Bob Webber was a “missionary kid,” born in the Congo in 1933 and raised in the Philadelphia area. The son of a Baptist minister, he received his bachelor’s degree from Bob Jones University in 1956, a divinity degree from the Reformed Episcopal Seminary in 1959, a Th.M. from Covenant Theological Seminary in 1960, and a Th.D. from Concordia Theological Seminary in 1968. From 1968 to 2000 Webber served as Professor of Theology at Wheaton College (IL), where he retired as Professor Emeritus. He was then appointed William R. and Geraldine D. Myers Professor of Ministry at Northern Seminary, where he served until his death of cancer in 2007.


Webber’s early theological interests were in Christian existentialism; but by the 1970’s his focus was shifting to the ancient Christian tradition. In 1978, he published a book that signaled a sea-change in the world of American Evangelicalism. That book was Common Roots: A Call to Evangelical Maturity, in which Webber proffered a “new” theological agenda for American evangelicals: the recovery of the ancient Christian consensus of faith for the Church today. Webber’s “sequel” in 1985 was Evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail: Why Evangelicals Are Attracted to the Liturgical Church, which chronicled his journey from fundamentalism to Anglicanism. Webber published extensively on these themes in the following decades, and his Ancient-Future book series (Baker Academic) resounded his call to return to the ancient sources of Scripture and the Church Fathers. That call culminated in the 2006 “Call to an Ancient Evangelical Future,” a document drafted principally by Webber and signed by over 500 evangelical leaders.

Through his writing and teaching over four decades, Webber was instrumental in the awakening of American evangelicals to their ancient Christian heritage. Today, one can witness the use of ancient liturgical practices by many evangelical churches across a remarkable spectrum of denominations. Webber’s broader ancient-future orientation has been adopted by many younger evangelicals and churches. And a steady stream of evangelicals continue to follow Webber on the road to Canterbury and the Anglican tradition. In fact, many of the students and faculty at Trinity are here, directly or indirectly, because of the vision of Robert E. Webber.

Select Bibliography:

A Call to an Ancient Evangelical Future”‖Christianity Today (Fall 2006).

Ancient-Future Series

Ancient-Future Worship: Proclaiming and Enacting Gods Narrative (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2008).

The Divine Embrace: Recovering the Passionate Spiritual Life (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2006).

Ancient-Future Time: Forming Spirituality through the Christian Year (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2004).

Ancient-Future Evangelism: Making Your Church a Faith-Forming Community (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2003).

Ancient-Future Faith: Rethinking Evangelicalism for a Postmodern World (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1999).

Christian Formation

Journey to Jesus: The Worship, Evangelism, and Nurture Mission of the Church (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2001).

Follow Me! (Wheaton: Institute for Worship Studies, 2001).

Be My Disciple! (Wheaton: Institute for Worship Studies, 2001).

Walk in the Spirit! (Wheaton: Institute for Worship Studies, 2001)

Find Your Gift! (Wheaton: Institute for Worship Studies, 2001).


Common Roots: A Call to Evangelical Maturity (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1978). Republished as Common Roots: The Original Call to an Ancient-Future Faith (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009), with David Neff.

Evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail: Why Evangelicals Are Attracted to the Liturgical Church (Waco: Word, 1985, Harrisburg, PA: Morehouse Publishing, 1989).

The Younger Evangelicals: Facing the Challenges of the New World (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2002)

The Secular Saint: A Case for Evangelical Social Responsibility. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1979, Eugene: Wipf & Stock, 2d ed. 2004).

Prayer Books

The Prymer: The Prayer Book of the Medieval Era Adapted for Contemporary User (Orleans, MA: Paraclete Press, 2000).

The Book of Family Prayer (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1986, Peabody: Hendrickson, 1996).

The Book of Daily Prayer (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing, 1993).


The Complete Library of Christian Worship, Eight Volumes (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1993-1995).

Blended Worship: Achieving Substance and Relevance in Worship (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994). Republished as The New Worship Awakening: What’s Old Is New Again, 2007.

Liturgical Evangelism (Harrisburg, PA: Morehouse, 1986, 1992)

Signs of Wonder: The Phenomenon of Convergence in Modern Liturgical and Charismatic Churches (Nashville: Abbott Martyn, 1992).

Worship is a Verb: Eight Principles for Transforming Worship (Word, 1985, Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 2d ed. 1996).