Daily Scroll

From Resignation to Expectation (Waiting, Part 2)

Resignation is a soul-deadening, light-obscuring posture of the soul. There is a hopeless inevitability in it that slowly shuts the door to God’s comforting light. When Zechariah the priest entered the temple to burn incense that day a double-portion of resignation is residing in his soul. As an Israelite, he is the member of a conquered people. As a man he is the husband of a barren wife.

Stranded in Time (“Waiting,” Part 1)

 “The curtain comes down on the Old Testament with the prophet Malachi declaring that Elijah will be sent to the people, followed by years of silence…Four hundred years of silence.

The Arts and the Imago Dei, Part I

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule [KJV says “have dominion”] over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."  So God created man in his own image,…” Genesis 1:26.

The Arts and the Imago Dei, Part II

In an earlier post I stated that the doctrine of the imago dei says that we have at least three things:
1. The divine mandate to have dominion over the earth
2.  The mental, physical, and spiritual ability to obey that mandate
3. The innate spark of the creative drive

“But the Sons of Korah Did Not Die”

Their role was to encircle the tent. The Levites were to be human insulation: both protecting the priests and the holy things from unclean contamination from without and protecting the people in the camp from holy retribution from within.

The Power and Purpose of A Cappella Singing in Congregational Song, Part 1

by Eric Wyse
An Historical Look at Singing in Worship

Throughout the history of the Christian Church, congregational song has been an important part of the worship service; and for much of Church history, the primary instrument utilized was the unaccompanied human voice. Since the Middle Ages, the addition of musical instruments for accompaniment to the human voice has increasingly diminished the role of a cappella congregational singing. And today, in the ever-changing landscape of modern Church music–whether traditional, contemporary or an convergence of styles–there seems to be little room for the chorus of human voices, unaccompanied by any instrument, singing together in worship of God.  What is the importance of unaccompanied singing in the worship community? Why has this ancient form been virtually lost in modern practice, and can it be restored in the context of 21st century Christianity? These timely questions must be asked, and then answered satisfactorily, if the Church desires to corporately worship Almighty God in a more meaningful and excellent way.

The Power and Purpose of A Cappella Singing in Congregational Song, Part 2

by Eric Wyse

The Why and How of A Cappella Singing in Worship

All though the preponderance of music in the Church over the last two millennia has been sung unaccompanied, the Church has never taught that instruments are not allowed. Although many congregations today use accompaniment exclusively, the singing of hymns by voices alone is important and should be a part of every congregation’s offering of praise.

The Philosophy of Music in the New Testament

by Harold M. Best., D.S.M. & David K. Huttar, Ph.D.

If one were to take the position that only those things that Scripture specifically allows are allowable and those that Scripture does not specifically mention are prohibited, then the perimeters of musical practice in the New Testament would be severely limited. There are two basic reasons why this cannot be the case and why the “philosophy” of church music in the New Testament is, in fact, exceedingly broad.

First, the Old Testament was still considered the scriptural authority for the early church (
2 Timothy 3:16–17). Hence its broad principles and practices were normative, though now Christ-centered. Second, by maintaining the perspectives on righteousness, faith, and lawfulness inherent in God’s revelation throughout the Old Testament, the writers of the New Testament are careful to maintain these by extension. Hence Paul’s conclusion in Romans 14 that nothing is impure in itself is an extension and a further filling out of the concept of the goodness of creation found early in Genesis. To Paul, the ultimate right was to avoid the offense of one’s own conscience or that of one’s neighbor by the superiority of quality of life over categories of creation. The Judeo-Christian worldview is unique in that it refuses to locate moral causation in the created order. Rather, it places moral responsibility squarely within the human heart. For this reason the Greek ethos, which ultimately says that both the creative and the created orders have an inherent power and which implicitly allows humankind to locate virtue or its opposite in the created order, is by principle out of place in the Judeo-Christian worldview. Therefore, what the New Testament leaves unsaid about music, among other things, has a healthy quality.

Help! I'm Leading by Example (And I'm Not a Very Good One)

by Chris Beatty

A choir director recently called me and said, “Help! I’m leading by example and I’m not a very good one!”

We all do it.
We all lead by example. It’s just the way things work. Our children learn how to speak by imitating those who raise them. That can be good, or that can be bad. Our singers are watching and listening to our vocal and musical guidance and that, also, can be good . . . or bad, depending on what we are doing.

John Wesley’s Directions for Singing in Worship with Commentary (from Select Hymns 1761)

by Darrell A. Harris, D.W.S.

In an era where we can often not hear out own voice and the voices of those next to us, these directions can easily  seem archaic. However, imagined in an unplugged, acoustic context, they readily spring to contemporary life!

   I. Learn these tunes before you learn any others; afterwards learn as many as you please.

   It is always good to have shared repertoire . . . shared musical touchstones.

II. Sing them exactly as they are printed here, without altering or mending them at all; and if you have learned to sing them otherwise, unlearn it as soon as you can.