Luther’s Theology: Music as Servant of the Word

Using the gospel as his grid, Luther retained, replaced, or revamped various elements from the mass

Having ensconced the Bible at the pinnacle of worship, Luther sees an intimate connection between music and the Word: “Thus it was not without reason that the fathers and prophets wanted nothing else to be associated as closely with the Word of God as music. Therefore, we have so many hymns and Psalms where message... Continue Reading

Who Killed The Contemporary Christian Music Industry?

The descent of CCM is a reflection of America's waning interest in Christianity as a whole.

The birth of CCM can be traced back to the Jesus Movement of the late 1960s, and was shepherded through its infancy by God-fearing hippies like Larry Norman. But it didn’t really take off until more than a decade later, as a result of early pioneers like Andrae Crouch and Amy Grant. Grant was especially... Continue Reading

Five Reasons Preachers Should Listen to Hip Hop

This particular style of music has some unique benefits for preaching

“The more important the truths we share the more they deserve to be said in a beautiful way. Why would you display an expensive painting in a cheap frame? Preaching shouldn’t be merely about helping our audience know something, but helping them feel something, helping them see something.”   In his book The Artist’s Way of... Continue Reading

Facing Death & Finding Life – Fanny Crosby

Fanny Crosby (1820-1915) is the prominent blind hymnwriter of the nineteenth century

Twice when the invitation was given at the close of the service, she went forward, seeking peace from her inner spiritual struggles, but found none. Finally on November 20 she went to the altar alone. As she prayed, the congregation began to sing Isaac Watts’ grand old hymn, “Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed?”  ... Continue Reading

The History Behind ‘Silent Night’

The lyrics to Silent Night were written by Josef Mohr

“Today, Silent Night is perhaps the most famous Christmas carol in history. It has been translated into most languages, and the Bing Crosby version is the third-bestselling single in history. A rebuilt Silent Night Chapel in Oberndorf is now a cultural landmark (a replica can be found in Frankenmuth, Michigan).”   This year, my home has been warmed by... Continue Reading

Let’s Sing the Songs Jesus Sang

Heilman wants to put all 150 Psalms — in their entirety — to music

“About 10 years ago, while I was on a mission trip, I got a compulsion to put Psalm 1 to music,” he said. He liked the tune, how the words were straight Scripture, and that it was different from the typical modern worship song. “I got this delusional idea to try to do them all,”... Continue Reading

Let Me Repeat Myself? – Part One

Why do they sing the same thing over and over again? Isn’t once enough?

“Whether we’re praising or we’re praying, there are certainly numerous biblical examples of repeating the same words to God. Worship leaders use repetition as a tool to let important proclamations and/or petitions not just fly by without the intentionality they might warrant.”   One universal criticism of contemporary worship songs and the flannel-shirted people who... Continue Reading

The Psalms in Worship

Too many churches never sing the psalms in public worship

“The debate surrounding so-called ‘exclusive psalmody’ is both interesting and important. It revolves in large part around the idea of there being a ‘Regulative Principle’ in public worship and how it ought to be understood and implemented.”   Too many churches never sing the psalms in public worship. Despite the fact the two direct injunctions... Continue Reading

Singing the Lord’s Song in a Foreign Land

Derek Kidner once remarked of Psalm 137 that “Every line of it is alive with pain.”

“The Psalmist is not only weeping, but he reached to hang up his lyre on the branch of a willow tree somewhere along the Tigris or Euphrates River in this cradle that gave birth to the ancient civilization (137:2). The Babylonians, his captors, wanted to hear him sing a song of Zion. But the Psalmist... Continue Reading

‘Hillsong’ Casts a Secular Lens on an Evangelical Band

It took only one Hillsong service for Mr. Warren. 43, to overcome his knee-jerk prejudice

Mr. Wagner acknowledged that Hillsong risked being criticized for participating, but said the documentary “fits right into the church’s M.O.,” which includes the evangelist knack for “being right at the forefront of using every kind of media possible to bring God to the secular popular consciousness.”   Michael John Warren, the director of MTV documentaries... Continue Reading