Dr. David Dockery traced the major changes in worship over the last two thousand years starting with synagogue and temple worship and then anticipated future changes as great shifts in the Christian community are unfolding. He was speaking at the 20th Annual John A. Hamrick Lectureship held at First Baptist Church of Charleston on January 18 and 19.
He said that very few Baptist churches maintain the formal worship style practiced at First Baptist Church of Charleston and that guitars, drums and pianos have replaced organs in most more contemporary churches. The Pentecostals have had major sway in recent years, but that the future will be shaped by religious forces outside North America, especially Latin America, Asia and Africa. Secularism is outpacing Christianity three to one in North America.
He encouraged his listeners not to lose heart and suggested that the church needs to refocus on worship of God as its major function and that there needs to be an emphasis on the reading of scripture and enlightened preaching. “The head is neglected in much of contemporize worship where emotion is the major component and that needs to change in favor of a more balanced approach. Worshipers need to prepare for worship. Denominationalism as we know it is giving way to other types of structure and is becoming less and less important. The type of revivalism demonstrated by Billy Graham will no longer be effective even though Dr. Graham is my personal hero, “he said.
David Dockery is president of Trinity International University in Chicago and former president of Union University in Tennessee.
Dr. Dockery was introduced by Dr. Don Gardner and Dr. Doug Hunter, Executive Director of the Whitfield Center for Christian Leadership at Charleston Southern University. David Templeton, Minister of Music and Worship at First Baptist Church, provided special music.
The lectures honor the memory of long time pastor and the founding president of what is now Charleston Southern University, Dr. John A. Hamrick.