We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer

Sunday, April 26, 2009

How to Sing in Church

The Spring 2009 issue of the Emmaus Bible College magazine, Journey, has a very good article by Lisa Beatty entitled, “Encouraging a Singing Church.” What I found really interesting was the opening section where she cites John Wesley; it will give you some food for thought:

In the preface to a collection of Charles Wesley’s hymns, Sacred Melody, published in 1761, his brother John Wesley provided instructions for singing the songs in the collection:

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

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

Sing All. See that you join with the congregation as frequently as you can. Let not a slight degree of weakness or weariness hinder you. If it is a cross to you, take it up, and you will find it a blessing.

Sing lustily and with a good courage. Beware of singing as if you were half dead, or half asleep, but lift up your voice with strength. Be no more afraid of your voice now, nor more ashamed of its being heard, than when you sung the songs of Satan.

Sing modestly. Do not bawl, so as to be heard above or distinct from the rest of the congregation, that you may not destroy the harmony, but strive to unite your voices together, so as to make one clear melodious sound.

Sing in time. Whatever time is sung be sure to keep with it. Do not run before nor stay behind it; but attend close to the leading voices, and move therewith as exactly as you can; and take care not to sing too slow. This drawling way naturally steals on all who are lazy; and it is high time to drive it out from among us, and sing all our tunes just as quick as we did at first.

Above all sing spiritually. Have an eye to God in every word you sing. Aim at pleasing Him more than yourself, or any other creature. In order to do this attend strictly to the sense of what you sing, and see that your Heart is not carried away with the sound, but offered to God continually; so shall your singing be such as the Lord will approve of here, and reward you when He cometh in the clouds of heaven.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A.W. Tozer quotes

A couple goodies from A.W. Tozer have come across my computer this week that just have to be shared. First, this one was posted on Apprising Ministries' blog (no reference given):

"The church has lost her testimony. She has no longer anything to say to the world. Her once robust shout of assurance has faded away to an apologetic whisper. She who one time went out to declare now goes out to inquire. Her dogmatic declaration has become a respectful suggestion, a word of religious advice, given with the understanding that it is after all only an opinion and not meant to sound bigoted. Pure Christianity, instead of being shaped by its culture, actually stands in sharp opposition to it."

The Berean Call posted this on their e-mail newsletter:

"Some of my friends good-humoredly - and some a little bit severely - have called me a 'mystic.' Well I'd like to say this about any mysticism I may suppose to have. If an archangel from heaven were to come, and were to start giving me, telling me, teaching me, and giving me instruction, I'd ask him for the text. I'd say, 'Where's it say that in the Bible? I want to know.' And I would insist that it was according to the scriptures, because I do not believe in any extra-scriptural teachings, nor any anti-scriptural teachings, or any sub-scriptural teachings. I think we ought to put the emphasis where God puts it, and continue to put it there, and to expound the scriptures, and stay by the scriptures. I wouldn't - no matter if I saw a light above the light of the sun, I'd keep my mouth shut about it 'til I'd checked with Daniel and Revelation and the rest of the scriptures to see if it had any basis in truth. And if it didn't, I'd think I'd just eaten something I shouldn't, and I wouldn't say anything about it. Because I don't believe in anything that is unscriptural or that is anti-scripture." - What Difference Does the Holy Spirit Make?, A. W. Tozer

Monday, April 13, 2009

Tozer On Modern "Praise"

I’m always suspicious when we talk too much about ourselves. Somebody pointed out that hymnody took a downward trend when we left the great objective hymns that talked about God and began to sing the gospel songs that talk about us. There was a day when men sang ‘Holy, Holy, Holy,’ and ‘O Worship the King,’ and they talked objectively about the greatness of God. Then we backslide into that gutter where we still are where everything is about ‘I.’ ‘I’m so happy,’ ‘I’m so blest,’ ‘I’m so nice,’ ‘I’m so good,’ always ‘I.’ The difference between heaven and hell is the difference between God and I. Jesus Christ, by canceling His ‘I’ was the Christ of God, not as I will, but as Thou wilt. The devil by magnifying his ‘I’ became the devil -- when he said, ‘I will arise, I will raise my throne above the throne of God’.” (A.W.Tozer, Sermon, “Ezekiel”)

You'd think Tozer was sitting in today's churches and listening to their "praise" choruses!