Hughes Oliphant Old. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002. Revised and expanded edition. 195 pp. $19.95.
Old published an earlier version of this very readable and practical book on Reformed theology of worship in the 1980s. If you missed it then, get it now.
Originating in a series of lectures to pastors, the book is structured according to the various parts of the worship service. Old offers chapters on each part with a review of its Scriptural roots and historic Reformed understanding. The ten chapters include “Baptism,” “The Ministry of Praise,” “The Ministry of the Word,” “The Ministry of Prayer,” “Alms” and “The Lord’s Supper.” Also included are chapters on “The Lord’s Day” and “Daily Prayer.”
In the earlier edition, Old looked at Scripture and liturgical practice through the understandings of sixteenth-century reformers; in this edition, he also looks back briefly to medieval influences on Reformed worship, moves forward into the eighteenth century, especially the influence of Pietism, and offers “a few suggestions” with regard to more recent contributions to and influences on Reformed worship. The expansion is modest, keeping this book very accessible, particularly for pastors who plan and lead worship every week.
A former pastor, Old is currently a member of the Center of Theological Inquiry in Princeton, New Jersey. His work as scholar and pastor coincide very well in this book.