Monthly Archives: April 2008

Wintersleep – Weighty Ghost

Sorry I keep posting videos, but I’m too budy to write anything. This is a song called “Weighty Ghost” by an amazing band from the Maritimes (Halifax) called Wintersleep. What a catchy song! And so Canadian!

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Dropkick Murphys – Shipping Up To Boston

Well, if you were at all frustrated with my last Dropkick Murphys video-post, here’s a better one. At least in this one the audio and video are in sync. Really, this is just an excuse to post another Dropkick video. I luv ’em.

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William Edgar – Music and the Regulative Principle

William Edgar teaches apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary (PA) and is also an accomplished jazz musicians. He’s also one of my favourite theologians. His lecture on Music and the Regulative Principle is on the WTS site. I haven’t listened to it yet, but I look forward to.

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Bar Room Hero

Since discovering that my old Dropkick Murphys CD The Gang’s All Here wasn’t stolen along with the rest of my CD collection (thank you Toronto street thug), I’ve been on a Dropkick Murphys kick (pardon the pun) lately. You gotta love Boston Irish punk. I thought I’d share a video of my favourite Dropkick song, from an earlier album, called Bar Room Hero.

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Worship in Song Conference Report

The following is a report that I had to hand in for my class on worship this semester. It is an evaluation of the excellent Worship in Song conference hosted in March by Grace Fellowship Church of Toronto. I don’t note it in the report, but we received some cool free stuff, including a sample CD from Sovereign Grace Music. I also picked up a couple of SGM CDs including the amazing Valley of Vision. The three lectures are available for download at Sermon Audio.

On March 1, 2008 I attended the Worship in Song Conference at Grace Fellowship Church of Toronto. This was an excellent conference that sought to share theological and practical insights on worship with area churches. About 80 were in attendance. The conference was well organized, with a full staff of volunteers who did everything from registration to parking lot attendance. It was very helpful having them available.
The conference itself consisted of three lectures by Rev. Paul Martin. First called, “Why Do We Sing?” the second “How to Pick Songs” and the third “How Do We Lead Worship in Song?” In between the second and third lecture was a breakout session. Attendees had to choose which session they were going to attend. I chose Julian Freeman’s very useful “Why We Do What We Do – Planning Workshop.” Opening and closing as well as between each lecture was the actual practice of worship in song led by GFCTO’s lead worshippers called “Band of Brothers.” A vibrant and worshipful group, they consist of vocals, guitars, keyboard, bongos and bass. They did a great job in leading in worship; one could tell that they were well practiced and that they had engaged their hearts in worship as well. They did not overdo their playing and managed to keep attention off of them an on God. They were true leaders. Their attitude was contagious and it was a delight to be led by them.
The first lecture, “Why Do We Sing?” set the theological foundations for singing in worship. Pastor Martin noted that singing was something that people rarely consider though we do it often. A biblical answer to this question needs to be given. Martin offered two “artificial” categories to think about regarding the nature of worship: all of life worship and corporate worship. AOLW is something done all the time by the individual Christian, whether in a gathering with other Christians or by themselves. To be a true worshipper one must be a true follower of Christ (Col. 3:17; Rom. 12:1). Corporate worship is specifically when God’s people come together to respond to who God is. CW is part of AOLW.
The time of CW is whenever Christians gather, the location is wherever they gather, the purpose is to respond to God and the means is growth in the knowledge and delight of God. As a result, the true worshipper should experience affection for God. It should be ordered both by structure and spontaneity (1 Cor. 14). Singing is an important part of worship (Eph. 5:19) and is a result of joy in the Lord. Jesus sang (Mk. 14:26); God exalts over us with singing (Zeph. 3:17); the inhabitants of heaven sing (Rev. 5:9); Paul sang (1 Cor. 14:26); and genuine singing should be whole hearted (Eph. 5/Col.3).
In terms of structure, Martin offered a modified regulative principle that was very helpful to think about. All of worship (and life) should be regulated by the bible. But the Puritan form of the RP is both inconsistent and impracticable. Worship should excite the affections (Edwards).
The second lecture, “How to Pick Songs” was very practical and at times quite funny. Songs should be chosen first based upon their biblical, theological content. There should be variety and richness to the choices (Wright) but they should not be frivolous (Calvin). In terms of style of music, the bible does not address this, and though the primary focus is content, music style is also important. The content should be personally relevant and applicable, theologically rich and culturally appropriate.
Not all traditional hymns are worth singing nor are all contemporary songs. A good resource to help choose hymns is http://www.cyberhymnal.com. The person choosing the songs should be walking with Jesus (John 4) and be theologically informed. Good books to read in this respect are Bob Kauflin’s Worship Matters; J.I. Packer’s Concise Theology and Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology.
When choosing songs the person should begin by reading it without the melody before evaluating the music. This protects the person from choosing tune over theology. But, the music must also be intelligible; its tune should match the words (negative example: O Happy Day), it should be singable with a melody that is easy to pick up. The style should be common to the people and should fit the instruments. Thematic choices coinciding with the sermon is also highly recommended.
The third lecture, “How Do We Lead Worship In Song?” was again very practical. Rev. Martin emphasised that what the church needs is “lead worshippers” not “worship leaders.” The difference is that lead worshippers worship God first and shepherd and direct second. Their primary objective is to engage with God, they are not just “hired guns.” A helpful definition by Kauflin was given: they are to be led by the Spirit, combine biblical truth with music to magnify the work of God to motivate the church to cherish this truth and live it.
Therefore worship is not performance, nor is it only the singing that is part of worship. Preaching as well as the other parts of the service are worship as well. Lead worshippers must walk with Christ (contra Keller’s model) and must be theologically informed.
The group of lead worshippers has to be careful of their own sin, as the one major hindrance to worship is the self and sin. It is easy to default into idolatry when we worship, this is something we must always be ware of. Our appearance, the quality of our playing/singing, etc. can all play a sinful part.
Julian’s breakout session was very helpful. It was well-presented, clear and informative. It was also practical. Julian’s first emphasis was humility. When planning worship, humility is key. Attention must be shifted to Christ, not the worshippers. The chief end of planning is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. Julian showed us some samples of his music database, which is a list he keeps of songs to make sure that good ones are rotated and played equally. He gave websites such as http://www.sovereigngraceministries.com/ and others that offer worship resources. They are good to watch for new songs. Julian also emphasised prayer and openness with the congregation. Being attuned to their preferences is important, so long as it meets the criteria learned about in the lectures (i.e. theology and singability).
The conference was a success in many ways. I was thankful to be able to take all of the principles learned in the worship class at TBS and see them worked out before my very eyes. Having taken copious notes and having the lectures on CD will prove to make the impact of this conference last in my life and ministry. I can’t wait until the next one!

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Review: Letters of Francis Schaeffer

My friend Mark has reviewed The Letters of Francis Schaeffer by Lane T. Dennis at his blog Codex Markianus.

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Goodwin and Formula One

It was good to have lunch with Thomas Goodwin yesterday. No, not the 17th century Puritan, but Mark Jones, the guy who runs a blog named after said Puritan. Mark is in the midst of writing a PhD thesis on Goodwin for the University of Leiden. Dr. Haykin is one of Mark’s supervisors and they met yesterday at TBS to go over what Mark has done so far.
Mark is also pastor of Faith Vancouver, a PCA church on the west-coast. We had a good time yesterday, it was good to finally get together. A memorable moment came when we were discussing pastoral ministry sitting in P.J. O’Brien’s. He said something to the effect: “Academics is great, but pastoral ministry is Formula One.” Great quote.

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John Currid Blogging

Alright! Dr. John Currid is now blogging – this is great. I really enjoy his stuff. Check out True North.
He has a series of lectures called Crass Plagiarism on the itunes.rts.edu site that takes the issue of whether Moses plagiarised ANE religions in his writing of the Pentateuch. Very, very good stuff. Dr. Currid did his PhD at the University of Chicago and now teaches Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte.

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Review – Worship in Spirit and Truth by Frame

My review of John Frame’s book Worship in Spirit and Truth is up at the Discerning Reader website. We read large chunks of it for our course on worship at TBS. It really reshaped the way I think about how worship is conducted in the local church. I am very thankful to Frame for his insights and his willingness to say hard things, in spite of opposition. Even if one doesn’t always agree with him, Frame proves to be thoughtful and forces the reader to challenge their presuppositions (pun intended).

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Pray for William Stuntz

William Stuntz and David Skeel co-blog at Less Than the Least. They are both elders at Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. Both of them are lawyers and at their blog the post on everything from their faith to law and culture. Sadly, William Stuntz has cancer. He’s been blogging of it lately and I must say, as sad as it is, his posts are quite encouraging. See his latest More Cancer and please pray for he and his family.

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Liam Goligher on Emergent and the Atonement

I had the privelege of getting to hear Dr. Liam Goligher speak at the annual Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies lecture this past Saturday in Cambridge. He spoke at Grace Bible Church on the emergent church phenomenon and on penal substitutionary atonement. The lectures are available in mp3 from the TBS website. Highly recommended.

***Update: Kirk Wellum offers his thought here.***
***Another update: Dr. Haykin also offers some thoughts here.***

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Book – Worship Matters by Bob Kauflin

I am very excited to read Bob Kauflin’s new book Worship Matters: Leading Others To Encounter the Greatness of God (Crossway, 2008). It has some heavy-duty endorsements by guys like D.A. Carson, Wayne Grudem, John Frame and Mark Dever. Paul Martin has also talked alot about it in our worship class at TBS, having read an advanced copy.
Here is a review at the Worship Blog.

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Tyrannicide Brief

Clint has posted some thoughts about the excellent book The Tyrannicide Brief: The Story of the Man Who Sent Charles I to the Scaffold. I read chunks of it last summer before school started again, but had to put it down. I can’t wait to finish it – John Cook was a great example of a godly man who risked his life for the cause of God and truth. Read this book!

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Credenda/Agenda Free!

Credenda/Agenda magazine has returned to its early policy of offering its subscription for free. If you want intelligent, entertaining and thoughtful reading go here.

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Tertullian on Living in the World

We are allowed to live with the heathen, but we are not allowed to die with them. Let us live with all men, let us share their joys on the ground of a common humanity, not a common superstition. We are like them in possessing human souls, but not in the way we live. We share the world with them, but not their error.
Tertullian of Carthage (d. 220?), On Idolatry, 14.

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