ursinus (with his remarkably tender pastoral ministrations). As a pastor of over fifty years, who has studied and written on Reformed liturgy, I am jealous of, and for, young pastors who now have this amazing resource. Reformation Worship should be required reading in every theological seminary to train the next generation of pastors how to lead Christian worship each Lord's Day."
R. Kent Hughes, Senior Pastor Emeritus of College Church in Wheaton, and the John Boyer Chair of Culture and Evangelism, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia

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