by Jeff Brumley, ABP News,
Pastors and scholars familiar with a new book about liturgical worship say its publication signals the practice's spread in Baptist churches who realize ancient Christian practices are inherently missional and may lure younger generations to the faith.
Gathering Together: Baptists at Work in Worship, is a collection of essays with an index containing resources including creeds and procedures for employing sacraments.
"It represents an increasingly widespread Baptist recognition that our tradition by itself is not sufficient," said Steve Harmon, an adjunct professor of Christian theology at the Gardner-Webb University divinity school and author of Towards Baptist Catholicity: Essays on Tradition and the Baptist Vision.
Harmon, who also endorsed the new book of essays and practices, said its release this month coincides with growing enthusiasm for liturgical practices among divinity students and reports of churches blending contemplative forms into existing worship styles.
"My sense is it’s slowly picking up steam instead of being in the same churches," he said.
Harmon isn't alone in his intuition. A number of other pastors and scholars, some of whom penned essays for the new book and some who didn't, say the growing missional movement in American Christianity may well be the catalyst for the spread of liturgical worship in Baptist churches.
Those experts also cite anecdotal and published reports that Millennials and other young people are gravitating toward high-church traditions, turned off by what they see as gimmicks and fads in hyper-contemporary worship.
And when it comes to Baptists, it may be catching on also because younger people aren't hung up on the anti-creedal mentality that has long dominated the church.
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