Worship By The Book – D.A. Carson
I’ve been slowly working my way through Carson’s excellent look at worship as it relates to scripture. Though not a long book, it’s been a slow read for me because I’ve continued to flip back to reread something or make sure I highlighted a section for further thought. In fact, upon finishing it, I felt pretty sad because the book has become such a big part of my ministry reading.
The title might be a little misleading, though. Carson and the other writers certainly do build a worship philosophy from scripture, but the book also has a decidedly “liturgical” slant. It’s most definitely a textbook – it attempts to form a scripturally sound definition of worship, traces the “versions” of church today from it’s beginnings and provides numerous examples of service orders, ways to plan worship, etc.
I came away with lots of good stuff and a few key principles that have strengthened my worship leading. There’s much to be learned here about taking seriously our role as communicators, protecting our “free church” philosophy from compartmentalizing worship and the importance of edification in our weekly gatherings. There’s also an amazing section of Thomas Cranmer…and interesting guy if there ever was one!
It’s not a how-to book. There aren’t any song suggestions, no one tells you to practice your piano and even the service samples seem to be more focused highlighting differences that promoting assimilation. As long as you go in with an open mind, you’ll be blessed and taught by the wisdom of these authors. For most of us worship leaders, it’s probably the closest thing to a seminary textbook we’ll ever read.
Go buy it today!