While the focus of my teaching and writing for the past twenty years has included a variety of topics related to Christian ministry and living—including discipleship, philosophy of ministry, culture, ethics, and family, the topic of biblical worship is always at the center.
Thus, it gives me great pleasure to have two books coming out in February on the subject of biblical worship. I would like to take this opportunity to introduce the two books to you and encourage you consider preordering them for yourself, your family, and your church.
Biblical Foundations of Corporate Worship
Free Grace Press
From the publisher’s website:
Ever since Cain and Abel, God’s people have been asking, “What is the proper way to worship God?” In five compelling chapters, Scott Aniol explains that corporate worship theology and practice must be founded in the Word of God. There, we discover that corporate worship’s goal is communion with God through regular, weekly covenant renewal, wherein the entire congregation engages in dialogue with God in a meeting structured around the gospel, toward the goal of spiritual fellowship with God through Christ by the Spirit.
This is a concise, five-chapter book aimed at regular Christians in the pew. It is based off of a five sermon series I preached in our church in Fort Worth last year as a way to remind our congregation of the important, foundational biblical principles that informed how we worship each Lord’s Day. The book is deeply rooted in Scripture, with practical implications for the church’s worship.
In particular, the principles and implications articulated in this book could be described as a theology of Reformed worship. My fear is that many churches that consider themselves Reformed in doctrine are not, in fact, Reformed in their worship. My prayer is that this book can help.
This book would serve pastors who desire to re-affirm themselves in what the Bible has to say about worship, or they could easily use this book in teaching or small group opportunities. Individual Christians and families would also benefit from the book.
Changed from Glory into Glory: The Liturgical Story of the Christian Faith
H&E Publishing / Joshua Press
From the publisher’s website:
Through tracing the liturgical history of the Christian faith from its foundation in Old Testament Israel through the early church, middle ages, Reformation, to the present, this book demonstrates that liturgy forms religion and religion forms liturgy.
One of the best ways to truly understand what lies at the core of the Christian faith is by studying its worship, for corporate worship does something far more significant than many Christians recognize—public worship both reveals belief and forms belief. How a community worships—its content, its liturgy, and its forms of expression—reveals the underlying religious commitments of those who plan and lead the worship. Conversely, corporate worship forms the beliefs of the worshipers. Public worship is not simply about authentic expression of the worshipers; rather, how a church worships week after week progressively shapes their beliefs since those worship practices were cultivated by and embody certain beliefs.
This is why it is so important for church leaders, and indeed all Christians, to carefully identify what kinds of beliefs have shaped their various worship practices so that they will choose to worship in ways that best form their minds and hearts consistent with their theological convictions. That is the goal of this book: studying worship in the Old and New Testaments will reveal how God deliberately prescribed worship that would form his people as he desires, and tracing the evolution of Christian worship from after the close of the New Testament to the present day will help elucidate how theological beliefs affected the worship practices Christians have inherited.
For almost ten years, I taught a graduate class at Southwestern Baptist Seminary on the history and theology of Christian Worship. This book, written during my sabbatical in 2019, is the culmination of the material developed for that course, as well as several others.
This is a lengthier book aimed at pastors, theologians, and undergraduate/graduate students desiring to understand the relationship between the church’s worship and its theology. After an introductory chapter that forms a structure for considering the relationship between worship and theology, the book proceeds to work through the Old Testament, New Testament, Middle Ages, Reformation, Enlightenment, and modern period, tracing the evolution of worship and theology among groups of God’s people.
This book fills a needed void for courses on worship in Bible colleges and seminaries, and it will also be helpful for pastors and other interested Christians who desire to know how worship has changed over time, and in particular, how those changes have both reflected and influenced theological changes.
My prayer is that both of these books will serve churches in thinking biblically about the way we worship!
Please preorder these books today!