Publications on Contemporary Praise and Worship

Along with Dr. Lim Swee Hong of Emmanuel College at the University of Toronto, I have been working on trying to tell a broader, fuller history of the form of worship that some know as “Praise & Worship” and others as “Contemporary Worship.” By the late 20th century, this band-based, popular-music playing form of worship had turned into a global phenomenon, especially among Pentecostals and evangelicals. Unlike earlier histories, Dr. Lim and I push the origins of this way of worship back to the mid-20th century as well as find multiple lines of development and evolution. In addition, while recognizing the importance of music in this history, we do not limit our historical account to a review of the songs and manner of music making associated with this way of worship. Indeed, we have found that grappling with the Bible and developing a biblical theology of worship is an anterior development than the musical developments on the whole.

For a more detailed history, see our latest book entitled A History of Contemporary Praise & Worship: Understanding the Ideas that Reshaped the Protestant Church (Baker Academic, 2021). This book is organized chronologically and focuses on the development of biblical theologies underlying the history of this phenomenon.


For a more topical approach, see our earlier and shorter book, Lovin’ On Jesus: A Concise History of Contemporary Worship (Abingdon Press, 2017). Also useful is an edited volume entitled Essays on the History of Contemporary Praise and Worship (Pickwick Publications, 2020).