Presbyterian Worship

Resources for learning more about Presbyterian and Reformed Worship

  1. Westminster Confession of Faith Chapter 21 "Of Religious Worship, and the Sabbath Day" The Confession provides an excellent summary of biblical worship and the proper elements to be found in a worship service.
  2. The Directory for the Worship of God (BCO 47-63). As discussed in class, this section of our BCO is not constitutionally binding except for a few chapters. However, it does state "The Directory for Worship is an approved guide and should be taken seriously as the mind of the Church agreeable to the Standards." You will learn about the proper elements of a worship service, who is allowed to do what in a Lord's Day service, and even a final chapter encouraging family worship at home.
  3. Worship by Hughes Oliphant Old. Old was unique among liturgical theologians in that he was Presbyterian. In this book, he breaks down worship into specific chapters, "ministry of the word," "ministry of praise," "ministry of prayer," etc. His writing is engaging as well as informative. I highly recommend this work to orient your thoughts on how we worship.
  4. Worshipping with Calvin by Terry Johnson. The long-time pastor of Savannah's Independent Presbyterian Church has made it his mission and ministry return evangelical worship to its Protestant roots. This is a thorough argument for traditional Presbyterian worship.
  5. Does God Care How We Worship? by Ligon Duncan. RTS Chancellor and former pastor of the historic First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, MS (where Pete served as an intern) has blessed the church with this short but helpful work on worship. Some of you asked for resources on the "regulative principle of worship." I recommend Duncan's book to help you learn more about that topic.
  6. Trinity Hymnal  We are a hymnal church. We use them every Lord's Day. I encourage everyone to have one in their home. Use it for family worship, catechism study, or even your own private devotions.

Documentary and a seminary class
  1. There was an excellent documentary put out a couple of years ago on worship called Spirit and Truth: A Film About Worship. It features some familiar faces for us at the Kirk (Terry Johnson, Neil Stewart, and JC Cunningham). Here is the trailer: 
2. Ligon Duncan also did an excellent lecture series on worship. It covers the biblical, theological, and historical issues as well as a huge overview of hymnody throughout church history. Check out the class at the RTS website here.

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