Harry Boonstra

Harry Boonstra (hboonstr@calvin.edu) is former theological editor of RW and emeritus theological librarian of Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan.


Articles by this author:

  • On New Age and Flowers

    Q. Is it true that "All Creatures of Our God and King" has New Age ideas in it?
  • Tell Me I'm Wrong: An exchange of letters

    November, 1994

    Dear Harry,

    I read, quite sympathetically, your editorial in Reformed Worship 34 (December, 1994) this week—sympathetically because I know the heart that created it longs to be gracious and inclusive, not to hurt. There is nothing unrighteous about such goals.

  • Book: A Brief History of Christian Worship

    James E White. Nashville: Abingdon, 1993.192 pp., $14.95.
  • Expanding Our Repertoire: How my worship credo has changed

    I'm writing these thoughts at the end of August, after visiting and preaching in a number of different churches. Although these congregations were theologically rather uniform, their worship idioms differed greatly—ranging from stately Canterbury to enthusiastic Nashville. And some of the congregations showed cracks and crevices in their koinonia, because of differences in their worship preferences. All of which made me take stock again of my stance on various worship issues.

    Here's my worship credo of ten years ago:

  • Around the Church Year In an Hour: Worshiping from Advent through Pentecost

    Since many congregations are still new to observing the Christian Year, a teaching service about the various church seasons can be very instructive The following service was first conducted at the Neland Avenue Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

    Although hymns are suggested in the service, feel free to substitute other seasonal hymns Also, whether you use more or less choir participation will depend on your local situation.

  • Right Rites: How much ritual is appropriate in Reformed worship?

    Calvin called the ceremonies of the Roman church "alien hodgepodge, theatrical pomp, foolish gesticulations and empty little ceremonies, outward trappings, magical incantations, and perverse rites." (These and many other denigra-tions can be found especially in the Institutes, Book 4). Four centuries later, hardbitten detective Travis Mc Gee says: "To me organized religion, the formalities and routines, it's like being marched in formation to look at a sunset. Maybe some people need routines. I don't."

  • Ashes? Yes! A service of penitence and renewal

    Bulletin Note

    Ash Wednesday is an ancient holy day in the Christian church calendar. It marks the beginning of the season of Lent—a time of penitence, discipline, and renewal. In the Ash Wednesday service we are reminded of our mortality, we confess our sins, and we experience forgiveness through Christ's death and resurrection. The "imposition of ashes" is a central part of the service. During this time you are invited to come forward to receive the ashes on your forehead.

  • Book: A Place for Baptism

    Regina Kuehn. Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications, 1992.137 pages.

    "All you've ever wanted to know about baptismal fonts." You will find that and more in Kuehn's book. The text is directed largely at a Roman Catholic audience, and most of the examples are from Catholic churches (except those fonts illustrating immersion, which are borrowed mostly from Baptist churches).

  • We're Still Waiting: We need to anticipate the second coming while we celebrate the first

    In the opening song of the musical The Cotton Patch Gospel, the chorus sings: "Somebody said, 'It's the second coming,' someone said, 'It's the first.' Somebody said, It's the best that could happen,' someone said, 'It's the worst.'"

  • Book: The ABC's of Worship: A Concise Dictionary

    Donald Wilson Stake. Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1992.196 pages. $9.95.

    Reviewers of dictionaries and encyclopedias are apt (perhaps ungraciously) to cite lists of items not found in a new work. Such a list of omissions would be easy to produce for any liturgical dictionary especially a concise one such as Stakes. But in this case the omissions make room for inclusions that are of special interest to Reformed Worship readers.