Music Worship

Music is Culture

Culture can be an imperious force In the previous two posts I put forth the idea that music has didactic power quite apart from any words we may add, and that music has idioms, syntax and semantics that work in similar ways to language. To conclude, I want to consider more concrete ways in which culture is at work here. While musical sounds may in themselves be neither moral nor immoral, the culture has provided…

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Music Worship

You Don’t Need Words to Tell a Story—Music Will Do

Idiom, syntax, and semantics work in music as well as words. (Part 2 in a series on the didactic power of music.) Far from being a universal language, music in its disparate forms is rather a polyglot that makes communication even between those in the same house sometimes difficult. Parents do not understand or do not like the music their children are listening to, and this has created some of the conflict which Ron Powers…

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Music Worship

The Didactic Power of Music

It’s the music itself that’s teaching us. Music is very much a part of the worship life of any gathering of Christians. It is an important component in our offering of adoration to God. The Bible repeatedly invokes music in praise of God, and among the many references we could cite, one of the better known is the command given in Ephesians. “Be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and…

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Christology Worship

God Manifested in the Flesh

Among the New Testament mysteries is the peculiar description Paul gives to his precis of the life of Jesus. Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory. At this time of the year, we focus on that first phrase, “He was manifested in the flesh.” There is little…

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The Church Worship

What should corporate worship look like?

A couple of years prior to becoming a christian (and while still attending a mainline, liturgical church), I remember asking myself, “Where do the robes come from?” I had been reading the New Testament, and it struck me that I didn’t find anything there about pastors wearing special garments or vestments. The answer is tradition. When we approach the question of worship, the things we do when we gather corporately, tradition has assumed immense importance.…

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Worship

The Incarnation: History cum Doxology

THE INCARNATION IS BOTH FACT AND WONDER. I am not big on Christmas, for all the usual reasons. Commercialization, not a hint of it in Scripture, and the diversion of traditions that too often blunt, rather than enhance our understanding of the incarnation. But as it happens, I am going through Luke’s gospel these days, where we find the most complete narrative of the birth of Jesus. As my perusal coincides with Christmas I am struck by…

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The Church Worship

The Primacy of the Lord’s Supper in the Local Church

“As often as you eat this bread” should not mean as seldom. The subject of the Lord’s Supper, (or Communion) is a large topic, and has engendered controversy and differing views through many centuries. In what follows, I do not propose any sort of exhaustive look at the subject, but rather to look at the Lord’s Supper with the specific question of how often it should be celebrated, and why. Within evangelical congregations, either “low-church”…

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Music Worship

We’re Still Treating Worship War Casualties

It’s the music that carries the text, CCM or otherwise. A recent post on a Christianity Today blog caught my eye because of the topic of music in the Church. This is a well-worn subject, and I can’t say everything I want to here, because it’s too broad (and I’m writing something more extensive), but I’m glad the topic hasn’t simply been dismissed with a hand-wave, as if to say “We’re done with that!” Christians…

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