Worshiping with the Reformers, By Karin Maag alt

Worshiping with the Reformers

by Karin Maag

Worshiping with the Reformers
  • Length: 248 pages
  • Dimensions: 0 × 0 in
  • Published: February 09, 2021
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: 5303
  • ISBN: 9780830853038

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Worship of the triune God has always stood at the center of the Christian life. That was certainly the case during the sixteenth-century Reformation as well. Yet in the midst of tremendous social and theological upheaval, the church had to renew its understanding of what it means to worship God.

In this volume, which serves as a companion to IVP Academic's Reformation Commentary on Scripture series, Reformation scholar Karin Maag takes readers inside the worshiping life of the church during this era. Drawing from sources across theological traditions, she explores several aspects of the church's worship, including what it was like to attend church, reforms in preaching, the function of prayer, how Christians experienced the sacraments, and the roles of both visual art and music in worship.

With Maag as your guide, you can go to church—with the Reformers.

"In Worshiping with the Reformers, Karin Maag deftly describes the diverse religious practices that resulted from the Reformation and gives a lively view of worship in the sixteenth century. Outlining the differences among the major forms of Protestantism and with Roman Catholicism, this engaging and informative book is the ideal starting point for anyone curious about the historical development of worship practices that are still important today."

Amy Nelson Burnett, Varner Professor of History at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

"Karin Maag's deft presentation gives voice to ordinary worshipers across the Reformation's broad confessional spectrum as they gathered for prayer, song, sermon, service, and the Eucharist. We learn how the liturgy cemented unity and, occasionally, provoked division. What did people embrace and what were the obstacles to acceptance? Maag explores the Reformation's complex liturgical landscape with precision and aplomb. The faithful have rarely been heard in such clear tones. It is a profoundly human account that continues to resonate in our contemporary society."

Raymond A. Mentzer, Daniel J. Krumm Family Chair in Reformation Studies at the University of Iowa

"Worshiping with the Reformers is a sheer delight! Karin Maag has synthesized scholarly insights and a wide array of personal stories to offer a wonderfully helpful and engaging account of key facets of worship from a variety of perspectives. What we learn from this splendid volume is intrinsically valuable as well as deepening our understanding of the historical roots of our ways of worshiping today. Perhaps through exploring some of the differences and disagreements around worship in the Reformation era we might find ourselves able to engage with more generosity and understanding when it comes to our differences and disagreements about worship now."

Suzanne McDonald, professor of systematic and historical theology at Western Theological Seminary, Holland, Michigan

"This invaluable book, based on deep and wide-ranging scholarship that goes far beyond the obvious sources, takes us right into the experience of worship in the age of the Reformation. Professor Maag's mastery of the theological issues is impressive, but what is most compelling about the book is how human it is: she never forgets that worship is something that people do and find meaning in, and she always gives us the view from the pew as well as the pulpit."

Alec Ryrie, professor of theology and religion, Durham University

"The Reformation meant millions of people gained new understandings of the church and what it means to 'be' church. In this highly interesting and informative book, Karin Maag helps us understand what worship came to mean for those experiencing Protestant faith. Elements of church worship including preaching, prayer, and sacraments come alive as being vital while voices and stories of worshipers bring us into their experiences in their newfound faith. Maag is a superb scholar whose stimulating study helps us understand Reformation worship. It also motivates us to deepened worship practices of our own."

Donald K. McKim, author of Everyday Prayer with the Reformers and Reformation Questions, Reformation Answers

"Karin Maag provides an expert view of the lived experience of religion in the Reformation era. Illustrated by an array of vivid examples, this book analyzes the role of states, clergy, and communities in the formation of religious cultures. Maag highlights the diversity both within and between the evolving Christian traditions of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. This very readable account of the complex and fluid religious landscape of early modern Europe will be of great interest to those interested in the Reformation as well as those reflecting on the roots of contemporary debates about worship."

Graeme Murdock, associate professor of European history at Trinity College Dublin

"This engaging, wide-reaching, and instructive overview of worship in the Reformation era examines ritual and devotional practices in churches, homes, schools, and other settings. It is the perfect point of departure for those eager to understand how the emergence of new forms of Christianity in the sixteenth century involved not just theological doctrines but also real people's lived experience. Karin Maag shows that while there was significant overlap in attitudes toward and expectations for divine service among Catholic, Lutheran, Reformed, Anglican, and Anabaptist Christians, some worship practices were reconceived as to become community defining. Her eloquent and accessible exploration of preaching, prayer, the sacraments, visual arts, and music illuminates how seemingly insignificant differences came to be understood as markers of religious identity. Readers will welcome with enthusiasm this synthetic portrayal that embraces both the worship ideals of religious and political authorities as well as the experience of ordinary Christians across the confessional spectrum. Maag's insightful study paves the way for richer conversation about worship in the church today."

Barbara Pitkin, senior lecturer in religious studies at Stanford University, and author of Calvin, the Bible, and History

"For early modern Christians, debates regarding 'right worship' laid bare foundational differences in theological belief, communal identity, and personal devotion. In this outstanding book, Karin Maag explores the rich variety of worship practices—and inevitable 'worship wars'—that characterized Protestant and Catholic churches during the Reformation era. Maag tells an important story—and does so with meticulous detail and vibrant color."

Scott Manetsch, professor of church history at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, associate general editor of the Reformation Commentary on Scripture

"Worshiping with the Reformers not only fills a lacuna in historical scholarship but also offers an indispensable resource for the church. Maag is an expert guide whose rich illustrations bring readers into the sanctuaries, chapels, homes, and public spaces of early modern life. This book helps us to understand the various contours of devotion—its motivations, suppressions, superstitions, prayers, visual arts, and ceremonies—demonstrating how various patterns of worship have become markers of Christian identity that endure to the present. Highly recommended!"

Chris Castaldo, lead pastor of New Covenant Church, Naperville, Illinois, and author of Talking with Catholics About the Gospel

"A masterful overview of worship traditions in the Reformation. Drawing richly on primary sources, Karin Maag presents a coherent account of liturgical life from mainline Protestant, Anabaptist, and Catholic churches. Highly recommended!"

Timothy George, distinguished professor at Beeson Divinity School of Samford University, general editor of the Reformation Commentary on Scripture



1. Going to Church
2. At Church
3. Preaching
4. Prayer
5. Baptism
6. Communion
7. The Visual Arts and Music
8. Worship Outside Church

Name Index
Subject Index
Scripture Index


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Karin Maag

Karin Maag (PhD, The University of St. Andrews) is professor and director of the H. Henry Meeter Center for Calvin Studies at Calvin University. She is the author of Does the Reformation Still Matter?, Lifting Hearts to the Lord: Worship with John Calvin in Sixteenth-Century Geneva, and Seminary or University: The Genevan Academy and Reformed Higher Education, 1560-1620. She lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan.