Augsburg Fortress

The Four Gospels on Sunday: The New Testament and the Reform of Christian Worship

The Four Gospels on Sunday: The New Testament and the Reform of Christian Worship

Premier liturgical theologian Gordon Lathrop argues that far too often liturgy, preaching, and liturgical theology are informed by naïve and outdated exegesis. In another fully original and deeply reflective work, Lathrop partners with newer biblical studies to see the Gospels anew. He treats the Gospels as early witnesses to the meaning of Christian assembly and forces in the shaping and reshaping of liturgy.
Lathrop first probes each Gospel historically and exegetically to discern what it tells us about early Christian worship and Christians' relationship to the Risen One. Then Lathrop treats the Gospels together to draw out more of their contemporary importance, especially ways in which they can enrich our reflection about the assembly itself, ministry, baptism, the use of scripture in liturgy, and unity within ecumenical diversity.
Taking seriously the origins of the New Testament, as we understand them today, Lathrop demonstrates that the Gospels can remain a true catalyst for liturgical theology and liturgical renewal, as well as an inspiring link to the faith and convictions of the earliest followers of the Christian way.
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  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Hardcover
  • ISBN 9780800698522
  • eBook ISBN 9781451408928
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 240
  • Course Level Undergraduate
  • Textbook Survey Texts
  • Publication Date December 1, 2011


“Gordon Lathrop imaginatively traces how the gospels interacted with, and attempted to shape, early Christian assemblies and then draws suggestive implications for contemporary practice. Informed and insightful, his synthesis of scripture and liturgical theology will be valuable for anyone who reads scripture and leads worship today.”
—Harold Attridge
Yale Divinity School

"Worship leaders who use the Revised Common Lectionary will welcome Gordon Lathrop's latest contribution. He takes the differences of the four gospels seriously as guides to effective proclamation and liturgical leadership. Lathrop bridges the gap between responsible biblical scholarship and celebrations of the meal."
—Ralph W. Klein
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago

“Gordon Lathrop has juxtaposed two of his loves in this volume: the gospels and the Christian assembly. He reminds us that the gospels were addressed to local Christian assemblies and were read in actual assemblies gathered for word and meal. Lathrop makes a compelling case that biblical and liturgical scholars need to pay attention to each other's work and that preachers need to pay attention to the assembly as the context of the gospel texts. This lovingly crafted book will be of interest to scholars but also to the members of the assembly who continue to acclaim, hear, and celebrate the gospels in their liturgies of word and meal.”
—Frank C. Senn
Pastor, Immanuel Lutheran Church, Evanston, Illinois
Author of Christian Liturgy and The People’s Work


Review in Sean the Baptist Blog

Review in Worship

Review in Review and Expositor