History and Philosophy of Worship – WRSP 320

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 02/03/2022

Course Description

This course invites students to develop a philosophy of worship through a survey of historical and contemporary worship practices. Beginning with the biblical foundations of worship, the course moves chronologically through the Middle Ages, Reformation, Revival Movement, Great Awakenings, and more recent Evangelical worship practices up to the present day. Concurrently, students will encounter and evaluate modern-day approaches to worship, which will serve as models for their own philosophical approaches. 

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


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.

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 the Course Overview.

Discussions (3)

Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to create a thread in response to the provided prompt. 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 Assignment

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 Assignment

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 Assignment

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 Assignment

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 Template. The assignment must include a title page, a bibliography, section headings, and footnotes in current Turabian format.

Quizzes (5)

Each quiz will cover the Learn 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.