An Army of Psalm Chanters

Taken from an old post on Jim Jordan, with some new material.

But let us consider what a Christian view of the Church would be. It would be a place of transformation, not merely of information. Marshaling the people into an army of psalm chanters would be at the top of the list. Indeed, in seminary several psalms would be chanted every day in chapel. The music in the church would be loud, fast, vigorous, instrumental, martial. There would be real feasts. People would be taught that when God splashes water on you, He’s really doing something: He’s putting you into His rainbow.

Elsewhere Jordan says

I should like to offer what I regard as a considerable caveat. I do not believe that men who sing pop choruses or plodding Trinity Hymnal songs on Sunday can get very far into Luther or Calvin, or for that matter Turretin. Men whose personal opinion is that society can be left to the devil cannot really get into the outlook of the Reformers.

I submit that it is important to have some feel for what people were singing and how they were singing it at various times in history. Is it a coincidence that “Reformed scholasticism” began to develop at the same time that the fiery dance-like chorales and psalms of the Reformation began to die down into slow, plodding, even-note mush? It is a coincidence that the “Puritans” had problems with assurance of salvation, given their destruction of enthusiastic singing? I don’t think so. People who sing the psalms as real war chants, as war dances that precedebattle, don’t have problems with assurance and don’t have time for scholasticism. Neither do people with strong, fully-sung liturgies.

EO guys used to attack me on assurance.  “Well, how can you know?”  Well, there you have it.



Rallying to battle scars

Seven years ago I left the Reformed social networks (if never officially leaving the Reformed world).  I kind of got back into some of these networks four years ago (if only to see what was going on).  When I left the only things people were talking about were Federal Vision, New Perspective, and whether theonomy is guilty by association.

When I came back I was confronted with new acronymns: T4G, Gospel Coalition, whatever Mahaney’s people were called, Driscoll, etc.   And then there were all the Reformed Presbyterians who secretly wanted to be John Piper.

I didn’t know what to make of any of this. No doubt some did good but it was hard for me–and it’s worse now–to get excited about the next new conference headed by the top guy at Wheaton or Covenant or WTS.  Especially if they are young.  Especially if their disciples are young.  And still in grad school.

I would be lying to you if I said I completely avoided all movements and ideologies.  I suppose that is impossible.  But I come very close.  In other words, I rally to guys who have battle-scars:  men who have been fired from jobs, universities.  These guys have stood in the trenches while the pretty boys put on the conferences.  Usually they will be well over 40 and not have outside financial backing.

Embracing our stunted limitations

Plato was right about the cave.  We really don’t want to face the truth.  We don’t want to get out of our comfort zones.  If we need an opponent, we create “The Other.”  The Other exists for our own self-definition.

Perish the thought that one day we find out that the Other might be correct on some points.  What does that do to our identity?  Is this why we get so angry?

Differance is violence. Anyone who differs with our projected reality threatens our very identity.  Thus, any difference is an act of violence.

Thus, Puritanboard.

Thus, TR Vanilla Reformed.