Meeter Center director examines Reformation worship in new book

Dr. Maags new book examines the worship practices of Christians in the sixteenth century.

Dr. Maag’s new book examines the worship practices of Christians in the sixteenth century.

How should we pray in our worship services? How long should services last? What’s the role of organ music in services? How should people be baptized? Is it worth bringing a cleaver to the sanctuary to ensure your child is baptized correctly? In her book “Worshiping with the Reformers,” Dr. Karin Maag explores how all of these questions relate to the time of reformers like John Calvin and Martin Luther. 

The book, published Feb. 9, is Dr. Maag’s latest exploit. She also serves as director of the H. Henry Meeter Center for Calvin Studies and teaches courses for Calvin University and Calvin Theological Seminary

“Worshiping with the Reformers” serves as a companion to a series from InterVarsity Press, entitled “Reformation Commentary on Scripture,” which intended to give readers an idea of how different reformers responded to biblical texts. Maag’s work focuses on the sixteenth century, exploring what worship looked like in everyday life.

“[One] thing I found fascinating was how deeply rooted worship practices are… patterns of worship become essentially hallmarks of identity,” Maag told Chimes. “The population might not have understood deep theological questions, but they sure knew what it was to worship in their way, and they didn’t like it when you tried to change it.”

Maag hopes that the book will encourage readers to consider the reasoning behind their own religious traditions and start conversations about how our practices could date all the way back to the time of the reformers.

To celebrate the book, the Meeter Center is hosting a virtual conversation with Dr. Maag on Feb. 11 over Zoom. While the Meeter Center hoped to be able to host the event in person, Maag noted how a virtual platform allows for more participation from across the globe. The discussion will be moderated by Professor Graeme Murdock of Trinity College Dublin, and Maag expects participants from Switzerland, South Korea and the Netherlands. 

“It’s a great opportunity for people with an interest in the Reformation to get together at a time when we can’t otherwise have conferences, meetings or gatherings,” Maag said. “It’s really fun, and we’ve managed it such that we’ve brought in people from all over the world.”

Those unable to attend live can email the Meeter Center at [email protected] for a copy of the recording or access it via the Meeter Center’s Facebook page.