Tag Archives: Psalms

Reformation Hymns

Reformation Hymns

Reformation Sunday is coming up on October 29, and this year is particularly special since we are celebrating the 500 year anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation. In our church, each year on Reformation Sunday we sing Reformation hymns, that is, hymns that in some way connect to the Reformers and the movement they… Continue Reading

A Resurrection Psalm

A Resurrection Psalm

Paul commands us to sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. We can (and do!) debate the identity of hymns and spiritual songs, but we know what a psalm is. And for this reason, our church has adopted the practice of regularly singing the psalms. In particular, we have a “psalm of the month,” which we… Continue Reading

Psalmody and Hymnody as appropriate unifiers

Psalmody and Hymnody as appropriate unifiers

This entry is part 7 of 8 in the series Worship and Doctrinal Distinctives You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been showing how particular issues related to worship theology and practice–namely, baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and the regulative principle–have historically and necessarily divided Christians into various denominations. It was not core doctrines such as the sufficiency of Scripture or justification by faith alone that divided Christians; for… Continue Reading

To what do “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” refer?

To what do “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” refer?

I don’t give quite as much weight to what the Reformers said as Scott Clark, nor do I think his conclusions mean we must sing only psalms, but his explanation of “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” is exactly what I teach my students. Here’s a snippet: In short, when the Reformed thought about “psalms, hymns,… Continue Reading

Of Psalms, Hymns, And Spiritual Songs And The RPW

Of Psalms, Hymns, And Spiritual Songs And The RPW

This comment about psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs in Colossians 3:16 and Ephesians 5:19 is an important one that I regularly teach when I lecture on these passages: If you were in Ephesus when Paul’s letter arrived, and you had a Bible in your church, it was a Septuagint. As you browsed through the Book… Continue Reading

William Ames on the connection between prayer, singing, and outward expressions

William Ames on the connection between prayer, singing, and outward expressions

In the second book of The Marrow of Theology, William Ames’s (1576-1633) classic Post-Reformation work, Ames deals with a number of matters related to practical theology. The ninth chapter discusses prayer.1 As you will see, Ames’s approach to this topic is helpful from a historical and practical perspective. Prayer, Ames says, can be outward or inward–mental or audible.… Continue Reading

10 Reasons Why We Should Sing the Psalms

10 Reasons Why We Should Sing the Psalms

Uri Brito gives 10 Reasons Why We Should Sing the Psalms. Be sure to read the whole thing, because he elaborates on each of the following points: Psalm-singing is an explicit biblical command (Ps. 27:6). Psalm-singing was the ancient practice of the Church and it continued for 1,800 years. Calvin observed that the psalms are “An… Continue Reading

Recordings: Choral Psalms

Recordings: Choral Psalms

I’m writing a brief series recommending different recordings of excellent sacred music in English. Last time I introduced several thoughts and recommended more than a dozen recordings of hymns and anthems. Today I want to recommend a handful of choral recordings of the Psalms in English. Again, my list will not be exhaustive, and I… Continue Reading

Handled with reverence and care

Handled with reverence and care

I appreciate Joel Beeke, the pastor of the Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation of Grand Rapids and the President and Professor of Systematic Theology and Homiletics at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, for his ability to combine sound theology with warm devotion, while not undermining the former or distorting the shape of the latter. If you have… Continue Reading

Some Things to Consider Including in Your Worship – Singing the Psalms

Some Things to Consider Including in Your Worship – Singing the Psalms

This entry is part 2 of 11 in the series Some Things To Consider Including in Your Worship You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

The singing of psalms has all but disappeared from many congregations, unless you count the “As the Deer” chorus as a singing of a psalm. (Lifting the first line from a psalm and adding words about your desire to eventually worship generally doesn’t count.) One cannot help feeling that many congregations treat their hymnal as… Continue Reading

Reformation Hymns

This entry is part 6 of 14 in the series The Hymnody of the Christian Church You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

When Martin Luther (1483—1546) sparked a Reformation of the Church by nailing his Ninety-Five Theses to the Church door at Wittenberg in 1517, he challenged the Roman Church’s doctrine and practice, but never its musical forms. The musical forms of the Reformation continued to follow in the Judeo-Christian tradition. The most significant change Luther made for… Continue Reading

Medieval Hymns

Medieval Hymns

This entry is part 10 of 14 in the series The Hymnody of the Christian Church You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

When Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity in 313 with the Edict of Milan, and Christianity soon became the religion of the entire empire, the cultural conditions within which the Church thrived changed into a situation that had not been enjoyed since before the Hebrew exile. Soon the Church gained prominence over all aspects of politics and… Continue Reading

Early Church Hymns

Early Church Hymns

This entry is part 9 of 14 in the series The Hymnody of the Christian Church You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

The hymnody of the early church was naturally an extension of Hebrew hymnody.1 Therefore, we can expect the hymnody of the early church to have the same general characteristics of Hebrew hymns: Early church hymns were word-centered, modest, and distinct, and they continued to nurture the forms they inherited from Jewish worship. The only change would… Continue Reading

Hymnody in the Judeo-Christian Tradition

This entry is part 8 of 14 in the series The Hymnody of the Christian Church You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

The Beginning The first mention of music in the Bible is in Genesis 4. Verses 17—22 list Cain’s descendants, and specifically those who began the development of various cultural and social skills. Jabal was “the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock,” Tubal-cain was “the forger of all instruments of bronze and… Continue Reading

The Watts Controversy

On the wall in my study I have three portraits. All three are portraits of theologians who were also heavily involved with music. They are Martin Luther, J.S. Bach, and Isaac Watts. All three men fought their battles in defense of high standards for worship music. All three had their share of controversy. And all… Continue Reading

A potential danger in writing hymns in an age of mass media

There seem to be a lot of hymns being written today, and a lot of them are really pretty good. One of the reasons for that seems to be that pastors are beginning again to write hymn texts instead of just musicians or publishers. There is one relevant potential pitfall into which hymn writers today could easily… Continue Reading