Tag Archives: Athanasius

A Psalm Singer’s Sigh

Singing the psalms can make you sigh for a number of reasons. The psalms actually encourage us to do so at times. “O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you” (Ps. 38:9). On a humorous note (pun intended), hitting or hearing off-notes in the sanctuary as a congregation struggles to sing them acapella can create some sighing. Another reason for sighing is when I hear well-meaning brothers, zealous for singing David’s songs, try to convert others to their cause with bad manners, jabby comments, and red faces.

And one other reason I sigh – and the point of this particular article – is when men feel inclined to disparage exclusive psalm singing. For I have sighed a time or two as of late in seeing articles such as Lane Keister’s “An Argument Against Exclusive Psalmody.”

After all, it’s not like those singing psalms in the worship of God should present much of a danger. Praise choruses rule the day. Most people these days who walk into a sanctuary expect something more akin to a rock band up front rather than a lone precentor with a pitch pipe. We are few in number. Our congregations are typically […]

The Miraculous in the Mundane

The following is a guest post by J.K. Wall who is a writer in Indianapolis. His modernized abridgment of William Symington’s work, Messiah the Prince Revisited, was published in 2014 by Crown & Covenant Publications. You can e-mail him at jk.wall@gmail.com.

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When Christians think about work, they often get stuck on a theological see-saw.

At times, church work is valued most. Other times, office work is raised up in importance.

These priorities bob up and down in most Christians’ minds, particularly young people, as we figure out where the Lord wants us to serve. It’s not clear how to value the parts of life that happen outside a church and in places where Christ is not named.

Since the time of Martin Luther, who correctly declared that the work of ministers and merchants (and mothers, too) was all equally good and godly, nearly every individual Christian has struggled to actually keep this see-saw level. Our secularized culture now prizes work outside the church far, far more than work inside it. This can lead Christians either to devalue church activities or, conversely, to identify overt acts of ministry as the only truly “Christian” work.

I have a proposal, not merely to level out this […]

Holidays and Holy Days

Christmas is just a few weeks off. Most churches have Christmas trees up by now, and many ministers started their Advent sermon series this past weekend. Christmas–like Easter and the other holy days of the Christian calendar–has been so widely embraced by protestant churches, that not to incorporate them into the church worship schedule seems either strange or downright block headed.

I am one of those pastors who still believes the church should not include these holidays in the worship calendar. But I also don’t want to maintain that distinction in stubbornness or merely out of fondness for “old style presbyterianism.” So, I thought I’d take a couple of paragraphs–speaking for myself at least–to explain why I still believe this is a matter of biblical conviction.

First of all, there is one religious calendar that goes all the way back to the creation: the weekly religious calendar. God appointed the sabbath day as a religious day to be observed weekly. The Ten Commandments reaffirm that this weekly day of worship sets the cadence of life for God’s people. The New Testament also continues to call us to weekly sabbath (or, Lord’s Day) worship (more on this, later). The weekly religious calendar is biblical, and continues in […]

Why We Love Heinous Sin

If you need to be convinced that our culture loves heinous sin, just look at the Penn State controversy. Actually, we love to hate it. Our own sin doesn’t look nearly so bad when we can point at an alleged pedophile and those alleged to have given him cover. Many articles by sportswriters covering the story over the last two sound a like the Pharisee that Jesus described who stood by himself and prayed: “God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector” (Luke 18:11). One columnist used the strongest language to condemn Penn State in one paragraph and later in the same article glorified the cheerleaders of various NFL teams. Why waste a good scandal when it provides cover for the lust of the flesh?