Edward Phillips

L. Edward Phillips

Associate Professor of Historical Theology and Christian Worship


PhD, University of Notre Dame, 1992
MDiv, Emory University, 1979
BS, University of Tennessee at Martin, 1976


(404) 727-1257


The Rev. Dr. L. Edward Phillips serves as associate professor of historical theology and Christian worship at Candler, and also teaches in Emory’s Graduate Division of Religion. Prior to his arrival in 2008, he taught at Duke Divinity School, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, and Union College.

His research interests include the practical and pastoral aspects of the historical church—how the church conducted worship, initiated Christians, and organized ministries—as a way to understand the development of Christian theology and practice for the present. The author of numerous articles, book reviews and books, Phillips is currently working on a book on the development of contemporary patterns of worship in the United States.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Phillips co-convened the Ecumenical Consultation on Protocols for Worship, Fellowship, and Sacraments to provide recommendations for safe practices for churches during the pandemic. The group published two sets of guidelines in English and Spanish: “Resuming Care-filled Worship and Sacramental Life During a Pandemic” in June 2020 and “Care-filled Worship and Sacramental Life in a Lingering Pandemic” in June 2021.


The Purpose, Pattern, and Character of Worship, Abingdon Press, 2020

Co-author, Baptism: Understanding God’s Gift, Discipleship Resources, 2012

Co-editor, Courage to Bear Witness: Essays in Honor of Gene Davenport, Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2009

Co-author, In Spirit and Truth: United Methodist Worship for the Emerging Church, Second Edition, OSL Publications, 2006

Co-editor, Studia Liturgica Diversa: Studies in Honor of Paul Bradshaw, Pastoral Press, 2004

Co-author, The Apostolic Tradition: A Commentary, in the Hermeneia Commentary Series, Augsburg Fortress, 2002

The Ritual Kiss in Early Christian Worship, Grove Books Limited, 1996

Co-author, Your Ministry of Leading Prayer, Discipleship Resources, 1992


“Liturgy as Performative Interpretation,” The Oxford Handbook of Interpretation, Oxford University Press, 2019

“Early Christian Prayer,” The Oxford Handbook of Interpretation Oxford University Press, 2019

“Pentecostal Worship: Introduction,” Liturgy, vol. 33, issue3, Taylor & Francis, May 07, 2018

Same-Sex Marriage, Just War, and the Social Principles: Grappling with the Incompatible, General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, November 17, 2017

“Eucharist and the Meaning of Ordinary Food,” Liturgy, Taylor & Francis, February 23, 2017

“Prayer in the Church from 100 to 400 C.E.,” A History of Prayer: From the Early Church to the Reformation, Brill, 2008

“Homosexual Unions and the Social Principles: Blessing the Incompatible?” The Loyal Opposition: Resisting the Church on Homosexuality, Abingdon Press, February 01, 2000

Louisville Institute Sabbatical Grant for Researchers, 2011-2012

Seminar in Christian Scholarship, “From Worldview to Worship: The Liturgical Turn in Cultural Theory,” Calvin College

Mellon Fellowship for a research project titled “A Commentary on the Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus,” Duke University

James Still Fellowship for a research project involving the translation of the Sahidic Coptic version of the Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus, University of Kentucky

Christian Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, and Renewal

Contemporary Christian Worship: Origins, Theory, Practice

Early Christian Worship

Formation and Witness I: Cultivating Church

Public Worship

In the media

February 8, 2022

Service of Word

September 15, 2021

Mt. Bethel leadership: Bishop dragging heels on disaffiliation in order to seize assets

September 9, 2021

North Georgia UMC Conference files complaint against Mt. Bethel in court

September 5, 2021

Delta variant puts many Atlanta-area religious leaders in a quandary

August 16, 2021

Back-to-school time influences congregations’ decisions on masking and meeting

August 12, 2021

Atlanta church requiring proof of vaccination to worship in person

July 13, 2021

North Georgia Conference seizes assets of Mt. Bethel UMC in east Cobb

June 8, 2021

Keep COVID-19 restrictions during in-person worship, ecumenical guide suggests

August 30, 2020

Commentary: The latest Worship War: obey or disobey public health orders?

January 16, 2020

Service of Word and Table

November 6, 2019

Confessing our Faith Together: Living and Growing into Full Communion

August 30, 2018

Say No to Hate: L. Edward Phillips

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