Who Calls the Tune in the Southern Baptist Convention?

"I know you (TWW) talk about child victims and that is most important. But I have a huge problem with the future victims in the SBC if CJ and Al get what they are after – control – I think. One can be a victim in more ways than one. I was a victim of CJ’s manipulation, albeit my own fault for listening. The outcome of that was I hurt my children."

turtle

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Pied_Piper2.jpg

Pied Piper

SOUTHERN BAPTISTS, THIS IS YOUR WAKE UP CALL!!!

As a Southern Baptist, I am gravely concerned about Al Mohler's agenda at the SBC's flagship seminary. Why?  Because I believe what is being taught at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) will have serious implications for years to come.  One of the changes Mohler has made in recent years is closing the music school due to a budget deficit.  On December 16, 2008, the Courier-Journal reported:     

"Southern Baptist Theological Seminary is cutting its budget, freezing hiring, postponing capital projects and anticipating layoffs as the global financial meltdown reaches into one of the nation's largest theological schools.

The seminary anticipates a deficit of as much as $3.2 million — which would be 9 percent of its current $36.9 million budget — and has "lost a significant portion of the value of our endowed funds" in financial-market declines, President Albert Mohler said in a letter to the seminary community."

So the stand-alone music school got the ax due to the seminary's financial woes?  

On April 21, 2009, seminary trustees approved "The School of Church Ministries", which will train ministers in the following areas:  music, worship, discipleship, and family ministry.  According to a Baptist Press article written by Jeff Robinson:

"Southern Baptist Theological Seminary's trustees have approved the creation of a new school combining the School of Church Music and Worship with the School of Leadership and Church Ministry to better meet the changing needs of local congregations.

The new School of Church Ministries, approved by trustees April 21, aims to better equip church staff members who fill such positions as music minister or youth pastor and increasingly are carrying additional roles in local congregations, SBTS President R. Albert Mohler Jr."

For those of you not familiar with Jeff Robinson, he is a frequent reporter/blogger over at the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.  

Then in May 2011 Southern Seminary announced it would be adding two worship professors in the fall, namely Joseph Crider and Chuck Lewis.  You can read about them here.  According to this video clip, Southern Seminary's New Division of Biblical Worship is "gospel centered, musically relevant, and pastor focused".  

Sounds great, huh?  

Then on May 24, 2012, Bob Kauflin blogged about the big move to Louisville.  Here is one of the things he is looking forward to:

"5. Boyce College/Southern Seminary: At the invitation of my dear friend, Chip Stam (now with the Lord), I participated in the Institute of Christian Worship at Southern Seminary for a number of years. Southern is now in the process of retooling their worship program and making some great changes. Being in Louisville will enable me not only to engage with the college and seminary more consistently, but could also provide interns in the future. The folks at Southern have already been incredibly welcoming."

Now let's step back and take a look at the Mohler/Kauflin connection.  In 2008 Bob Kauflin's book Worship Matters was published by Crossway.  On May 22, 2008, Al Mohler interviewed Kauflin on his radio program. Here is an overview of that interview on Mohler's website:

"Over the past twenty years, evangelical churches have seen the “worship wars” take center stage. All too often, however, the debate has lacked much of a theology of worship. On today’s program, Dr. Mohler welcomes Bob Kauflin, author of Worship Matters: Leading Others to Encounter the Greatness of God, for an extended conversation about the place of corporate worship in the life of the local church." 

Here is Mohler's endorsement of that book:

“God is seeking those who worship him in spirit and in truth. Bob Kauflin is a man whose passion for true worship is both infectious and instructive. In Worship Matters he offers profound and powerful observations about the task of leading God’s people in worship—observations missing from much of the conversation about worship today. Bob Kauflin is driven by a passion for God’s glory, and his reflections on music and worship are grounded in biblical truth and keen theological insight. In a day of such confusion about worship, I welcome this important book.”

—R. Albert Mohler Jr., President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky

It's important to point out that Al Mohler began promoting Bob Kauflin two years before the book release.  On February 8, 2006 (two months prior to the first Together for the Gospel conference), Mohler wrote:

"Bob Kauflin of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland writes an incredible weblog on worship called Worship Matters. Bob is one of the most theologically-minded and gifted musicians I know, and his writings are truly helpful and interesting…" 

And, of course, Bob Kauflin has been the worship leader at all of the T4G Conferences.  He has even released the hymns sung at the conference (for a song, of course).  It is called Together for the Gospel Live II and is being promoted on the Sovereign Grace Ministries website.  Check out this promo video with Kauflin leading the 2012 T4G attendees.

Looking back over the history of Southern Seminary and SGM, it appears than an economic downturn may not have been the only reason for canning the music school.  It appears that Mohler promotes Bob Kauflin as someone worship leaders in training should emulate.  After all, Kauflin had led worship at all the T4G conferences and at SGM's WorshipGod conferences in 2006, 2008, 2009, and 2011 (link) – not to mention worship in SGM churches.  Kauflin is viewed as a worship expert as indicated by this interview posted on Justin Taylor's blog. 

Now Bob Kauflin is busy promoting the WorshipGod 2013 conferences to be held in the East and West.  He just announced yesterday on the Sovereign Grace Ministries website that registration is open. Interestingly, the East Conference will be held at Highview East (Mohler is a member of Highview).  Remember Mohler's Tweet three years ago?  Al Mohler “congratulates my pastor Kevin Ezell on his election as president of the SBC Pastors Conference!”  

Then we have SGM's church planter extraordinaire and SGM's worship guru sharing their trade secrets on video:

And if all this is not enough evidence for ties between SBTS and SGM, here is a link showing Bob Kauflin's involvement at the SBTS Alumni Academy last fall along with the two new SBTS worship leaders – Joseph Crider and Chuck Lewis.

It certainly appears that Al Mohler and Southern Seminary are binding themselves to Sovereign Grace Ministries through all of these connections.  Now that SGM is headquartered in Louisville, it will be extremely difficult to unravel these ties.  

As you probably know, legend has it that the Pied Piper played his musical pipe to lead all the rats out of Hamelin.  When he wasn't compensated properly, he coerced all of the children to follow him by playing his melodious pipe.  Could this be analogous to Mohler and the SBC?  Mohler helped drive out rats of a different kind – liberal and moderate Christians, heretics, etc. – and now he and the SGM leaders (Mahaney and Kauflin in particular) are leading not only children down the garden path, but also Christian leaders and other grown-ups who should know better!  They are being sold a bill of goods with this SGM Theology that has obviously caused extensive damage in the SGM "family of churches".  As turtle has testified, there may be much spiritual carnage in the SBC if Southern Baptists don't wake up and put a stop to this nonsense.  

Could it be that divine providence brought about the SGM debacle to allow those who are following the Pied Piper to come to their senses?  Brothers and sisters in the SBC, please stop allowing Mohler and gang to call the tune… We leave you with a song that became popular when we were young.  We'd be curious to know how many of you recognize it.

Lydia's Corner:       Deuteronomy 33:1-29   Luke 13:1-21   Psalm 78:65-72   Proverbs 12:25

Comments

Who Calls the Tune in the Southern Baptist Convention? — 161 Comments

  1. Old enough to have sung along with, Chrispian St. Peters. 🙂

    Am not a Southern Baptist but recognize it’s influence in the greater evangelical church. And of course the piper, John Piper,another baptist variety of great influence.

    Honestly, I’m so sick and tired of music being used as a catalyst for manipulating the congregation, into worshiping the worship team, the pastor, human authority.

    While I’m not an advocate of acapella congregational singing, it might just be refreshing for it to be revived. Ditch the so called, “worship teams” and let the congregation sing from their hearts.

    The new testament is silent on the relevance of music in the church. All that is recorded is Jesus and the disciples singing a hymn and going out from the last supper. Not until The book of Revelation, do we hear of music, trumpets, singing which takes place in heaven.

    I love music, of all types. Sacred concerts, singspirations, song services, can express sincere and wonderful devotion to our savior. When both the congregation and musicians worship together, all are edified, uplifted.

    The new music of the neo calvinistas infuses their doctrine into music. Not surprising but oh so subtle and beguiling. When the old hymnbooks are ignored, or removed from the pews, look out big changes are coming to the congregation.

  2. @Lin –
    The NT is not entirely silent about music. There is also the passage “…speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs” that seems to indicate the high value of music as a communication tool. We don’t have hymn books in our church – not for any scary and mysterious reason, but because we meet in a public school and there are only so many boxes of stuff that we can handle unpacking and re-packing every week.

    That being said, we have also found that apart from maybe three or four of the well-known hymns (plus any set of words that can be sung to the tune Hyfrodol), the people in our congregation don’t really know or like hymns. They tend to be long (verse after verse spelling out the story of our faith) and the tunes can be a little obscure. Contemporary music has other problems, sometimes being weak theologically, and often being more suited to solo than congregational singing.

    My husband is the music and worship leader, and he works hard finding songs that create a unity in each week’s service. I feel sad for him when people come up and say didn’t like this or that song. Heck, I don’t always like the music every week, but I know he goes through the process thoughtfully, and also after he comes home from his regular job that he actually gets paid for…

  3. Excellent, thought provoking post. The video clips and information were all very useful in making the point and drawing attention to the concerted effort being made to retool how worship is 'done.'

    And with Mahaney, Kauflin & SGM involved, it's guaranteed that what they 'do' with worship will be to plant their flag of ownership in 'it' and make it their business, because that is what they 'do' with everything they put their hands on. They make it their own. They assume ownership of it.

    Worship isn't something in which faith is expressed through the individual believer to God, it becomes something taken over and controlled by guys who work to define what worship is and isn't (or what is and isn't appropriate), and then claim authority over its expression through their assumption of authority over the worshippers themselves. So, once again, people are used to sell a product. A product they've planted the SGM flag in.

    And it seems to me Al Mohler is the kind of guy who's attracted to the way CJ Mahaney had taken 'church' and made a product out of it. The more 'church' can be designed & defined by authoritative leaders, and farther removed from the authority of the people, the easier everyone is to control – and make money off of. Because once the product is produced well enough in the people (who were led into going along with it, no questions asked tyvm) it is then sold in the form of CD's, books, conference topics, and standards of practice used in establishing and controlling the worship produced within each SGM franchise – which is owned by CJ – who then goes out looking for a market, which in this case has been the SBC, because guys like Mohler are buying it.

    But God doesn't seem to be buying into it. Hmm… wonder why?

  4. Listened to and watched “Together for the Gospel Live II”

    Yup, it looks and sounds like the masculine feel that Piper worships and promotes.

    May God call him to repentance for his part in marginalizing women and children in his little corner of the Kingdom of God. (You know, that very lopsided, off-balanced, and barely recognizable corner where he has staked his claim for patriarchy, opening it wide for SGM doctrine and abuses to come pouring in on the heads of the innocents.)

  5. @ Through a glass darkly: @ through a glass……

    Yes corrected, Colossians 3:6 mentions singing, psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. It does not mention the format to be used and that does give us great liberty of expression. All good.

    Yes, many of the young dislike hymns and/ or don't know them. There is also the problem of the old tunes. Tunes can be changed keeping the older Lyrics. As for the older hymns being long, too many stanzas…..my word many contemporary songs repeat over and over and over. ( often allowing the worship team time to showcase their instruments)

    Anyway, these new songs take just as long as old hymns to sing through. To the point though, Congregational singing is at a low and in many churches been subtlety replaced with songs whose lyrics emphasize neo-Calvinist dogma.  And I have observed too many worship leaders as spokesmen for the pastor and the neo Calvinista dogma.

     

  6. Speaking as a Lutheran and a church musician here – I would NEVER attend a Calvinist/Reformed school for music. The Calvinist tradition basically abandoned music several hundred years ago when they eliminated instruments and harmony. From what I’ve seen on the ground in Calvinist churches and from the course catalogs at their colleges, they’ve never quite recovered from this move. Sproul Sr.’s college music major, for example, was basically four years of doctrine with some keyboard classes thrown in.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think a cappella congregational singing has its place and it can be really cool and spiritual. (Heck, I once dressed up as a Puritan and led a responsorial psalm sing, in 1640 language from the Bay Psalm Book to boot.) And I also really loved some of the hymns I learned in the PCA church. But I think Calvinists made a big mistake when they made a cappella the only acceptable thing back in the 16th and 17th centuries and their music ed seems to have never quite caught up because of it, even after they let the instruments back in.

    If you want a really good, solid, classical/historical music education – go to a Lutheran, Episcopalian or secular school. A Catholic one too, perhaps, though they seem to be very focused on plainchant at the moment.

  7. It also disturbs me that this program is called “pastor focused.” One of the biggest damages CCM has done, IMO, is to marginalize/eliminate congregational participation and encourage the “show” mindset in church. Creating a “pastor focused” music major might not help this.

  8. Through a glass darkly

    I have a question that you might be able to answer.  I love some of the old hymns like "And Can It Be" and I love some contemporary music.  But, I have found a tendency of some of today's musicians who will take a great hymn like "And Can It Be", totally change the music and then get some woman with a breathy voice to sing it. No one in the congregation knows it, and probably does not want to know it because the rendition is sub par.

    I am the type of person who moves seamlessly from old hymns to upbeat contemporary because I like good music, no matter the genre. Why would someone want to change a well written hymn with good music attached to it and screw it up? I would say the same thing about a well written contemporary song as well.

     

  9. Evie,

    Excellent comment!

    If folks want to see how well Kauflin's doctrinally-based music has worked, just look at Sovereign Grace Ministries which has been doing this kind of thing for quite a while.

    So how’s that working out???

  10. Still trying to digest the whole article. I do believe that music has an incredible ability to speak to our souls on a level we’re often not completely aware of. So if you want to manipulate the congregation . . . Well, the pied piper analogy is apt. My former church (cult) forbid anyone outside of the music “ministry” to even listen to “canned” music. In other words, any music that wasn’t performed by them was forbidden. Definitely a tool for control.

    On the subject of a Capella music, I just discovered the group Pentatonix last year, and could listen to them for hours. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Lcn88SQlgo&feature=youtube_gdata_player
    Check out their version of “We Are Young” if you’re interested. This style has come a long way! Anybody ever watch “The Sing Off?”

  11. That Together for the Gospel video certainly does show the masculine feel that John Piper pushes – it made me cringe. Together for the Gospel? No, this looks like a diseased part of the body getting ready to spread its infection.

  12. Re: "pastor-focused" music ministry education

    I was a student at SBTS in the late 90s, and it was commonly believed within the student body at that time that Mohler and his Conservative Resurgence buddies were just waiting for a reason to close the music school. The School of Christian Education (then) was barely tolerated because it had an M.Div. track for pastors who wanted to focus on teaching and discipleship ministry. The Missions school was tolerated because some missionaries plant and pastor churches. But the core belief, even then, was that the pastorate was the only true ministry, and folks who weren't called to be pastors really didn't need a seminary education.

    I don't think any of us realized just how far this was going to go, back then, but hindsight is 20/20. In the minds of men like Mohler, any ministry that isn't headed by a pastor is too open to theological error. Solution? Replace Sunday School and Children's Church with "Family-Integrated Church" headed by a "Pastor of Family Ministries" and do away with those pesky Children's Directors (usually women). Replace lay music directors, choir directors and worship leaders with "Worship Pastors" and bring the musical life of the church firmly under pastoral authority.

    That way, these men–whose callings might be something other than preaching or church planting–can still have a legitimate ministry (because only pastors are truly in ministry), and we keep the laity in their proper place in the church and safeguard it against error. This is so anti-historical Baptist (priesthood of all believers, liberty of conscience and interpretation) that it made me queasy even then. Now, it makes me angry.

    If the SBC is truly in need of reform, it's not the kind of Reform (capital letter absolutely intended) that Mohler and the Calvinistas have in mind. The Anabaptists were reacting against Calvinism (and other teachings), not trying to adopt it.

  13. @ dee:

    Dee, there are various reasons to change the melodies- sometimes it is just difficult to do the old melodies with modern instrumentation (ask guitar players about all those chord changes in the hymns), other times it has to do with the vocal ranges of congregations that are no longer trained to sing “parts” and so everyone is on melody. “And Can It Be” has some partiularly big jumps and a lot of melody movement- it’s not an easy song for everyone to sing. Whether they should learn, I will leave that up to debate.

    I just want to say to those commenting, as a worship leader: please try to be understanding that a lot of us do try very, VERY hard to create an inclusive experience that works for many different types of people- we use our gifts and do our best, but there are ALWAYS unhappy people who prefer things to be a different way. No matter how much you work toward meeting everyone’s desires, you end up with loads of notes or negative feedback (along with the positive feedback), and a lot of it is merciless. Do more/less Christmas music, more/less hymns, why do/don’t we do xyz song? etc. etc.

    I love leading worship and the privilage that it is (currently I am not leading worship, because at my previous church I was let go for getting a divorce), but the more criticism I get, the easier it is just to stop taking other people’s needs into account and just do whatever it is I want to do- I’ve never succumbed to that temptation, but it can be frustrating when nothing you do is ever right.

  14. Amy,

    Thanks for your insightful comment.  It really does put things into their proper perspective.   

    I am curious about something stated in the Dallas News article I linked to in the post.  It stated:

    “Southern Seminary’s School of Church Music opened in property bought and donated by trustee V.V. Cooke that now serves as the seminary president’s home.”

    Is that where Mohler currently lives – in the Cooke building?  
    Ligon Duncan Tweeted a picture of the President’s abode before Christmas. He was sharing ‘good times’ with Mohler and Mahaney.

    https://twitter.com/LigonDuncan/status/281600101774929921
     

  15. I should add that I empathize with your feelings about “And Can It Be”- I’ve noticed that no one ever does the melody of “It Is Well With My Soul” the way it was written, and I have no idea why. It is not difficult to sing and it works fine with modern instrumentation. For that reason I’m putting it on my CD (and the fact it is my favorite song)- it will have “rock” instrumentation and be quite up beat, but the melody will be the same melody we’ve all sung for years.

  16. I am a worship leader and I gotta be honest, I have followed Kauflin’s blog for awhile and Kauflin’s book is my favorite resource. The guy has a lot of genuine wisdom in approaching worship from a theological standpoint, which I agree tends to be missing in a lot of worship music. His stuff has been so helpful for me that I was willing to overlook the fact that he doesn’t think women should be worship leaders…

    That said, I have been very disappointed with Kauflin over the past 2 years or so. His blog was previously a wealth of wisdom to people in music ministry. Now he hardly posts anything except advertisements for all these conferences and SGM albums. (A side note: I try listening to some songs from SGM but they are so bogged down in precise, heavy theology that there is no joy or life left in them.) So this report is disappointing to me but not really a surprise either.

  17. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    On the subject of a Capella music, I just discovered the group Pentatonix last year, and could listen to them for hours. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Lcn88SQlgo&feature=youtube_gdata_player
    Check out their version of “We Are Young” if you’re interested. This style has come a long way! Anybody ever watch “The Sing Off?”

    Oh yea. Pentatonix is amazing. I am a complete choir nerd. My kids and I devour Sing Off. Unbeknownst to my kids, this is how I teach them ear training. I make them search for the pitch, rhythm, blending issues as we pause and replay it. My volunteer gig is high school choir accompanist. I would pay to do this volunteer job! It is my daily Starbucks.

  18. Dee – I understand both sides of the hymn remakes issue. As a musician, I love the lyrics of the old hymns, but some of the chord progressions drive me batty – they are so predictable and horribly dated. What I sometimes like do like to do is take a classic hymn and modernize the chords a bit (keep the bones, but make them more interesting – add a 2nd, etc), alter the tempo and give it a face-lift while keeping the foundational core.

  19. Kristin,

    I haven’t read Kauflin’s book, nor do I intend to, but I appreciate your opinion. The only resource I have ever bought from the SGM money-making machine is The Cross-Centered Life and that was before I even knew who Mahaney was. Back in 2006 I was shopping at LifeWay and I saw stacks of that book being promoted at the front of the store. I read the foreward by Al Mohler (whom I respected at the time) and bought it solely because of his recommendation. It got put on my bookshelf and was forgotten about until three years later (after we started blogging).

    By that time I knew so much about C.J. Mahaney that I was nauseated. When I came across that book, I nearly passed out! I had totally forgotten that I had purchased it.

    I can make this promise – I will NEVER buy another SGM resource!

  20. Deb,

    Cooke Hall is a separate building named for the same guy who owned the property that the president’s home is built on. The Mohlers live close to campus but not on it, or at least that was the case in 1997.

  21. This comment is not going to be about the music changes in the SBC seminaries so bear with me. As y’all know, I’m in my mid-20’s. Many of my college classmates are either in seminary right now or recent graduates. Every single one that I know of attended the Southern Baptist seminary in Dallas or Al Mohler’s seminary in Louisville. These men and their wives are the same men and women that I attended college with. They have lost their joy, have become incredibly legalistic and quite frankly are a pain in the butt. In my college group at the Southern Baptist church I attended, there was abounding joy and freedom and men and women were equally free. There were no gender roles allowed. Now after attending these seminaries, the wives have been relegated to stay-at-home moms who are popping out kids every year or two. They are not allowed to pursue anything outside the home or the church. The enforced gender roles are identical to what CJ Mahaney and group are obsessed with. The men quote Mahaney, Driscoll, Piper, Mohler, Chandler etc… more than they quote the actual Bible. This change that happened in the lives of my friends is what drove me to this blog. I wanted to understand what the heck was going on that would cause my former friends to act this way.

    A couple years ago, I remember reading a friend’s blog. Her husband had just completed seminary (in dallas). She had been pushed into the role of stay at home mom even though it was absolutely contrary to her personality. Their first daughter was about 10 months old and had just “committed her first sin” by disobeying her parents. The post was all about original sin and total depravity and how about here on out, the focus of the parents would be on disciplining her and pushing her to salvation. I was so horrified by what I read. To this day I pray for this young family that the children would not be harmed by the parents’ theology. Another young friend has had her 3rd c-section in 4 years. If she continues at this rate, she will be risking her life. Birth control is not allowed. Her husband is at the Louisville seminary. Please pray for the current group of men and women who are being negatively affected by Al Mohler and his cronies.

  22. Hester wrote:

    It also disturbs me that this program is called “pastor focused.” One of the biggest damages CCM has done, IMO, is to marginalize/eliminate congregational participation and encourage the “show” mindset in church. Creating a “pastor focused” music major might not help this.

    @ Hester……Agree “pastor focused ” music major could create more distance between the congregants, ( THE body of Christ), and the clergy.

  23. Amy,

    Here’s another reference to the president’s home.

    “Southern Seminary’s School of Church Music opened in property bought and donated by trustee V.V. Cooke that now serves as the seminary president’s home. The seminary built Cooke Hall, attached to Alumni Chapel, in his honor 1970, and enlarged it in 1985.”

    http://www.religiousherald.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3368

    Perhaps the School of Church Music was first housed where the Mohlers live now. Not knowing the layout of the campus, it sounds confusing to me.

  24. @ Mandy:

    Mandy, your story is so sad. And the saddest thing of all is that if you said something, you would be considered divisive and the bad person because they are striving for holiness in their legalistic lifestyle and you obviously aren’t in their eyes. What a shame. Keep praying!

  25. For four years, I led congregational singing at two of the three services held on Sunday at our church. Note that I do not describe myself as a “worship leader”. My job was to get the congregation to stand and sit at appropriate times, to set a pace for the hymns (so they would not be draggy), work with the pastor regarding what would fit in with the sermon and scripture passages for the day to pick out hymns. Many Sunday evenings we would have a congregational pick evening for the music portion. Luckily, I knew almost all of the hymns in the Baptist Hymnal of the day. And I sacrificed some of the lower bass notes of my voice to add some at the top.

    My goal was always to have the congregation hearing themselves sing. Not too much organ, not too much me, but the laos, the people of God, raising their own voices in worship.

  26. I will mention (because we were discussing PCA churches in the other thread) that my church absolutley allows women to lead worship. We have a “worship pastor” who is obviously male (I say “obvious” because PCA does not allow female pastors), but he isn’t on stage every week. In fact, he is actively training two females in our church to be worship leaders.

  27. I don’t know why you are surprised by this. When I was in the seminary in the 1980s, there was the push for a pastor centered worship then. The other people ( Music Minister, Religious Education Director) were not REALLY called by God. Only the pastor, maybe an associate pastor, but surely not the the man in charge of music….

  28. @ Mandy:
    Most people would easily identify my former church as a cult. But what you’ve described in your friend’s Baptist lifestyle is exactly what I just left! This is why I’m so afraid to try another church. Thank you for sharing.

  29. I would just like add a hearty “thank you” to all the others here who lead music at their churches, in whatever role or title that may be. It’s a hard job, especially if you all volunteer like me. Everyone expects everything of you with very little grace. I admittedly have no clue what I’m doing and am wary of anyone else who claims they do.:)

  30. I didn’t realize that SBTS even had a music school. I was under the impression that SWBTS was the only one with a dedicated music school. Believe me, I an 100% in favor of seminaries offering musical training. Personally, I think it should be REQUIRED of ALL PASTORS before giving them an M.Div, seeing how the pastoral application of music is a tremendously important part of their vocation. Also, the theology of worship seems to be the most anemic category across the board for all Protestants. It’s like everybody has accepted without critical thinking the doctrine of the Charismatic movement and nobody has the guts to challenge it because they’re hooked on the CCM industry like its crack cocaine. End rant.

  31. “I was a student at SBTS in the late 90s, and it was commonly believed within the student body at that time that Mohler and his Conservative Resurgence buddies were just waiting for a reason to close the music school.”

    Yes. It was all about control. I have 8 cousins who went to the school of music from the 70’s to 80’s. I have several friends who were in the school of music when it closed. The disdain for them was so obvious. They just wanted to finish up and get out of there.

  32. Personally I prefer the older hymns done in a more modern arrangement. Being so musically oriented, this is the most uplifting to me. The new “worship” songs seem to be a sort of a mantra with a lot of repetition designed to lull you into a receptive mood before the sermon. Just my opinion.

    On a side note, I read a booklet years ago by a local pastor in my area on the book of Revelation. He believed strongly in autonomous churches and thought the end time apostasy would be led by a super organization like the SBC. I dismissed it as his opinion at the time, but I’m not so sure now we aren’t seeing the beginning of such a thing. In any case Reformed doctrine is having quite an influence on Christianity.

  33. @ Hester:
    Hester, I didn’t’ realize you were a Lutheran church musician too! I would question your hesitancy about Reformed music schools though. The PCUSA operates arguably the best music school in the country with Westminster Choir College, and I would give my left kidney to posses the skills necessary to even apply there. Yale Institute of Sacred Music also has Congregationalist roots. Also, the Calvin Institute for Christian Worship does tremendous work that is broad in scope and ecumenical in content. I can’t tell you how many times a week I refer to their hymnary website to help me during the week. Don’t forget, Episcopalianism is very Reformed in its roots, especially in the Evangelical branch, which I believe would include the Robert Webber institute for Christian Worship.

    For a Calvinist, Sproul has some good teaching on worship. He also has high standards of music, judging from the content of his services, and I think you can expect the music program down there to improve with time.

    Yes, the Calvinists made a HUGE historical blunder with the ban on instruments in worship, but by and large their movement has rejected that wholesale, with only the micro denom RPCUS still towing that line (and with the quality of Psalter they put out, we can certainly forgive them of that!). I have learned much from reformed teaching on worship, and especially their emphasis on reviving the hymns, and in my LCMS congregation we regularly borrow their metrical Psalms in order to be able to sing the lectionary reading when we use a praise band. Throughout Lent we are attempting to sing through all 7 penitential Psalms.

    Puritanism can be very stark and bleak artistically, but don’t count the Reformed out of the musical party just yet!

  34. K.D. wrote:

    I don’t know why you are surprised by this. When I was in the seminary in the 1980s, there was the push for a pastor centered worship then. The other people ( Music Minister, Religious Education Director) were not REALLY called by God. Only the pastor, maybe an associate pastor, but surely not the the man in charge of music….

    I knew that the “pariah” status of the music and education schools predated Mohler’s arrival at the helm, but in the late 90s there was this added sense of putting action to the sentiment. As in “now that we’re here, we’re going to remake the school to actively discourage non pastor-types from enrolling.” When I was there, the changes didn’t go further than names: the School of Christian Education became the School of Christian Education and Leadership, the Graham School of Missions became the School of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth. Now the landscape has changed noticeably–there’s the School of Theology and one School of Everything Else That Is Less Important.

    Oh, and my proposal for a curriculum-writing SME (supervised ministry experience) was nixed because “writing isn’t ministry.”

  35. Deb, Thanks for this article. I do not think the average pew sitter has any idea of just how entrenched SGM thinking is at SBTS. They have had a ton of influence. And I would say that how they have intergrated SGM music methodology into the mix was brilliant. I believe the music at SGM was one of the things that made it even harder to detect some of the serious problems. It appeals to emotion and affirms their doctrinal stance. And the push to make it pastor centered has been everywhere at SBTS. It used to be that people could become educated for different ministry.

    Personally, I would rather be stuck singing “Trust and Obey” (as in Jesus) to piano as it would be safer in the long run for everyone. But the Reformed have told me that song is not doctrinally correct!

  36. On another note, a friend of mine who finsihed up a PhD there (and could not wait to get away) said that a huge concern for him was he saw they were attempting to weave the “Family Integrated Church” model into most of their programs. It did not go over well at all with many of the grad level students many of whom are older and have some real world experience. SBTS finds their best success in indoctrinating the young and if they can start at Boyce level they can make them into good little lemmings who go on to be in your face YRR who only know the true Gospel.

  37. @Dee, 9:21 –

    I think Jeff S probably answered your question well (just scanning quickly through the comments since I’m at work, and actually MUST get some stuff done this morning!).

    But a quick, and funny, story – Many years ago, in an SBC where we were at the time, we changed up the tune of “Be Thou My Vision” from a 3/4 time to 4/4 time. Kept the notes, just changed it rhythmically to give it a fresher feel. When we got home, we found a long and rambling voice message from a dear, elderly (very!) member of the congregation that went along the lines of: “I don’t know if you meant to do it, or if you were even aware that you were doing it… I must say, it made me think about the words more – not that I liked it…” I can’t speak to the breathy female singer part of your question, but I do think that to change up the tune can make us focus on the meaning in a different way.

    Will try to read the rest of the comments later and see if I can give a more thoughtful response.

  38. Anon 1

    Oh yes, Family Integrated Church…  

    Funny thing.  Randy Stinson was in all likelihood rubbing elbows with Scott Brown (head of the National Center for Family Integrated Church) when he was working on his seminary degree at Southeastern.  I understand that Scott Brown used to teach some classes at SEBTS. And, of course, Scott’s daughter got married in Binkley Chapel.  

    Didn’t FIC get dropped like a hot potato at Southern?

  39. Anon 1 wrote:

    And I would say that how they have intergrated SGM music methodology into the mix was brilliant. I believe the music at SGM was one of the things that made it even harder to detect some of the serious problems. It appeals to emotion and affirms their doctrinal stance. And the push to make it pastor centered has been everywhere at SBTS. It used to be that people could become educated for different ministry.
    Personally, I would rather be stuck singing “Trust and Obey” (as in Jesus) to piano as it would be safer in the long run for everyone. But the Reformed have told me that song is not doctrinally correct!

    Good post. “Trust and Obey” on piano may be old but still speaks to this heart. 🙂

  40. “He said the music faculty, which currently numbers 11, will be downsized to the equivalent of four full-time positions. The staff reductions, he added, will take place by attrition.”

    From the Dallas News article linked above.

    Now, check this out:

    ” Norton Hall:
    Making their debut as the new worship band of Southern Seminary, Norton Hall will launch their worship leading ministry in Spring of 2013. The band has already served as the worship leaders for the Strengthening Your Marriage in Ministry Conference and the Expositors Summit during this past fall semester.
    Norton Hall is being led by Devon Kauflin who is no stranger to SBTS. He has led events on campus with his NA band and has recorded a number of songs that reflect his passion for Christ-centered, gospel-focused worship music.”
    http://www.sbts.edu/church-ministries/division-of-biblical-worship/

    BTW: This band is being hailed all over the place here. A huge deal is being made of them and to book them for local church youth conferences. GAG. When I think of all the folks thrown to the curb by SBTS over the many years Mohler has been there. Now it seems to be a jobs promotion agency for SGM folks.

  41. Amy,

    It is not just SBTS in which the “other schools” are pariahs, it is NOBTS, SWBTS too. Music has changed SO MUCH in the SBC Church that if you would bring a student from 25 yrs ago from say the SWBTS Music School to today’s church, they would probably look at another field in which to enter.

  42. @ Kristin:
    Kristen, I think you need to read Kauflin’s book with a more critical eye. At the time, I thought it was brilliant too. But after investing a few years following his guidance therein, I am pretty pissed off with him. His theology is abysmal.

    First, he spends a good chunk of the book describing the relationships of a worship leader’s life. Given the relationship between him and CJ, where he refused to hold CJ accountable, he has forfeited the right to speak authoritatively on the topic, IMO. In fact, his current behavior actually models quite well what he taught in the book, and I nearly sunk my career following that advice. It is wrong and contrary to scripture, period. The broad acclaim the book received is a testimony to the theological and doxological depravity of our era. Pastors do not need to be surrounded by yes men, and theologizing this only spiritually justifies abusive leadership.

    Second, the book is full of a theology of Glory. Worship is nearly completely described in terms of the sacrificial without reference to the sacramental. When worship is solely something we offer up to God without reference to our receiving from him, Protestantism has returned full circle to Catholicism’s sacrifice of the mass. It is a pattern of doxology devoid of a tangible Gospel. We come Sundays too give, give, give to God. This is an emotionally exhausting philosophy that I am so glad to be rid of.

    Third, Kauflin is a Charismatic Calvinist. I can’t imagine a more spiritually abusive theological combination. (Look at Dricsoll for more examples.) Charismatic leaders are above questioning, and their theology ostracizes anybody who does not share in their subjective ecstatic experiences. Calvinism can also lead to despair since you can never be sure that Jesus love you if he only died for the elect. I understand this isn’t giving Reformed theology the most objective or fair shake, but this will be the aspect of their doctrine that gets brought out when combined with Charismaticism. It is possible to have non-abusive Charismatic or Reformed theology, but the two should never be mixed.

    Yes, Kauflin is theological at all when approaching music. I initially found this a refreshing alternative from the Australian Pentecostalism dominating the CCM charts. He does have a lot of practical advice to give as he is really a top notch musician. I’ll confess to having a love/hate relationship with the rest of his work. He has a ton of good music which I have used a lot in the past. But if you want a good reformed worship resource, Bryan Chappell’s “Christ Centered Worship” is an infinitely more valuable book. Even Doug Wilson’s “Primer on Worship and Reformation” is better for guidance on this topic.

  43. Deb, Yep, Randy Stinson.

    You would not believe the stuff they try and slip in over there. FIC did not go over well with older students but my friend who worked with them said they were going to teach it but call it something else. You know the Reformed penchant for redefining and covert aggression.

    http://www.sbts.edu/church-ministries/dean/

  44. Hester wrote:

    It also disturbs me that this program is called “pastor focused.” One of the biggest damages CCM has done, IMO, is to marginalize/eliminate congregational participation and encourage the “show” mindset in church. Creating a “pastor focused” music major might not help this.

    I agree wholeheartedly. The word “liturgy” literally means “work of the people”. By replacing congregational singing with a praise band, the worship service relegates the congregation to observers, not participants, which I think is the purpose of it – the congregation is to simply listen and obey.

  45. Mandy,

    Your story resonated with me. I empathize with you. I, too, have watched friends enter the neo-reformed camp and change from joyous Christians to doctrine-obsessed, spiritually arrogant people. Most hurtful was going through the process of watching my once-happy, fun-loving, sweet brother (who I helped raise) change during his indoctrination at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a hard-core hyper Calvinist now, senior pastor of a Baptist church. I saw him and his ever-growing young family at Christmas. There is something not right in his eyes. He looks miserable. I felt sad for him.

  46. K.D. wrote:

    Amy,

    It is not just SBTS in which the “other schools” are pariahs, it is NOBTS, SWBTS too. Music has changed SO MUCH in the SBC Church that if you would bring a student from 25 yrs ago from say the SWBTS Music School to today’s church, they would probably look at another field in which to enter.

    Did not know that it went beyond SBTS. The music program at SBTS seemed to focus on the full orchestra idea which most churches just don’t have access to, then or now.

    And as for my degree in Adult Christian Education, if I were to try and apply for a Ph. D. program in Religious Ed somewhere, the admitting institution would have a difficult time evaluating my transcript because the courses I took no longer exist.

  47. @ Julie Anne:
    Great to meet another Pentaholic! 🙂
    Choir was my thing, too. I sang in school and church choirs since the age of twelve. I’m still really an amateur. (Which literally means “lover of”)

  48. Hester wrote:

    If you want a really good, solid, classical/historical music education – go to a Lutheran, Episcopalian or secular school.

    I had to laugh when I read this. I grew up Lutheran and went to a Lutheran college. I had a economics professor from New York who said that one of the first things he learned on coming to the Midwest was that every Lutheran college claims to have the best choir.

    Now I’m a Methodist and for us Methodists, if we can’t sing we can’t worship!

  49. Everything coming out of SBTS is centered on making the pastor a prophet, priest and king. Little popes who rule over the church with a group of yes men hand picked and then teaching the husband to rule over the home. It is Calvin without the magistrates they wish they had to make it mandatory.

  50. JeffS, Miguel, Hester, Julie Anne, and other musically inclined– what do you think about changing the WORDS of old hymns? At my former church, 1: Several hymns had contemporary choruses added — fine with that, but generally a serious quality drop-off. 2: Several hymns had words updated– ok but distracting– had to follow overhead rather than sing by heart. Especially distracting was one song which kept about half the “thees and thous” and substituted for the other half. 3: A Mighty Fortress. This put me in a quandry. Words were changed which substantially changed the MEANING. For example “Lord Sabaoth (hosts, armies) his name” became “Lord Sabbath (rest, peace) is his name”. Was this a typo or intentional? I will never know. After each service with this hymn, I thought, “Should I say something?” But I’d already caused lots of trouble by criticizing The Piper (see The Picard) amongst other things. Not important… Just. Sit. Down. And. Shut. Up. Don’t be a narcissistic zero. So I never asked.

  51. Watching that video, the word Cult kept popping into my mind. This is a collection of very strange, narrow minded men. They really believe that they alone possess sole exegetical truth. That is a very short step from: they are the only ones saved.

    Creepy automatons. They sound the same. Dress the same. Have the same affect. They are almost like aliens to me. They look human but something is missing. I think it’s love or empathy, probably. All of these videos I find disturbing. The melodramatic music; the seductive tone of voice; the plastic smiles; the vague terror/hatred behind the eyes.

    Shiver.

  52. JeffS

    You can be the worship leader for TWW. You know what might be interesting? If worship leaders explain why they change up the songs when they do it. 

  53. Mandy

    I am wondering if I should collate all these comments into a post. Yep-that’s what I’m going to do.

  54. @Dave A A –

    My home church has used updated words in hymns and -OMG!!- the Lord’s Prayer (did Jesus speak in King James English?) since the 1970s. So, no problem for me as long as the meaning is not changed. I am willing to bet that “Sabaoth” being changed to “Sabbath is” was no accident. However, “Sabaoth” is somewhat inaccessible in today’s language. Maybe “The Lord of Hosts his name” would be an acceptable translation?

    What is the point of singing “bring forth the royal diadem” if you don’t know what you are singing? (I use this example because we were asked about 15 years ago, by a very educated young woman, what that phrase meant.)

    And lastly, does it really matter if some people are singing “thee” and others are singing “you”? Or even saying “forgive us our sins” instead of “…trespasses”? (I can hear the cries of heresy right now! LOL)

  55. Kristin

    I agree. Dee can’t sing worth spit and the quality of worship in many churches amazes me.

  56. @ Dave A A:
    I’d agree that adding a chorus is harmless. Many hymns with shorter stanzas could use a refrain. In fact, many popular gospel songs in Baptist hymnals were originally refrain-less, but somebody added one later (“Alas and Did My Savior Bleed” being a common example). But I’m not really a big fan of “My Chains Are Gone.” Updating hymn texts is a very common practice as language continues to evolve, but it has to be done with sensitivity. “How Great You Are” is not an acceptable substitute for “How Great Thou Art.” But generally speaking, nearly every current hymnal does this to to a certain extent, with some examples being helpful and others disturbing. I’d say it’s generally a good idea to keep “thee” vs. “you” consistent within the same song. I’m gonna guess your “Mighty Fortress” is a typo. The best way out of the hymn quandary is for your congregation to own their tradition and make consistent use of that tradition’s hymnal. In our church, whenever we sing a hymn, whether with organ or praise band, I double check to make sure the words match the Lutheran Service Book exactly, in order that we might at the very least enjoy consistency and continuity. We are blessed to have a song book where the edits are generally superb.

    Now if you want a head trip, check out the version of “A Mighty Fortress” in the LDS hymnal. Talk about revision!

  57. Miguel

    Does your rant include Veggie Tales?  “The Bunny” is one of the most theologically adept pieces of all time. (The bunny, the bunny, ohhhhI love the bunny. I don’t love my mommy or my daddy just the bunny.”

    I agree that there are some silly lyrics in CCM.

  58. Miguel

    Standing ovation for your assessment at 11:13 AM. One minor quibble-Doug Wilson is bizarre.

  59. Jeff S wrote:

    I will mention (because we were discussing PCA churches in the other thread) that my church absolutley allows women to lead worship. We have a “worship pastor” who is obviously male (I say “obvious” because PCA does not allow female pastors), but he isn’t on stage every week. In fact, he is actively training two females in our church to be worship leaders.

    Better not let Tim Bayly know. He will have a cow.

  60. There are silly lyrics in traditional hymnals also.
    Not only is the tune boring, but the words of Hymn 167 from the 1975 Baptist Hymnal are repetitive.
    I love Thee, I love Thee, I love Thee, my Lord;
    I love Thee, my Savior, I love Thee, my God.
    I love Thee, I love Thee, and that Thou dost know;
    But how much I love Thee my actions will show.

    Just sayin’. The current generation does not have an exclusive claim to pitiful songs.

  61. Anon1

    This prophet, priest, king GARBAGE, originated with Driscoll and all the young Calvinsitas loooooooove it. Where else can you get declared a king at the age of 25????

  62. @ Miguel:
    Thanks for your comment and book recommendations. My major takeaway from Kauflin is the process of having a reason for doing everything you do. So in that sense I learned a lot from the book without necessarily having to agree with his particular reasons and theology.

  63. BTW, I love old hymns and I’m glad to sing the new arrangements of them too. I used to sing hymns with my kids a few mornings each week at the start of our home school day and even made booklets with the lyrics. Now I try to include old hymns in the literature assignments in my co-op English class every once in a while. The last two I used were “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” and “Jesus What a Friend for Sinners.” Hallelujah, what a Savior!

  64. @ Dave A A:

    Changing the words of old hymns…depends on the change. Thou to you – fine, just common sense. We don’t speak in KJV English anymore. Adding choruses – depends on the chorus. Did it add anything to the message of the hymn or is just more banal repetition? (For instance, the added verse of Amazing Grace that’s just “praise God, praise God” over and over again. I go back and forth about that because on the one hand, yes, it is completely in keeping with the message of Amazing Grace – but in some ways it’s so uncreative compared to the other 5-6 verses of that hymn.)

    I personally object to the changing of “Sabaoth” to “Sabbath.” They aren’t the same thing. If it had to be changed, I’d prefer a translation “out” using “Lord of Hosts” to substituting “Sabbath” there. (For the record, our translation of A MIghty Fortress, in a Lutheran church – and we invented that hymn – says “The Lord of Hosts is He.” Our liturgy, however, does include the phrase “God of Sabaoth” or “Holy Lord God of Sabaoth” in the Sanctus every week.) Ultimately, though, I think broadening the vocabulary of the congregants is even better. It’s never good to encourage/enable ignorance in my book.

  65. @ dee:
    Dee, I had absolutely no exposure to Wilson’s teaching on gender or race until I heard it here. Even while podcasting him (which I no longer bother to). I understand he is a bit of a wacky theologian with odd niches (to put it nicely), but his writing on worship stands on its own. His book was recommended by Michael Spencer and was the only reason I ever checked into it. Even if the rest of his stuff were dangerous, his “Primer on Worship and Reformation” is a great read on its own merit. It’s very short and could be read in a single seating. If you’d be willing to look at a different side of the guy, I’d gladly send you my copy.

  66. @ Kristin:
    Yeah, unfortunately I was not such a discerning reader, and I paid a price for it. There’s much good to takeaway from his writing, but the amount of other stuff makes it impossible for me to recommend it. But I confess I’m still a big fan of his music (especially “O Great God” and his remake of “Oh the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus).

  67. @ dee:
    Oh, and of course Veggie Tales are exempt. Confession time: I have actually used “The Hairbrush Song” at my current post. It was a hall of shame moment for me. But the Audio Adrenaline version of it goes a long way towards “redeeming” that piece of fallen culture. 😛

  68. @ Through a glass darkly:
    There is a point where familiarity trumps contemporary language. Many congregations maintain a traditional Lord’s Prayer because, come on, for reals, the Thee’s and Thous do not legitimately make it more difficult to understand. Yes it sounds archaic, but for pete’s sake, it’s a darned old prayer.

    Concerning Sabaoth: any church who follows historic worship patterns (Lutheran, Anglican, Catholic, some Methodists and Presbyterians) are familiar with the term “Sabaoth” because it appears in the “Sanctus” of the liturgy (from Isaiah 6) that is traditional sung at every communion service (aka weekly for most). In a non-evangelical context, most Christians wouldn’t blink at this word. Especially not in Lutheran circles, where you dare not interfere with Luther’s great chorale unless your name is J.S. Bach.

    I find it difficult to believe that many will have a hard time understanding “diadem,” especially when we have google on our phones. The British royalty who still use them have become synonymous with celebrity pop culture. I think I’ve heard far more difficult terminology in old hymns than that (such as Ebeneezer in “Come Thou Fount”). Our hymnal actually includes a footnote for such difficult words (including all of the above) in order to help people understanding what they are saying.

    I’ll agree that some word changes are just darned trivial. But there is also something comforting and therapeutic about familiarity.

  69. @ Miguel:

    I probably should have qualified that statement – I would never go to a conservative Calvinist music school. Most of the conservative Calvinists discussed here (PCA, OPC, RPCUS) would probably not consider the PCUSA or modern Congregationalists to be “real” Calvinists because of the gay marriage and egalitarian stuff. You’re right, the PCUSA and UCC seem to have recovered just fine from the instrument/harmony ban. I also thought Westminster Choir College was Episcopalian, though now I’m having a bit of a “duh” moment since Westminster (as in confession?) is right in their name…

    I’m an organist in an LCMS church, so yes, I’m very fond of the “old” hymns (and my definition of “old” goes WAY further back than 1800). I also sing in several Catholic choirs and cantor at Mass from time to time, and have done lots of chanting. So I suppose my daily and church life is basically CCM-free.

    I tend to be inherently suspicious of CCM because when the ELCA church I was raised in started to incorporate it, a lot of the teens and even some of the adults latched onto it in what came very close to a reaction against hard work. It was too hard to actually work at music (choir, handbells, etc.) and too much of a time commitment to come to rehearsal a few hours a week, so they turned to CCM to have “fun” instead. Eventually the extremely talented music director – who played the organ every week and directed 7 choirs (6 handbell choirs and the singing choir) – was run out of the church and now, predictably, the quality of their music program has plummeted. The CCM service and traditional service also divided the church between people who were “catching the wave” and the “old farts.”

    Also I think the instrument ban may be getting a new lease on life in some circles of the present “Calvinist resurgence.” I know R. Scott Clark is against instruments (though his website, Heidelblog, is now gone to my knowledge) and included arguments against them in his book about worship. Not sure on Clark’s denominational affiliation. There is also a position that does technically allow instruments but is so restrictive that it is functionally prohibitive. I read one guy who said that the best possible solution was to use reconstructed ancient Hebrew instruments like the ones listed in Psalms. Modern “substitutes” had to be very carefully scrutinized – for instance, he did not allow violins because they had the wrong number of strings according to Psalms.

  70. @ Miguel:

    Per “raise my Ebenezer” in Come Thou Fount – I actually love that that’s there because it’s such a great segue into exploring obscure Old Testament references. Most people only associate Ebenezer with A Christmas Carol and have no idea that it’s Biblical, or only know that it’s a “funny Bible name” like Jehoshaphat or Caiaphas.

  71. @ Through a glass:

    True – there is plenty of lame music in older periods. Though I think (hope?) most of it has had the opportunity to filter into the dustbin after 200 years.

  72. Addendum @ Miguel:

    Yeah, you really can’t take “diadem” out of All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name – even the tune is named Diademata. It’s kinda central.

  73. Anon 1 and Lin,
    Trust and Obey, I despised that song. We sang it all the time at my Calvinist church when I was growing up. I never associated it with trusting and obeying a trustworthy and benevolent Jesus, only that I had to trust and obey my harsh imperfect authorities in order to be happy about Jesus. I guess it’s all perspective.

  74. @ Patti:

    OMG yes. Trust and Obey is AWFUL. I hear it’s a favorite in patriarchal circles, which does tend to beg the question of who exactly you’re supposed to “trust and obey.”

    If anyone’s up for a real theo-musical adventure, sit and down and read through the Latter-Day Saints hymnal sometime. I have to play hymns out of it for my independent study organ performance program from BYU and there’s some real doozies, lyrically and musically. Look up “Love at Home” to see what I mean. Be sure to bring a barf bag because it will ring VERY hollow to many on this blog who were abused.

  75. Personal observation…
    Big neo-cal pre-sermon worship time: very loud rock band with high production values incorporating lights and video, congregation mostly just standing (or sitting), being entertained rather than being engaged, similar to what would be observed at a rock concert (except the tunes/words are often unfamiliar to the audience). Not much “congregational singing” like C.J. likes.

  76. @ Dave A A:

    Words have been updated in hymns for a long time, before CCM certainly- I think it’s fine so we are singing in words that the congregation can understand.

    That being said, I only found out recently that “It Is Well With My Soul” has a few changes from the original poem (I do not know who made the changes- it could have even been Spafford himself). I am actually recording the original version (which might be regarded as a lyric change for those familiar with the song) because I think the original poem is better.

    One change that I just can’t understand why it was made:

    Original Poem: Whatever my lot, thou has taught me to know

    Traditional: whatever my lot, thou has taught me to say

    I personally LOVE a lot of the new choruses that have been added to the old hymns- Chris Tomlin’s take on Amazing Grace (he changes it to 4/4 and adds a chorus) is one I like a lot (and I thought I wouldn’t when I found out he did it). I also like the Passion and/or Tomlin versions of “Prase To The Lord, The Almighty”, “Fairest Lord Jesus”, “All Creatures of Our God And King”, “The Wonderful Cross” (When I Survery The Wonderous Cross), and “O Worship The King”.

    Finally, I LOVE the rewrite Tomlin did of “Take My Life”- nothing wrong with the original, but the new song is fantastic, imo.

    It may just be a preference thing. I will say whenever I have done “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” I’ve kept it traditional. It just doesn’t seem to work as a contemporary hymn, imo. (And that “Sabbath” MUST be a mistype- I can’t believe anyone would have intentionally changed that).

  77. Blowing my mind…… I have never once heard Trust and Obey sung about humans! Seriously? That is horrible!!!

  78. @ dee:
    Haha- I’d be honored.

    As far as explaining goes- I really think it depends on the congregation. Right now the average member in the congregation of our church is pretty young, so they probably listen to all of these versions anyway at home. If I found myself in a church with a different demographic, I’d be a lot more hesitent to change up the hymns too much (and there are a few I just don’t mess with, and I tend toward those in more conservative crowds).

  79. Miguel wrote:

    I find it difficult to believe that many will have a hard time understanding “diadem,” especially when we have google on our phones. The British royalty who still use them have become synonymous with celebrity pop culture.

    Any Harry Potter fan will know what a diadem is! LOL

  80. dee wrote:

    Are they playing games with the words ‘leader” versus “pastor?”

    I don’t think so. In fact, the terms aren’t really used much- people knows that he’s a paid pastor of the church with multiple responsibilities, and they know that there are a few different people (including him some weeks) who lead the music. But there are some weeks his role is behind the soundboard.

  81. Dee: Are they playing games with the words ‘leader” versus “pastor?”

    Well, if the leader is a woman she most definitely cannot be a “pastor” so they have to be creative and come up with titles like “Director of Children’s Ministry,” or “Worship Team Director,” etc.

  82. Wow!! For a cult-blog this was a great post with excellent comments.This puts the hot in my chocolate! That and the weather! 😉

  83. TedS

    You forgot a very important point. The worship leader must have tats and a very cool scruff face while those on stage with him jump up and down with legs together. Bass must resonate in the chests of those in the back row.

  84. Patti wrote:

    Anon 1 and Lin,
    Trust and Obey, I despised that song. We sang it all the time at my Calvinist church when I was growing up. I never associated it with trusting and obeying a trustworthy and benevolent Jesus, only that I had to trust and obey my harsh imperfect authorities in order to be happy about Jesus. I guess it’s all perspective.

    That is so sad yo hear. Never have I ever associated it with anyone but Jesus.
    Haven’t attended too many Calvinist churches. What a shame such sweet thoughts have been manipulated into the idea of, trusting and obeying men.

  85. Not a fan of CCM in corporate worship here–so much is written so that the average joe in the pew simply cannot sing it. And every week there seems to be a whole new roster of songs.

    But it was eye opening to me a few years back to simply start googling things like “how to lead worship”. What I learned about manipulative tactics about stood my hair on end.

    With the younger crowd in my family adamantly NOT into contemporary worship, that is one place we look when we move and need to find a church home. The hymnal rack is either full and the books used or we move on.

    Yep, yeppers, you bet it is a preference thing. We realize that–old and young. But since when are those that allow traditional hymns not allowed to exercise preference and those that do not prefer them are?

    But the main caveat I have, whatever your personal preference in music, is to make sure it isn’t being used to manipulate the crowd.

    Not a fan of a capella psalm singing but I’ll take it any day twice over rather than my favorite songs used to manipulate.

  86. @ linda:
    What do you mean by “manipulation”? I’m not disagreeing (at all); however, music by its very nature stirs our emotions- that’s what art is intended to do. So where does the line between “stir emotions” and “manipulation” lie?

    For me, it lies in being honest in my presentation. When we use dynamics to build at a particular spot, those dynamics are there because there is an emotion that I feel best expresses the lyrics and what I want to say to the Lord. But I fear there are some that would say a good dynamic build would be “manipulation” and I just think it’s good musicianship.

  87. Jeff S wrote:

    @ linda:
    What do you mean by “manipulation”? I fear there are some that would say a good dynamic build would be “manipulation” and I just think it’s good musicianship.

    I have same question. Although I am assuming Linda referring more specifically to “crowd hype” tactics like “everyone jump and clap! wooooo!”

  88. Miguel wrote:

    I find it difficult to believe that many will have a hard time understanding “diadem,” especially when we have google on our phones. The British royalty who still use them have become synonymous with celebrity pop culture. I think I’ve heard far more difficult terminology in old hymns than that (such as Ebeneezer in “Come Thou Fount”).

    I will whack anyone upside the head with my ebenezer who tries to mess around with the royal diadem! 🙂

    J/K. My taste in worship music is very conservative and traditional and I like to croak out all those musty old KJV words. When it comes to CCM I’m sort of like, “hey you kids, get the h*ll off my lawn!” 🙂

    This thread features some fascinating perspectives from the apparently sizeable population of TWW musicians.

    Let me just second a great big heartfelt THANK YOU to all worship leaders. Talk about a thankless job with probably the highest potential for conflict.

    I’m pretty down about my church experience to date, but I can honestly say that every church I’ve attended has featured passionate, serious worship leaders who have worked their tails off to keep things balanced, correct, and of a high quality regardless of style (some of which haven’t been my personal favorites).

    I can’t begin to imagine the, er, crapola that the average worship leader/music director deals with on a daily basis. One must be a superlative diplomat in so many ways.

    To put it in terms that I’m familiar with, if the U.N. Security Council was manned by a bunch of church music directors, I’m thinking they’d solve the Syria and Palestinian crises before lunchtime and have Afghanistan sorted out by mid-afternoon.

    Thank you, music leaders!

  89. Rafiki wrote:

    To put it in terms that I’m familiar with, if the U.N. Security Council was manned by a bunch of church music directors, I’m thinking they’d solve the Syria and Palestinian crises before lunchtime and have Afghanistan sorted out by mid-afternoon.

    HAHAHAHAHAHA!

  90. Miguel wrote:

    there is also something comforting and therapeutic about familiarity.

    Yes! But whose familiarity? I grew up in the 70s using the contemporary language of the prayer, so that is what is familiar to me. In the liturgical setting, it makes so little sense to lead in with “As the Lord taught us, we are bold to say…” and then switch to archaic language, because wasn’t Jesus teaching us to pray boldly to Abba? My point was, it doesn’t disrupt anything on a cosmic level for some to pray or sing in one language, and others in a different language – whether those be different styles of English, or different languages altogether.

  91. Amy wrote:

    In the minds of men like Mohler, any ministry that isn’t headed by a pastor is too open to theological error. Solution? Replace Sunday School and Children’s Church with “Family-Integrated Church” headed by a “Pastor of Family Ministries” and do away with those pesky Children’s Directors (usually women). Replace lay music directors, choir directors and worship leaders with “Worship Pastors” and bring the musical life of the church firmly under pastoral authority.

    That way, these men–whose callings might be something other than preaching or church planting–can still have a legitimate ministry (because only pastors are truly in ministry), and we keep the laity in their proper place in the church and safeguard it against error. This is so anti-historical Baptist (priesthood of all believers, liberty of conscience and interpretation) that it made me queasy even then. Now, it makes me angry.

    Yes. Exactly this. I feel like I’m being corralled. This is just so wrong to make people man-dependent.

  92. @ Kristin:
    Good point, Kristin – The diadem question was posed many years before Harry Potter. I bet a lot more people get it now!

    @Miguel – I was only using the diadem line as an illustration because it was an actual question from a friend. When you say you find it hard to believe, it comes across as though you think I’m making the story up. I can assure you, I am not.

  93. @ Jeff S:

    Jeff, I hope that’s a HAHAHAHA of agreement/appreciation and not a HAHAHAHAHA she has not a clue of the awful people I’ve worked with! 🙂

    Seriously, I’d rather sit at the table and negotiate with Hezbollah any day than deal with one little old church lady who is aggrieved by a modern uptempo beat as featured in any song written after 1847.

    Compared to your average church lady Hezbollah is downright rational. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  94. Rafiki wrote:

    Seriously, I’d rather sit at the table and negotiate with Hezbollah any day than deal with one little old church lady who is aggrieved by a modern uptempo beat as featured in any song written after 1847.

    There’s always that segment of a church that will let you preach whatever heretical doctrines you want as long as you don’t mess with their hymns!

  95. Amy wrote:

    “writing isn’t ministry.”

    Hmm. I wonder how Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Paul would feel about that?

    Not to mention David, Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah….

  96. @ Hester:
    Something else I have noticed as a voice teacher, church musician, etc. is that there are many young people coming out of churches who can’t carry a tune in a bucket. Just in the last 2 years I have had at least half a dozen students who couldn’t match pitch, forget just singing a simple melody. It is very gratifying to be able to help some of these kids (we start from scratch with lots of Kodaly method and nursery rhymes sung to sol-mi! Sometimes I see myself more as a physical therapist!) but I honestly think we are doing the average singer a disservice by LOUD instrumentation and hard-to-sing “melody” and complex rhythms of much CCM. If this is the music kids have to listen to as they are forming their musical “ears” then they might do better to listen to classic rock. Just kidding here, but it a disturbing trend to this music lover.

    As for the article and video, my first reaction was, “sigh…more pudgy middle-aged white guys.” 😛

  97. JeffT wrote:

    There’s always that segment of a church that will let you preach whatever heretical doctrines you want as long as you don’t mess with their hymns!

    LOL!

  98. @ Hester:
    Dearest Hester,

    Altho, this is Catholic in nature, I believe it addresses the core issue here. I am a former SGM-er. I formerly attended a Baptist college as a music major. Everyone who wanted a solid music degree went to Southern. I truly mourn to see it’s music department taking this direction. Your comments about Episcopalian, Lutheran and — yes! — Catholic traditions is correct.

    However, I am not denigrating praise and worship — just making the observation where the foundation of our beautiful Christian musical tradition lies.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/badcatholic/2013/02/the-catholic-church-young-people-actually-want.html

    God bless you all!

  99. @ KayJay:

    Part of the reason they can’t carry a tune (besides having their ears blasted to pieces by amps and drums, at home and at church, and a lack of musical training in general) is because lots of CCM deliberately does away with normal cadence/phrase structure, for reasons I’ve never been able to comprehend. Example:

    When my family was going to the PCA church, we found one to go to on vacation. Near the end of the service, the pastor went on and on about how he was gonna introduce this awesome song that moved him so much and was so awesome, blah blah blah. The sheet music for it was in the bulletin. I open up the bulletin and on the staff I see a “melody” with no apparent phrase structure and which used about THREE NOTES. Just F-G-A, F-G-A, A-F-G, A-F-G kind of thing, over and over and over again. It would probably have gotten bad marks for non-creativity/repetitiveness if any middle schooler beginning melody writing had written it. But the pastor was OH SO DEEPLY MOVED by this “song.”

    Bad taste has triumphed in many circles.

  100. @ KayJay:
    With the breakdown of the graded choir program and having music relegated to the few worship team participants, we lose passing on the wonderful musical tradition that we have as Christians. So much of the Bible and faith I was taught was reinforced and enriched by my choir participation.

  101. @ JeffT & Rafiki:

    “There’s always that segment of a church that will let you preach whatever heretical doctrines you want as long as you don’t mess with their hymns!”

    …and that other segment that will let you preach whatever heretical doctrines you want as long as you give them a backbeat and a show. ; )

  102. @ Elizabeth Seton:

    “So much of the Bible and faith I was taught was reinforced and enriched by my choir participation.”

    I read an article once in which the author said that she learned Isaiah from Handel’s Messiah before she learned it in the Bible. This was true for me as well. People discount the impact of “old” music because they personally don’t like it, but it never occurs to them that perhaps their children will not…and so they decide they don’t deserve to have that chance and never introduce it to them. So the children have it drilled into their heads that “old music” is “boring” even though 90% of them have never even listened to it. This frankly is not fair to the children and is not giving them all the information. But then, many of these people don’t tell their children about other denominations either so…

  103. Argo wrote:

    Watching that video, the word Cult kept popping into my mind. This is a collection of very strange, narrow minded men. They really believe that they alone possess sole exegetical truth. That is a very short step from: they are the only ones saved.
    Creepy automatons. They sound the same. Dress the same. Have the same affect. They are almost like aliens to me. They look human but something is missing. I think it’s love or empathy, probably. All of these videos I find disturbing. The melodramatic music; the seductive tone of voice; the plastic smiles; the vague terror/hatred behind the eyes.
    Shiver.

    Argo,

    I know what you mean. What bugged me the most was how they were all like, “Look how awesome it will be for you to be under us!! Won’t that be wonderful!! You’ll like it! We’ll make you like it!”

  104. Has Bob Kauflin found a port in the storm in the sbc? Or was this part of the plan all along.

  105. turtle

    TWW has long predicted(2 years+) the SBTS/SGM love fest in Louisville. However, CJ has caused a bit of a problem for Moher and Co. Let’s see how he justifies signing contracts with SGM.  I hope the SBC is keeping a close watch on this. They will be tarred and feathered with the leftovers.

  106. @ Elizabeth Seton:

    “Young people are human. If we understood this reality we wouldn’t have crappy youth ministry programs, worse catechesis, politicians on Twitter, the wild success of Ke$ha, and a bored and banal culture. …

    The Youth Vote, the Young Voice, the You-are-the-future speeches, the desperate refashioning of event, creed, and tone for the sake of “reaching teens”, the impulse which screams “if it’s too loud, you’re too old” — This is the Cult of Youth. Its liturgy is weird and its prophets are idiots. Its condescensions demean young people into something subhuman. It deserves every sullen, selfish, apathetic, and uninterested teenager it haphazardly creates in its frenzied effort to be relevant.”

    This (from the article you linked to above) was awesome. I always felt condescended to by “youth ministry,” because in all honesty it really did assume that the youth were stupid, or at least careless. What this conveys to the kids is that, just as the youth minister doesn’t expect anything of you, neither will God. And serving God will never be hard work, it will always be “fun” and “awesome.” To be frank, every youth program I ever saw assumed, subconsciously, that youth have no taste, no ambition, no drive, no brains and little self-respect.

    And FIY, I am only 22. This was all clear as day to me even when I was 16. It still puzzles me why 30- 40-year-old youth ministers can’t see it.

  107. @ Amy:

    “I was a student at SBTS in the late 90s, and it was commonly believed within the student body at that time that Mohler and his Conservative Resurgence buddies were just waiting for a reason to close the music school.”

    Music is an art and a right-brained activity, and thus difficult to control and nearly impossible to squish into neat orderly logical boxes. It must therefore be circumscribed, tightly controlled or banned. All three of these options have been done historically in the church. I’m convinced this is why many evangelicals are so suspicious of all art of any kind (dance, music, etc.).

  108. Thanks to all you musical types who *chimed* in about the “lyrics” in my former church’s worship music! The funny thing is that an apparent typo was allowed to stand and be sung for 3 years. Apparently everyone else was, like me, reluctant to appear critical. Now if a Pastor had noticed and mentioned it….. Immediate change likely would have been forthcoming. Another slant on “Pastor-focused” worship.

  109. Hester wrote:

    @ Elizabeth Seton:
    “So much of the Bible and faith I was taught was reinforced and enriched by my choir participation.”

    I agree. I love coming across verses in the Bible that I recognise because they’ve been put to music and often it’s Old Testament gems that I learnt as choruses at youth group. My default for Psalm 23 is set to Crimond.

    BTW, if you’re looking for a mascot for the Cult of Holy Chocolate, Deb and Dee, how about Gladly, the Cross-Eyed Bear? 😉

  110. “Has Bob Kauflin found a port in the storm in the sbc? Or was this part of the plan all along.”

    In my prior comment about the NEW celebrated cool SBTS band the big name is Kauflin’s son, Devon. He is not even SBC. Do you know who many long time SBC students would love that? Have we no talent from long time members who are at SBTS? Keep in mind, our CP dollars help pay for SBTS. This band is being promoted all over as the coolest thing ever at SBTS to youth conferences.

    I have a big problem with this. And I suspect more pew sitters paying for it all would object, too, if they new the SGM/SBTS connections that are very deep.

    Norton Hall:

    Making their debut as the new worship band of Southern Seminary, Norton Hall will launch their worship leading ministry in Spring of 2013. The band has already served as the worship leaders for the Strengthening Your Marriage in Ministry Conference and the Expositors Summit during this past fall semester.

    Norton Hall is being led by Devon Kauflin who is no stranger to SBTS. He has led events on campus with his NA band and has recorded a number of songs that reflect his passion for Christ-centered, gospel-focused worship music.”

    http://www.sbts.edu/church-ministries/division-of-biblical-worship/

  111. I just listened to vince coakly and then read some of the links Evie put up (thanks!) and I can say that the SBC better wake up because at this point, I fail to ssee how the SBC is not going to be tarred with this. Thanks to ONE MAN:

    Al Mohler

    Why? His rush to build the Reformed brand at all costs. Even to 3 year olds.

    Is Mohler going to join in on supporting the 1st Amendment defense? Where are the trustees? Where is Fred Luter, President of the SBC?

  112. I’ve really enjoyed reading this set of posts!

    Funnily enough I can relate to both JeffS’s and Hester’s posts. I play keyboard myself, both in a rock band and (in more traditional mode) for church services. I like both Hammond organ and church organ.

    Having also been a guitar player for over 10 years, I appreciate what JeffS is saying about chord changes. It is by and large harder to make the sort of rapid chord changes on the guitar than most pre-19thC hymns require without sounding clunky.

    We all have our own prejudices/favourites when it comes to church music. My own feeling (and it’s just opinion) is that what I understand to be CCM may be more suited to listening to, and being personally “edified” if you like, than to congregational singing. On the other hand if you look the way a crowd sings along with some rock/pop anthems, you may think that the boundaries are not necessarily set in stone.

    That’s interesting what Hester says about some of the young not being able to carry a tune. I have to put my hand up and say that when I was in school in an age when teaching was more formal, I never learnt anything from music lessons and gained the impression that music teachers were only interested in those who were learning to play instruments (probably selective memory has made me unfair here). It was only when I wanted to learn the guitar myself and taught myself from books that I started understanding anything about the technicalities of music, and even then I felt I couldn’t sing simply because nobody had showed me how to at least make a stab at it (eg project from the chest, not the throat).

    I don’t think however that louds amps and backbeat necessarily deaden the ability to sing a tune. Even if you’re singing in a rock band (and in an amateur setting, that usually means competing with the rest of the band, simply because of the drums) you still have to be able to carry a melody line. But some voices are better suited to some genres than others – for example, a good blues singer may not be so good on an ordinary diatonic melody, for some reason.

    Hester, your remarks on “yoof” (as it’s satirised over here) ministry made me smile, but as I don’t have a dog in this fight, I shall keep stumm!

    BTW there has been an influx of SGM tunes in at least one UK church I know of, although I wouldn’t say it’s a torrent – Townend and Getty still seem to be the most popular. But hey, 20 years ago it was Graham Kendrick, and 10 years ago it was Matt Redmond!

  113. @ dee: It goes back much father – I heard it (though in slightly different words) during the 1970s.

    They’ve just revived it for their own purposes. (Nefarious ones, I think.)

  114. @ Miguel: “Sabaoth”: Well, sorta – keep in mind that it was updated to “Lord of Hosts” in most liturgies decades ago.

    I’m all in favor, in this case and others like it.

  115. @ Kolya:
    In 2000 I visited St Albans’ cathedral as a tourist and it was lovely to hear their worhsip group practising ‘Shine, Jesus, Shine’ which I have played many times in worship groups myself.

  116. @ elizabeth seton: I loved being in choir when I was a kid – and, since I was raised Lutheran – the quality of the music was high.

    It’s also great to just get people together to sing – and far better music training than anything I ever received in my public school (which had excellent HS concert and marching bands, but in grade and jr. HS – yikes!)

    I think choral work builds confidence in kids, and teaches lots about “team playing,” which is all to the good.

  117. I know first hand the manipulative powers CJ has. He insists you believe as he preaches. At least it was that way with me. Devon shouldn’t be where he is with the sbts band. That’s just not right. Or fair.

  118. @ Estelle:

    “I love coming across verses in the Bible that I recognise because they’ve been put to music and often it’s Old Testament gems that I learnt as choruses at youth group.”
    *************

    I understand, but I feel much differently. The words have become so married to the melody that I find it very hard to see them / understand them on their own terms (& increasing depth of understanding is stunted).

    What’s even worse, I am catapulted back in memory to the picture of my life at the time when the songs were au courant & sung time & time again. So, gems of words and concepts are forever linked to sappy melodies in dorky renditions as the soundtrack to previous chapters of life I don’t want to revisit.

    Kind of like whenever I hear “Sad Eyes” (1979), and i’m back at the roller rink for the 7th grade skating party and the only guy who asked me to couples skate replied with “yeah right” after I said “yes”.

  119. Pingback: TheWartburgWatch.com: Who Calls the Tune in the Southern Baptist Convention? | The Jesus Realm

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  121. I’m fairly new to this blog, but been with SBC all my life and now find myself pastoring a SBC church in DFW. I do not keep up with everything in SBC life; I watched 10 minutes of the convention last year and that was enough.

    We are in a rural part of Dallas and each week, I have a person after the first song give a word- read scripture, talk for a minute or so, and pray. Often, I have women do this and a member recently said- “I cringe every time a woman prays from the stage.” I couldn’t help but laugh.

    I know little to nothing about our convention. I am sure that some will blast this group but I have found a welcome presence within ARC. It’s funny- as I have pastored (with no seminary degree) for a little over a year, SBC pastor’s have no time to meet, help, etc. a young pastor starting out but at ARC, I have phone calls, lunches, etc.

    From what I see- the SBC is more concerned with status quo than anything else.

  122. @ Numo:

    Actually the LCMS still sings “Sabaoth” pretty regularly, and not just in the old liturgy. At least one of the newer settings still uses it, though one of the others says “God of power and might.”

  123. duofast

    Welcome to TWW. I lived in the Dallas area for 10 years, the last few in Plano. I am dying to know, where is there any “rural” in Dallas?

  124. Bridget I coulda sworn Crider said “pastorally focused” on that Norton Hall promo video. I cannot get it to open on my phone.

  125. Any genre of music can be used well or manipulatively.

    But, when I sat reading articles telling you exactly what tempo to do a song to speed the heartbeats of the worshippers to get them to release adrenaline, that is manipulative.

    Or when I read about using discord in music and specific decibel levels to produce pain, causing endorphins to be released when the discord stopped and the sound dropped in order to leave people more susceptible to the message, that is manipulative.

    We often talk in our family about being able to tell when the Holy Spirit moves and when the leader tries to imitate it. If you’ve ever worshipped, as we did once, among very staid Calvinistic SBC who avoided back beats and indeed rhythm at all costs, and had a spontaneous rousing stomping clapping rendition of “I’ll Fly Away” break out as the Holy Spirit dealt with some sharp disagreements in the church, you know the real deal when it happens.

    And no amount of trying to recapture it by analyzing what song at what speed and decibel level caused the revival to break out will ever get there.

  126. Dee and KD- I am hesitant to give the church/location being new, but is north of McKinney. I’m sure with a little sleuthing, it could be found.

    It’s an older church (founding wise) but young member/attendees and look nothing like a SBC church which I am proud of. We are a growing church and half of our Sunday attendees are new to church, not our church, but a relationship with God.

  127. @ linda:

    Just like mood music, beginning at the end of the show/production in a certain local megachurch I suffered in for a short time. Melancholy pianos have the power to evoke just enough emotion to convince those lost souls to get up from their seats and make the trek past the tall cameras toward the stage, to meet Jesus and help pay off the church’s million-dollar debt.

  128. oasis–not all use melancholy pianos. But I hear ya–it isn’t the music or the instruments chosen I object to, but the blatant attempts to manipulate.

  129. Anon 1 wrote:

    SBTS finds their best success in indoctrinating the young and if they can start at Boyce level they can make them into good little lemmings who go on to be in your face YRR who only know the true Gospel.

    Calvinjugend. Graduating into whatever they call the SS this time around.

  130. Argo wrote:

    Watching that video, the word Cult kept popping into my mind. This is a collection of very strange, narrow minded men. They really believe that they alone possess sole exegetical truth. That is a very short step from: they are the only ones saved.

    “Hooray Hooray for the One True Way,
    The One True Way, the One True Way,
    Hooray Hooray for the One True Way,
    The song of Lobotomized Fandom!”
    — local D&D gamer’s filksong from the Seventies

    Creepy automatons. They sound the same. Dress the same. Have the same affect. They are almost like aliens to me. They look human but something is missing. I think it’s love or empathy, probably. All of these videos I find disturbing. The melodramatic music; the seductive tone of voice; the plastic smiles; the vague terror/hatred behind the eyes.

    Invasion of the Body Snatchers?
    Or “We’re the Visitors! We’re your Friends!”?

  131. dee wrote:

    You forgot a very important point. The worship leader must have tats and a very cool scruff face while those on stage with him jump up and down with legs together.

    In the Eighties, we called that Punkers doing The Pogo.

    Bass must resonate in the chests of those in the back row.

    And now we go from Punkers to Ravers. Do they pass out pacifiers and Ecstasy for Communion?

  132. Duofast,

    I was intrigued by your description of ARC and since I didn’t recognize the acronym I looked it up.

    It looks like ARC’s President is Greg Surrat

    http://www.arcchurches.com/about/our-team

    http://www.seacoast.org/new/pastor_greg.html

    He is the pastor of Seacoast Church, which does sound familiar to me. It is a church which promotes Gary Ezzo’s parenting materials. However, if you search the Seacoast.org site you will find no reference to Ezzo. They keep their recommendations on his materials on another site

    http://www.mynextsteps.org/

    http://www.mynextsteps.org/personalgrowth/topics/parenting.html

    The Ezzo teachings on parenting have been closely scrutinized both here at TWW and at Ezzo.info.

    I suggest close scrutiny of ARC’s influences on your church.

    My word of the week has been “discernment”. I have been thinking about how education and information is crucial to discernment. I offer this information to promote discernment.

  133. Ladies….. I’ve been away for awhile but got to thinking about the website and the past encouragement that you gave me back when I was dealing with church issues myself. It took awhile for me and my wife to get ourselves together and find a place but we finally did. This has also lead to my getting back on the organ bench after nearly four years not playing regularly.

    My wife and I found a good, solid traditional baptist church here in Knoxville and, while we’ve had an off/on association with this church, we finally decided to join last year just before Easter and we are loving it very much – very, very blessed. The church is South Knoxville Baptist Church which is in downtown Knoxville on the south side of the Tennessee river. I’ve been active in the choir and filled in at the organ and earlier this year (mid January) our organist of 57 years retired and I was asked to take the position, which I did, and I’m having the time of my life! Very nice Schantz pipe organ from the mid 1970s.

    My wife has also found her place helping restart the children’s ministry at South Knoxville – have 7-10 children now and looking to have more. This move to join South Knoxville has seen my oldest stepdaughter and kids join back in January and my younger stepdaughter who has been rather hostile towards church and God has started attending with her kids in the last few weeks! What a turn around and we praise God for what he is doing in our lives and our children’s lives also. Now if we can get our son to come…… prayers.

    Lastly, pray for South Knoxville Baptist Church as it’s an older established church that ran 500+ at its high point in years gone by but didn’t handle the community transition well and a good Sunday has 70-75 but normal is right at/either side of 60 however, we’re seeing new faces weekly now and some considering being a part of this church body at South Knoxville. The church has determined that it wants to remain traditional and I’ve heard more than a few folks around these parts mention that they prefer a more traditional church.

    Well that’s a little of what’s going on in my part of the world here in Knoxville, Tennessee.