Discerning the Spirits: A Guide to Thinking about Christian Worship Today.

Plantinga, Cornelius, Jr. & Rozeboom, Sue A. Discerning the Spirits: A Guide to Thinking about Christian Worship Today. Eerdmans, 2003.

Cornelius Plantinga Jr. and Sue Rozeboom bring together twenty-seven excerpted articles organized under five chapters exploring various dimensions of contemporary Christian worship in North America. The result of the first collaborative effort from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, this book explores the history, theology, and practice of Christian worship from multiple perspectives. “Things of the Spirit,” the first chapter that also serves as an introduction to the rest of the book, examines the nature and controversy surrounding worship styles today, the major contenders being “traditional worship” and “contemporary worship.” Chapter 2, “Costa Mesa, South Barrington, and Rome: The Rise of Contemporary Worship,” features five excerpted articles running into the main text and describe the rise of contemporary worship style across cultures and ethnicities; additionally, it briefly portrays the diversity of opinions that have been generated around what is generally known as contemporary style of worship. Chapter 3, “At the Intersection of the Church and the World,” seeks to address the question: what does it mean to be in the world without belonging to it and how does contemporary worship reflects or fails to reflect this? Particular emphasis is placed on examining worship as a cultural phenomena. Chapter 4, “The Bond of Peace: The Worshiping Church,” examines those aspects of Christian worship that are unifying and common to all Christians; the emphasis here is on community and union with Christ in worship. Chapter 5, “God’s Story and Ours: The Worshiping Church,” presents a detailed analysis of what transpires during the process of worship and how the participants engage with God’s story during the process of worship. The book aims to set the tone and context on how controversial discussions about the nature of Christian worship may be conducted today.