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The Future of Protestant Worship: Beyond the Worship Wars [Paperback]

By Ronald P. Byars (Author)
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Item description for The Future of Protestant Worship: Beyond the Worship Wars by Ronald P. Byars...

Over the past several years churches have engaged in an ongoing debate between two different styles of worship, loosely categorized as traditional and contemporary. Here, professor and longtime pastor Ronald Byars argues that many of the differences between the two styles are superficial--and that ultimately both styles embrace the same anthropocentric worldview that grew out of the Enlightenment. Authentic worship, he challenges, is theocentric, not anthropocentric, and therefore worship can and must be both responsive to contemporary culture and grounded in history and tradition. The answer to the debate is not found in pleasing congregants but in exploring worship that is biblical, that honors our communion with the saints, and that takes seriously the ways that our culture is reshaping us. Byars concludes with a narrative description of a Protestant worship service that is both authentic and postmodern.

Publishers Description

Over the past several years, churches have engaged in an ongoing debate between two different styles of worship--"traditional" and "contemporary." Here, Ronald Byars argues that many of the differences between the two styles are superficial. Authentic worship, being wholly theocentric, can and must be both responsive to contemporary culture and grounded in history and tradition. Thus, rather than merely trying to please their members, congregations must focus on exploring worship that is biblical, honors our communion with the saints, and takes seriously the ways that our culture is reshaping us. He concludes with a description of an authentic, postmodern Protestant worship service.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Westminster John Knox Press
Pages   138
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.96" Width: 5.08" Height: 0.43"
Weight:   0.38 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Aug 30, 2002
Publisher   Westminster John Knox Press
ISBN  0664225721  
ISBN13  9780664225728  

Availability  65 units.
Availability accurate as of May 26, 2017 02:03.
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More About Ronald P. Byars

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Ronald P. Byars is Professor Emeritus of Preaching and Worship at Union Theological Seminary and Presbyterian School of Education in Richmond, Virginia. He is the author of several books, including"Christian Worship" in the Foundations of Christian Faith series, "The Future of Protestant Worship", and "The Bread of Life".

Ronald P. Byars currently resides in Lexington Richmond, in the state of Kentucky. Ronald P. Byars was born in 1950.

Ronald P. Byars has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Calvin Institute of Christian Worship Liturgical Studies
  2. Foundations of Christian Faith
  3. Interpretation: Resources for the Use of Scripture in the Church

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Clergy > Church Institutions & Organizations

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > Worship & Litergy

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Future of Protestant Worship: Beyond the Worship Wars?

a must for those who lead and plan worship  Dec 31, 2006
All pastors, worship leaders, and church musicians would do well to read this book and then sit down together to discuss it. I am responsible for worship planning in a large United Methodist church and we struggle constantly in trying to find labels other than "traditional" and "contemporary" to describe what we strive for in worship. Byars helps tremendously in articulating what we really mean and want to say - and should be saying to those in our congregations. His thoughts and insights on liturgy are amazing. For those of you frightened by the "L" word, you need to hear what he has to say!

I particularly appreciated Byars' perspective on keeping Christ central in worship through book, bath, & meal. Too often, worship planning is a knee jerk reaction to the marketing cries around us. This book helped me realize that what the masses cry out for isn't necessarily what they want or need. Sounds a little arrogant, I know, but he comes across much more gentle than I.

In short, this is a thought provoking book on protestant worship that deals with some very heavy material in a very easy to digest manner.
Provocative Assessment of Now & Future Worship  May 9, 2003
There is much to be commended about this book. It values theology from above, sacramental and passionate. It values Word and Sacrament as the center. It seeks to be above all else God pleasing and culture relevant where and if possible. It sees seeker services as primarily evangelism (in the train of tent revivals) and not enduring in the long run. It emphasizes the seriousness of God's presence and what God would want to do in the Divine Service.

It should be challenged on its insistence that men or women as worship leaders is immaterial; that there needs to be a confluence between Enlightenment generated worship and postmodern, all the while maintaining the central elements: Word and Sacraments.

Very worthwhile read and source of discussion and contemplation for all traditions.

Spirit-filled and vibrant  Nov 27, 2002
The author uses plain language to assess what is wrong with the "worship wars" going on in mainline Protestant churches and how to get past them. He identifies the problems with labeling one form of worship "traditional" and another "contemporary." For one thing, both are based on an Enlightenment paradigm that shied away from ritual and mystery. For another, many people find both kinds of services lacking in depth, and if done without the Spirit, both fail to praise and honor God. His solution, similar to the "convergence" worship advocated by Robert Webber, is to take many styles of music and mix them in a service that reflects an emphasis on "bath, book and meal" -- baptism, the Word of God and the Lord's Supper -- in a joyous and reverent manner. It's also a service that moves beyond tons of words or superficiality to build community and to praise God. Although I disagree with some of his solutions (a pastor splashing her hands in a baptismal font seems irreverent), I find his candor refreshing and his focus on celebrating the Risen Christ a boon.

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