Monday, November 28, 2005

(Prophetic) Songs and Hymns and Spiritual Songs

Does the Bible portray the role of music to be essentially prophetic? Certainly, I don't necessarily mean prophecy in the sense of "history written in advance" (a quote I got from an interesting book I read about fundamentalist end-times theology, including varieties of the Christian, Jewish, and Islamic stripe; but I digress...), but rather prophecy in the sense of speaking the oracles of God.

1 Chronicles 25 relates how David:

...set apart for the service the sons of Asaph, and of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who prophesied with lyres, with harps, and with cymbals. The list of those who did the work and of their duties was: Of the sons of Asaph...who prophesied under the direction of the king. Of Jeduthun, thesons of Jeduthun...who prophesied with the lyre in thanksgiving and praise to the Lord....All of these were the sons of Heman the king's seer... (1 Chronicles 25:1-5, my emphasis)
It seems as though David's musicians were not simply musicians in the sense that we would use the word today, but that their roles were fundamentally tied up in prophecy. I know that, at my college ministry, our worship team is composed of people with musical talent as well as spiritual maturity, but should we, at least in theory, perhaps be requiring a certain level of spiritual sensitivity higher than we currently do require?

If this Old Testament passage does not persuade you, consider Paul's words in Colossians:

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spirituals songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16)
Paul links our singing with the word of Christ. (To be fair, the passage in Ephesians that talks about singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs (Ephesians 5:19) does not seem to be talking much about prophecy, but its context rather concerns our using our time wisely and encouraging each other with such songs. This is not explicitly prophesy, but it does perform at least a partially teaching role.) If, then, music is to perform a prophetic/teaching role (i.e., in causing the word of Christ to dwell richly among us by proclaiming it through song), how would that influence the church's music? Better stated, would a criterion that establishes whether or not a song has a prophetic/teaching element be a standard under which all music that we might use to worship could be judged?

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Friday, November 25, 2005

More Thanksgiving

What an incredible day: Nebraska 30, Colorado 3! Many people are saying that this win is the best since we beat top-ranked Oklahoma in 2001 (the game that our resident Husker-hater (that's Andrew) attended to watch the famous trick play from Mike Stuntz to Eric Crouch--I'm still envious that he was there), which is saying quite a bit about the progress of Bill Callahan's program. The Journal Star even gave the Huskers straight-A's in all categories in its report card.

Oh, yeah, and Colorado fans are vile creatures. Perhaps not all of them, but certainly most. I suppose that the fans are only following the lead of their players, though.


Tuesday, November 22, 2005


I give thanks that Thanksgiving break is finally here!


Thursday, November 17, 2005

The whole Bible

I've been realizing over the past week or two that I have lived my entire life without ever really having a situation where I could identify with psalms like Psalm 140. I have always been the "nice guy" that doesn't really ruffle feathers, and people, for the most part, have let me be. Now, though, I finally get to understand David, when he writes:
1Deliver me, O LORD, from evil men;
preserve me from violent men,
2who plan evil things in their heart
and stir up wars continually.
3They make their tongue sharp as a serpent's,
and under their lips is the venom of asps.

4Guard me, O LORD, from the hands of the wicked;
preserve me from violent men,
who have planned to trip up my feet.
5The arrogant have hidden a trap for me,
and with cords they have spread a net;
beside the way they have set snares for me.

6I say to the LORD, You are my God;
give ear to the voice of my pleas for mercy, O LORD!
7O LORD, my Lord, the strength of my salvation,
you have covered my head in the day of battle.
8Grant not, O LORD, the desires of the wicked;
do not further their evil plot or they will be exalted!

9As for the head of those who surround me,
let the mischief of their lips overwhelm them!
10Let burning coals fall upon them!
Let them be cast into fire,
into miry pits, no more to rise!
11Let not the slanderer be established in the land;
let evil hunt down the violent man speedily!

12I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted,
and will execute justice for the needy.
13Surely the righteous shall give thanks to your name;
the upright shall dwell in your presence.

I can't really go into details about what's happening (and the problems are not really of a violent nature, but certainly of a slanderous nature), but it is very comforting to identify (finally!) with David in some of these problems--for so much of my life he seemed spiteful here, but now I understand where he's coming from.

Anyway, sorry for venting without much context, but at least I'm posting again, right? (Oh, and by the way, the frequent and numerous jabs about my lack of blogging is not my problem of late.)

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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

I Love Technology

Bethany and I gained anonymous fame in the John Brown Advocate last week for making our relationship "official" via Facebook. For clarification, there was no "internet cafe" involved.

Read the article.

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Monday, November 14, 2005

Of Bald Men and Bears Presents: Real Men of Genius

Today we salute you, Mr. Daily Blog Updater!
(Mr. Daily Blog Updater!)
You faithfully provide your readers with new stories about yourself, in spite of homework or tests.
(In spite of all your homework!)
Philosophy test the next day? You still find time to post.
(What your roomate did this morning!)
And you'll keep writing those stories, day after day.
(Even if no one reads it!)
So hit that publish button one more time, Mr. Blog Updater, and send the unimportant details of your life hurtling onto the information superhighway.
(Mr. Daily Blog Updater!)

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Friday, November 04, 2005

Beeson Picture Tour

You can check out a Facebook photo album (even if you are not a member of Facebook, and even if you have no idea what Facebook is!) by clicking here. (Warning: I'm not that great of a photographer.) My favorite picture is this one (in spite of my red-eye):

That's right: me and my buddy DR. JOHN PIPER!!!

EDIT (12/4/06 3:52 p.m.):
As I was going back through posts, apparently I can't link to the Facebook picture anymore. So, I changed the picture source to my Flickr account. I don't think the Facebook link works at all, but my Facebook account still has the photo tour.


Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Beeson and John Piper

This week (Monday night through Thursday), I am touring Beeson Divinity School as a potential seminary. They had a preview day today, where several members of the faculty talked to us about what they saw as Beeson's distinctive elements, where we attended a chapel service (more about that in a moment), and where I was interviewed for admission. My verdict: amazing. This is where I want to go to seminary for many reasons, but I'll give you my top three:
  1. Beeson is interdenominational: no more than half of the faculty can be Southern Baptist (the denomination of Samford University, to which Beeson is a graduate school), but they all must be evangelicals who hold to the fundamentals of the faith. This basically means that I am going to get New Testament and Greek classes from a Presbyterian (PCA ordained), church history from an Anglican, and a bunch of other classes from a bunch of other denominations (many of which are different forms of Baptists). I like this; I can become arrogant when I am too close to people who think too closely to what I think theologically, but going to such a diverse (but certainly unified) seminary will, I think, only strengthen me theologically.
  2. The faculty is outstanding and very personable. By rule of Mr. Beeson (who donated the $60 million to get things started), there can be no more than 180 seminarians. Therefore, faculty-student ratios are very good. Also, the dean is a man who has written the definitive textbook on the theology of the Reformers (he told us today that it was one of his spiritual disciplines that he doesn't even read anything written after 1800), one of the faculty members has written the standard textbook on Biblical Hebrew, and the main preaching professor is supposed to be one of the best in the country.
  3. Birmingham is gorgeous; the facilities are incredible; every person I have met is extraordinarily nice (within the seminary at least). More than just being nice people, however, there seemed to be a holy aura of a community who collectively seek the face of God. I can't describe it, but it was wonderful.

The highlight of the day, though, was the chapel service, when Pastor John Piper preached (his text was Jeremiah 32:36-41). Never have I seen a man preach with more passion and intensity. Listening to mp3s off of his web site does his preaching no justice--I have a newly found respect for a man that I already greatly respected.

His message was thoroughly Calvinistic. Said one member of the Beeson staff about the message: "The free-willers are having a tough day." If anyone is interested, I was furiously taking notes during his sermon, and I would be more than happy to share them.

I will leave you with Piper's poetic definition of sovereign, sustaining grace:

Not grace to bar what is not bliss
Nor flight from all distress, but this:
The grace that orders our trouble and pain
And then, in the darkness, is there to sustain.
(I get to listen to Piper preach again tomorrow and on Thursday. Also, there is a question-and-answer time tomorrow, and it is speculated that there will be much conversation about the baptism-membership issues that have been going on in Piper's church. I will certainly keep you informed of anything interesting!)

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