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Walter Rauschenbusch, the latter a key fi gure in the social gospel movement that fl ourished in the US during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. “Robinson’s contribution

to the

doctrine of the Spirit,” said Brackney, was “his view of the social dimensions of the work of the Spirit,” mirroring “the social gospel aspects of spirituality found in Walter Rauschenbush.” Even though in the fi rst half of the

20th century “nothing new on the doctrine of the Holy Spirit emerged among Baptists,”

Baptists nevertheless “kept

an eye on the growing constituencies of Holiness theology and Pentecostalism,” said Brackney, who, over many years, have sat on a number of committees and commissions of the BWA.

In addition to the Holiness and Pentecostal


movements, “and


conservatism, Cessationist

School of dispensationalist hermeneutics began to have a remarkable infl uence upon Baptist understanding of the Holy Spirit.” Cessationism holds the view that the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit such as speaking in tongues, prophetic utterances and faith healing, ceased being practiced early in Christian Church history. According to cessationists, the focus of the Christian life “is to seek the ‘higher’ or more desirable gifts of faith, love, gentleness, etc.” But some Baptists in North America have been open to the manifestation of the miraculous gifts of the Spirit, many infl uenced by Clark Pinnock, whose

Deji Ayegboyin

The Holy Spirit Corporate Worship

and W

orship has always been at the center of Baptist life but “spiritual worship,” as described

by Douglas

Weaver, has always been understood and practiced differently by Baptists. Weaver was making a presentation at the Baptist International Conference on Theological Education in Jamaica. Drawing mainly from 17th


sources in England and the United States, Weaver, professor of religion and director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Religion at Baylor University in Texas in the United States, stated that “early Baptist worship was both communal and individual.” The focus on individual faith, he said, was cast in the language of the Holy Spirit. “Early Baptists believed they were a Spirit-led people, and it was the Spirit which justifi ed and emphasized the role of individuals and the communal nature of the church.”

This spirit-led worship was manifested

in a number of ways. The fi rst was the allowance given to individual expression in communal and personal worship, including the reading and interpretation of scripture for oneself, rather than relying on others to do so. Preaching was not restricted only to trained clergy, even allowing for prophesying by any individual led of the Spirit within the worship service “Baptists believed that authentic Spirit-led worship was free, voluntary and un-coerced; individual

and communal conscience

must both be unfettered before God.” A free conscience, Weaver asserted, “Was integral to authentic worship and tied to each believer’s relationship to God.” Beginning in the 19th

century, two “impact

and Baptists in particular, cannot be overestimated.”

upon Evangelical Brackney

Christianity noted


“Pinnock’s infl uence has resulted in signifi cant numbers of Baptists in North America being open to various angles of the charismatic movement. . . . He fi nds the Baptist disconnection of water baptism and


movements that began outside of the Baptist faith helped to inform Baptists’ understanding of Spirit-led worship. The fi rst was the Holiness movement that emerged out of, but was not restricted to, the Methodist tradition. Weaver indicated that though “it is diffi cult to determine the numerical strength of the Holiness Movement among Baptists in America,”

Spirit Baptism inadequate, and likewise critiques his denominational preoccupation with liturgical and cessationist interpretations.”

family’s proprieties


“the movement


some infl uential pastors and evangelists.” The Holiness movement was a call to personal holiness and placed emphasis on “a second blessing” that ought to follow the conversion experience. This second blessing may be variously described as sanctifi cation, holiness, a baptism of the Holy Spirit, entire consecration, the higher Christian life or perfect love, all brought on by a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. Thought Baptist denominations in the

US and England resisted Pentecostalism, this new movement that began at the turn of the 20th

century also infl uenced Baptist

understanding and practice of Spirit-led worship. “Numerous Baptists were drawn to the explicit emphasis on the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts in Pentecostal worship,” Weaver claimed. Pentecostal


was experiential and was “obviously compatible with most Baptist DNA.” Weaver asserted that some of the early

leaders of Pentecostal denominations, such as the Assemblies of God, were former Baptists. “Many early pioneers in African American groups, for example, Charles Mason of the Church of God in Christ, were former Baptists.” The

later Neo-Pentecostal or

Charismatic movement that began in the 1960s has also infl uenced Baptist understanding of the Holy Spirit role and place in worship. “Even among those Baptist

communities that are against

Pentecostal doctrine, Pentecostal practices have infl uenced worship.” These include such practices and phenomena as faith healing, miracles,

prophecies, the use

of multiple prayer languages, and the lifting of hands in prayer or during songs. “What is the most common is the adoption of contemporary praise worship,” which is now widespread and popular in many Baptist congregations.


Christian rock and roll music, or praise choruses, Weaver said, “have their roots in Pentecostal-charismatic circles.” Phyllis Rodgerson Pleasants Tessieri, in her response to Weaver’s paper, said “the manifestation

of the Holy Spirit

in corporate worship is one facet of the tension or dialectic in which Baptists live Participatory Christianity is interactive. People are no longer content to be observers of religion. . . . A participatory Christian community will be one where everyone is recognized as a minister.” Tessieri, a former professor of church

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