Story-Shaped Worship: Following Patterns from the Bible and History, By Robbie F. Castleman
Story-Shaped Worship
  • Length: 224 pages
  • Dimensions: 6 × 9 in
  • Published: April 03, 2013
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: 3964
  • ISBN: 9780830839643

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What is the right way to worship?

Right worship does not require a return to the identical forms found in the early church or later in Rome or after that in Westminster. What it calls for is a faithful response today to the God of our salvation in light of those biblically ordered and historically informed patterns.

In this study Robbie Castleman uncovers the fundamental shape of worship. What she finds—outlined in Scripture, enacted in Israel, refocused in the New Testament community, guarded by the apostolic fathers, and recovered in the Reformation—is a grand narrative of redemption offering order and meaning to all worshiping communities down to the present day.

"Evangelicals need to recover a theology of presence in their public worship today. Robbie Castleman encourages us to do exactly that by presenting here a richly textured and nuanced study of how liturgy interacts with spiritual life, all framed in the context of how the church has remembered and recited the story of Jesus as the story of Israel's God. A book of biblical wisdom and theological depth."

Timothy George, founding dean, Beeson Divinity School of Samford University, and general editor of the Reformation Commentary on Scripture

"Robbie Castleman's Story-Shaped Worship skillfully places the biblical teachings on worship within the larger narrative of salvation history. It represents a valuable contribution to the resurgent evangelical interest in the theology and practice of worship. I heartily commend it to all pastors and seminarians who want to take worship to the next level of excellence."

John Jefferson Davis, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

"In Story-Shaped Worship Robbie Castleman carefully explores the biblical basis for worship, not as something that pleases us, the worshipper, but as something meant to be pleasing to God. She then puts this in historical and practical contexts in a way that is both winsome and wise. This book is a wonderful, carefully written guide that will be helpful for worship leaders, pastors or anyone who cares about worshiping well. I'm already looking forward to working through the excellent discussion questions at the end of each chapter with other worship leaders in my church. What a great resource!"

Robert J. Keeley, professor of education, Calvin College, and author of Helping Our Children Grow in Faith

"Robbie Castleman has written a book that brings sanity to the worship wars. The sweep of her engagement with biblical and theological material is very impressive, and her conclusions are rightly challenging to all sides. The clarity of writing and the straightforward treatment make this a book that is accessible to anyone who wants to worship in ways that please God. This book deserves to be on ministers' must-read lists, on adult Sunday school curriculum and well thumbed by congregational worship committees."

Andrew Purves, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

"Castleman's careful study of the biblical and historical patterns of worship should put to rest any doubt about the nature of Christian worship. Worship is not about meeting the needs of individuals but the reenactment of and participation in the grand story of the triune God. I strongly urge pastors and worship leaders to read this book before they attempt to revise their Sunday service."

Simon Chan, Trinity Theological College, Singapore

"Though we feel drawn by the Spirit into holy space to see and worship God, what we call worship too often reflects merely our own needs and desires. Yet how we worship God must be linked with why we worship him, the central Storyteller of all creation. A wise and deep researcher, Robbie Castleman showcases how story-shaped liturgical patterns form the seasons of the Christian year."

Luci Shaw, writer-in-residence, Regent College

"A passionate and heartfelt book, which urges that we recover a much-needed stress in worship on the narrative of salvation at the heart of the gospel. In the midst of numerous 'worship wars' we badly need books that reorient us to what really matters."

Jeremy Begbie, Duke University

"If I had to choose just one to recommend, I would choose Castleman's book for its balance of scholarship and accessibility and its consistency in application of the underlying philosophy to issues such as musical form in worship."

Scott Aniol, Artistic Theologian, "Gospel-Shaped Worship: A Review of Recent Literature", 2 (2013)

"Castleman clearly joins her voice to those of others who are pointing toward the need for biblical and confessional renewal in worship settings where contemporary evangelical influence pervades. All those with a passion for biblical teaching and liturgical formation will find much on offer in her work."

Andrew M. McCoy, Christian Scholar's Review, Summer 2014



Part I: Biblical Patterns: Story-Shaped Liturgy
1. Genesis and the Gospel: Worship in the Beginnings
2. Worship and Identity: Yahweh and Shâbath in the Torah, Prophets and Gospels
3. Abad: Worship as Holy Service
4. The Shape of Biblical Worship
5. Worship by the Book
6. Worship and Holiness
7. Worship in Exile, Synagogues and the Early Church

Part II: Historical Patterns: the Interpretations of Worship
8. Patristic Patterns for Christian Worship: Clarifying the Faith
9. Reformation Patterns for Christian Worship: Recovering the Faith
10. Contemporary Patterns for Christian Worship: Keeping the Faith

For Further Reading
Topic Index
Scripture Index


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Robbie Fox Castleman

Robbie Fox Castleman (DMin, University of Dubuque) is professor of biblical studies and theology at John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. She previously served for several years as a staff member with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, specializing in ministry to graduate students at campuses in and around Tallahassee, Florida. She is the author of the Fisherman Bible Guides Miracles, Elijah, David and King David (Shaw/Waterbrook), and the IVP Connect LifeGuide Bible Study Peter, and she is a contributor to the book For All the Saints (Knox/Westminster).