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Current Sentimentality and Reformed Church Music

According to the historical narrative, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant could recognize only one musical composition, namely, Yankee Doodle. Such extreme tone deafness is undoubtedly rare. Most of us have a more sensitive discernment and appreciation. We all feel the need of music generally, and in worship particularly. We would consider a worship service rather drab […]

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An Organist’s Perspective

Leading the Congregational Singing Why is it that in some congregations the singing is so strong and powerful, while in others it is so feeble and lifeless? The acoustics of the sanctuary may have something to do with it; the size of the congregation may also play a role. But perhaps a partial explanation lies […]

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Secularism in Church Music

Several readers of my introductory article to this series on the problems of Calvinism and church music have questioned the need for reverting to the days of John Calvin in our discussion of music in the Calvinistic church. This writer is convinced that the very vague sense of direction which we Calvinists have regarding church music […]

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Calvin and Church Music

Although it should be obvious to all Christians that music is a normal avenue for praise and worship, we Calvinists have too often weakIy accepted the many false criticisms of John Calvin and his attitude toward the richest of all arts. Historians contemporary with Calvin started the lie, and succeeding writers to the present day […]

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Church Music – Let There Be Variety

If you’ve ever visited an art museum with family members or friends, you know the experience well. You want to pause and admire the realistic works of Rembrandt; you’re impressed with his use of light and shadow, but others in your group eagerly urge you on to another wing of the museum. They’ve come especially […]

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Why Do We Sing?

In response to the invitation given by God. through the apostle Paul to “Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord…” (Eph. 5:19b), the Christian church has set the Psalms to music and developed a hymnody known and loved around the world.               For the next few months, […]

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Church Music Throughout the Ages

Music like all artistic expression is a gift of God to humankind. And like any of God’s gifts, music can be put to good use or to bad use; it can be used in holy ways or in unholy ways; it can be a power for virtue or for vice.                 […]

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Church Music: Some Problem Principles

A former editor of a church periodical once referred to church music as the “War Department” of the church. He was writing about something most of us have experienced personally: disputes about “good” and “bad” church music. In some congregations these disputes center upon the tastes of a choir director or an organist. In the most […]

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Church Music: Watch Those Words!

Setting down certain principles for evaluating the words of songs suitable for Reformed worship is a tricky business. On the one hand, these principles can be stated so generally that they are not at all helpful in evaluating any particular song. On the other hand, we can become so rigorous in our principles, setting law upon law, […]

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There was a time when articles on “church music” would be automatically bypassed by most laymen of the church because such a topic seemed to lie outside the area of their interest or understanding. But times have changed. Many laymen of the church have been captive participants in worship services where a variety of unsettling, […]

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