Against contemporary trends that conceive of Christian worship primarily as entertainment or sheer celebration, Walter Sundberg argues that repentance is the heart of authentic worship. In Worship as Repentance Sundberg outlines the history of repentance and confession within liturgical practice from the early church to mid-twentieth-century Protestantism, advocating movement away from the "eucharistic piety" common in mainline worship today and toward the "penitential piety" of older traditions of Protestant worship.
Walter Sundberg is professor of church history at LutherSeminary, St. Paul, Minnesota, an ordained Lutheran pastor,and the author (with Roy A. Harrisville) of The Bible inModern Culture: Baruch Spinoza to Brevard Childs.
Bryan D. Spinks
-- Yale Divinity School and Yale Institute of Sacred Music
"American Protestantism is so reflective of the moods of American secular culture that the words 'sin' and 'repentance' are increasingly banished as dirty language. Sundberg reminds Lutherans that confession and absolution were fundamental for Luther and, although diluted in the Tradition over the centuries, need to be reclaimed in worship. Indeed, without repentance from sin, there is no Good News and no authentic worship."
Ronald K. Rittgers
-- Valparaiso University
"Informed by a deep commitment to the gospel and its costly grace, Sundberg provides a compelling and even prophetic account of how modern Christian worship has largely abandoned Christ's call to repentance and, thus, has greatly impeded the growth of the kingdom of God. Sundberg urges the church to hear this call anew and to allow it to serve as the basis for the church's liturgical life and mission in the world for the sake of Christ."
Word & World
"A much-needed antidote to a popular understanding of Lutheran worship as a mere celebration of Gods love. . . . Solid both historically and theologically. . . . Sundberg has made an important case for leaders of Lutheran worship to end the practice of dispensing cheap grace and to return instead to a tradition that brings us, as worshipers, to repentance."
"A weighty contribution in the matter of confessions and absolution. . . . That is why pastors need to read this book."