Friday, September 28, 2007


One of the most often used arguments by those who promote the idea that music which imitates current popular music should be used in Church worship is “well the hymns of old were contemporary in their day.” After thinking about this argument for a while, I’ve come up with a deep theological response to it…well duh!

Since “contemporary” means “existing, occurring, or living at the same time; belonging to the same time” then by definition, something that was written during a certain period of time is contemporary to that time. Saying, therefore, that a hymn was “contemporary” at the time it was written states the obvious but does nothing to bolster the idea that Church music should mimic the pop music of the current culture.

Current “contemporary” music can run the gamut from Classical to rap (if one considers that music). This was as true of times past as it is in our time. “Contemporary” music for any era has always been a number of different styles of music. The real question is not were the hymns of old “contemporary” at the time they were written but were they attempts to mimic the popular music of their day? Despite the tired old argument that “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” was written to the tune of a German beer drinking song (not true), there is really no evidence to suggest that to be the case.

Hymns written during the 1880’s and 1890's were not in the form of Straussian waltzes, nor were the hymns written during the 1920’s jazzy numbers to which one could dance the Charleston. Even up through the 1940’s and 1950’s church music did not mimic Big Band or Rock and Roll styles. In fact, this idea that the music of the church should sound like the music of the world is unique to the late 20th century western church.

My question is why are so many people willing to embrace this idea with open arms when many of those same people, if a doctrinal issue came along that had not been introduced to the church prior to 50 or so years ago, would look at it with suspicion?

I'll explore some of what I think the reasons are in a future post.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

General Pace Gets it Right...Almost

There has been quite a firestorm over the last couple of days regarding remarks made by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Peter Pace. He was apparently asked to clarify remarks he made earlier regarding homosexuality and the military.

The following was reported regarding General Pace's remarks:
Are there wonderful Americans who happen to be homosexual serving in the military? Yes," he told the Senate Appropriations Committee during a hearing focused on the Pentagon's 2008 war spending request.

"We need to be very precise then, about what I said wearing my stars and being very conscious of it," he added. "And that is, very simply, that we should respect those who want to serve the nation but not through the law of the land, condone activity that, in my upbringing, is counter to God's law.

I'm thankful for a man willing to stand up in the halls of power in this land and tell the truth about this issue. Heaven knows there are no others of General Pace's stature willing to do so. However, I wish he'd not qualified his statement with the phrase "in my upbringing". This really has nothing to do with the General's upbringing. The law of God is the law of God. Homosexuality is a sin whether the general was brought up to believe so or not.

His attempt to soften his remarks only panders to the belief that the issue is really one of personal opinion. "I believe this is a violation of God's law because of how I was raised" is a different statement from "this is a violation of God's law."

Again, I applaud General Pace for even saying what he did say. He is going to be ridiculed and vilified to the maximum over this. I'm sure he knows that and counted the cost before he spoke. He's obviously a man of courage. However, I don't believe the trouble he will face over this would have been any worse had he just made an unqualified statement that homosexuality violates God's law and should not be encouraged or condoned by the laws of our land in any way at all.

I pray that General Pace will be given the strength to remain firm in the face of the persecution he's likely to receive especially since I'm fairly certain he'll receive no support for his position from his boss, the "conservative Christian" current occupant of the White House.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Psychiatrists Least Religious of All Physicans

A new study has found that among physicians, those specializing in psychiatry are the least religious. The study author, Farr Curlin, speculates that it may be because of psychiatry's:
"...historical ties to psychoanalysis and the anti-religious views of the early analysts such as Sigmund Freud..."
I think there's much truth in that, however, I think it goes deeper. The fundamental belief of psychiatry and psychology is that problems of the soul and spirit can be dealt with apart from God. The entire discipline was in fact founded by those who sought to cut God out of the process of dealing with such issues.

Martin and Deidre Bobgan in their excellent book Psychoheresy: The Psychological Seduction of Christianity say this:

"Because they rest on different foundations, move in contrasting directions, and rely on opposing belief systems, psychotherapy and Christianity are not now, nor were they ever, natural companions in helping individuals."
There is a belief of course among some practitioners that "religion" can be helpful to the person struggling with "psychological problems" but the idea that such problems are really manifestations of man's fallen nature and can be dealt with completely and thoroughly using Biblical principles, in fact must be dealt with that way for true solutions to be found, is foreign even to most practitioners who call themselves Christians. God is helpful, of course they would say, but by no means required. I have even known counselors over the years who claimed to practice from a Christian perspective yet had unbelievers as clients and saw no problem in "treating" them using psychological methods without seeking their conversion.

What I'm always driven back to when looking at this topic is the 1800 or so years of church history prior to Sigmund Freud. How exactly did believers deal with problems of the soul and spirit during those 1800 years? They dealt with them through the application of Biblical principles to the situation. There was no need for a professional class of "healers" because these principles were ministered to people through the church. People might even sometimes have continued to be "depressed" or "unhappy" for a while as God used that in their lives to increase their dependence upon Him or to teach them other Biblical principles. This is of course anathema to the "you must be happy and fulfilled all the time or there's something wrong with you" mindset of today. The idea that God may actually want us to be uncomfortable for a season for our own good never even enters most people's minds today, including many of those who practice "Christian psychology."

All in all, I think psychiatry is the least religious medical discipline because it is the only one founded upon the assumption that God is irrelevant to its practice. When something is founded upon a faulty assumption then the techniques developed out of that assumption (techniques used by both psychiatrists and psychologists) will be faulty as well. As the scriptures tell us, a bad tree does not bear good fruit (Luke 6:43)

Friday, September 14, 2007

Here We Go Again

Yet again a child has been abused and murdered because the adult who should be protecting them instead placed them in harms way. This sad story on Fox News reveals that the prime suspect in the rape and murder of a six year old is her mom's 'live in' boyfriend.

Women with children who shack up with men who later abuse or murder those children are a regular feature in the news these days. The mother in this case is quoted in the article as saying "I wish I could punish this person myself" speaking of the killer. What I wish is that this mother would be charged as an accessory quite frankly. If she were more concerned about raising her daughter than about fulfilling her own desires (notice I didn't say 'needs') its doubful this predator would have been living in the house with her and his victim.