“God inhabits the praises of His people” Psalm 22:3. With this verse as the Theological lynchpin, a new way of worshipping God took root, and continues to this day.
New forms of worship have transformed the face of the American church over the past fifty years. Drawing on a wide range of primary sources, including interviews with dozens of important stakeholders and key players, the new book “A History of Contemporary Praise & Worship: Understanding the Ideas That Reshaped the Protestant Church” (Baker Academic), by two worship experts, Lim Swee Hong and Lester Ruth, offer the first comprehensive history of Contemporary Praise & Worship. The authors provide insight into where this phenomenon began (by the way, it was NOT the Jesus People hippies in California… But was in Jan ’46 in Canada) and how it reshaped the Protestant church. They also emphasize the span of denominational, regional, and ethnic expressions of contemporary worship, taking into account the liturgical dynamics involved it its emergence and the dynamics that led to its growth. The authors show that Contemporary Praise & Worship came about through theological reflection on the Bible, not merely as the result of cultural impulses. In this interview we hit emotionalism, hype, the goal of worship, liturgy, trinitarian theology, compelling artists (Kanye West, the Gettys, Bethel, Jesus Culture, Sandra Sandra McCracken).
Lester Ruth is a historian of Christian worship with particular interests in the early church and the last 250 years, especially the history of contemporary praise and worship. Dr. Ruth is a member of the Charles Wesley Society and served as president until the spring of 2016. He recently co-authored Lovin’ On Jesus: A Concise History of Contemporary Worship with Dr. Swee Hong Lim. He and Dr. Lim are working on a larger history of this same liturgical phenomenon to be published in 2021. This upcoming book is tentatively entitled Presence and Purpose: The Parallel History of Praise & Worship and Contemporary Worship. You can follow him on Twitter here
Lim Swee Hong is the Deer Park Associate Professor of Sacred Music at Emmanuel College, and the Director of the Master of Sacred Music Program. Before joining Emmanuel on July 1, 2012, Swee Hong served as an Assistant Professor of Church Music at Baylor University, Texas. Prior to his work at Baylor, he served as a Lecturer of Worship, Liturgy, and Music at Trinity Theological College in Singapore.
BUY THIS, AND YOUR BOOKS, HERE: We here at the Layman’s Lounge are glad you’ve enjoyed our latest offering. We believe deeply in the Lordship of Christ over all of life and are eager to think about even how to shop to the glory of God. That might mean, we’d suggest, supporting human-scale businesses that do good work, that are in some ways consistent with our hopes to see a reformation in culture and in the habits of our public lives. To that end, we’d invite you to order any books mentioned here from our friends at Hearts & Minds, a family-owned, indie bookstore in Dallastown PA. Use the promo code LL20 (or just say you heard about them in the Lounge) and they will deduct 20% off your order. (There may be a few exceptions if books are out-of-print, self-published or rare.) Just type in what you want at the interactive, secure order form at their website: www.heartsandmindsbooks.com or send Byron an inquiry at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can call them at 717-246-3333.