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Conduits of Faith: Reinhold Niebuhr's Liturgical Thought

  • David R. Bains (a1)


The mid twentieth century was an important period of theological and liturgical change for mainline Protestants. Theologically, the optimistic liberalism of the turn of the century came under sharp critique from a variety of theologians who sought to give greater attention tc the historic Christian doctrines. Liturgically, the practices of evangelicalism were compared to historic models of Christian worship and found wanting. No American was more prominent in the theological critique than Reinhold Niebuhr (1892–1971). After rising to national prominence as a preacher and essayist while serving as a pastor ir Detroit, Michigan, he joined the faculty of Union Theological Seminary in New York City in 1928 and gained an international reputation as a social ethicist, preacher, and advocate of a theological perspective known variously as “Christian realism” or “neo-orthodoxy.” It is less well known that as part of his theological program Niebuhr advocated liturgical reform. From his days in Detroit when he confessed devoting an entire fall “to a development of our worship services” to the height of his career when he warned that “a church without adequate conduits of traditional liturgy” is “without the waters of life,” Niebuhr was vitally concerned with “the weakness of common worship in American Protestantism.”



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1. A diverse movement, American neo-orthodoxy was defined by its criticism of liberalism, particularly liberalism's focus upon the immanence of God, its high estimation of human abilities, and its faith in historical progress. Neo-orthodox theologians placed a new emphasis upon the Bible, the transcendence of God, the nature of the church, and theology per se (as opposed to the focus of early-twentieth-century church leaders on other fields of knowledge such as sociology, philosophy, and psychology). See Ahlstrom, Sydney E., A Religious History of the American People (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1972), 932–48, 960–63; Voskuil, Dennis N., “From Liberalism to Neo-Orthodoxy” (Th.D. diss., Harvard Divinity School, 1974); Hutchison, William R., The Modernist Impulse in American Protestantism (1976; reprint, Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1992), 288310; Gilkey, Langdon, On Niebuhr: A Theological Study (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001), 2628.

2. Most of Niebuhr's reflections on worship occurred in short essays published in Christian Century, Christianity and Crisis, and other journals. Eight of these are collected in Essays in Applied Christianity, ed. Robertson, D. B. (New York: Meridian Books, 1959) [hereafter EAC], 2766. Robertson briefly discusses Niebuhr's writings on worship in his introduction (11–12, 15–18). Recent anthologies do not include essays on worship. See A Reinhold Niebuhr Reader: Selected Essays, Articles, and Book Reviews, ed. Brown, Charles C., (Philadelphia, Penn.: Trinity Press International, 1992); Reinhold Niebuhr: Theologian of Public Life, ed. Rasmussen, Larry L. (San Francisco, Calif.: Harper and Row, 1989); The Essential Reinhold Niebuhr: Selected Essays and Addresses, ed. Brown, Robert McAfee (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1986). A few studies note his appreciation of liturgy, but none explore it in depth. See Marty, Martin E., “Public Theology and the American Experience, in The Legacy of Reinhold Niebuhr, ed. Scott, Nathan A. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1975), 2122; Stone, Ronald H., Professor Reinhold Niebuhr: A Mentor to the Twentieth Century (Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox, 1992), 178–79; Brown, Charles C., Niebuhr and His Age: Reinhold Niebuhr's Prophetic Role in the Twentieth Century (Philadelphia, Penn.: Trinity Press International, 1992), 30, 6465. The discussion in Fox, Richard Wightman, Reinhold Niebuhr: A Biography (New York: Pantheon Books, 1985), 286–87, is brief, but insightful.

3. Niebuhr, Reinhold, Leaves from the Notebook of a Tamed Cynic (Chicago: Willett, Clark, and Colby, 1929), 52; “The Weakness of Common Worship in American Protestantism,” Christianity and Crisis (May 28, 1951); reprinted in EAC, 62.

4. Vogt, Von Ogden, Art and Religion (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1921); Sperry, Willard L., Reality in Worship: A Study of Public Worship and Private Religion (New York: Macmillan, 1925); Kilde, Jeanne Halgern, When Church Became Theatre: The Transformation of Evangelical Architecture and Worship in Nineteenth-Century America (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 197211; Fox, William L., Willard L. Sperry: The Quandaries of a Liberal Protestant Mind, 1914–1939 (New York: Peter Lang, 1991), 126–49; Bains, David Ralph, “The Liturgical Impulse in Mid-Twentieth-Century American Mainline Protestantism” (Ph.D. diss., Harvard University, 1999), 30162; McNamara, Denis Robert, “Modern and Medieval: Church Design in the United States, 1920–1945” (Ph.D. diss., University of Virginia, 2000), esp. 7898.

5. White, James F., “Protestant Public Worship in America: 1935–1995,” in Christian Worship in North America: A Retrospective: 1955–1995 (Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical, 1997), 115–33; published in an earlier form as “Public Worship in Protestantism,” in Altered Landscapes: Christianity in America, 1935–1985, ed. Lotz, David W., Shriver, Donald W. Jr., and Wilson, John F. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1989), 106–24. See also Coffin, Henry Sloane, “Public Worship,” in The Church Through Half a Century: Essays in Honor of William Adams Brown, ed. Cavert, Samuel McCrea and Dusen, Henry Pitney Van (New York: Scribner's Sons, 1936), 185206. White's article was written as a sequel to Coffin's.

6. Niebuhr, , “A Christmas Service in Retrospect,” Christian Century (January 4, 1933); reprinted in EAC, 29–33; “The English Church: An American View,” The Spectator 157 (September 4, 1936): 373–74.

7. See Niebuhr, , Leaves, 60; “The English Church,” 373; “A Problem of Evangelical Christianity,” Christianity and Crisis (May 13, 1946); reprinted in EAC, 55; “The Weakness of Common Worship in American Protestantism,” in EAC, 58. For these denominations constituting mainline Protestantism, see Hutchison, , “Protestantism as Establishment,” in Between the Times: The Travail of the Protestant Establishment in America, 1900–1960, ed. Hutchison, (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 4.

8. Coffin, , “Public Worship,” 185–90; Bains, 10–22.

9. Evangelische Agende (St. Louis, Mo.: Eden, 1889); Evangelical Book of Worship, published by the German Evangelical Synod of North America (St. Louis, Mo.: Eden, 1916), 1718.

10. The Anglican worship of Niebuhr's day was strongly influenced by the Ritualist movement of the nineteenth century. Holmes, David L., A Brief History of the Episcopal Church (Valley Forge, Penn.: Trinity Press International, 1993), 93106, summarizes American developments. Yates, Nigel, Anglican Ritualism in Victorian Britain: 1830–1910 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), provides a detailed discussion of the movement in England.

11. Hutchison, , “Protestantism as Establishment,” 318.

12. At their summer home in Heath, Massachusetts, they attended a Congregational Church. After the formation of the United Church of Christ in 1957, this church was part of Reinhold's own denomination. Ursula grew up in an observant Anglican household, memorizing the collects, epistles, and gospels of the Book of Common Prayer and treasuring trips to Sunday evensong at the cathedrals in Salisbury and Winchester. Niebuhr, Ursula M., ed., Remembering Reinhold Niebuhr: Letters of Reinhold and Ursula M. Niebuhr (San Francisco, Calif.: Harper San Francisco, 1991), 56, 1112. In a work published after this essay was completed, the Niebuhrs' daughter described the family's churchgoing and her parents' contrasting views of worship. Sifton, Elisabeth, The Serenity Prayer: Faith and Politics in Times of Peace and War (New York: W. W. Norton, 2003), 3336, 177–79, 183–91.

13. R. W. Fox, 4–14; Brown, C. C., Niebuhr and His Age, 916.

14. R. W. Fox, 29; Heim, Mark, “Prodigal Sons: D. C. Macintosh and the Brothers Niebuhr,” Journal of Religion 65 (07 1985): 337. For a discussion of the thesis and its role in Niebuhr's theological development, see Hauerwas, Stanley, With the Grain of the Universe: The Church's Witness and Natural Theology being the Gifford lectures Delivered at the University of St. Andrews in 2001 (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Brazos, 2001), 96105.

15. Niebuhr, , Leaves, 6, 32.

16. Brown, C. C., Niebuhr and His Age, 21; Niebuhr, , Young Reinhold Niebuhr: His Early Writings, 1911–1931, ed. Chrystal, William G. (Saint Louis, Mo.: Eden, 1977), throughout.

17. Niebuhr's reconsideration of worship necessarily involved a reconsideration of his religious identity. His discussions of worship always involved the tension between his humble Midwestern German-American roots and the prominent position he achieved in the Trans-Atlantic Protestant establishment.

18. Niebuhr, , “Intellectual Autobiography,” in Reinhold Niebuhr: His Religious, Social, and Political Thought, ed. Kegley, Charles W. and Bretall, Robert W. (New York: Macmillan, 1956), 6; Niebuhr, , Leaves, 6.

19. Niebuhr, , “Intellectual Autobiography,” 6.

20. Niebuhr, , Leaves, 6.

21. Ibid. Evangelical Book of Worship, 146–51, 172–76. See Niebuhr, , Justice and Mercy, ed. Niebuhr, Ursula M. (New York: Harper and Row, 1974), 125–26, for a later baptismal service by Niebuhr.

22. Niebuhr, , Beyond Tragedy: Essays on the Christian Interpretation of History (New York: Scribner's Sons, 1937), 62, emphasis added; R. W. Fox, 286. On the purpose of signs in sixteenth-century Protestant theologies see White, , The Sacraments in Protestant Practice and Faith (Nashville, Tenn.: Abingdon, 1999), 1723.

23. Niebuhr, , Leaves, 32.

24. For Protestants' distinction between objective and subjective worship, see Pratt, James Bissett, The Religious Consciousness: A Psychological Study (New York: Macmillan, 1921), 290308; Sperry, , Reality in Worship, 251–76.

25. Niebuhr, , Leaves, 3233.

26. Niebuhr, , “Protestantism in Germany,” Christian Century 40 (10 4, 1923): 1258. For his appreciation of Catholicism, see “Is Protestantism Self-Deceived?” Christian Century 41 (December 25, 1924): 1662. On the American Seminar, see R. W. Fox, 77–80, 82–85; Eddy, Sherwood, Eighty Adventurous Years: An Autobiography (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1955), 128–34.

27. Niebuhr, , Leaves, 5556.

28. Ibid., 55–57. On the Detroit church, see Brown, C. C., Niebuhr and His Age, 23.

29. Niebuhr, , “Berlin Notes: Impressions of an American in the German Capital,” The Evangelical Herald (September 18, 1924); reprinted in Young Reinhold Niebuhr, 156. Niebuhr referred to a common interpretation of the Gothic arch. The pointed arch was seen as representing aspiration. It also made possible the towering vaults and mysterious shadows of the Gothic cathedral. Structurally, the arch was formed by the union of two parabolic arches, broken at their point of intersection. The combination of “broken” arches thus is the source of the unique power of the Gothic.

30. Niebuhr, , Leaves, 5657.

31. Niebuhr, , Leaves, 6061; Brown, C. C., Niebuhr and His Age, 23.

32. Niebuhr, , “Is Protestantism Self-Deceived?” 1662; Leaves, 60–61.

33. Ibid.

34. Ostrander, Rick, The Life of Prayer in a World of Science: Protestants, Prayer, and American Culture, 1870–1930 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000).

35. Niebuhr, , Does Civilization Need Religion? (New York: Macmillan, 1927), 241–42; “Sects and Churches,” Christian Century (July 3, 1935); reprinted in EAC, 41.

36. Sperry, , Reality in Worship, 99122; Vogt, 145–65, 203–13; Davies, Horton, Worship and Theology in England (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1965), 5:134–50; Welch, Claude, Protestant Thought in the Nineteenth Century (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1985), 2:4144.

37. Otto, Rudolf, The Idea of the Holy, trans. Harvey, John W. (London: Oxford University Press, 1923).

38. Niebuhr, , The Nature and Destiny of Man (New York: Scribner's Sons, 1941), 1:131. For stages of worship, see Vogt, 145–65; Sperry, , Reality in Worship, 282; Brightman, Edgar Sheffield, Religious Values (New York: Abingdon, 1925), 179; Sclater, J. R. P., The Public Worship of God: Being the Lyman Beecher Lectures on Practical Theology at Yale, 1927 (New York: George H. Doran, 1927), 1754; Seidenspinner, Clarence, Form and Freedom in Worship (Chicago: Willett, Clark, 1941), 71; Heimsath, Charles H., Genius of Public Worship (New York: Scribner's Sons, 1944), 1828.

39. Niebuhr, , “Religion and Poetry,” Theological Magazine of the Evangelical Synod of North America (07 1930); reprinted in Young Reinhold Niebuhr, 220–22, 224–26.

40. Niebuhr, , “A Christmas Service in Retrospect,” Christian Century (01 4, 1933); reprinted in EAC, 29–31; Discerning the Signs of the Times: Sermons for Today and Tomorrow (New York: Scribner's Sons, 1946), 157.

41. Niebuhr, , “The Truth in Myths,” (1937); reprinted in Faith and Politics: A Commentary on Religious, Social, and Political Thought in a Technological Age, ed. Stone, Ronald H. (New York: George Braziller, 1968), 1617, 19, 2527; R. W. Fox, 160–64.

42. Gilkey, 64–69.

43. Niebuhr, , “Beauty as a Substitute for Righteousness,” Christian Century 44 (09 29, 1927): 1133–34; “A Problem of Evangelical Christianity,” in EAC, 55.

44. R. W. Fox, 142–48.

45. Niebuhr, , “The English Church,” 373. The shift in Niebuhr's approach to worship is first signaled in “Sects and Churches,” Christian Century (July 3, 1935); reprinted in EAC, 34–41.

46. Niebuhr, , Leaves, 3233.

47. Niebuhr, , “The English Church,” 373; “A Christmas Service in Retrospect,” in EAC, 33.

48. Niebuhr, , “The English Church,” 373.

49. Ibid.; Brown, C. C., Niebuhr and His Age, 5960.

50. Niebuhr, , “The English Church,” 373.

51. Niebuhr, , “A Christmas Service in Retrospect,” in EAC, 2933; “Sunday Morning Debate,” Christian Century (April 22, 1936); reprinted in EAC 42–48; “The English Church,” 373–74.

52. R. W. Fox, 173–74. Ursula Niebuhr later explained that while she saw a place for the Protestant preaching service it was “not liturgy or worship.” Worship to her mind had to culminate in “some liturgical expression of the movement of the soul under the scrutiny of conscience and of the judgment as well as the mercy of God.” Ideally this was the celebration of Holy Communion. The usual conclusion of the Protestant service, “a cheerful hymn and a still more cheerful slapping of back and shaking of hand outside,” she deemed to be inappropriate (Niebuhr, Ursula, Remembering Reinhold Niebuhr, 56). For her brief recollection of the 1936 Easter service, see Remembering Reinhold Niebuhr, 421.

53. Niebuhr, , “Sunday Morning Debate,” in EAC, 4344, 48. Some years later Niebuhr would find modernist churches that combined the aspiration he valued in Gothic with a theologically satisfying austerity. He praised the churches of Pietro Belluschi for combining “the virtues of Gothic with the simplicity of the New England meeting house.” Niebuhr, , “Tradition and Today's Ethos,” Architectural Record (December 1953): 117–18.

54. Niebuhr, , “The Catholic Heresy,” Christian Century (December 8, 1937); reprinted in EAC, 208. For a survey of Niebuhr's various writings on Catholicism, see Garrett, James Leo, Reinhold Niebuhr on Roman Catholicism (Louisville, Ky.: Seminary Baptist Book Store, 1972).

55. Niebuhr, , “Sunday Morning Debate,” in EAC, 44.

56. Niebuhr, , “Catholic Heresy,” in EAC, 207è8.

57. Niebuhr, , “Sunday Morning Debate,” in EAC, 4748; Niebuhr to Ursula Niebuhr, 14 June 1943, in Remembering Reinhold Niebuhr, 182; “A Problem of Evangelical Christianity,” in EAC, 55. For Niebuhr's frequent criticism of Anglicanism see Stone, , Professor Reinhold Niebuhr, 174.

58. Henry Pitney Van Dusen, “The Liberal Movement in Theology,” in Cavert and Van Dusen, 87.

59. Niebuhr, , “Sects and Churches,” in EAC, 38, 41.

60. Niebuhr, , “A Problem of Evangelical Christianity,” in EAC, 54.

61. Ibid., 53–56; McDowell, Rachel K., “A World at Peace to Observe Easter,” New York Times, 20 04 1946, 10.

62. Niebuhr, , Faith and History: A Comparison of Christian and Modern Views of History (New York: Scribner's Sons, 1949), 238.

63. Niebuhr, , Justice and Mercy, 119–20.

64. Niebuhr, , Faith and History, 239.

65. Ibid., 239–40.

66. Ibid., 240–42. Niebuhr's reflections here appear to reflect the controversies within the ecumenical movement over the status of the nonsacramental Society of Friends.

67. Niebuhr, , “Religiosity and the Christian Faith,” Christianity and Crisis (01 24, 1955); reprinted in EAC, 63.

68. D. B. Robertson surveys these criticisms in the introduction to his collection of Niebuhr's essays that he assembled to counter this claim. Robertson, , “Introduction,” in EAC, 1112. See also Landon, Harold R., ed., Reinhold Niebuhr: A Prophetic Voice in Our Time (Greenwich, Conn.: Seabury, 1962), 8082; Granfield, Partrick, Theologians at Work (New York: Macmillan, 1967), 66; Marty, 16–17; Stone, , Professor Reinhold Niebuhr, 177; R. W. Fox, 285–86; Gilkey, 193–99; Hauerwas, 136–40.

69. Van Dusen, , “The Liberal Movement in Theology,” 8687.

70. Hauerwas, 137–38.

71. Miller, Francis P., “The Church as World Community” (1935), cited in Heather A. Warren, Theologians of a New World Order: Reinhold Niebuhr and the Christian Realists, 1920–1948 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997), 70. See also Niebuhr, H. Richard, Pauck, Wilhelm, and Miller, Francis P., The Church Against the World (Chicago: Willett, Clark, 1935).

72. Sperry, , Reality in Worship, 174–75; [Morrison], , “The Outlook for Church Union,” Christian Century 54 (09 22, 1937): 1160. See also Sperry, , “The Nature of the Church,” Harvard Theological Review 24 (1931): 155–96; Morrison, , What is Christianity? (Chicago: Willett, Clark, 1940).

73. Edgar DeWitt Jones, president of the Federal Council of Churches, famously announced “we came to Oxford talking about our churches. We shall go home talking about the Church.” Leiper, Henry Smith, World Chaos or World Christianity: A Popular Interpretation of Oxford and Edinburgh, 1937 (Chicago: Willett, Clark, 1937), 95. In keeping with Niebuhr's “Catholic heresy” article of the same year, Niebuhr's speech at Oxford was markedly free of this enthusiasm for the church. Niebuhr, “The Christian Church in a Secular Age”; reprinted in The Essential Reinhold Niebuhr, 79–92. For the role of Niebuhr and other Americans in the Oxford Conference, see Warren, 59–83; R. W. Fox, 178–80; C. C. Brown, 61–63; Bains, 136–46.

74. Van Dusen, , “The Meaning of Oxford,” World Christianity (second quarter 1937): 9396.

75. R. W. Fox, 150, 171–74. See also Rice, Daniel F., Reinhold Niebuhr and John Dewey: An American Odyssey (Albany: State University of New York, 1993), 190, 324.

76. Niebuhr, , “Understanding England,” Nation 157 (08 14, 1943): 175.

77. Niebuhr, , “Christianity and Politics in Britain,” Christianity and Society (summer 1943); reprinted in Love and Justice: Selections from the Shorter Writings of Reinhold Niebuhr, ed. Robertson, (Philadelphia, Penn.: Westminster, 1957), 8283.

78. Niebuhr, , “Coronation Afterthoughts,” Christian Century 70 (07 1, 1953): 771.

79. Niebuhr, , “English and German Mentality,” Christendom 1 (1937): 476; R. W. Fox, 171–74.

80. Michel, Virgil, “The Liturgy the Basis of Social Regeneration,” Orate Fratres 9 (11 1935): 542; “Natural and Supernatural Society,” Orate Fratres 10 (April 1936): 244.Pecklers, Keith F., The Unread Vision: The Liturgical Movement in the United States of America: 1926–1955 (Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical, 1998), 124–37; Chinnici, Joseph P., Living Stones: The History and Structure of Catholic Spiritual Life in the United States (New York: Macmillan, 1989), 178–85; Marx, Paul B., Virgil Michel and the Liturgical Movement (Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical, 1957); Hall, Jeremy, The Full Stature of Christ: The Ecclesiology of Virgil Michel OSB (Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical, 1976); Franklin, R. W. and Spaeth, Robert L., Virgil Michel: American Catholic (Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical, 1988).

81. Hebert, A. G., Liturgy and Society (London: Faber and Faber, 1935); Hebert, , ed., The Parish Communion (London: SPCK, 1937); Davies, 38è41; Gray, Donald, Earth and Altar: The Evolution of the Parish Communion in the Church of England to 1945 (Norwich, U.K.: Canterbury Press Norwich, 1986). Contemporary American movements were not as strong. Noteworthy, however, was the work of William Palmer Ladd and the Associated Parishes in the Protestant Episcopal Church. See Ladd, William Palmer, Prayer Book Interleaves: Some Reflections on How the Book of Common Prayer Might be Made More Influential in Our English-Speaking World (New York: Oxford University Press, 1942); Moriarty, Michael, “William Palmer Ladd and the Origins of the Episcopal Liturgical Movement,” Church History: Studies in Christianity and Culture 64 (09 1995): 438–51; Moriarty, , The Liturgical Revolution: Prayer Book Revision and Associated Parishes: A Generation of Change in the Episcopal Church (New York: Church Hymnal Corporation, 1996). For one mainline Protestant voice sounding similar themes, see Brenner, Scott Francis, The Way of Worship: A Study in Ecumenical Recovery (New York: Macmillan, 1944).

82. Niebuhr, , undated prayers in Justice and Mercy, 118, 123.

83. Ibid., 47.

84. Niebuhr, , Beyond Tragedy, 297, 299.

85. Hollar, Barry Penn, “Reinhold Niebuhr: The United States as Church,” chapter 2, in On Being the Church in the United States: Contemporary Theological Critiques of Liberalism (New York: Peter Lang, 1994).

86. Niebuhr, , “The English Church,” 373.

87. Quoted in Niebuhr, “The Catholic Heresy,” in EAC, 210.

88. Niebuhr, “The Catholic Heresy,” in EAC, 211–12. On Michel, see Chinnici, 180–85. On the transcendence of the church in American neo-orthodoxy, see Warren, 68–70.

89. As Langdon Gilkey notes, the church's saving grace was that it did contain and proclaim a self-critical message of human sinfulness and divine judgment. This distin- guished it from secular institutions. Gilkey, 196–99.

90. Niebuhr, , “The English Church,” 373.

91. R. W. Fox, 273.

92. Niebuhr, “The Weakness of Common Worship,” in EAC, 58. Niebuhr's essay appears to have been occasioned by the publication of Edwall, Pehr, Hayman, Eric, and Maxwell, William D., eds., Ways of Worship: The Report of a Theological Commission of Faith and Order (London: SCM Press, 1951). The book contained few American contributions. This was due in large part, however, to the fact that the commission that produced the book was based in Europe.

93. White, , “Protestant Public Worship in America,” 116–21.

94. Niebuhr, , “Worship and the Social Conscience,” Radical Religion (winter 1937); reprinted in EAC, 49.

95. Niebuhr, , “The Weakness of Common Worship,” in EAC, 58–61.

96. Niebuhr, Reinhold, “Theologian and Churchman,” in This Ministry: The Contribution of Henry Shane Coffin, ed. Niebuhr, (New York: Scribner's Sons, 1945), 124–25. See Coffin, Henry Sloane, “The Next Interest in Religious Thought,” Methodist Quarterly Review 78 (07 1929): 355–71; Coffin, , The Public Worship of God: A Source Book (Philadelphia, Penn.: Westminster, 1946). For other assessments similar to Niebuhr's, see Sperry, , “The Language of Prayer,” Religion in Life 2 (summer 1933): 323–34; and Tittle, Ernest Fremont, A Book of Pastoral Prayer; with an Essay on the Pastoral Prayer (New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury, 1951).

Niebuhr's liturgical appreciation continued to develop in retirement along the paths established in his career. In a 1967 essay (published posthumously) he noted that as a “pew-worshiper” he had come to a deeper appreciation of how liturgy, even the Catholic Mass, expressed for many “the mystery that made sense out of life” better than the typical sermon-centered Protestant service. Niebuhr, , “A View of Life from the Sidelines,” Christian Century 101 (12 19–26, 1984): 1197.

97. Of the three major mainline liturgies published in the mid 1960s, The Book of Worship for Church and Home (Nashville, Tenn.: Methodist Publishing House, 1965) is perhaps closest to Niebuhr. United Church of Christ Commission on Worship, The Lord's Day Service with Explanatory Notes (Philadelphia, Penn.: United Church, 1964); and the [Presbyterian] Joint Committee on Worship, Service for the Lord's Day and Lectionary for the Christian Year (Philadelphia, Penn.: Westminster, 1964) are more strongly focused on the Eucharist.

98. White, , “Protestant Public Worship in America,” 121–33; Fenwick, John R. K. and Spinks, Bryan D., Worship in Transition: The Liturgical Movement in the Twentieth Century (New York: Continuum, 1995); Senn, Frank C., Christian Liturgy: Evangelical and Catholic (Minneapolis, Minn.: Fortress, 1997), 632–67.

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