On this site you will find information about my work as a historian of Christian worship as well as links to some of my public presentations on various topics.


I am a historian of Christian worship with particular interests in the early church and the last 250 years. I am passionate about enriching the worship life of current congregations, regardless of style. I believe that careful reflection on the worship of other Christians—whether past or present, whether Protestant, Roman Catholic, or Eastern Orthodox—can serve to enrich the church today.

Follow my latest research on Twitter @jl_ruth.

Lately I have been bringing that approach to inspire contemporary songwriters, having grown concerned about the lack of a Trinitarian dimension in so much worship music.

I am the Research Professor of Christian Worship at Duke Divinity School.

I am a member of the Charles Wesley Society.

I am also Rev. Ruth, having served as a pastor for three different appointments in the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.