History and Philosophy of Worship – WRSP 320

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/28/2020

Course Description

This is the study of the Revival Movement, overview of British and American hymnology, the Great Awakenings, and Evangelical Worship practices as compared to biblical principles through church history. A study is made of the modern worship movements and practices, including: Liturgical; traditional; blended; and modern publishers of contemporary Christian music: Integrity, Vineyard, Passion, and Maranatha worship models. (Crosslisted with MUSC 313)




In recent years, the worship practices of the church, particularly within the evangelical community, have changed dramatically. These changes can create issues for individuals who affirm the new paradigms, as well as those who favor older models. This reality, however, is not new, as worship practices have often changed throughout history. Therefore, it is imperative that the worship leader understands the historical developments of worship throughout the ages and is able to make applications to evangelical communities today. Without a strong understanding of the philosophical framework that drove these changes, worship leaders will be ill-equipped to construct personal philosophical frameworks for worship or to deal with the ever-changing worship landscape within the 21st-century church.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Articulate the Old Testament organizational structure for worship.
  2. Identify and communicate historical worship practices from biblical times to the present day.
  3. Explain how the worship of the OT through the early 21st century applies to today’s worship models.
  4. Articulate a personal philosophy of worship by evaluating worship principles and practices throughout history, making applications for 21st-century evangelical congregations.
  5. Evaluate philosophical frameworks for worship and identify strengths and weaknesses.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (3)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to create a thread in response to the provided prompt for each forum. Each thread must be at least 250 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge with at least 1 citation. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to at least 2 classmates’ threads. Each reply must be at least 150 words. Current Turabian format must be used.

Book Report

The student will compose a 9–10-page book report covering Perspectives on Christian Worship: Five Views. After providing a brief 1-page summary for specific chapters of the book, the student will analyze its content, highlighting both the strengths and weaknesses of the various perspectives provided. The report must cite content from the book and must be written in current Turabian format.

Philosophy of Worship Paper

The student will craft a 5–6-page personal philosophy of worship that is informed by historical models for worship and offers applications for the 21st-century church. The paper must be written in current Turabian format and must include at least 3 scholarly references.

Case Study Paper

The student will evaluate the worship practices of a specific time period and/or group. The paper must be 8–9 pages and must include a brief discussion of the background of the time period and/or group, a summary of the worship practices, and a discussion of its strengths and weaknesses. The paper must be written in current Turabian format and must include at least 4 scholarly references.

Story of Worship Project

The student will outline the story of worship from creation to present day. The student will supply the requested information for the various sections listed on the provided Story of Worship Worksheet, which is located on Blackboard. The worksheet must include a title page, a bibliography, section headings, and footnotes in current Turabian format.

Quizzes (5)

Each quiz will cover the Reading & Study material from the assigned module/week. Each quiz will be open-book/open-notes, contain 4 essay questions, and have a time limit of 1 hour and 30 minutes. The answer to each question must be 50–100 words.