Called to Worship, by Vernon M. Whaley

Called 2 WorshipWorship wars are an all to frequent reality among Christians – despite the fact that this should be an oxymoron.  Whaley’s book is an attempt to address the various issues regarding worship by surveying the biblical testimony on the topic from Genesis to Revelation. 

The reader will discover many useful insights into the history of worship practices.  I appreciated the author’s emphasis and evidence for looking at the principles of worship, rather than preferences in worship styles.  Worship is portrayed as heart-felt adoration the is our gift to God rather than a specific manner. For those who are wading through worship wars, you will find this book well written, informative, and organized in a manner that is easy to grasp and to share with others.

There were a few things about this book that I found questionable.  Having come from a very different worship context I encountered several expected  novel perspectives of scripture.  Interestingly, I also found interpretations that seemed clearly anachronistic in nature.  There were some, in my opinion,  inconsistencies in logic where an argument for interpreting one text was not used for another. 

Additionally, I found the author’s appeal to old testament scriptures to inform new testament practice lacking the usual re-interpretation through the knowledge of a risen savior.  In other words, the worship practices prior to the cross cannot be directly applied to today without some careful re-examination.  New covenant, kingdom existence by necessity changes worship practices.

Overall, I would recommend this book for anyone who wants to understand how believers have worshipped God throughout time.  I would recommend that a second edition address the issues raised above and include an addendum listing critiques and the authors responses. 

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