Isaiah 6: A Biblical Paradigm or Model for All Styles of Corporate Worship -- By: John Davis

Journal: Faith and Mission
Volume: FM 19:2 (Spring 2002)
Article: Isaiah 6: A Biblical Paradigm or Model for All Styles of Corporate Worship
Author: John Davis


Isaiah 6: A Biblical Paradigm or Model for
All Styles of Corporate Worship

John Davis

Associate Professor of Church Music
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Wake Forest, North Carolina 27587

Faculty Lecture
Given at Binkley Chapel
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Wake Forest, North Carolina, November 13, 2001

As they so beautifully sang this morning, it is not about me and I would just confess that today—this is not about me. It is about Him, and it ought always to be about Him. It is about Jesus. It is for His glory and His fame. Worship: it is about God. We worship Him. It should center in on Him. That is what I want to speak about today. I want to speak about a model for worship that centers on God, that is drawn from His Word, that is a golden set of nuggets that we can draw from Isaiah 6, and so my title is, “Isaiah 6: A Biblical Paradigm or Model for all Styles of Corporate Worship.”

A historical framework for what I would try to say is this: We have a Southern Baptist, free evangelical tradition. We are part of a larger tradition. We inherited that tradition from the revivals of the late eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries, and that tradition was spontaneous and oriented to special events: revivals and crusades such as Sandy Creek Week. Special speakers and musicians come in with the intention to revive the Christians and save the lost.

This tradition, by necessity, emphasized personalities and a certain entertainment dimension. There was an ad hoc nature to the event. It gave rise to promotions such as Youth Night, College Night, Children’s Night, Sunday School Night, Pack-a-Pew Night; you are probably familiar with those things. Highly touted evangelists and their musicians came in, shared with the people, they witnessed to the people, they exhorted them, seeking to edify them through word and song.

Although this model for evangelistic services served our denomination well as an ad hoc plan for special services, it has not been as successful in regular implementation within our churches week after week. Unfortunately, in spite of its lack of effectiveness, many churches have assimilated it as a plan or template for worship. It has really not served us very well in that capacity because it has

given rise to worship services that do not meet Jesus’ qualifications of worship in Spirit and in truth, what He wants us to be doing.

Many have found that corporate worship has become lackluster. It has begun to lack meaning...

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