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• Wainwright & Tucker (2006). The Oxford History of Christian Worship. Chapters 9, 14, 22 (pp. 351–394; 473–483; 586–632) • Webber (1994). Worship: Old and New. Chapters 11 (pp. 121–134) • White (1993). A Brief History of Christian Worship. Chapters 5 (pp. 142–177)
Developmental History of Christian Worship: Post Reformation to 20 th Century
1. Sketch a historical timeline from the post Reformation to the 20th Century 2. Identify key historical occurrences and figures 3. Briefly discuss significant theological developments
At the end of the session the student will be expected to know some of the key historical occurrences and the people who helped to shape them. Broadly, the student should understand the manner in which this period of developmental history has influenced today’s Christian worship.
1. Post Reformation: AD 1750 – 1900
The Reformation, despite its necessary developments, was highly divisive. Discordant views concerning liturgical design, the Eucharist, Baptism and the use of music plagued the post reformational church.
Churches today still debate the issues defined during the Age of Reason and Revolutions…Compared to the privileged definitions of the patristic era, the labyrinth syntheses of the Middle Ages, or the schisms during the Renaissance and Reformation, the intellectual and affective as well as the industrial and political revolutions of the modern world may seem merely temporal matters. Actually, they are often applications of attitudes taught through Christian religious practices. (Donakowski, 2006, p. 351)
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“With the Protestant Reformation the notion of a singular infallible dogma within Catholic
tradition was replaced by thousands of infallible dogma within the statements of faith of the many ecclesial bodies that make up Protestantism. That is to say, the Protestant Reformation combated the notion of the papacy by replacing one pope with thousands of popes – a highly questionable improvement” (Greer, 2003, p. 66).
The Enlightenment (AD 1650–1750)
The Enlightenment, also known as the Age of Reason, spans the seventeenth and eighteenth century’s (AD 1650–1750). The observant reader will note that this chronology positions the period during the closing stages of the Reformation. Indeed, as with every stage in history, and perhaps more easily observed in recent times, eras are graduated so that the commencement of a new period is often observed to start during the completion of its predecessor. Given the tumultuous time of the Reformation it is interesting to observe that the factual and proof driven requirements of the Enlightenment caused the Roman Catholics and the Protestants to become uneasy bedfellows. Seeking to combat (in their own way) the Enlightenment’s suggestion that human reason is the locus of authority and that the nature of salvation is found in human ingenuity and moral resolve, “Roman Catholics and Protestants agreed that authority was not within, but outside mankind. The former invested in religious knowledge mediated by the church; the latter in the Bible explained by pastors” (Hannah, 2004, p. 41).
Approaches to Authority and the Enlightenment (Hannah, 2004, p. 41)
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The following graphic shows the three main contributors/thinkers to the development of knowledge during the Enlightenment:
The Enlightenment and Knowledge (Hannah, 2004, p. 43)
Hannah (2004) qualifies his illustrative representation (above) of the Enlightenment when he writes:
Descartes believed that human knowledge begins with doubt of everything except our ability to think, and that only through our reasoning can we know the existence of God. John Locke argued that knowledge comes from reflection on sense experience. Kant refined Descartes’ and Locke’s views, saying that knowledge falls into two categories: spiritual and physical. We cannot really know the spiritual, but through knowledge derived from the physical realm we order and understand our inherent spiritual morality. (Hannah, 2004, p. 43)
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Modernity (AD 1750–1900)
The second stage of the Post Reformational era is known as the age of Modernity. Secular historians often refer to this era as the Romantic period (18th and 19th centuries). Sweetman (2012a) writes, “Romanticism glorified the past, revelling in picturesque and exalted feeling. It produced three further worship traditions: Methodism (heart religion, enthusiasm), the Frontier church (camp meetings, conversion) and Pentecostalism (experiencing God in worship)” (p. 13). The following events and people are of particular note to this study: First Great Awakening (AD 1726–1742): Beginning among the Dutch Reformed Churches in New Jersey, the first Great Awakening is a wave of evangelistic revivals that sweep through the American colonies. The lasting trademark of this revival is the need for ‘New Birth’ or being Born Again. Jonathan Edwards (AD 1703–1758): Jonathan Edwards preached in America and revival began to spread. In 1739 Edwards was joined by George Whitefield who travelled between England and America, preaching the gospel and reaching Jonathan Edwards: America's Greatest Theologian about 80% of Americans. (Galli & Olsen, 2000, p. 43) The Awakening centered on reviving the spirituality of established Protestant congregations, but was resisted by some denominations. Perhaps is most famous sermon is Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God (AD 1741). John Wesley (AD 1738): Originally an Anglican minister, John Wesley has his conversion moment famously known as his Aldersgate Experience. Occurring at a Moravian meeting in London, Wesley describes it as not only ‘believing’ that Christ is his salvation but coming to ‘feel’ it and ‘trust’ it. Whilst Wesley’s manner of preaching was ultimately rejected by the established church and he reluctantly formed the Methodist Societies (AD 1739) within the Anglican Church to provide guidance for the converts drawn to the church by his evangelistic efforts; later these societies would become known simply as the Methodists.
John Wesley (AD 1703–1791)
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Calvinism vs. Arminianism (AD 1741): John Wesley (Armenian; believing that anyone who wanted to could be saved) and George Whitefield (Calvinist; believing that only those chosen by God could be saved) split over their theology of conversion. Despite remaining close friends, the theological dispute between Calvinism and Arminianism “continued to produce major tension in revivalist circles” (Sweetman, 2012a, p. 14). Second Great Awakening (AD 1800–1870): Centered on the debate over slavery, the second Great Awakening is indigenous to America and its unprecedented multiculturalism as well as its increasing sectarianism. Theologically, this revival of American churches focused on the question that asked, ‘Is conversion a punctiliar event accompanied by manifestations of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit?’ Revivalists said ‘yes’ while New England Theology, Catholicism, High Church Anglicanism said ‘no’. Often propagated through earthy, evangelistic rallies (camp meetings), the second Great Awakening brought millions of new Christians into the American church (mostly Baptist). Charles Finney (AD 1821): One of the great evangelists during the second Great Awakening, Charles Finney, is converted. An innovative revivalist, Finney uses women to pray in meetings, encourages mixed race attendance to meetings and preaches extemporaneously (a style of preaching requiring extensive preparation without the exact wording). Finney is also renowned for his employment of New Measures; a revivalist technique used to justify the use of direct public pressure to secure ‘convictions’ Charles Finney: Father of American Revivalism in revival meetings. (Galli & Olsen, 2000, p. 67) The Oxford Movement (AD 1833): A High‐Church Anglican group, the Oxford Movement (also known as Tractarianism in its earliest stages) attacks the secularisation and liberalism of the Church of England; attempting to bring it closer to Catholicism. Its impact on worship can be seen in the Eucharist becoming more central to worship and vestments becoming more common. Liberalism (AD 1850–1900): Also known as Modernism, Liberalism (and its theology) seeks to preserve Christianity by adapting it to the intellectual and social climate of the time; including evolutionary theory, biblical criticism, psychology, sociology, Kantian philosophy etc.). With an emphasis on God in history, Christian experience, goodness of humanity, and ethics, Liberalism views the “bible as a book written by God‐believing people that could be examined in the same way as other books. It sought to remove the superstition and
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supernatural from Christianity so that its principles of love and justice, epitomized by Jesus’ teaching, could be embraced by everyone” (Sweetman, 2012a, p. 14). In order to summarise this period of time historically, The Roots of Modernity and Postmodernity (Hannah, 2004, p. 44; below) qualifies the era as having “an emphasis on the authority of reason and the virtues of education, a deep seated optimism and commitment to an upward spiral of human improvability, and an attempt to define religion as improved morals” (p. 44). Hannah goes on to suggest that “When the assumptions that undergirded the late Modern Era collapsed in the twentieth century, there was little to replace it except an even more radical emphasis on individualism, which has lead to societal despair, meaninglessness, and relativity” (p. 44).
The Roots of Modernity and Postmodernity (Hannah, 2004, p. 44)
“When something new comes along the church usually rejects it; then they tolerate it; then it becomes acceptable; and, finally, it becomes traditional” (Romanowski, 1990a, p. 1).
In what ways can you see the influence of historical developments from the Post Reformational period in today’s worship contexts? Can you think of any specific examples that display the secular seeds of Modernity as accepted Christian expression today?
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Key Developments in Worship (AD 1750–1900)
For the most part Protestant worship remained unchanged during this period. Having been through the turbulent changes of the Reformation, Protestant worship was in a time of consolidation. The greatest level of influence can be observed in the theological developments; that is Post Reformational worship started to emphasise emotionally derived worship (observed mostly in the revivalist settings), whereas the proceeding era of the Reformation placed its emphasis on the intellect. The Roman Catholic Church resisted significant change to its liturgical designs until Vatican II (AD 1960s), but substantial development can be observed in the Free Church movement. In taking advantage of the revival settings of the Great Awakenings “the free churches were greatly influenced by the Enlightenment’s emphasis on reason and knowledge and its rejection of tradition and superstition” (Sweetman, 2012a, p. 15). While rejecting Liberalism outright “their worship services were rational, personal and free from tradition” (p. 15). Sweetman identifies four characteristics of Free Church worship (p. 15):
1. Personal Heart Experience: God moved directly in the hearts of worshippers, not through signs or symbols or body postures or gestures or ceremonies. In fact these were seen as distractions to true worship; taking the worshipper’s heart away from God. 2. Spontaneous Prayer: Set prayers were seen to inhibit the movement of God in worship and limit the pray‐er. Prayers were to be from the heart. 3. Preaching and Scripture: Already subservient to the Word, communion became optional. The sermon (often lengthy) was absolutely essential. Pulpits became the central piece of furniture in the church. The emphasis was on the mind – worshippers needed to understand what they believed.
4. Communion as remembrance: With
communion being optional, the mystical element of the communion service was removed and communion became purely a time to remember what Christ did on the cross.
Spurgeon was known as "the preaching sensation of London" (Galli & Olsen, 2000, pp. 101–102)
Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of the above four points is the change in preaching. By the close of the 19th century preaching was persuasive (anthropocentric) as opposed to proclamation (theocentric) and narrative more than biblical. The preachers’ view of the congregation had also shifted, moving from ‘they should have faith…but can’t’ (inability) to, ‘they can have faith…but won’t’ (stubbornness) (Hannah, 2004, p. 11).
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The Emerging Prominence of Music (AD 1750–1900)
It is true to say that music has always held a place of prominence in Christian worship but it is the manner in which music is utilised during the Post Reformational era that sees its significance heightened; paving the way for its 20th century and modern day treatment. In his book Te Deum1, Paul Westermeyer (1998) writes,
Until prone and Low Mass in the medieval West and parts of especially Zwinglian Protestantism or Quaker worship thereafter, worship was always sung. Even today Jewish synagogues, Eastern Orthodox churches, and many more other worshiping communities treat music as intrinsic to their worship. (p. 27)
The scope of our survey is limited to reviewing a select number of historical events, important persons and their contributions during this period:
Early Hymnody (AD 1637): A ‘Particular Baptists’ minister, Benjamin Keach, caused controversy verging on schism by employing a sung hymn at the end of Communion. Isaac Watts (AD 1674–1748): Often referred to as the father of English hymnody, Isaac Watts is credited with the authorship of over 600 hymns. “His hymns were strong and triumphant statements of the Christian faith, yet none ever equalled the colourful imagery and genuine devotion of this emotionally stirring and magnificent hymn text” (Osbeck, 1996, p. 106): When I Survey the Wondrous Cross (AD 1707).
Isaac Watts: The Father of English Hymnody (Galli & Olsen, 2000, p. 154)
The Moravians (AD 1722 –): Originally the Bohemian Brethren, the Moravians held to a strong pietistic sense of community. “Moravians have always emphasized fellowship and service rather than creedal statements…[and] their worship hymns, from many sources, play an important part” in their liturgy” (Cross & Livingstone, 2005, p. 119). The Moravians are perhaps best known for their interaction with the Wesley brothers: John and Charles. After the Moravian Peter Böhler had convinced him [John Wesley] that he lacked saving faith, he underwent a conversion experience when his ‘heart was strangely warmed’ on 24 May 1738 during the reading of Martin Luther’s Preface to Romans at the meeting of a religious society in Aldersgate Street, London. (Cross & Livingstone, 2005, p. 1739)
Definition: an Ambrosian Hymn or A Song of the Church, Te Deum is an early Christian hymn of praise. The title is taken from its opening Latin words, Te Deum laudamus, rendered as ‘Thee, O God, we praise’. Page 8 Developmental History of Christian Worship: Post Reformation to 20th Century © 2012 Dr Daniel K. Robinson
Christian Worship PC315/515 Johann Sebastian Bach (AD 1685–1750): Described as the “greatest composer that Western culture has produced” (Wilson‐Dickson, 1992, p. 93), J. S. Bach was known for the expression of his Christian faith through his countless (over 300) cantatas (“the principal musical constitute of the Lutheran service” (Sadie, 1994, p. 137)). Bach is thought to be the last musician of renowned earning his living solely from the church. “Indeed Lutheran church music suffered a particularly rapid and painful collapse at the end of the eighteenth century” (Wilson‐Dickson, 1992, p. 100). Charles Wesley (AD 1707–1788): Known as the “greatest hymn writer of all time” (Galli & Olsen, 2000, p. 157), Charles Wesley produced 56 volumes of hymns over a 53 year period. Writing specifically for the Methodist denomination Charles was renowned for his ability to write emotive lyric which invoked high‐spirited singing.
Bach was hired at Leipzig only after Georg Friedrich Telemann and another (now practically forgotten) composer refused the post.
His brother John is considered the organizational genius behind the founding of Methodism. But without the hymns of Charles, the Methodist movement may have gone nowhere. As one historian put it, “The early Methodists were taught and led as much through [Charles’s] hymns as through sermons and [John] Wesley’s pamphlets.” (pp. 157–158) Cult of the Artist and the New Middle Class (c. 1800s): It is during the nineteenth century that the ‘cult of the artist’ started to develop. The romantic period (19th century) expected individuality and “the arts became for many people a means of spiritual enlightenment, even the source of revelation. Painters, poets and musicians came to be revered as vessels for these revelations, the ‘supreme discerners of transcendent truth’” (Wilson‐ Dickson, 1992, p. 122). Writing about the impact of the emerging middle class Wilson‐Dickson has stated that the “middle class was large enough and rich enough to create a new market for cultural entertainment. In the world of music, public concerts had been popular from the 1720s” (p. 122).
Josef Danhauser's painting, 'Liszt at the Piano', with its bust of Beethoven and adoring audience shows the nineteenth century's worship of composers and performers at its peak.
The Mass as Performance (c. 1800s): With a growing number of “viable alternatives to commissions from church or state…the most talented composers were able to decide on more personal grounds whether they wished to write music for liturgy. Many decided against it” (p. 126). The striking originality of so much music of the nineteenth century makes its relationship with the liturgy one of controversy, the most flamboyant musical personalities creating the greatest tensions. Berlioz’ Grande Messe des Morts (1837) and Te Deum (1849) are works of arresting individuality, of which their vast scale is only one aspect (the Te Deum was intended for a thousand performers). But they reflect the nature of the state occasions for which they were intended rather than a desire to write music sympathetic to liturgical needs. (p. 128)
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Christian Worship PC315/515 Dwight L. Moody (AD 1837–1899) & Ira D. Sankey (AD 1840–1908): Perhaps the first prominent ‘Preacher/Song Leader’ team, Moody (Preacher) and Sankey (Song Leader) presented personal, emotional communication of common human experience in their campaigns across England and America. “Sankey led the congregational hymns and sang his solos while seated at a little reed organ” (Hustad, 1994, p. 232). The Salvation Army (AD 1878 –): Founded by William Booth (AD 1829– 1912), the Salvation Army employed the same pattern of presentation as exemplified by Moody and Sankey. In so keeping, solo voice was preferred over choirs for “fear that choirs confine the singing to the few, instead of making it the servant of the many’ (Wilson‐Dickson, 1992, p. 140). Furthermore, “the frank emotionalism of [their] songs and their imitation or borrowing of secular pop music for their purposes was offensive to more aesthetically‐minded observers” (p. 140).
William Booth was often referred to as 'The Prophet of the Poor' (Galli & Olsen, 2000, p. 300)
2. The 20th Century
According to Webber (1994a), the 20th Century began with two firmly established camps of approach and enactment in Christian Worship: Catholic and Protestant. “Worship changes of the twentieth century began with the rise of the holiness‐Pentecostal movement, which, in its rediscovery of the supernatural, is regarded by many as the first post‐Enlightenment approach to worship” (Webber, 1994a, p. 121). Commencing with Revivalist worship, we will survey five main worship styles that developed during the 20th Century: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Revivalist Worship Pentecostal Worship Roman Catholic Worship: post Vatican II Charismatic Worship Seeker Sensitive Services
It is important to note here that worship expressions such as Liturgical and Traditional have continued to undergo change since their Reformation and Post Reformational inceptions (respectively). We will address these worship styles (along with Contemporary, Blended & Emerging) in the next module.
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Revivalist worship traces its beginnings back into the nineteenth century. Developed around aggressive preaching which focused on the conversion of sinners and the sanctification of believers for daily living, the Revival service “bore little relationship to anything biblical or historical. It was designed to move people to God and any appropriate means that impacted hearts could be used” (Sweetman, 2012b, p. 8).
A 1930s Tent Revival Meeting
Observed at its height during the second Great Awakening (AD 1800–1870), “it became common form for the evening service in evangelical churches in Australia in the 1900s” (p. 8). Following the biblical example of Peter’s preaching at Pentecost (Acts 2), the preaching is generally evangelistic with its climax realised in a call to Christ. Billy Sunday (AD 1862–1935) exemplified the exuberant preaching of the Revivalists. Originally a professional baseball player, Sunday’s legendary rough and earthy vocabulary (e.g. “I don’t believe your own bastard theory of evolution, either; I believe it’s pure jackass nonsense”) was no hindrance to his evangelistic success. “Until Billy Graham, no American evangelist preached to so many millions, or saw as many conversions—an estimated 300,000” (Galli & Olsen, 2000, p. 73). Sweetman (2012b, pp. 8–9) has identified six characteristics that define Revivalist worship and their meetings. Each of the characteristics where not only expanded upon in the preaching; they were also themes expressed in the lyrical content of Among Sundays’ famous quotes is the well‐worn "Going to church doesn’t the songs used during the service. The six make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you an automobile” (Galli & Olsen, 2000, p. 73) revivalist themes are: revival, conversion, commitment, closeness to God, passion, and the second coming of Christ. Revivalist Worship can still be observed today; albeit in a modernised fashion. Expressed in two forms (Charleston and Shady Creek) Southern Baptist worship bears the influence of its revivalist worship roots.
Charleston influence can be seen in the set order of worship, formality and dignity, hymns focusing on God, and sermons characterized by learning and piety, head and heart. Sandy Creek influence manifests
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Christian Worship PC315/515 itself in gospel hymns and songs focusing on the spiritual state of the worshiper, extemporaneous prayers, folksy informality, and fiery evangelistic sermons that leave ample room, even if carefully prepared, for spontaneous improvisation prompted by the Holy Spirit. (Shoemaker, 1993, p. 75)
As Shoemaker has suggested above, Revivalists valued (and continue to do so) spontaneity and openness in their liturgical design; allowing the order to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading. Therefore the following order of service, “typical of a Southern Baptist service in the mid/late twentieth century” (Shoemaker, 1993, p. 76), should only be prescribed loosely:
Prelude Call to Worship (choral or spoken) Hymn of Praise Invocation Welcome and Announcements Scripture Pastoral Prayer Offering Anthem or Solo (instrumental or vocal) Sermon Hymn of Invitation Presentation of ‘Decisions’ Benedictions Postlude
The undisputable strength of this style of worship is its clear evangelistic thrust, with God using it as a vehicle to bring many into his kingdom. Contrasted against the more reserved and conservative Liturgical and Traditional worship styles, the emotive drive of the Revivalist’s (and that of the Pentecostals) made it an engaging experience. Simply, its main appeal was to the uneducated; requiring no intellectual response. Indeed the only response required was that of the heart.
Danville First Church of God: this ministry began with a tent meeting on July 7, 1936. The revival lasted 15 weeks and over 300 people were saved!
Arguably, the weaknesses of this style are outlined in its strengths. Biblical worship is not merely evangelism, and at times the style has been accused of theological imbalance and unethical behaviour. The emotive experience is also susceptible to manipulation. “When feelings become the major measure of worship and conversion the most desired result, methods that achieve these goals become sacrosanct…The ends are seen to justify the means” (Sweetman, 2012b, p. 10).
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The roots of Pentecostal worship are found in the Holiness movement which originated in the work of John Wesley and Methodism. “Methodists were well‐known for pursuing intense religious experiences and for ‘raising the shout’ when they ‘broke through’ and experienced grace” (Blumhofer, 1994, p. 105). While Pentecostal worship appropriated many of the hymns of the Holiness movement, using lyric which was intended to express God’s sanctifying grace; the contextual outworking of the theology was often quite different.
Pentecostalism originated in the 1906 Azusa Street Mission Revival, Los Angeles (pictured above)
[However] like the Holiness movement, Pentecostalism thrived in contexts that encouraged spontaneity and individual expression. What was perceived as corporate worship might alternatively be described as simultaneous individual worship. Pentecostals perhaps met together as much to pursue individual experiences as to express corporate solidarity as the people of God. Their corporate unity tended, then, to be more apparent than real, except during sporadic opposition. Referring to one another as “brother” and “sister” on the surface seemed to cultivate a sense of family unity, but that was not generally reflected in worship style. (p. 106)
Sweetman (2012b, pp. 6–7) outlines five ways in which Pentecostal worship differs from evangelical worship2: Unstructured: Structure was seen as inhibiting spontaneity and was thought to ‘quench the Spirit’. There was an expectation that the Holy Spirit would lead the service. Participatory: Early Pentecostals placed a high emphasis on congregational participation. Everyone was encouraged to initiate a song, speak in tongues, bring a prophecy or pray for a healing. Energetic: Pentecostal worship places high emphasis on physical worship with lots of actions including clapping, waving, dancing, shouting, raising hands, marching and falling (in the Spirit). The congregation were even expected to engage with the preaching by calling out responses and affirmations. Experiential: The goal of the worshippers was to experience God in the worship. This might come in the form of a heightened sense of God’s presence or a physical manifestation of God’s power. Emotional: The worshippers gave public expression to their emotions in worship. Whether with tears, shouts of joy or deep silence, the expression of feelings was encouraged.
During the 20th Century it became common vernacular, when discussing church and worship matters, to differentiate between Evangelical (mainline protestant: Baptist, Church of Christ, Methodist etc.) and Pentecostal (Assemblies of God, Christian Outreach Centre etc.). With the advent of the Charismatic renewal (1970s) the hybrid expression ‘Charismatic Evangelical’ became common in describing Evangelical churches with a Charismatic expression of worship. Page 13 Developmental History of Christian Worship: Post Reformation to 20th Century © 2012 Dr Daniel K. Robinson
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Despite the aim and claim of ‘unstructured’ worship, the pattern (structure) of Pentecostal worship is relatively common amongst the worship style’s adherents. Calvin Johansson (1993) outlines a basic pattern of Pentecostal worship that “centres around the gospel and takes into account the Pentecostal historic heritage” (p. 177):
Preparation for Worship: The means of preparing for worship might include a Saturday (or mid‐week) intercessory prayer meeting for the impending church service. Additionally, individual fasting, confession and penitential actions are encouraged.
The Altar Call at the end of a Pentecostal Service
Opening Acclamation: This is an opportunity to affirm the sacred nature and purpose of the meeting. The acclamation may take various forms: A brief scriptural statement (e.g. Ps. 41:13 or 72:18–19) Call to worship (Ps. 95:1, 99:5 or 100:4) A song by the congregation and/or choir Invocation: A gathering prayer which sets the stage for what is to take place. Songs of Praise: A period of congregational singing with clapping, dancing and raising of hands. This section can take up to an hour to complete, but is more commonly conducted as a twenty to thirty minute set (20‐30mins). Prayers of the Assembly: Praying as a community of believers with fervour and intensity on a wide range of topics; often directed by the peoples spontaneous petitions. Pastoral Greeting: An informal welcome to all, especially newcomers. Congregational Witness: Shared praises, admonitions, and words of edification and encouragement by members of the assembly give a sense of family community. Persons may be asked in advance or invited to share extemporaneously. Giving of Tithes and Offerings: Often accompanied by a congregational song or a presentational piece by a soloist or choir. Communion: Many Pentecostal churches observe the Lord’s Supper weekly. The people may come to the altar to receive the bread and cup, or the ushers may distribute them at the appropriate time. Silence is often observed during the distribution and partaking of the Lord’s Supper. Sermon: The sermon, most often delivered by the senior pastor, may or may not be in line with any predefined theme for the service. Invitation/Altar Call: Often in response to the sermon, a call for response is given. Here individuals are invited to respond to an invitation for salvation, anointing with oil (healing) or other general needs requiring prayer. Respondents are often invited to the front (altar) to receive prayer. Closing Song: The subject matter of this song will depend on circumstances. It might be one of invitation, praise, or benediction.
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Critique: What are the strengths of Pentecostal Worship? What are the possible weaknesses?
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Roman Catholic Worship
While seeking to grapple with the impact of modernism the Roman Catholic Church chose to face the challenge of theological reform under the leadership and direction of “Pope John XXIII (AD 1958–1963), who convened the Second Vatican Council; the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy formulated by Vatican II set the stage for worship renewal not only within the Roman Catholic sphere but within other Christian communions as well” (Webber, 1994b, p. 317). Our focus for this study is predominantly the lineage of Protestant worship; nonetheless there are a number of noteworthy points that we will consider here given their far reaching impact on Roman Catholic and Protestant liturgy alike. Webber (1994a), in his text Worship: Old and New, has remarked “the impact of worship renewal [has] affected the mainline Protestant church. Mainliners have drawn from the Catholic worship renewal and have expressed a hope for a unified worship among all Christians” (pp. 121–122). Consider the following points and their impact on both Roman Catholic worship and the wider Christian community3:
Ecumenicalism: Vatican II encouraged dialogue with Protestant denominations and the Eastern Orthodox Church. “The ecumenical orientation of Vatican II opened Catholics to learning from, and cooperating with, biblical scholars outside the Catholic Church” (Vanhoozer, Bartholomew, Treier, & Wright, 2005, p. 103). Reforms in Tradition: The practicalities of Vatican II are observed mostly in the reforms of traditions. “The council made optional some traditional expressions of Catholicism—Latin in the liturgy, meatless Fridays, Lenten fasts and abstinence, the cult of the saints, and the regular practice of confession to the priests” (Eckman, 2002, p. 99). Many have argued that these changes have removed the distinctive characteristics of Roman Catholicism. Congregational Singing: With the liturgy permitted in the vernacular congregational singing was renewed with greater opportunity for participation by the laity. Parishes have therefore been permitted by the Vatican to independently choose “particular missalette, hymnal, or songbook[s] which that parish [chooses, applying] the liturgical style and interest of the clergy and musicians. In addition, it is not uncommon today for a parish to supplement published music with unpublished compositions by musicians within the parish” (Haugen, 1994, p. 368)
“The liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council has been the single most concrete and dynamic change within modern Roman Catholicism. The Magna Carta of this reform is the Constitution on the Liturgy, Sacrosanctum concilium, issued on December 4, 1963…This document was not only the first fruit of Vatican II, but also was one of its major contributions to the internal renewal of Christianity. Such importance, at least for the Catholic church, was stressed by Pope Paul VI when he promulgated the constitution: “Treated before others, in a sense it has priority over all others for its intrinsic dignity and importance to the life of the Church” (Address, December 4, 1963)” (Martinez, 1994, p. 108) Page 15 Developmental History of Christian Worship: Post Reformation to 20th Century © 2012 Dr Daniel K. Robinson
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It has been said that the Charismatic movement has impacted nearly every modern denomination (Riss, 1994, p. 121). The Charismatic Renewal developed during the mid twentieth century within the mainline denominations. Sometimes referred to as NeoPentecostalism (due to its similar worship expressions – raising of hands and speaking in tongues etc.) the Charismatic movement often commenced within churches as a ‘prayer service’. “The central purpose of the charismatic prayer meeting was considered to be worship. One of its distinctive features was spontaneity; there was no prescribed agenda, and anyone could contribute” (Riss, 1994, p. 122).
Charismatic Worship: Mass at the 'Cathedral of the King' in Manila
Sweetman (2012b) furthers the description of Charismatic worship when he writes,
Their worship was a mixture of traditional worship liturgies and orders of service with a more physical style of worship (raising hands, dancing) and the opportunity to use spiritual gifts (praying for healing, exercising prophecy, speaking in tongues, etc.). The worship styles in the charismatic movement varied greatly according to their worship tradition, but they held strongly to these commonalities. (p. 13)
Specifically, the surging two decades of the charismatic movement, the 1960s and 70s, are identified by the following seven characteristics (Burgess & McGee, 1988, pp. 693–694):
1. Emphasis upon singing of psalms and Scripture songs 2. Reliance upon music for praise and worship in church, at conferences and festivals, in small groups, and in private 3. Use of musical instruments 4. Emphasis upon congregational singing with the use of praise leaders 5. Use of dance and pageantry, both spontaneous and choreographed 6. Use of drama and pantomime 7. Emphasis upon the prophetic role of, or anointing upon, the musicians.
The 1980s played host to the Third Wave movement. “Heralded by individuals like John Wimber (AD 1931–1997) and Fuller Seminary professor C. Peter Wagner (b. 1930), the third wave movement identified ‘the signs and wonders’ of the New Testament book of Acts as legitimate demonstrations of God’s power today” (Eckman, 2002, p. 98).
John Wimber (AD 1931–1997)
One significant developmental spin‐off of the third wave movement was the music. Known as the Praise and Worship movement, “the ideology central to the composition of the Chorus (Praise and Worship Music) was not dissimilar to Wesley’s approach to the evangelical hymn. The ultimate aim [was] to heighten accessibility and therefore participation through the emotional engagement of congregational members” (Robinson, 2011, p. 29).
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The genesis of the modern worship song can be traced back to black gospel as well as Ira D. Sankey use of the gospel music idiom during the 19th century. Gospel music, and its use among revival evangelists and Pentecostals, was standard until the mid‐twentieth century. Horace Clarence Boyer (2000) states,
Gospel music was selected as the illuminating force behind this theology and developed over all other types of sacred music. When hymns were sung by these congregations they were ‘gospelized.’ Services were nothing less than ecstatic with forceful and jubilant singing, dramatic testimonies, hand clapping, foot stamping, and beating of drums tambourines, and triangles…It was not uncommon for a shouting session to last for thirty or forty‐five minutes. (p. 19)
Developed as a direct response to the folk music idioms of the 1960s and 70s, the Worship Chorus had its beginnings among the counter‐cultural charismatic movement known as the ‘Jesus‐people’. The lasting impact of the worship chorus as an idiom is undeniable with its inclusion almost universal among Roman Catholic and Protestant churches alike. When commenting on the musical genre’s impact, Dan Wilt (2009) writes,
Modern worship songs have emerged as a primary discipleship vehicle, guiding contemporary churches on their courses over the past fifty years. These songs, and the churches that enlist them, have grown in influence and number, radically impacting the grass roots of Christian faith in our generation. (p. 144)
For many churches the use of the modern chorus has not altered their liturgical design; that is, choruses have been assimilated into the existing liturgy replacing hymns. In fact recent research has found that “churches used both worship choruses and hymns with only 18% (n15/83) using only worship choruses” (Robinson, 2011, p. 115). One denomination that has historically used only worship choruses is The Vineyard movement.
Eddie Espinosa and John Wimber, pastor of The Vineyard, developed a five‐phase pattern for their ‘worship set.’ In their worship services, the choruses were short, and their worship set was long. Rather than singing songs in random order, they recognized the need to smoothly link the many choruses and provide a sense of progression. (Liesch, 1995, p. 245)
The Five Phase Worship Pattern has (as the name suggests) five distinct periods of worship. The scriptural support of the design is found in Psalm 95 (pp. 245–246): The Five Phase Worship Pattern (Liesch, 1988, p. 92) Invitation: “Let us sing for joy … shout aloud.” Engagement: “Let us come before him with thanksgiving.” Exaltation: “For the Lord is the great God … the mountain peaks belong to him.” Adoration: “Come, let us bow down … let us kneel.” Intimacy: “For we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.”
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Seeker Sensitive Services
It may be apparent by now, having worked through the developmental history of Christian worship that new forms and liturgical designs have almost always emerged as a reaction or modification to existing models; in this, the Seeker Sensitive model is no different. With the consolidation of the American middle class during the mid to late 20th century came the decline in church attendance. Recognising that middle class Americans seemed to be disenchanted with the church, Bill Hybels conducted a survey of his local community. He asked people why they didn’t currently attend a church. The responses fell into four main categories (Vassallo, 1998, p. 279): 1. 2. 3. 4. The people felt churches were always asking for money. The people said that sermons were boring and the services routine. The people saw no relevancy between church and real life. The people responded that pastors made them feel ignorant and guilty.
With these responses as a guiding charter, Hybels founded (AD 1975) Willow Creek Community Church (South Barrington, Illinois) and the seeker sensitive service was born. Vassallo (1998) offers the following defining characteristics of the model noting that seeker sensitive services may vary in form (p. 280): Religious terms or buzz words, that regular attenders are familiar with but that leave the unchurched scratching their heads, are eliminated. Music with a contemporary sound is used with words being projected on a screen or at least handed out. Assume that seekers have never heard the songs you’re asking them to sing. A topic that relates to everyday living is chosen. The catchy title is publicized in advance. Drama and film clips are often used to set up the topic as a launching pad for the sermon. The sermon is informal and is delivered more in the style of a chat rather than as a fiery oration. Little is said about giving money. In fact, visitors are often told not to contribute to the offering. Visitors are given an opportunity to fill out a card (if they wish to) but are not put on the spot by being asked to wear a visitor’s tag. Seekers are directed to an area afterward where they can meet with someone to ask questions and discuss the service.
Founder and Senior Pastor, Willow Creek Community Church
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The design of the seeker sensitive service is overtly focused on the unbeliever (seeker, unchurched). The size of many churches employing the seeker sensitive service attests to its strengths, but many have criticized the model claiming that it is not ‘worship’ in the traditional sense. White (2000) suggests the seeker sensitive service
…may not be considered worship at all but a form of evangelism. It begins with a musical performance in a familiar style which often alternates with a skit or monologue to present and resolve an issue with which seekers may be wrestling. The talk that follows pursues this issue further, sometimes using a scriptural basis, sometimes not. (p. 165)
Recognising the short‐comings of the model, Willow Creek opened mid‐week services which they called ‘new community’. These ‘believer focused’ services employed a more intense worship set. Most recently, Willow Creek has abandoned its seeker sensitive focused services; gearing the “weekend services toward mature believers seeking to grow in their faith…and replac[ing] its midweek services with classes on theology and the Bible” (Branaugh, 2008). Perhaps the lasting ‘positive’ effect of the Willow Creek model on modern church constructs (across denominations) is its heightened awareness of unbelievers that might attend corporate worship. John Frame has recognised that many modern “churches…seek to make worship intelligible to any unbelievers who may be present (1 Cor. 14:24–25) through friendliness and informality and through contemporary music and language. These churches sometimes describe themselves, in the context of the Willow Creek discussion, as “seeker‐sensitive, but not seeker driven” (Frame, 1994, p. 62). Having explored the developmental histories of Christian worship, identify and write down at least one aspect of worship design from each 20th century worship style (Pentecostal, Revivalist, Roman Catholic, Charismatic, Seeker Sensitive) that influences your current approach to corporate worship.
Critique: Why didn't the 'Seeker‐Service' gain traction in Australia?
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Blumhofer, E. (1994). Movements of worship renewal in the twentieth century. In R. Webber (Ed.), Twenty centuries of Christian worship (Vol. 2). Nashville, TN: Star Song Publishing Group. Boyer, H. C. (2000). The golden age of gospel. Chicago, IL: University of Illinois Press. Branaugh, M. (2008, 15 May 2008). Willow Creek's 'huge shift'. Retrieved 28 June, 2012, from http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/june/5.13.html Burgess, S. M., & McGee, G. M. (Eds.). (1988) Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic movements. Grand Rapids, MI: Regency Reference Library. Cross, F. L., & Livingstone, E. A. (Eds.). (2005) (3rd, revised ed.). Oxford, NY: Oxford University Press. Donakowski, C. L. (2006). The age of revolutions. In G. Wainwright & K. B. W. Tucker (Eds.), The oxford history of christian worship (pp. 351–394). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Eckman, J. P. (2002). Exploring church history. Wheaton, IL: Crossway. Frame, J. (1994). Presbyterian church in America: Evangelism and worship. In R. Webber (Ed.), The ministries of Christian worship (Vol. 7). Nashville, TN: Star Song Publishing Group. Galli, M., & Olsen, T. (2000). 131 Christians everyone should know. Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers. Greer, R. C. (2003). Mapping postmodernism: A survey of christian options. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press. Hannah, J. D. (2004). Charts of reformation and enlightenment church history (Vol. 2). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. Haugen, M. (1994). Roman Catholic service music since Vatican II. In R. Webber (Ed.), Music and the arts in Christian worship (Vol. 4). Nashville, TN: Star Song Publishing Group. Hustad, D. P. (1994). The Moody‐Sankey campaigns. In R. Webber (Ed.), Music and the arts in Christian worship (Vol. 4). Nashville, TN: Star Song Publishing Group. Johansson, C. (1993). Pentecostal worship. In R. Webber (Ed.), The renewal of Sunday worship (Vol. 3). Nashville, TN: Star Song Publishing Group. Liesch, B. (1988). People in the presence of God. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. Liesch, B. (1995). A structure runs through it. In M. Shelley (Ed.), Changing lives through preaching and worship: 30 strategies for powerful communication. Nashville, TN: Moorings. Martinez, G. (1994). The impact of the constitution on the sacred liturgy. In R. Webber (Ed.), Twenty centuries of Christian worship (Vol. 2). Nashville, TN: Star Song Publishing Group. Osbeck, K. W. (1996). Amazing grace: 366 inspiring hymn stories for daily devotions Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications. Riss, R. M. (1994). The Charismatic renewal. In R. Webber (Ed.), Twenty centuries of Christian worship (Vol. 2). Nashville, TN: Star Song Publishing Group.
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