In his Introduction to Perspectives on Christian Worship: Five Views, editor J. Matthew Pinson reflects upon the diversity of approaches each of the contributors takes in defending his perspective on Christian Worship. He states: The contributors’ perspectives basically correspond to the different points along the spectrum of Christian worship.
Timothy Quill represents the liturgical wing of Christian worship. While he represents the traditional Lutheran approach to liturgy, his chapter gives voice to the broader liturgical approach in the modern worship debate. Quill believes that the historic liturgy, profoundly shaped by a sacramental vision of the Christian faith, is the only kind of worship that will allow Christ to be “present in Word and sacrament” and in them give out “His gifts of forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation.”
Ligon Duncan represents the traditional evangelical approach to worship. While he comes from a Reformed-Presbyterian tradition, he has sought to discuss the commonalities between the traditional approaches of groups as diverse as Anabaptists, Baptists, Congregationalists, Presbyterians, and even some Methodists and low-church Anglicans.57 While there are many differences between these groups—such as the degree of emotion, the degree to which some of these groups have been influenced by revivalism, or the degree of formality—Duncan focuses on the similarities that unify traditional evangelicals in the modern worship debate and distinguish them from other perspectives.
Dan Wilt represents the contemporary worship approach, which he argues makes the expression and experience of contemporary music a central element of Christian worship. Indeed, music constitutes the “worship component” of a Christian gathering. Wilt’s approach does not eliminate hymns from worship. Rather, it combines them with contemporary praise choruses, using the “instrumentation of contemporary, radio-play music.” Wilt presents a contemporary worship that identifies itself with contemporary pop culture, enabling everyday people to sing simple lyrics that express fresh spiritual impressions “for the moment”—“energetic emotions . . . hot tears and hearty laughter, exuberant singing and rambunctious dance . . . [and] wildly expressed passion” that arise from “a sense of God’s loving immanence.”
Michael Lawrence and Mark Dever describe a blended worship that combines traditional and contemporary elements in a nuanced way that is deeply rooted in Reformational and Free Church categories and tradition. Their approach represents the attempts of many within both conservative evangelical and mainline Protestant churches who are attempting to incorporate certain contemporary features into their worship while remaining tethered to their historic traditions and worship practices.
Dan Kimball presents the ever-evolving emerging church movement, which seeks to share the gospel within the context of postmodern culture. Kimball presents another sort of “blended” worship that hopes to provide people in a postmodern age with culturally relevant worship forms that resonate with what people are accustomed to in their culture. Yet he wishes to incorporate a variety of Christian liturgical and mystical traditions into worship. This results in a radically diverse worship experience that is at once highly aesthetic and multisensory, cutting-edge in its mixture of contemporary musical genres, and ready to incorporate and reinterpret traditional liturgical forms for postmodern people.