Worship and the Reality of God: An Evangelical Theology of Real Presence, By John Jefferson Davis

Worship and the Reality of God

An Evangelical Theology of Real Presence

by John Jefferson Davis

Worship and the Reality of God
  • Length: 231 pages
  • Published: September 29, 2010
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: 3884
  • ISBN: 9780830838844

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Is God missing from our worship?

Obstacles to true worship are not about contemporary or traditional music, electronic gadgetry or seeker sensitivity. Rather it is the habits of mind and heart, conditioned by our surrounding culture, that hinder our faith in the real presence of the transcendent God among his people.

Sensing a real need for renewal, John Jefferson Davis offers a theology of worship that uncovers the most fundamental barriers to our vital involvement in the worship of our holy God. His profound theological analysis leads to fresh and bracing recommendations that will be especially helpful to all those who lead worship or want to more fully and deeply encounter the glory and majesty of God.

"If you're wondering why evangelical worship is often so thin—and what can be done about it—you could hardly do better than to read this book. Professor Davis offers a cogent and deep analysis combined with arresting reflections on the nature of worship. I'll be reading it again, to be sure."

Mark Galli, senior managing editor, Christianity Today

"Professor Davis recaptures what has been lost in most contemporary worship: a theologically rich understanding of the presence of God in our midst during congregational worship and of how we should rightly respond to this incomparable Reality. This is a book to reawaken the heart and mind to true worship, and as such, it is desperately needed."

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D., professor of philosophy, Denver Seminary

"John Jefferson Davis is one of the most thoughtful persons I know. In his new book, Worship and the Reality of God, he reminds us that a follower of Jesus inhabits an alternate reality. With passion and verve, he invites readers to a deeper sense of what it means to worship God. He casts a grand vision that is 'Reformed in its soteriology, trinitarian in its understanding of theology, doxological in seeing worship as the highest priority of the church, charismatic in its affirmation of the gifts and presence of the Spirit in the life of the congregation, and liturgical in its ancient-modern form of worship.' I dare say this vision will find resonance with all kinds of Christians, from emerging Christians to traditionalists, from the new monastics to the megachurches. Not everyone will agree with Davis at every point, but I promise you, he will make you think."

Frank A. James, provost and professor of historical theology, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

"Worship and the Reality of God will help to nurture evangelical liturgy, something very important for the future shape of evangelism."

Peter Leithart, First Things, June/July 2011


1 Introduction: Why God Has Been Lost and Where We Can Look to Find Him
2 God, the Church and the Self: Searching for Reality in Evangelical Worship
3 Reality in Worship: The Real Presence of God on Sunday Morning
4 The Eucharist: Meeting the Risen Christ at the Table
5 From Ontology to Doxology: From Theory to Practice in Worship Renewal
Appendix: Theology and Practice of Worship: Selected Readings
Select Bibliography
Name and Subject Index
Scripture Index


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John Jefferson Davis

John Jefferson Davis is professor of systematic theology and Christian ethics at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he has taught since 1975. He has published for many years in both theological and scientific journals. He is the winner of several Templeton Foundation awards, including the Award for Quality and Excellence in the Teaching of Science and Religion (1998), as well as the National Institutes of Health Grant, National Human Genome Research Institute (2002).