Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Practical Theology

First Advisor

James L. Brauer

Scripture References in this Resource

Matthew 5:13–16


Lacher, Lawrence A. “John Wesley‟s Liturgical Revision: A Pattern for Reshaping Worship for Post-Christian America.” Ph.D. diss., Concordia Seminary, 2011. 316 pp.

This project seeks to find a solution to the current malformation of Christian Worship in the American church through re-examining John Wesley‟s Sunday Service for Methodists in North America (1784) in order to extract the underlying pattern. That pattern is then proposed as a paradigm that allows for the contextualization of worship while retaining its historic shape, function and purpose.

John Wesley‟s liturgical advices are examined for several reasons. Since the writer is interested in helping those who worship within the Wesleyan heritage to develop a meaningful response to the problem of worship, Wesley is looked to as a heritage and starting point. Furthermore, it is demonstrated that Wesley had deep interest and training in liturgy and had specific intentions in proposing a liturgy for the Methodists in America. That liturgy has been neglected, both as a service to be followed and as a pattern to be extracted. This project reexamines the Sunday Service in light of Wesley‟s liturgical advices in order to extract a liturgical pattern for a post-Christian culture.

Wesley‟s personal liturgical history is reexamined to determine whether there is merit in looking to Wesley‟s liturgical advices as sound and authoritative. Having determined that John Wesley had quite specific training and opinions in liturgical studies, the Sunday Service is deconstructed in order to extract the underlying patterns. Furthermore, his experiential approach to Christianity is also examined in order to determine the non-literary aspects to be considered in designing worship for contemporary culture.

The study proposes a two-part matrix for designing Wesleyan worship within varying cultural contexts. Looking at the structure and character embodied in Wesley‟s Service, the dissertation projects ways in which Wesley‟s liturgical advices can continue to order Christian worship. The appendix carries examples of ordered services as well as copies of historical documents for the reader‟s examination.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.