Hymns We Should Sing More Often: ‘Stricken, Smitten, And Afflicted’

Most of the hymns in this series are not unfamiliar, just underutilized

Thomas Kelly (1769-1855) wrote more than 750 hymns, including Stricken, Smitten, And Afflicted in 1804. Kelly planned to be a lawyer but after his conversion the Irishman decided to enter the ministry. He was ordained as an Anglican priest in 1792, but later became a “dissenting” minister.   This is part of an intermittent series... Continue Reading

A Calling to Redeem Rap Music

Faith leaders and Christian musicians can't ignore "hip hop" music if they want to remain relevant

“How do you make music that feels authentically Christian and authentically hip hop at the same time, when so many of the messages commonly heard in hip hop are at odds with a Christian worldview that opposes violence, substance abuse, and promiscuity?”   “We don’t challenge any heresy in the church!” John Perkins declared at... Continue Reading

Hymns We Should Sing More Often: Holy God, We Praise Your Name

"Holy God, We Praise Your Name" is based on the fourth century Latin hymn "Te Deum Laudamus"

“This is the first installment of an intermittent series I’ve called “Hymns We Should Sing More Often.” The aim is to remind us (or introduce for the first time) excellent hymns that are probably not included in most church’s musical canon.”   A few people reading this post can remember World War II. The rest... Continue Reading

The Day God Spoke To Katy Perry

Anytime someone – a pop-star, televangelist, or six year old boy – says, “God said to me…” we’re forced to decide yea or nay

“Did God speak to Katy Perry? Does he tell the televangelist to raise money? Did a little boy have a transcendent experience of heaven? If so, we’re compelled to listen. I, however, am compelled by biblical conviction to say, “Absolutely not!” But to my evangelical friends who may not agree with me, I would simply... Continue Reading

Lecrae Brings Reformed Rap to Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show… Again

On his second late-night stint, rapper's remixed song features quotes from MLK

“Jimmy Fallon made good on his promise have the Reformed Christian rapper back on the program, a few months after Lecrae sat in with Fallon’s house band, The Roots. This time, he took the stage with DJ Promote (who has collaborated with Christian rappers and worship bands alike) to perform “Welcome to America,” remixed to... Continue Reading

Singing Mouth Open – Mind (partially) Closed

Calvin: "We must beware lest our ears be more intent on the music than our minds on the spiritual meaning of the words.”

In Protestant Christian worship, music has always been in a subordinate role to aid the worshiper in taking to heart and mind the meaning and richness of the poetic lyric. Though Calvin knew and appreciated the incredible power of music to move hearts, he cautioned against getting music and the objective meaning of the words... Continue Reading

Pairing Cherry Coke with Filet Mignon in Worship

The placarding of the music and composer has shifted us from high thoughts of God to high-brow thoughts of Western art music

In the interest of doing everything we do in word and deed as we sing Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs in the name of Jesus (Colossians 3:16-17), a Christ-centered liturgy would do well to include neither the composer’s name nor the poet’s name in the progression through the printed guide to worship.   “Beautiful music,”... Continue Reading

Let’s Not Be Big, Fat Contradictions People!

There must be something in the water if we want to celebrate these images for young women to model while congratulating a vague, Christian message beside it.

Why do such a seductive picture for a Christian song about new birth? Carrie looked much more modest before the music industry got a hold of her. She also looked about 20 pounds heavier—and beautiful! She isn’t even close to overweight in her early days on American Idol. But healthy and wholesome isn’t the right... Continue Reading

The Only Movie Villains Left: Republicans, Christians & God

With the Sony hack, no more North Korean villains in movies

Dang. With the Sony hack, no more North Korean villains in movies. China is funding our movies now, so no Chinese villains. Castro is now a hero, so no Communist villains of any stripe. Muslims will fatwa, riot or bomb, so no Islamic villains. Liberals still rule Hollywood, so still no Left Wing villains. Looks like... Continue Reading

Moroni From the Realms of Glory

Mormons share just enough of our beliefs that they can masquerade as Christians if we do not look deeper than the surface.

This video serves as a helpful reminder that Mormons and many others use new media very well. These Mormon evangelistic efforts are always very clever and very compelling. They always give away enough information to make it seem like Mormons are just another friendly group of Christians, and they withhold the information that distinguishes them... Continue Reading