The Liturgies of Bucer, Calvin, and Knox

Glen Clary compares and contrasts the Reformation liturgies of Martin Bucer, John Calvin, and John Knox. Studying each of these helps us to understand the significance of worship reformed according to Scripture and focuses our attention upon worship in our present day.

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Christ the Center focuses on Reformed Christian theology. In each episode a group of informed panelists discusses important issues in order to encourage critical thinking and a better understanding of Reformed doctrine with a view toward godly living. Browse more episodes from this program or subscribe to the podcast feed.

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Jonathan Baity

2 months ago

Great episode gentlemen. Really enjoyed it. Couple of questions: to what extent did Calvin and Knox embrace exclusive psalmody? And when did Scottish Presbyterians become liturgical minimalists along the lines of what you might see today in the Free Church of Scotland Continuing and some RPCNA churches?

Glen Clary

2 months ago

Good questions, Jonathan. I don’t think it’s correct to call Calvin an exclusive psalmodist, though he certainly favored the psalms over hymns. Both in Strasbourg and Geneva, he used non-inspired texts for songs … singing the Apostles’ Creed for example. I don’t know if Knox ever made an argument for exclusive psalmody, but he clearly followed Calvin’s example in singing the psalms. Early in his ministry, particularly when he was with Wishart, he would have used the Goode and Godly Ballads. As far as liturgical minimalism in Scottish Presbyterianism, that can most likely be traced back to the Puritan influence of Robert Browne (the Brownists) and Henry Barrow (the Barrowists). The covenanters were very much opposed to the use (and especially the imposition) of liturgical forms.

Carl Gobelman

2 months ago

Thank you for a very enlightening episode! I have a quick question: When did Reformed worship go from having 21 services throughout the week to barely having two on Sunday?

Glen Clary

2 months ago

Good question, Carl. That transition took place over a long period of time, and it primarily was due to geography. In areas where Christians lived within walking distance of the church (as in the city of Geneva), it was easy to gather there for daily prayer. In rural areas where they lived at quite a distance from the church, daily family worship took the place of daily worship at the church.

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