Book Review - Exploring the Worship Spectrum:Six Views

I've been remiss in this. I read this book a while ago, with the full intention of writing this review. But it got sidetracked, until I was reminded by a question on Fred Mc Kinnon's blog.

Exploring the Worship Spectrum: Six Views (Zondervan), edited by Paul Engle and Paul Basden, is a follow up to Basden's The Worship Maze: Finding a Style to Fit Your Church. The book is presented in a counterpoint fashion. In short, the editors have assembled six worshippers from six varying styles: Formal Liturgical, Traditional Hymn-based, Contemporary Music-driven, Charismatic, Blended, and Emerging.

Each one of the contributors has an impressive list of credentials. Many are academicians, some clergy. The structure of the book is such that each contributor lays out an argument for his or her particular style of worship; its strengths, in some cases its weaknesses, its history and place in the church. The other five then offer counterpoints to each essay. So, for instance, you get a view on Contemporary worship from someone experienced in Formal Liturgical worship.

The book is well written and a quick read, although the language of the essays is at times lofty and academically dry. The forward by Paul Basden is something that every worship leader should read, and there are nuggets and pearls throughout the entire book that can be quite valuable to all worship leaders, and everyone trying to discover what forms of worship suit them.

With all the book's strengths, it has one glaring weakness: it fails utterly to take into account ethnic worship. It seems apparent that none of these writers has been in an African-American Gospel church, or a Spanish Pentecostal church to experience worship. There are so many other styles and genre's of worship than listed here, and that's just in the U.S. While the goal of the book is lofty and laudable, it's scope is far too narrow. (And how can anyone discuss Biblical worship and not mention Miriam?)

All that said, the book is a valuable resource for anyone involved in worship, or interested in different worship styles.


  1. Thanks for the review, Mike. I *sounds* like the book was written just for the white English church market - that may have been a commercial decision (I doubt ethnic churches would buy such a book) or editorial - to contain the size.

    Just a guess.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts