History and Philosophy of Worship – WRSP 502

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

Course Description

This is a study of the history of worship from the Old Testament, the early church, through the modern period. Emphasis is given to changes in worship practices resulting from the Reformation, the Great Awakenings, revival movements, large evangelistic crusades of the 1940s and 1950s, Jesus Movement, and the Praise and Worship movement.




At the heart of successful worship leadership is the preparation and presentation of worship. The course seeks to help the worship leader accomplish these tasks on a regular basis by raising awareness of the historical development of worship and how it has and is influencing worshipers within the evangelical tradition.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Articulate a personal philosophy of Biblical worship citing key biblical passages that help formulate a personal view of worship.
  2. Identify the key cultural, historic, and political events, musical developments, revivals and personalities that shaped and influenced evangelical worship as we know it today.
  3. Describe how church history, music history, and the history of worship and music relate.
  4. Discuss the principles for worship leadership taught by Jesus and practiced by his disciples.
  5. Analyze how philosophical worldviews that influence evangelical worship practices.
  6. Articulate the “story of worship” from Genesis through present day.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations/notes

Course Requirements Checklist

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

Discussion Board Forums (6)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student will complete 6 Discussion Board Forums during this course based on the Morgan, Then Sing’s My Soul, book. The student is required to post 1 thread of at least 250 words. The student must then post 3 replies of at least 150 words. For each thread and reply, assertions must be supported with at least 2 citations in current Turabian format. Acceptable sources include course reading materials. (Outcomes: A–F).

Things to Remember (4)

Throughout this course the student will read Worship Through the Ages and articulate the main points that should be remembered about worship within the selected passages. Each review must be no less than half a page (250 words) and no more than 2 pages. (Outcomes: C and E).

Webber Book Critique

The student must complete a chapter-by-chapter book report of Worship Old and New by Robert Webber. The student must follow the template provided and write an analysis and a 1-sentence statement of what was learned for each chapter. Each chapter report must be no more than 1-page long. (Outcomes: A, C, and D).

Philosophy of Worship Paper

The student will write an 8–10-page paper that provides biblical, theological, historical, and methodological criteria for his/her personal philosophy of worship. This is a formal paper and must conform to current Turabian writing style. The paper must include footnotes and a bibliography of at least 8–10 sources and must be submitted through SafeAssign. (Outcomes: A and D)

The Story of Worship Capstone Paper: Bibliography

In order to prepare for writing the capstone paper, the student will gather and submit a bibliography comprised of at least 18–20 sources related to the topic of the capstone paper. Only 10 sources are due for this particular assignment. The citations must be gathered from course materials, presentations, magazines, articles, and other scholarly sources. These sources must conform to current Turabian format. (Outcomes: B, C, D, and F)

The Story of Worship Capstone Paper

The student will complete a formal writing project, which is a narrative that articulates the timeline for worship from Genesis 1 through the present day. The research paper must be 18–20 pages and incorporate at least 18–20 sources. It must articulate historical, biblical, philosophical, and personality influences impacting the development of worship in the evangelical tradition. The student must use the Towns and Whaley text as a primary resource. The student must use the Timeline Chart from the Appendix of the Worship Through the Ages text as a guide for completing the paper. This is a formal paper and must conform to current Turabian writing style. Footnotes and bibliography are required. The paper must be submitted through SafeAssign. (Outcomes: B, C, D, and F)

Tests (3)

The student has 1 hour to complete Test 1 and Test 3, and 2 hours to complete Test 2. Each test is open-book/open-notes with questions derived from the Towns and Whaley textbook.

Test 1 is comprised of 25 true/false questions from chapters 1–6.

Test 2 is comprised of 50 multiple choice questions from chapters 1–10.

Test 3 is comprised of 25 matching questions from chapters 1–16. (Outcomes B, C, D and F).