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Word and Sacrament

Tracing the Theological Movements of Reformed Worship

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Westminster John Knox Press
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In this critical work, liturgical scholar Paul Galbreath brings together key theological insights and historical analysis to offer a theological roadmap of where the Reformed tradition has traveled in order to propose directions for where it is heading.

From the time of John Calvin until today, Reformed theology and worship have acknowledged Word and sacrament as central to its Christian identity. Yet the ways in which Scripture is read and used in worship and the ways in which baptism and the Lord’s Supper are experienced have varied and developed throughout the history of the Reformed church. By exploring key liturgies, confessions, directories for worship, and theological movements, this book examines common theological themes and commitments that have undergirded worship as well as ways that our understandings and practices have developed in light of new contexts and challenges. 

Historical insights from the Reformed tradition provide a basis for exploring patterns of worship that maintain the commitment to Word and sacrament while proposing new ways in which Scripture, baptism, and the Lord’s Supper can be experienced in the postmodern context. The study of how theological insights have prompted liturgical change provides a roadmap for how worship can adapt to address significant concerns that we face in our communities, congregations, and personal lives, such as caring for the earth and responding to the needs of the poor. Altogether, Word and Sacrament offers constructive and practical directions that will lead to congregational renewal.

Martha Moore-Keish writes in her foreword, “Shaped by his years of serving as a pastor, theologian, and seminary professor deeply engaged in liturgical and sacramental renewal, Galbreath argues that our theological presuppositions shape liturgical development. This was true for Calvin in the sixteenth century, for Barth in the early twentieth century, for the formation of the Worshipbook and the Book of Common Worship in the late twentieth century, and it remains true today. Given this reality, he argues, we need to make ‘conscious theological choices for the language and images that we use in worship.”

Word and Sacrament...
Tracing the Theolo...
by Westminster John Knox Press
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