Tag Archives: form

Form and content are not easily separable

Form and content are not easily separable

Debates over worship usually center on the issue of form. “Don’t elevate form over content,” the progressives cry. “Content is what is important; it really doesn’t matter what aesthetic forms you use.” What I intend to demonstrate in this essay is the fact that separating form and content is not as simple as many progressives would imply.… Continue Reading

Aesthetic correspondence

Aesthetic correspondence

Conservative evangelicals admirably repudiate emergent leaders who argue that both content and form must be contextualized; evangelicals insist that since God’s Word is inspired and inerrant, God’s truth transcends culture and must be preserved intact. But since even most conservative evangelicals consider culture as entirely neutral in itself and beauty as in the eye of… Continue Reading

Does Form Matter?

Does Form Matter?

Imagine yourself in a nice restaurant with your sweetheart, seeking to impress him/her.  The ambiance is nice and romantic, there is soft classical music playing to soothe all customers, and you are looking forward to a wonderful meal together.  You order your food and continue your nice conversation.  After some time your food arrives and… Continue Reading

On the flexibility of form in worship

On the flexibility of form in worship

 I defend a conservative philosophy of worship not because I want to protect old in the rejection of new, but because I believe “traditional” forms (both old and new) are more flexible and elastic in what they can express in worship, are better suited to carry rich truth about God, and are more appropriate than most contemporary… Continue Reading

Culture doesn’t just change

Culture doesn’t just change

I received an email a few days ago asking what I thought about a few particular contemporary Christian songs. The individual mentioned that he thought that hymns have always been simply reflections of whatever music existed in the current culture, and that these songs were no different. I’ve copied my reply to him below in… Continue Reading

Godless Worship

Godless Worship

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Faulty Worship You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

In part one of this series, we investigated what Isaiah describes as heartless worship. God was not pleased with that worship, nor did He accept it as true worship. God demands to be worshipped in a manner which gives Him true glory and honor, not in ways that simply salve our consciences. In addition to… Continue Reading

Culture Counts: Faith and Feeling in a World Besieged by Roger Scruton

Culture Counts: Faith and Feeling in a World Besieged by Roger Scruton

This entry is part 10 of 18 in the series Books Every Conservative (and Liberal) Christian Should Read You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Having first recommended books which expound the strong foundation of our faith, I have moved on to recommending books which reflect upon the milieu in which we must live our faith. Godliness is the Scripture is never merely correct doctrinal statements, signed and sealed behind glass for all to see. It is also right living… Continue Reading

On racism, ethnicity, and culture

On racism, ethnicity, and culture

I thought today would be a good day to make a few comments about the relationship between race and culture. Often the idea that cultures should be judged or that one culture may be better than another is charged with racism. This is a misguided charge, however. Contrary to the beliefs of early cultural evolutionists, there… Continue Reading

Unformed Expression

Unformed Expression

Richard Weaver’s book Ideas Have Consequences is one of the more demanding reads you’ll encounter. I’ll confess it took me more than one reading to begin to grasp his arguments. At times, I have felt that the book feels something like Proverbs, without the standalone nature of each proverb. Throughout the book, Weaver keeps dropping these gems… Continue Reading

Form and Meaning

Form and Meaning

This entry is part 28 of 32 in the series Toward Conservative Christian Churches You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Christians’ affections are greatly shaped by the moral imagination. The moral imagination is largely shaped by the meaning of the various media it encounters. This meaning is largely contained in the form of such things. If a pastor is serious about meaning, then he must be serious about form. Form, in its simplest sense, is… Continue Reading

To sing or not to sing, that is the question

To sing or not to sing, that is the question

An interesting online discussion has emerged in the past few weeks about the issue of not singing a particular song in a service when that song expresses sentiments you do not believe to be true. The discussion began with Roger Olson, who argued that we should not sing a song when the doctrine does not… Continue Reading

Are “worship wars” worth fighting?

Are “worship wars” worth fighting?

Just a quick link and a note since I’ve been traveling all day. This is an interesting post comparing worship wars in Scripture to those of today. I think it is a worthy comparison. A few commenters on my Google+ profile took exception to making such a comparison. Here was my reply: I certainly agree… Continue Reading

Continuities between OT and NT Worship

Continuities between OT and NT Worship

This entry is part 7 of 10 in the series Worship in Hebrews You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

What becomes apparent when studying worship in Hebrews, as exemplified by this central idea of faith, is that all of these continuities between OT and NT worship exist because they are metaphysical realities. Worship’s focus, consequences for refusing it, its attitude, and faith are all metaphysical in nature both in OT and NT worship. This… Continue Reading

Jesus Christ as the Fulfillment of OT Worship

Jesus Christ as the Fulfillment of OT Worship

This entry is part 5 of 10 in the series Worship in Hebrews You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Significant discontinuities exist between OT and NT worship, and it is important to note that each of these cases of discontinuity stems from the author of Hebrews’ primary discontinuity, that of the physical vs. the metaphysical. Human prophets, a mediator, priests, animal sacrifices, and a Temple each represent physical realties that Hebrew worshipers could see,… Continue Reading

Finding common ground in the missions debate

Finding common ground in the missions debate

This entry is part 5 of 16 in the series Missions and Music You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Here’s the reality: those of us blogging here fully realize that our positions are not popular. Not popular, I suppose, greatly underestimates the matter: for many Christians today, our positions are not even fathomable—it is impossible for them to believe that anyone could hold a position as outlandish, and even as offensive, as ours. And… Continue Reading

Sola Scriptura and Form: What I’m Not Saying

This entry is part of 4 in the series Sola Scriptura and Form You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

The purposes and positions of Religious Affections (the ministry and blog, not [necessarily] the book) are not obscure; this granted, I expect that our readers are primed to hear the strains of grinding axes in all our posts. Everything we say looks like a camel’s nose in your tent. You have the gnawing suspicion that… Continue Reading

Sola Scriptura and Form: Biblical Form

Sola Scriptura and Form: Biblical Form

This entry is part of 4 in the series Sola Scriptura and Form You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

In this discussion, I am using the term form, quite broadly, to denote those features of the biblical text that express (in additional to their propositional content) a mood or manner about the propositional content. This means, therefore, that I am not using form in any sort of strict literary sense. Let me explain why… Continue Reading

Sola Scriptura and Form: Theology as a Problem

Sola Scriptura and Form: Theology as a Problem

This entry is part of 4 in the series Sola Scriptura and Form You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

In the first post of this series, I offered this thesis: “because the Bible is itself expressed in certain forms, and because the Bible is our final authority for faith and practice, we have an obligation to mirror biblical forms in our own expression of biblical truth.” I will continue this practice of clearly stating… Continue Reading

Sola Scriptura and Form: Introduction

Sola Scriptura and Form: Introduction

This entry is part of 4 in the series Sola Scriptura and Form You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Dr. Matt Olson, president of Northland International University, opened a recent sermon on music thus: “What about the music? You know, it’s interesting, as we dive into this discussion: I don’t find one verse in the entire New Testament that addresses the style of music, and that’s usually where our controversy is.” I highlight Dr.… Continue Reading