Social class or the Gospel: pick only one (part 2)...

(Tim) Most responses under the recent post, "Social class or the Gospel: pick only one...," have gone off on tangents, tilting at windmills. Some have been helpful, though--including some who have disagreed with the post. I want to promote the discussion back to the main page, so here are three short contributions.

The first is by my brother, David; the second by our church's worship pastor, Jody Killingsworth; and the third by your faithful scribe...

David Bayly wrote:

We invest so much in the style of our worship that we have nothing left when it comes to the character of our worship. It's as though by carefully choosing our staid, faux-RPW style we erect big jersey barriers all along the road keeping us from the ravines on either side. But once the barriers are up we sit in our cars admiring the jersey-barriered view stretching into the distance, never bothering to turn the ignition key because our car doesn't have an engine.

Ben, having lived our early lives entirely within the kind of worship context you're seeking, Tim and I can speak with some authority of its issues. I often suspect that those who most ardently argue for dry, barely-there music are those who, like reformed drinkers, grew up doing otherwise and upon conversion became scourges of the position they once held because they've invested a preferential choice with moral weight.

We, on the other hand, began where you've arrived and just as you claim authority from your background, so too do we. We're not dismissing the validity of a variety of musical types in worship. We are dismissive of the blinkered preference for classical and understated music that typifies the formerly Baptist and Pentecostal upwardly-mobile convert to Reformed theology and worship.

Jody Killingsworth wrote:

>>[I] have experienced "Praise Band" modern music and those who play it to be light years more "effeminate" than older hymns.

Yes, yes. And so have we, plenty of times. But it's not sufficient to argue from experience here. It's true that effeminacy and "modern music" are often found to go hand in hand, but this does not mean they do so of necessity. Just because you ain't ever had it, that don't make it necessarily so.

I invite you to visit us at CGS where you will finally "experience" what up to now you've thought impossible--manly sons of Asaph commanding their congregation using common everyday instruments in offering up an acceptable service to to God with reverence and awe.

More reverence and more awe than you've ever dreamed possible.

For instance, here are words we sang this past Lord's Day (and the soaring electric guitar over-top haunting F11 chords made us all feel the heat of them, "preparing" us for a time of confession of sin):

Great God, what do I see and hear!
The end of things created:
The Judge of mankind doth appear,
On clouds of glory seated;
The trumpet sounds, the graves restore
The dead which they contained before:
Prepare my soul to meet Him!

The dead in Christ shall first arise
At that last trumpet’s sounding,
Caught up to meet Him in the skies,
With joy their Lord surrounding;
No gloomy fears their souls dismay;
His presence sheds eternal day
On those prepared to meet Him!

The ungodly, filled with guilty fears,
Behold His wrath prevailing;
For they shall rise and find their tears
And sighs are unavailing:
The day of grace is past and gone;
Trembling they stand before His throne,
All unprepared to meet Him!

Great Judge, to Thee our prayers we pour,
In deep abasement bending;
O shield us through that last dread hour,
Thy wondrous love extending.
May we, in this our trial day,
With faithful hearts Thy word obey,
And thus prepare to meet Thee.

Great God, what do I see and hear!
The end of things created:
The Judge of mankind doth appear,
On clouds of glory seated;
The trumpet sounds, the graves restore
The dead which they contained before:
Prepare my soul— to meet Him!

Tim Bayly writes:

>>Aesthetic sensibilities do not operate within a cultural vacuum.

Precisely. As David and Jody and I've been saying, worship services doing obeisance to the Western musical canon may make Harold Bloom and his Reformed sidekicks happy, but this isn't the purpose of Christian worship. Granted, Bloom is a snob and Presbyterians are snobs, but why work to endow Bloom with theological fodder for his canon?

Amplified instruments don't operate in a cultural vacuum. Agreed.

So what about violins and organs?

Sometimes I think my good Reformed buddies know nothing about classical music--its history or present culture--and speak entirely from ignorance. We see a piano-violin duet being performed up front with the violinist facing the congregation gathered for worship and we feel so very pious because the violin is played by a man from the symphony orchestra; the pulpit has such a famous man; the church is like OLD, dude; it's an organ and brass ensemble drowning out the singing--not a rhythm guitar; it's an opera star warbling the solo, but this one hour Sunday morning, the solo's not about sex, but souls and stuff; the guy conducting all is doctor So and So; and it's so very other from what we had playing on our iPod while we drove to church.

Again, all an Englishman's preferences are a matter of principle and aesthetic sensibilities don't operate within a cultural vacuum.

So what do those arguing for highbrow culture actually know about the American Guild of Organists? And can they tell us precisely which culture is predominant among church organists here in America? Do they have loads of organ music in their iTunes queue and listen to Pipe Dreams? Have they served in churches that spent close to a million on their Casavant trackers and paid Eastman's David Craighead to come do the dedication recital?

Well, David and I've spent years in churches with Casavant organs and violins, with Yamaha, Steinway, and Baldwin grands; and here at CGS, we've bid adieu to musicians who moved on to accompany and lead worship with, among others, Tim Keller, Phil Ryken, Skip Ryan, Sinclair Ferguson, Chicago's Lyric, and Pershing's Own...

Listen, if it's reasonable for the man who listens to Sting or John Lee Hooker six days of the week to want His Lord's Day worship to steer clear of electric guitars, it's also reasonable for the man raised on tracker organs and hooked on Pipe Dreams to want his Lord's Day worship to steer clear of organs.

Admit with me that we all have preferences and prejudices arising from our childhood and its poverty or wealth, as the case may be, and then let's roll up our sleeves and actually have a thinking man's conversation about music in the church, and what it does and doesn't communicate, and what is good and bad about this and that instrument and composer and tune and beat and words and...

David and I grew up among souls who confused Christian faith with a good education, good breeding (not Covenant succession, mind you), and good taste. And nothing communicates those things more effectively, though sotto voce, than the preacher's accent and vocabulary, and the musical style and instrumentation.

If it's a sin for the church to give the best seat to the rich man, why parade our doctorates and accents and opera stars and Philly Orchestra players and Cassavants? In other words, what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

Back to the arguments, men; but this time with some slight self-critical capacity, please.

Comments

...and I'll reiterate what I said below.

What I am seeking is a congregation lifting up in unison voice praise to God (and hymns of lament, hymns of prayer, all 150 Psalms, even the "icky" ones) without being drowned out by the noise of some guy wailing away on his Gibson and banging on his Pearls or Grandma leaving the damper off the Organ.

Regardless of whether you prefer Rhythm Guitar, Steel Guitar, Ukelele, Tuba, Cello, Organ, Xylophone, Glockenspiel, Cymbals, Violin, etc.

If I cannot hear my neighbor singing because the Amplifier is on 11 or all the stops are pulled something is wrong.

The worthiness or "inclusiveness" of our worship is not based on the type of musical instrument or its ability to make a gregarious sound pleasing to a certain "class" of individual.

>>The worthiness or "inclusiveness" of our worship is not based on the type of musical instrument...

Not based on, but certainly one among a number of considerations. And for the record, a good portion of our worship song is a capella, so I'm quite sympathetic to your comment, here.

Love,

Jody writes: "But it's not sufficient to argue from experience here."

I agree.

Apparently Tim and David don't.

David: "We, on the other hand, began where you've arrived and just as you claim authority from your background, so too do we."

Tim: "Listen, if it's reasonable for the man who listens to Sting or John Lee Hooker six days of the week to want His Lord's Day worship to steer clear of electric guitars, it's also reasonable for the man raised on tracker organs and hooked on Pipe Dreams to want his Lord's Day worship to steer clear of organs."

You guys want to get on the same page? Any chance you have a biblical text to support any of this, since as I've tried to remind you before, the second commandment (the source of the RPW) is not that far from your favorite, the sixth.

Your affinities to Keller (and Gordon-Conwell?) and worship that appeals to your public is showing.

Um, I thought that the thread started around the theme of preaching the Gospel, and how, for whatever reason, we are not doing this very well.

Could we get back to that topic, please?

>>Your affinities to Keller (and Gordon-Conwell?) and worship that appeals to your public is showing.

Everyone keeps assuming that the principle of putting worship in the vulgar tongue is all about appealing to the world. It's not about appealing at all, it's about clarity, intelligibility, and considering the poor.

If we we were concerned with appeal, we would stick to the effeminate, soft, maudlin, and introspective worship that speaks only and ever of grace, and never of obedience, spiritual warfare, or judgment. Either that, or we would go with prayer books, vestments, solid oak paneling, pipe organs, and hymns that speak almost only and ever about grace, and rarely about obedience, warfare, or judgment--one or the other depending on the audience we wanted to attract.

As it is, we're not really concerned with appeal (Although, our music is appealing to many. Music is just like that sometimes, you know). What we're concerned with here is communicating the truths of God (all of them, mind you!) in a stylistic language that is common today, so that the content of our worship doesn't come across to the world as something either completely unintelligible, or completely disconnected from the rest of life. And doing this always with the poor, and the uneducated foremost in mind, and the unwashed, and the trailer trash, and the blacks, and the widows and orphans--the people and cultures we're inclined to despise. You know, the ones Jesus loved most.

Dearest Dude Guy Here:

Get off the high horse: do YOU have a text of Scripture that says we should never sing the name of Jesus in worship or compose new music for use in worship? Could it be that your regulative principle (emphasis on "your") is just a smoke screen used to avoid doing the difficult creative work of teaching God's people to sing His word to Him, of singing a new song to Him?

And to equate singing YMCA at a ballgame with what Jody does on Sunday morning is simply asinine.

I remember when a certain church was trying to navigate the transition from traditional to blended worship. Ugh: it was awful. And the arguments in meetings were the worst--all claiming biblical support for this or that prejudice. Bottom line: most who were opposed to the change are now satisfied that godly, masculine worship is possible with modern instrumentation and they have grown to love it.

Perhaps those who hide behind shadowy "regulative" norms never given in Scripture but inferred from some accounts of Israelite life before the abrogation of the ceremonial law should stop their mouths and open their ears. Give me an address and I'll send you a CD if you promise to lock yourself in a room with it for a day. If you still don't get it, I'm still convinced.

Shamefully angrily yours,

>>What?

But, of course, there are some who won't listen no matter what you do.

By the way, speaking of reverence and awe, I should say thank you to Jody for reducing me to such every time I attend CGS and see the words I'm about to sing.

alh

"But, of course, there are some who won't listen no matter what you do."

And that is a sword with two edges.

Jody, you are very much concerned with appeal. Tim and David write about their experience and what appeals to them. It seems to be all about them. Why you keep resort to the categories and masculine and feminine I'll never know. It's mostly men writing the praise song and the hymns. Only men wrote the psalms.

If the poor are not comfortable visiting a church, it’s not the music that needs a first look. The welcoming heart and actions of the people are more important.

The question of “whose music is most inviting to the poor” should get a lot less attention. There are too many other factors beside “guitar & drums vs. organ” to give a definitive answer. “The poor” are not all the same kind of people.

>>Jody, you are very much concerned with appeal.

Yes, of course I am, only not principally.

>>If the poor are not comfortable visiting a church, it’s not the music that needs a first look. The welcoming heart and actions of the people are more important.

>>The question of “whose music is most inviting to the poor” should get a lot less attention. There are too many other factors beside “guitar & drums vs. organ” to give a definitive answer. “The poor” are not all the same kind of people.

True dat. But intentionally lowering the musical bar is a wonderful means of disciplining your congregation to consider the poor, as our elders can readily attest.

Well, OK. I think it's best to start from the beginning then. Define what music in worship should be like, and exclude the things that do not meet those criteria. Without wanting to make any clear thesis, let me just relate a couple of experiences that I've been blessed with over the last two or three weeks. I'm a middle school band director and active chorister myself, so I have some musical background, for what it is (or isn't!) worth.

I recently visited Scotland and had the privilege of worshiping in a scottish free church three times (at two different churches.) The SFC is a very conservative reformed denomination and among their restrictions are exclusive psalmody (no hymns, just metrical psalms) and a complete ban on the use of instruments in worship. All singing is done unaccompanied. I observed a few things- one is that since there is no organ or band, I was a little hesitant to sing out on the tunes I didn't know, although in a verse or two I had them felt out. Another is that in the absence of the instruments, nearly everyone sang and sang with STRENGTH. I had chills down my spine singing the praises of the Lord with people who lifted up their voice without prodding, cover, or assistance. At the second SFC I went to, the minister informed me that his congregation met in numbers once a month- his congregation, not his choir- to practice their praise. These people- who were probably a bit better educated than average to be honest- were not by any means all musicians, but at the second church they sang all the psalms from memory. In four parts. Again, this isn't the choir, this is the congregation. What I took away from this is:

1. It is wrong to make the assumption that non-musicians or more conservative churchgoers are put off by older musical traditions.
2. Singing the psalms a cappella with tunes 500 years old was one of the plainest, least adorned, and most powerful forms of worship I have ever experienced, and I've been in praise band churches and high church Anglican cathedrals

I just got back from our churches 20 and 30 somethings fellowship. We sang with a band. This is a purely musical comment and has nothing to do with the appropriateness or not of using a band but I think it sheds some light (it has for me) on contemporary church music. A lot of contemporary church music is written in the style of pop/ rock. Pop/ rock songs are by and large meant to be sung by one person and as a result, the melodies are considerably more complex than the more traditional hymns of old, especially the psalter tunes from Calvin's own Geneva Psalter through the later Scottish PSalter (these tunes were specifically designed, theologically and practically, to be very easy to sing and easy to catch). As a result, fewer people sing the praise songs because they are harder. And when the band gets going, the temptation is to mumble along with the loopy, syncopated melody- as opposed to a square jawed metrical "O God Our Help in Ages Past". (tune St. Anne, circa 1650 or so, I think). Of course there are older tunes that are very hard to sing, and newer ones that aren't. Our congregation really belts out "In Christ Alone," for example.

I think a point we are missing in this (and it's a point that Calvin liked to make) is that the music we praise God with needs to honor him first and foremost, and to do that it needs to be singable, which frequently but not always implies simplicity. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think in all this discussion, we should start by throwing out a few things we think our music SHOULD do. And of course, one of those is indeed to welcome in the stranger, rich or poor.

>>"But, of course, there are some who won't listen no matter what you do."

>>And that is a sword with two edges.

Fr. Bill,

You can find Anglican chant and Common Prayer liturgies and readings in our worship; various other Psalm settings, and regular 4-part a capella singing also.

Could a drum set, or an electric guitar, or a simple chorus be found in yours?

Respectfully,

Does the Word of God command such Jody?

It certainly doesn't forbid them, Benjamin. What's your point?

Dear Roger,

Everything you've said Tim and I would second, with perhaps a few minor exceptions. In part, you're simply making good, ad hoc, spiritual/practical observations. The tendency to freight every musical choice with Second Commandment implications is, I fear, a deeply Reformed abuse of the Second Commandment. I suspect those who do so lack a workable understanding of the Second Commandment.

Regardless, singability is of tremendous importance and it's always something we have in the front of our minds as we consider new music. There are things, like the Messiah, that are unsingable for a congregation yet entirely appropriate at certain times and places in worship. This is true regardless of which form or style of music is employed. Personally, I'm not certain I agree that worship songs are generally less singable than hymns. Meter is as varied in hymns as in worship music. For every 4.4.4.4 tune there's a "For All the Saints," to "Sine Nomine," a tune every bit as complicated (and rewarding) as the best worship songs. And there's more than meter to consider--I blanch every time I sing of "hoary hairs" and "lisping" God's praise. It may not be metrical difficulty, but it's an offense to the modern English speaker.

Thank you for your good comments, and may God bless your worship with power.

Love in Christ,

David Bayly

Roger,

I can't see that the Geneva Psalter tunes are "especially" easy to catch. They tend to be rather metrically odd, and not very intuitive.

Otherwise a good contribution, and I agree with your major premise. Singability is of primary concern when it comes to corporate song, and a foundational test for what honors the Lord.

Blessings,

"Social class or the Gospel: pick only one"

What a bunch of nonsensical gnat-straining and hair-splitting. Singing old hymns to a piano is not abandoning the gospel.

In Part 1 we're effeminate.

In Part 2 we don't care about the poor.

John Lee Hooker? Never heard of him, but since I follow my wife three steps behind and don't consider the poor, that's understandable.

Dear Ben,

Brother, I want you to hear something clearly: I believe it would be possible to take every form of argument you make against instruments and modern music in worship to prove by your own definition of the RPW that true New Testament worship is simply the Lord's Supper and not the preaching of the Word.

This would be presumptuous, but your demand for a Scriptural prescription in the realm of music is equally presumptuous.

By the very measures you apply I believe you would incapable of defending preaching in Lord's Day corporate worship. I would argue that examples of NT preaching are evangelistic and lie outside the realm of Lord's Day worship. I would argue that the synagogue practices of the Jews don't have NT relevance. I would argue that the explication of the Word on Israelite Sabbaths such as under Ezra constituted a national holiday and is thus not normative for NT worship.

Of course, I wouldn't argue any of this because it's nonsense. Yet you argue a position no less nonsensical without embarrassment it seems.

Come on, man, have some self doubt: "I beseech you in the bowels of...."

Love in Christ,

David Bayly

> And doing this always with the poor, and the uneducated foremost in mind, and the unwashed, and the trailer trash, and the blacks, and the widows and orphans--the people and cultures we're inclined to despise.

Speaking of highbrow and social class or the gospel, why agonize just about music? I think we offend many of these people by coming to worship looking nice and respectable. [We're really not, you know.] Why shave or shower? We may miss the chance to share the gospel by such self-centered inconsideration. If we really want to show we care, keeping the uneducated foremost in mind, let's wear our pants below our butts, and other cultural things like that they can relate to.

If the music we listen to 6 days out of 7 should determine the music on the 7th, then I say we should come to church the way we dress at home 6 days out of 7, instead of turning people off with our archaic, stuck up, churchy dress. [Honestly, I think we should look better the other 6 days, but that's my problem. If I really loved my neighbor, I'd do what he does and like what he likes.]

Michael,
I totally agree with you that we shouldn't just consider music. Sagging your pants may be helpful in the area where your church worships, but where I'm from, we have lots of engineers, computer programmers and accountants, so myself and several other of the men in my church have taken to wearing penny loafers, short sleeve white dress shirts and pocket protectors for our pens. We've all found that visitors are much more at ease, willing to talk, and more likely to return than if we just dressed the way we normally would.

please.

Dressing respectfully for church is appropriate. However, it's not the point of this discussion.

The point is to honor God and obey His commands, including this one: Sing a NEW SONG. Check Psalms 33, 48, 96, 98, 144, 149.

Can modern music be schlocky? Certainly. Can older music be manly and appropriate? Of course. Are styles categorically good or bad, manly or effeminate, easily reducible to black and white? Not usually. It's easy to point to exceptions, like Polka Music, or Death Metal, and say "this CLEARLY falls outside the realm of appropriate worship music," but the goal isn't to pick on the easy targets, but rather to discuss how to faithfully handle the areas and styles that are less clear cut. This kind of work demands humility, skill, training and discernment.

I recently read "Why I Left the Contemporary Christian Worship Music Movement" by Dan Lucarini. In his chapter on "blended" services, he writes that any attempy to combine contemporary worship styles and conservative/traditional styles in a single service is destructive, and ultimately, impossible. Claiming that there is "no middle ground" between the two styles he asserts that we need to simply chuck the worldly, sensual music that is seducing the church and corrupting Christian morals and return to a pure and traditional style of worship.

I had to conclude two things: First, he's simply not very good at his job. If he can't manage to find some balance between disparate styles then his musical training has some serious holes in it. Second, he doesn't really know anything about the history of Christian worship except in the most general, over-simplified terms.

To him, older is better and we should just turn back the clock.

Writing and arranging modern music in a way that is textually faithful to Scripture and musically edifying and appropriate is VERY HARD WORK. Not many can do it. That doesn't mean it can't be done.

> Why you keep resorting to the categories and masculine and feminine I'll never know.

Clearly.

David, and your response to Ben could easily be written by an elder at Redeemer NYC. The Baylys are making the world safe for Keller. At least Ben is making an argument from Scripture. So far the church staff is arguing from experience and appeal to the vulgar.

Jody, the point of not doing something not forbidden in Scripture is the Regulative Principle. Unless the Bible commands it (either directly or by good and necessary consequence), Reformed people don't do it.

To add to the Bible our pious good intentions is to wind up with a church like Redeemer NYC. After all, where does the Bible say you can't commission women to do the work of deacons?

David,

First of all I am not an RP (I am an ARP). So I am not really sure where you got the idea I am anti-instrument and anti-modern music. What I am asking for is some Biblical defense of the ideas being promulgated by Mr. Killingsworth and yourself.

I would also like to see more than insinuation and passion buttressing the idea organs and Isaac Watts are inherently driving away "poor people" (of which I am one) from Reformed churches. Frankly as someone who grew up in the "poor and uneducated" demographic I find the way Mr. Killingsworth and yourself are talking about the "poor and educated" pretty normal for people who feel guilty about their station in life. The "poor and uneducated" more than anything hate the idea of those "more fortunate" thinking of them as somehow inherently different from others culturally because of the size of their bank account. It comes across as quite arrogant and demeaning. Some of us backwood hicks prefer classical music to the "Hall and Oates" inspired praise music you hear coming from the over-amplified speakers of those committed to "Modern Worship".

>>After all, where does the Bible say you can't commission women to do the work of deacons?

LOL. You're kidding, right?

Dear Benjamin and Darryl,

Are you against the use of musical instruments in worship because of the RPW? If not, what instruments do you allow for and why? Knowing your belief will help me answer your appeal for Scriptural justification for our practice.

Sincerely,

I am not anti-instrument per se. Use whatever you want. No musical instrument is "more holy" than any other. It is a circumstance of worship at best. That being said I am more than comfortable in all- acappela, all the time service. I am generally not fond of musical interlude throughout the service when someone is not talking. But that is another story.

That being said.

Musical instrumentation at most during stated worship should merely be to guide the singing and should never overshadow or become more important than the words being sung and the people who are singing them. Not quite as an aside I am quite fond of the older style of church building where the choir loft and organ are in the back and above and out of sight. To paraphrase the old saying musical instruments and the people who play them should be heard not seen. They are not the center of worship.

Thank you Benjamin, but could you please make a Scriptural argument for your beliefs? Otherwise it sounds like you too are arguing from preference.

Sincerely,

Jody,

1) Can you provide me with one New Testament verse (outside of the descriptions of heavenly visions by John in Revelation) where instruments are described as being part of the regular worship life of the Christian? Especially where either worship or singing are mentioned?

2) Can you provide one verse that puts forth the Worship Director or Choirmaster as an office of the Church.

3) Can you provide one verse that describes the ability to play a musical instrument as a spiritual gift to be used in the worship service?

This discussion is not about whether or not instruments belong in New Covenant worship. There are plenty of places to have that discussion, but it won't be here. As Ben indicated, you can find RP sites for such a debate.

Rather, this discussion is about the ways instrumentation, tune, rhythm, vocabulary, accent, clothing, architecture, etc. further or obstruct our Biblical goals in Lord's Day worship.

And some of you are merely obstructionists in this work. Darryl, you above all. Would you please leave this discussion? We'd be grateful.

Now, Jody, would you please write a post describing the ways traditional contemporary (like that pair?) worship is effeminate and communicates false doctrine as well as discouraging men from joining in worship? This might help those here who are lurking and sincerely want to know why we even mention sexuality in this discussion. And obviously, also deal with how CGS worship differs from that traditional contemporary worship, please.

Then, we can get back to my main point, that Reformed worship often spends more capital confirming snobbery, culturally, than preaching the Gospel and welcoming sinners, women and men, who are unschooled, ordinary men.

Thanks. And love,

Jody, at the risk of offending Tim, I am not opposed to instrumentation as long as it serves the singing of the entire congregation. Conceivably, a guitar could do that. But guitars and drums don't function that way in pop, and the same applied for pop worship.

Would you mind answering for me whether you believe in the regulative principle of worship.

Tim, at the risk of offending the unloving Tim, I don't see how noting parallels between your and Keller's rationale for worship is obscurantist. You have admitted that you can be wrong. So why not here in the way you argue by appealing to the experience of either you or Joe six-pack. It's a different experience from Keller's urban sophisticate. But it's still an experience-based argument.

I am tempted to say "A pox on all our houses."

Traditional worship does not have to be high and effete. I grew up in the Midwest, in the RCA, where churches were traditional, but not classical.

Not to say I don't like classical, which can be done well, or overdone. I don't see any hard and fast here.

All worship can be done poorly. It tends to be done poorly when those up front view it as performance. That is a matter of the heart, though it shows in the performance. This is not the particular province of a Tenth or a Redeemer, which seem to be the poles in view here.

And, all worship can be done well. A service with hymns and a choir (and yes, an organ, which is a replacement instrument for an orchestra, just for the record, and a whole lot cheaper and easier to manage than any group of musicians) can be REAL worship.

Just for the record: we use organ, choir, and traditional hymns and psalms in the AM, and eclectic instrumentation and music in the evening. Yes, that's right, two services. Imagine that.

Manly hymns --no matter how much our beloved Bayly's may dislike How Firm a Foundation (lifted almost verbatim from Isaiah)-- manly hymns written by Anglicans like "The Son of God Goes Forth to War..."

Ugh --words fail. I hate worship wars. Maybe you guys should talk to some of your FV/CRE friends, with their cathedral plans, and their Catholic-lite-is-cool worship, and, oh, we aren't exactly CLEAR on what free grace is....

LIke I said, words fail.....

I mean, we even had the very masculine Andy Halsey sing, play, and preach for us, and his feminine wife play in the very-vulgar (in the good sense of that word) Bluegrass band from Charleston MS (that had like state supreme court justices in it) for worship.

I am so hopelessly confused. Am I an effeminate preacher in a long black dress because I think traditional worship is pretty cool? Or, am I a sellout to the culture because I see a place for more contemporary forms??

>>I am so hopelessly confused... Am I an effeminate preacher in a long black dress because I think traditional worship is pretty cool?

No one's said anything like that, Ken. So yes, you're confused. To clear things up, listen to what Andy and his harpist wife, Grace, have said about our worship and music.

And how about skipping the snide digs at the CRE. Let the record show that you hate them and let's move on.

Love,

Tim,

Is my hatred or lack thereof for the CRE the real issue? It is your blog, of course, and I was intending to be a bit tongue in cheek. Sorry you missed that.

But I do find it interesting that the anglo-Catholicism (in worship and dogma) of your friends gets a free pass.

And Tim Keller (and by extension, Lig Duncan) gets called a clown in print and in public. Shameful, that.

Delete this (and me from your blogroll) if you want.

Dear Ken,

I'm sorry we missed your sense of humor in this exchange.

Since I'm the one who suggested Ligon Duncan was shown disrespect in the dialogue with Tim Keller, I'd appreciate your not reproaching Tim Bayly for it. The authorship of that post was clearly marked, but to an upset man I suppose it makes little difference which Bayly he hits. Nevertheless, if you're going to shame one of us, you should probably be clear on who you have in mind.

Love in Christ,

David Bayly

P.S. Let me add that though recasting what I wrote about the dialogue between Tim Keller and Ligon Duncan into the bald statement that I called both of them clowns may reflect your current anger, it doesn't bear much resemblance to what I wrote....

A few questions:

1. How did Tim Keller get involved in this discussion? Philosophically and practically I think Redeemer would be very similar to the Baylys' churches in terms of musical style. Only Redeemer would exhibit much higher quality, given the caliber of musicians in Manhattan.

2. I'm still at a loss for what "masculine" and "feminine" have to do with worship. Worship is worship is worship. Is classical music more feminine? More masculine? Are some Psalms more feminine or masculine? Is the use of "vulgar" music somehow more masculine? I'm genuinely perplexed how sex has a role in this discussion.

3. Is the maxim to "go after the men and the women will follow" a form of contextualization? And exactly how does that relate to musical worship? Most men I know prefer "traditional," worship, while it is the women who like "edgier" worship. And where is the Scriptural argument in any of this?

David,

The name is "Bayly blog," is it not? If someone writes something on my blog, I am responsible for it, whether I said it or not.

I am sorry you think I miscast your words. I guess others can decide for themselves.

Apparently, it is open season on the PCA, and fellow PCA ministers, but none dare speak a word about the CRE.

>>I am not opposed to instrumentation as long as it serves the singing of the entire congregation. Conceivably, a guitar could do that. But guitars and drums don't function that way in pop, and the same applied for pop worship.

Darryl,

So if conceivably they could, would you please trust us when we tell you they can and do?

>>Would you mind answering for me whether you believe in the regulative principle of worship.

My understanding of the RPW is somewhere between you and John Frame, but probably closer to Frame than to you.

Dear Ken,

Well, at least there's one pastor in the PCA toiling away at doing both...

Come on brother, you shoot and then regret, then shoot again and regret again. That's not generally our approach.

I thought carefully about the respect Ligon Duncan was accorded in his dialogue with Tim Keller before writing about it.

I meant precisely what I wrote and I clearly acknowledge that I wrote it, yet you refuse to render me the courtesy of dealing with what I actually wrote and you maintain that, despite my placing my name on the post, you're not to blame for attributing the post to my brother. You even accuse me of failing to show you this same courtesy that you've denied me.

This is simply not right, but I'll leave you the last word should you choose to reply here on our blog. I will say no more in this vein.

Love in Christ,

David

Jody, do you think the music of the Good Shepherd Band is designed for congregational singing?

David,

First of all, I didn't express regret for anything said above.

Second, note I did not attribute it to Tim, just noted its presence on the blog.

Third, I reiterate my point. You both excoriate your pca colleagues in public, but cannot tolerate someone pointing out the inconsistency viz the cre.

There is a fine line between being bold and prophetic (which was the Baylys at their best) and coming to enjoy being the denouncers.

In short, neither of you seem to be able to take what you dish out, and you may accuse me of advancing and retreating, but I have never seen either of you express humility or regret for anything. I am glad you have it all figured out. Some of us have a bit more self doubt.

But then some of us do more than carp but actually take the personal risk of petitioning the courts to act. Which is more manly?

Where's David Gray when you need him?

>>Jody, do you think the music of the Good Shepherd Band is designed for congregational singing?

If you're referring to the songs from our "Wake Up Sleeper" EP featured on this blog, then not so much.

However, we have an ever growing roster of original songs and hymn adaptations/arrangements (100+) that serve the corporate needs well. Not always perfectly, but we're getting better at it as we go. It's difficult and humbling work forging new ground.

Unfortunately, we haven't yet figured out how to demonstrate our successes for you short of describing it on this blog, and inviting you to come for a visit (I'm quite serious, actually!). I hope someday to record something that adequately captures what we're arguing for, but this takes resources and equipment that the Lord has not been pleased to give us.

Until God provides, I would ask you all to be generous and give us the benefit of the doubt. I will also try and do a better job of explaining our philosophy and approach. Understand, though, that music is notoriously difficult to write about. Even still, you can expect the blog post Tim requested of me to be published in the next few days.

Dear Ken,

>>You both excoriate your PCA colleagues in public...

David and I don't excoriate our PCA colleagues in public. Rather, we have worked to expose and oppose the errors in doctrine and polity of one PCA pastor most other PCA pastors think to be a hero, adulate, and mimic. And at times we have rebuked men who publicly connive at these errors. We've also criticized certain institutional directions, but those criticisms have been noticeably bereft of the personal.

>>(you) cannot tolerate someone pointing out the inconsistency viz the CREC.

We don't object to men criticizing Doug Wilson's doctrine or practice, nor the errors of men of the CREC who hold to F-V. But Doug is our friend, meaning criticisms must be sober and not simply toss-offs. We've lost friends over this before. It's no new commitment. David and I have stated our opposition to aspects of the F-V and David voted for the F-V Study Committee's report.

Some would say we should have nothing to do with those promoting the F-V error because they're heretics. We don't fault them for saying so, but we're not convinced and continue to believe that Doug is more a warrior for the doctrine of Scripture than those who excoriate him.

>>...coming to enjoy being the denouncers...

Maybe this is true. If so, may the Lord be merciful to us in our sin.

>>I have never seen either of you express humility or regret for anything.

"Never" is over the top, but again, maybe you're right and we are incapable of being humble and saying we're sorry. If so, may the Lord have mercy on us and change us.

Concerning admitting we're wrong and apologizing here on Baylyblog, simply search for the word "sorry" and you'll find many p--not simply for errors in fact, but also in judgment and character.

>>...some of us do more than carp but actually take the personal risk of petitioning the courts to act.

My involvement in the courts of both the PC(USA) and the PCA has been constant and extremely time consuming over the years. The opponents of truth David and I have opposed in the past and recently would all giggle with excitement at the prospect of the two of us promising never again to take action in the church courts. They'd love it if we'd stick to carping on Baylyblog.

For the record, I've been on Presbytery Council; Chairman of presbytery's Shepherding Committee; main author of the report of a General Assembly Study Committee; a contributor to judicial complaints; under threat of judicial complaints, myself; chaired or served on several presbytery groups dealing with doctrinal and moral error; and spent countless hours on work for the courts of the church that have necessarily been, and will remain, private.

Ken, you're right in pointing to the hypocrisy of those who take a position publicly that they're unwilling to work to support in the courts of the church and in relationships with fellow presbyters. You're simply wrong in thinking those who work with us would recognize and affirm this criticism.

BTW, I really appreciated your post on the need to include workers in the service industry in worship: http://thequietprotest.blogspot.com/2010/07/mercy-justice-fourth-command...

Love,

Our church went through the transition from “church” music to “CHURCH” music a number of years back.. It was not easy, but now most in our congregation can’t wait to worship God each Sunday using today’s music styles.

I originally was churched in both traditional (organ & symphony type instruments) and contemporary (wimpy not-even-hymns-put-to-a-drum) settings and in both cases, though glorious at times, I also found it to be overall very weak worship. I did not like the transition to today’s music either, because everything was so new and it stretched my senses to new extremes. Now, I would never want go back to that weak form of music and worship leadership. We still sing great hymns with an organ and we sing many new arrangements of classic hymns re-arranged for amplification and many new spiritual songs and hymns have been written and added to our services. Our worship time has reached unexpectedly glorious heights. The men sing with all of their voice, soul and being, as do our women and our children, and most of them love it.

I am concerned for the churches that think their “old” preferences are best. I do not think my “new” preferences are best--never have, I just think they are the musical language of the younger people God is using to build his church for the future and not just preserve them in the past. I would make a few predictions regarding the church and her music:

1. In twenty years, almost no church will have an organ, except electronically, and it will be seldom used. (Sorry organ lovers like myself)

2. In twenty years 99.9% of the true believers who are in the church will have no desire for, or experience with, classical music. They will have never listened to it, no matter how glorious it is and it will be as foreign to them as an electric guitar in worship is to traditional churched people today.

3. Those misguided churches who think that worship is found in the instrumentation are worshipping the wrong god and one day, if that church survives, it will be a museum place--like many of the modern symphonies. Today most of them can’t even fill their seats unless they bring in a washed up rock-star to play along with them (how degrading it must be for the lofty musicians). Classical music is great, but it is on its last legs being supported only by its huge endowments from decades 50 years past. Once the 1950’s generation has died, no one will go to the symphony and no one will worship in these types of churches.

Sacrifice is required to make the transition from old to new preferences and the people in our seats who have had to sacrifice the most are the older people in our congregation. But God has given us wonderful, older, mature people who understand, even if they can’t appreciate the music, that their sacrifice in preference is for the sake of the future generations who will walk into the doors of our church and see that it is no museum, but rather the very alive people of God worshipping Him in truth and in Spirit. This older generation at our church has made the most sacrifices and we have all benefited as a result. I thank God for them as they have embraced our worship for the sake of the future generations of God’s church.

Matt Miklovic