Changes in Christian Worship 

Changes in Christian Worship 

Christian worship has experienced a number of changes and development as explained below.

  • There is now a shouting form of worship and people praise God loudly especially the Pentecostals.
  • There is strong emphasis on God during worship today than in the past
  • Worship today has got preachers who preach along side an interpreter /translators for easy understanding of the gospel.
  • These days, worship, is conducted through the media like over the radio and television.
  • During worship today, women get actively involved in worship activities than ever before e.g. they preach, lead church choir etc.
  • Performance of miracles is also very common during worship especially in Pentecostal churches.
  • Worship today involves very expensive and show off wedding functions.
  • There is a lot of baptism during worship today done by both immersions, sprinkling of water in all churches.
  • Worshiping takes place any day and any time like in the morning, lunch hour, night fellowships etc.
  • There is also public confession/ repenting of sin by worshiper’s during worship today than in the past.
  • Most people to day go for worship smartly dressed and some especially women do it for showing off.
  • These days worship is emotional in that some worships even cry during worship.
  • Today’s worship involves giving big sums of money as offertory and tithe by the Christian than before.
  • Church leaders these days dresses in the unique way during worship e.g. some pastors put on long coasts.
  • During worship today, there is use of loud speakers and modern music instruments for entertainment e.g. keyboards, guitars etc.
  • Worship today is formal i.e. specific prayers are written down and they are read during worship.

Question:

1. “Christian worship has under done a revolution” comment. (15 marks)

(b) Explain the causes of such a revolution. (10 marks)

Causes of the changes of worship today

  • Increased desire and search for God among Christians has made them worship God all the time.
  • The need to be forgiven their sins has also made Christians to cry during worship
  • The search for healing and cure of diseases has made Christians to emotional worship in order to attract the Holy Spirit.
  • Competition for converts among churches has made most churches have loud speakers and modern music instruments to attract converts.
  • The search for wealth by Christians has made most church leaders to donate a lot of offertory from Christians in order to prosper. 
  • The search for cheap popularity, respect and recognition by church leaders has also contributed to such changes in worship.
  • Too much hypocrisy in the church has increased false testimonies and prophecies during worship.
  • Permissiveness in the church where the church today doesn’t have control from the government has also led to such changes.
  • The need to appreciate and praise God for the good things he has done for the people also explains too much offertory given during worship today.
  • The need to spread the gospel to many people at age has made worship to be done over the radios and tvs.
  • The desire to entertain the worshipers and excite them partly explains the good music dance and drama in church today.
  • Coming of literacy where there are many educated people in the church explains the formal kind of worship we have in the church today.
The Independent Church Movement
  • They are those African founded churches that emerged after breaking away from mission founded churches.
  • They are also termed as separatist, splinter, break away or indigenous churches.
  • Like the East African Revival movement, it was partly out of the clash of the cultures, traditional, mission and western.

Both movement occurred over the same period of time and were strongest in the same area of Buganda, Nyanza, Ukamba and N.W. Tanzania.

Types Of Independent Churches

Independent churches have been categorized into three main groups. The nationalist, secessionist and spiritan church

Nationalist independent churches
  • These churches started as a direct attempt to be free of missionary control, white control
  • They also tended to extend their Nationalism to politics, being very critical of colonial activities, and inspiring African independence.
  • They aimed at forming an alternative to the mission churches, a church for the whole African community not for a “chosen few”.
  • Cultural Nationalism was a major feature and in Kenya circumcision and polygamy were allowed in such churches.
  • These churches were critical of white man’s conduct with the understanding that “missionaries weren’t any different from other Europeans”
  • Major examples of these churches are the African National church- Tanganyika from 1935. The African independent Pentecostal church of Africa-Kenya and the African orthodox church of Kenya and Uganda.
The African Independent Pentecostal Church
  • It sprang from the Anglican and Presbyterian mission churches in central Kenya.
  • In 1925, it was started as a religious wing of the Kikuyu independent schools Association. (KISA) The main occasion for its founding was the female circumcision controversy.
  • The church allows circumcision and polygamy among its followers.
  • During the state of emergency in 1952, it was banned and re-emergency from 1963, causing a mass exodus from other churches.
  • In 1964, it was given legal recognition by the government of Kenya and, it claimed nearly 500,000 members had spread to other parts of Kenya and had five dioceses.
The African Greek Orthodox church-Kenya
  • One of the independent churches that emerged due to the Kikuyu circumcision controversy, in Kikuyu and Karinga areas 1929.
  • In 1933, J Beecher, an Anglican Bishop of Mombasa was approached by two men for ordination from this body, refusing and guaranteeing independency of clergy.
  • In 1937 Archbishop Daniel Alexander consented, (the leader of the Orthodox Church), and these men consequently declared their loyalty to Alexander, adopting the name, African Orthodox Church. In 1946, the movement was recognized by Alexandria and became the African Greek Orthodox Church. The movement encouraged tribal custom, supported polygamy and western education and gave special importance to the place of baptism.
  • Anglican prayer book and hymns were used but emphasis was laid on Greek vestmentsi.e. the use of candles and the seven sacraments.
  • In 1972, members numbered 2.1 million people.
  • February 1973, Arthur Gathuna one of those ordained in 1937, was consecrated first African Bishop of the Orthodox Church in Kenya.

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