Publication Date

Spring 4-2010


School of Religion


Worship and Music Ministry

Primary Subject Area

Religion, History of; Music; Biography


Liturgical music, Reformation, Lutheranism, Church reform, worship leadership


Comparative Methodologies and Theories | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion


During the Reformation, Martin Luther led the movement to bring a new, biblical focus into congregational worship. The means by which Luther ushered this new focus into the church service was the introduction of his own liturgies and with reforms of liturgies that were currently being used by the Roman Catholic Church. In this liturgical reform, there are several observable principles by which Luther operated. First, Luther operated with caution, attempting to keep the changes respectful and gradual. Second, the changes were based primarily on what he believed the teachings of Scripture dictated, and he was purposeful in making sure that peace among the brethren was sought by all, even when opinions in practice conflicted. Third, Luther was purposeful in making the Word of God available to the common man, when before it had only been available to the clergy. Fourth, Luther sought to make the Word of God central to the worship service, hoping to eliminate all extraneous and erroneous practices in the process. Fifth, Luther took steps to return to the worship service the practice of congregational song.