Monday, March 06, 2006

A typical Baptist worship service?

"The order of the worship and government of our church is: first, we begin with a prayer, [and] after[ward] read some one or two chapters of the Bible, give the sense thereof, and confer upon the same, that done we lay aside our books, and after a solemn prayer made by the first speaker, he propoundeth some text out of the Scripture, and prophesieth out of the same, by the space of one hour, or three quarters of an hour. After him standeth up a second speaker and prophesieth out of the same text the like time and space, some time more some time less. After him the third, the fourth, the fifth, etc. as the time will give leave. Then the first speaker concludeth with prayer as he began with prayer, with an exhortation to contribute to the poor, which collection being made is also concluded with prayer. This morning exercise begins at eight of the clocke and continueth unto twelve of the clock; the like course of exercise is observed in the afternoon from two of the clock unto five or six of the clock, last of all the execution of the government of the church is handled." -- From Champlin Burrage, The Early English Dissenters in Light of Recent Research, Vol. II, pp. 176-177

This old record is taken from a letter written by Henry and Anne Bromhead in 1609. Some spelling and old letter fonts were changed.


JLS said...

A-typical Baptist worship service.
Most Baptist preachers dare not go 45 minutes to an hour in preaching. The people are too accustomed to 8 minutes, then a commercial.
There was obviously an attachment to the Word of God in those days.
May our Father in Heaven revive us again!

David White said...

Reminds me of stories my mother has told me of the Old Regular Baptists. I believe that some still have 3 or 4 preachers and services last for several hours.

Anonymous said...

Sorry folks, I have sat through some of those windbags that went on and on and on, repeat, repeat and repeat again in case they forgot a repeat. They went from Genesis to Revelation, said a lot and said nothing.

Give me a studied preacher, who loves the Lord and gets his message said in 20 to 30 minutes, any day.

We seemed to deem spirituality at how long we can endure rather than by what we know and how well we know it, and in particular, how well we know our Lord Jesus.



clinch64 said...

I believe it really is a matter of where your priorities and interests lie. How many have thought to themselves if there is a big ballgame on television," I sure hope he keeps the sermon short, so we can be out of here by noon." Of course the Bible does not specify how long a sermon should be anyway.

Neil Vaught

David White said...

Ah, but Jim the one thing you'd like about the Old Regulars is if a preacher starts to get long winded and the spirit isn't moving, they sing him down! Now you don't see that much anymore.

I agree about getting your point across and letting the Holy Spirit tell you when to shut your mouth, too.

RSR said...

A few things of note:

The Bromheades were members of John Smyth's church. which explains why:

1) There was no singing of any kind and

2) There were no books of any kind used, except for the scripture reading, after which "we lay aside oure bookes."

RSR said...

Writings of Smyth on church government and procedures are available at:

The scans are dirty and the type at times difficult to read, but there is some fascinating information there.

Anonymous said...

I'm particularly noticing that they gave to the poor as part of their typical service.