Chapel at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is an interesting exercise in Baptist liturgy? Baptists? Liturgy? Aren’t those mutually exclusive? I would argue they are not. There are many denomination who practice traditional liturgical services with the reciting of Scripture and Creeds. I have several friends who are Presbyterian who find this style of worship to be the best way that they can praise and glorify God.
We Baptists (and many other evangelical denominations) have our own style of liturgy. At Southwestern in chapel the liturgy consists of: 2 songs, announcements, prayer, public reading of Scripture, special music, and a sermon. This format is followed more or less to a “t” for every chapel service. Sometime there is an extra congregational song tossed in or the order might be a bit different, but the content is ALWAYS the same.
We are comfortable with the familiar and for many, familiarity makes it easier to focus on worship. However, there are others who fall into the trap of simply going through the motions and losing site of true worship.
In conclusion, liturgy is good. However, liturgy must not be so rigid that it hampers the movement of the Spirit. Also, it is occasionally good to get out of our worship “comfort zones” so that we do not become complacent. For a Baptist, this might mean going to a traditional liturgical service at another denomination’s church. For those who are traditionally liturgical, it might mean attending worship at a Baptist church.