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Date of Award

3-1998

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

Department

Divinity College

Supervisor

Rev. Dr. Michael P. Knowles

Language

English

Abstract

This thesis aims to study the current state of Canadian Baptist congregational worship as it is being expressed within The Baptist Convention of Ontario and Quebec (BCOQ). Following a brief definition of Baptist congregational worship, this study undertook an historical overview of eighteenth and nineteenth century influences on Baptist worship in Upper and Lower Canada. These influences included the English Particular Baptists, the American Regular Baptists, the American Frontier Revivalists, and the Scottish Baptists. This was followed by a survey of twentieth century influences which included the Post-Revivalist tradition, the Formal Evangelical tradition, the Liturgical Renewal Movement, the contemporary Praise-and-Worship Movement, the Church Growth Movement, and Robert Webber's Convergence (Blended) worship style.

This historical overview was then followed by an analysis of current BCOQ worship practices based on the results of an eight-page questionnaire mailed out to the senior pastors of all 387 churches within the BCOQ. A total of 211 completed questionnaires were returned representing a response rate of 54.5% which was fairly distributed across the 19 BCOQ associations, as well as across various membership sizes. On the bases of the questionnaire data, eight different styles of worship were identified: Post-Revivalist (22% of all worship services), Formal Evangelical (17%), Semi-Liturgical (5%), Chinese Baptist (4%), Praise-and-Worship (10%), Composite (Blended) (25%), Convergence (Blended) (8%), and Informal Interactive (2%). Furthermore, it was concluded that historically, Baptists in Ontario and Quebec were less influenced by the Frontier Revivalist style than their Baptist peers in the Maritimes and the Southern United States. It was also hypothesized on the bases of the questionnaire data that, in the years ahead, one can expect to find within the churches of the BCOQ a growing emphasis on a style of congregational worship that seeks a collective, theocentric, seeker-sensitive worship experience that can be shared by believers and seekers alike. As well, preaching will continue to hold a central place in BCOQ worship services, regardless of style. Finally, it is anticipated that Robert Webber's Convergence approach which seeks to blend liturgical and charismatic styles will find growing support among BCOQ pastors and congregations as they come to embrace innovative and new forms of worship while rediscovering the rich heritage of past liturgical traditions.

McMaster University Library

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