Books & Articles

Here is list of recommended reading. Cultivating God-Centered Worship does not necessarily subscribe to all the content of these books and articles.


For the Glory of God: Recovering a Biblical Theology of Worship

By: Daniel I. Block

For the Glory

Current discussions about worship are often driven by pragmatics and personal preferences rather than by the teaching of Scripture. True worship, however, is our response to God’s gracious revelation; in order to be acceptable to God, worship must be experienced on God’s terms.

Respected Old Testament scholar Daniel Block examines worship in the Bible, offering a comprehensive biblical foundation and illuminating Old Testament worship practices and principles. He develops a theology of worship that is consistent with the teachings of Scripture and is applicable for the church today. He also introduces readers to a wide range of issues related to worship. The book, illustrated with diagrams, charts, and pictures, will benefit professors and students in worship and Bible courses, pastors, and church leaders.

Please see Shawn’s review of this book as published in Artistic Theologian.



Jubilate II, Church Music in Worship and Renewal

By: Donald P. Hustad


No matter where we worship, we are faced today with the changing nature of worship. Hustad traces the history of music and worship, marking the many times in the life of the church that music and worship have undergone significant, and often painful, renewal. The context given by Hustad helps us to better understand the changing dynamics of worship today. The goal of church music is to serve the purposes of God, which Hustad identifies as worship, proclamation, education, pastoral care, and fellowship. In defining church music in this way, Hustad provides us with a different tool by which to measure excellence and appropriateness. Worship planners will appreciate Hustad’s attention to the details of worship and church music as well as his underlying realism and common sense regarding what is feasible for local congregations. Funerals, weddings, soloists, applause, evangelism are all topics addressed in this discussion. This book will be instructive no matter what musical or theological background the reader brings to it.



Singing and Making Music: Issues in Church Music Today

By: Timothy S. Jones


32 provocative essays on hymnody and psalmody, corporate worship issues, composers and composition. Exploring Scripture’s teaching on the role of music, Jones provides wisdom about best practice in the church.



A Taste of Heaven: Worship in the Light of Eternity

By: R. C. Sproul




Revolutions in Worldview: Understanding the Flow of Western Thought

Ed. Andrew Hoffecker


Revolutions in Worldview: Understanding the Flow of Western Thought traces the historical development of the Western mind through ten eras. It explores the fundamental ideas that revolutionized the way in which people thought and acted from the ancient Greeks and the biblical writers through the Medieval, Renaissance, Reformation, Enlightenment, Modern, and Postmodern periods.



The Oxford History of Christian Worship

By: Geoffrey Wainwright and Karen B. Westerfield Tucker


The Oxford History of Christian Worship is a comprehensive and authoritative history of the origins and development of Christian worship to the present day. Backed by an international roster of experts as contributors, this new book will examine the liturgical traditions of Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant, and Pentecostal traditions throughout history and across the world. With 240 photographs and 10 maps, the full geographical spread of Christianity is covered, including Europe, North America, Latin America, Africa, East Asia, and the Pacific. Following contemporary trends in scholarship, it will cover social and cultural contexts, material culture and the arts.

Written to be accessible to the educated layperson, this unique and beautiful volume will also appeal to clergy and liturgists and more generally to students and scholars of the liturgy, Christian theology, church history, and world history.



Reformation Thought: An Introduction

By: Allister, E. McGrath


Reformation Thought, 4th edition offers an ideal introduction to the central ideas of the European reformations for students of theology and history. Written by the bestselling author and renowned theologian, Alister McGrath, this engaging guide is accessible to students with no prior knowledge of Christian theology. This new edition of a classic text has been updated throughout with the very latest scholarship. Includes greater coverage of the Catholic reformation, the counter-reformation, and the impact of women on the reformation. Explores the core ideas and issues of the reformation in terms that can be easily understood by those new to the field. Student-friendly features include images, updated bibliographies, a glossary, and a chronology of political and historical ideas. This latest edition retains all the features which made the previous editions so popular with readers, while McGrath’s revisions have ensured it remains the essential student guide to the subject.



A New Song for an Old World: Musical Thought in the Early Church

By: Calvin R. Stapert

New Song

Even as worship wars in the church and music controversies in society at large continue to rage, many people do not realize that conflict over music goes back to the earliest Christians as they sought to live out the “new song” of their faith. In A New Song for an Old World Calvin Stapert challenges contemporary Christians to learn from the wisdom of the early church in the area of music.

Stapert draws parallels between the pagan cultures of the early Christian era and our own multicultural realities, enabling readers to comprehend the musical ideas of early Christian thinkers, from Clement and Tertullian to John Chrysostom and Augustine. Stapert’s expert treatment of the attitudes of the early church toward psalms and hymns on the one hand, and pagan music on the other, is ideal for scholars of early Christianity, church musicians, and all Christians seeking an ancient yet relevant perspective on music in their worship and lives today.



Wiser Than Despair: The Evolution of Ideas in the Relationship of Music and the Christian Church

By: Quentin Faulkner


This book addresses a highly complex and elusive matter: why the Christian Church was able to contribute so generously to music from its earliest days through the 18th century and why it has suffered since that time from a creeping artistic paralysis. Modern attitudes and assumptions often find the values and accomplishments of the Christian worldview enigmatic, even repellant, and church music has come to be one of the primary areas in which the tension between conflicting worldviews continues to be worked out on a daily basis. This thoughtful work investigates the historical interaction of theology, philosophy and music, and will be of interest to church musicians, theologians, music historians and cultural anthropologists. In its concluding chapter this work explores a number of basic questions: In what sense, if any, can the arts (and then the fine arts) be considered profoundly significant for modern society? Is there a meaningful role for artists of genius and total commitment? Do the arts (and then the fine arts) have any profound significance for the Church in the modern world? Of what significance, if any, to the Church in the modern world are the great Christian artistic accomplishments of the past? This exploration is by means of excerpts from historical sources, quotations from modern authors, and commentary on both. It calls upon historical, philosophical, theological, liturgical, anthropological, and musical sources and concepts in an attempt to develop a comprehensive understanding of musical developments that have served the Christian church for centuries and that have also provided a rich heritage of art music.


God-Centered Worship

By: Terry Johnson


In this article, Terry Johnson explains the essential difference between God-centered worship and man-centered worship.


Society-for-Classical-Learning-Journal, Winter-2015

This edition of the SCL Journal includes an excellent article by Ken Myers, “Accounting for the Form Knowledge Takes: or, What Do We Mean by  ‘Meaning?’” The author shows that form and content cannot be separated in the consideration of how we come to know.