clothofdreams: (steeple)
(Disclaimer: This is the first in what may be a long series of musings on the subject of music, worship, and theology. Feel free to skip if you aren't interested.)

The below is an abstract from one of the best articles on this subject. Ken Stephenson addresses the need for distinctly Christian musical scholarship in the Winter 2006 Christian Scholar's Review:

"The topic of music theory suffers an absence in the renaissance of Christian scholarship of the last few decades. Mark Noll has nothing to say about music theory in The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind; neither does George Marsden in either The Soul of the American University or The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship, and neither does J. P. Moreland in Love Your God with All Your Mind. A perusal of the contents of the present journal over the last few years uncovers articles on anthropology, biology, cultural criticism, ecology, economics, education, film criticism, geography, history, journalism, literature, philosophy, physics, political science, psychology, sociology, and theology, but no articles on music theory. (The one article on music, 'John Calvin's Theology of Liturgical Song' by Jeffrey T. VanderWilt, concentrates on the texts of the Psalms.)

"Not that either this journal or the mentioned authors are in any way at fault; two basic facts explain the oversight. First, even the music theorist must acknowledge the obscurity of the field as a whole in present-day academia. While most readers could no doubt lend a somewhat informed voice to a discussion on the topic of special creation vs. "blind-watchmaker" evolution or the status of truth as either absolute or relative, and while the names Aristotle and Kant, Newton and Einstein, Dewey and Piaget, Gibbon and Toynbee, Derrida and Foucault, and Lewis, Plantinga, Noll, Marsden, and Moreland are familiar to this readership, the ideas and even the names of the greatest music theorists of history--for instance, Guido of Arezzo, Gioseffo Zarlino, Jean Rameau, Heinrich Schenker, and Allen Forte--are less known, much less the nature of the debate between Christian and secular music theory. And here we reach the second explanatory fact. Readers do not know of any debate between Christian and secular music theory because no debate exists, and no debate exists because virtually no Christian music theory is being done today."


It is my belief that because virtually no Christian scholarship is being done in the field of music, there is likewise a stunted, limited understanding of how music relates to worship. Many are ready and eager to evaluate music based on the quality of the lyrics, but what about the music itself? And what about all the music that is not song? We have no idea how to evaluate the music itself, because no one has shown us how. Thus, we continue to employ theologically shallow (or even erroneous) music in our churches, without having the least idea of what it is that we are hearing.

Clearly, something needs to be done.
clothofdreams: (steeple)
(Disclaimer: This is the first in what may be a long series of musings on the subject of music, worship, and theology. Feel free to skip if you aren't interested.)

The below is an abstract from one of the best articles on this subject. Ken Stephenson addresses the need for distinctly Christian musical scholarship in the Winter 2006 Christian Scholar's Review:

"The topic of music theory suffers an absence in the renaissance of Christian scholarship of the last few decades. Mark Noll has nothing to say about music theory in The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind; neither does George Marsden in either The Soul of the American University or The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship, and neither does J. P. Moreland in Love Your God with All Your Mind. A perusal of the contents of the present journal over the last few years uncovers articles on anthropology, biology, cultural criticism, ecology, economics, education, film criticism, geography, history, journalism, literature, philosophy, physics, political science, psychology, sociology, and theology, but no articles on music theory. (The one article on music, 'John Calvin's Theology of Liturgical Song' by Jeffrey T. VanderWilt, concentrates on the texts of the Psalms.)

"Not that either this journal or the mentioned authors are in any way at fault; two basic facts explain the oversight. First, even the music theorist must acknowledge the obscurity of the field as a whole in present-day academia. While most readers could no doubt lend a somewhat informed voice to a discussion on the topic of special creation vs. "blind-watchmaker" evolution or the status of truth as either absolute or relative, and while the names Aristotle and Kant, Newton and Einstein, Dewey and Piaget, Gibbon and Toynbee, Derrida and Foucault, and Lewis, Plantinga, Noll, Marsden, and Moreland are familiar to this readership, the ideas and even the names of the greatest music theorists of history--for instance, Guido of Arezzo, Gioseffo Zarlino, Jean Rameau, Heinrich Schenker, and Allen Forte--are less known, much less the nature of the debate between Christian and secular music theory. And here we reach the second explanatory fact. Readers do not know of any debate between Christian and secular music theory because no debate exists, and no debate exists because virtually no Christian music theory is being done today."


It is my belief that because virtually no Christian scholarship is being done in the field of music, there is likewise a stunted, limited understanding of how music relates to worship. Many are ready and eager to evaluate music based on the quality of the lyrics, but what about the music itself? And what about all the music that is not song? We have no idea how to evaluate the music itself, because no one has shown us how. Thus, we continue to employ theologically shallow (or even erroneous) music in our churches, without having the least idea of what it is that we are hearing.

Clearly, something needs to be done.
clothofdreams: (steeple)
I have been provoked. Now I have to ask these questions. I had grown tired of this subject of late, but recent postings have loosed old questions with heightened urgency, so now I must ask them. You should answer them, you really should, even if you're not quite sure what you believe. The time to think about it is now. I mean, look at me: I don't have time to puzzle through this again, but I'm doing it! Okay, yeah, I make a poor example. Ignore my comment.

The trouble is, my dear friends, that the controversial branch known as the Federal Vision is led by those who wish to introduce a new vocabulary for Reformed theology. All well and good, perhaps, except that they have yet to clearly define terms. This is a crucial error. Until they come out and really say, clearly and precisely, what it is they're saying, the rest of Christendom will continue scratching their heads in confusion. And that's rather contrary to the Vision, don't you think?

So, on to the questions. Please tackle them. I'm after truth, not you, so I promise I won't bite. :)

1. What is faith?
2. How is faith connected with works?
3. What is salvation?
4. What is sanctification?
5. What is a Christian?
6. Who are the elect?
7. What is the Covenant?
8. How does one keep or break the Covenant?
9. How does one fall away?
10. How does one gain eternal life?

There they are. Dive right in. I look forward to reading your responses.
clothofdreams: (steeple)
I have been provoked. Now I have to ask these questions. I had grown tired of this subject of late, but recent postings have loosed old questions with heightened urgency, so now I must ask them. You should answer them, you really should, even if you're not quite sure what you believe. The time to think about it is now. I mean, look at me: I don't have time to puzzle through this again, but I'm doing it! Okay, yeah, I make a poor example. Ignore my comment.

The trouble is, my dear friends, that the controversial branch known as the Federal Vision is led by those who wish to introduce a new vocabulary for Reformed theology. All well and good, perhaps, except that they have yet to clearly define terms. This is a crucial error. Until they come out and really say, clearly and precisely, what it is they're saying, the rest of Christendom will continue scratching their heads in confusion. And that's rather contrary to the Vision, don't you think?

So, on to the questions. Please tackle them. I'm after truth, not you, so I promise I won't bite. :)

1. What is faith?
2. How is faith connected with works?
3. What is salvation?
4. What is sanctification?
5. What is a Christian?
6. Who are the elect?
7. What is the Covenant?
8. How does one keep or break the Covenant?
9. How does one fall away?
10. How does one gain eternal life?

There they are. Dive right in. I look forward to reading your responses.

life

Jul. 30th, 2004 02:03 pm
clothofdreams: (paris)
It is sad that so many Christians have no concept of what it means to live in light of their salvation. Most are certain that there is a distinct disconnect between "this life" and "the next." They believe that the chief end of getting saved is going to heaven; everything else is peripheral. Their songs focus on the sweet hereafter, their "spiritual" conversations on escaping from this world. Their entire worldview, in fact, is founded on the one great hope that when they die everything will be better.

There is nothing wrong with eagerly anticipating eternity with our Savior. Indeed, Scripture instructs us to long for it. However, a fixation with this one aspect of Christianity ignores the work to which we are called upon this earth. Sadly, many Christians would be surprised if told that salvation means and demands more than daydreaming about heaven. Many have no idea what it means to live before the face of God, for their doctrine begins and ends with dying. They often do not even give thought to what eternal life will entail. They only know it will be far better than anything on earth, and that's enough for them.

But it is not good enough, and those who think it is deny that God actively unfolds history today-- now-- here on earth. Godly living begins now, not when we get to heaven. Jesus proclaimed the advent of the Kingdom 2,000 years ago-- have we still not realized the truth?

The truth, you see, is that longing for eternity and subsequently ignoring the tasks and the life set before us is simply unacceptable. I remember once reading the comments of a Puritan (whose name I have long since forgotten) expressing his great displeasure at the attitudes of two friends of his. At a meeting, he recalled, these two friends discussed their impatience to be done with this life so that they could finally experience eternity. The Puritan was indignant. Did these two men seriously wish to immediately enter eternity by shirking their duties on earth? How could they desire such a thing?

This Puritan understood the glory that is living before God, busy about His work. Life is not something to get through so we can get on to the good stuff. This is the good stuff. The Kingdom is here; the Saints fellowship with us; God's countenance shines upon us; there is work to be done. He furthers His Kingdom and we are privileged to take part in its fruition. We do not wish to escape, for this is where He has placed us. Taste, smell, see: His grace is abundant now. If we cannot rejoice in this, we will never rejoice in heaven.

life

Jul. 30th, 2004 02:03 pm
clothofdreams: (paris)
It is sad that so many Christians have no concept of what it means to live in light of their salvation. Most are certain that there is a distinct disconnect between "this life" and "the next." They believe that the chief end of getting saved is going to heaven; everything else is peripheral. Their songs focus on the sweet hereafter, their "spiritual" conversations on escaping from this world. Their entire worldview, in fact, is founded on the one great hope that when they die everything will be better.

There is nothing wrong with eagerly anticipating eternity with our Savior. Indeed, Scripture instructs us to long for it. However, a fixation with this one aspect of Christianity ignores the work to which we are called upon this earth. Sadly, many Christians would be surprised if told that salvation means and demands more than daydreaming about heaven. Many have no idea what it means to live before the face of God, for their doctrine begins and ends with dying. They often do not even give thought to what eternal life will entail. They only know it will be far better than anything on earth, and that's enough for them.

But it is not good enough, and those who think it is deny that God actively unfolds history today-- now-- here on earth. Godly living begins now, not when we get to heaven. Jesus proclaimed the advent of the Kingdom 2,000 years ago-- have we still not realized the truth?

The truth, you see, is that longing for eternity and subsequently ignoring the tasks and the life set before us is simply unacceptable. I remember once reading the comments of a Puritan (whose name I have long since forgotten) expressing his great displeasure at the attitudes of two friends of his. At a meeting, he recalled, these two friends discussed their impatience to be done with this life so that they could finally experience eternity. The Puritan was indignant. Did these two men seriously wish to immediately enter eternity by shirking their duties on earth? How could they desire such a thing?

This Puritan understood the glory that is living before God, busy about His work. Life is not something to get through so we can get on to the good stuff. This is the good stuff. The Kingdom is here; the Saints fellowship with us; God's countenance shines upon us; there is work to be done. He furthers His Kingdom and we are privileged to take part in its fruition. We do not wish to escape, for this is where He has placed us. Taste, smell, see: His grace is abundant now. If we cannot rejoice in this, we will never rejoice in heaven.
clothofdreams: (Default)
The more I read of the modern evangelical's view of Satan and his history, the more I am convinced that this view is grounded not in Scripture, but in Milton. And I'm willing to bet that less than 10% of the modern evangelical population has read even one line of Milton.


"Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!"
clothofdreams: (Default)
The more I read of the modern evangelical's view of Satan and his history, the more I am convinced that this view is grounded not in Scripture, but in Milton. And I'm willing to bet that less than 10% of the modern evangelical population has read even one line of Milton.


"Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!"

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