Monday, January 26, 2015

FW: Regarding a recent decision of a panel not to proceed with charges regarding a public false teacher in the LCMS


Feed: Witness, Mercy, Life Together.
Posted on: Monday, January 26, 2015 3:03 PM
Subject: Regarding a recent decision of a panel not to proceed with charges regarding a public false teacher in the LCMS


When a public teacher on the roster of Synod can without consequence publicly advocate the ordination of women (even participate vested in the installation of an ELCA clergy person), homosexuality, the errancy of the Bible, the historical-critical method, open communion, communion with the Reformed, evolution, and more, then the public confession of the Synod is meaningless. I am saying that if my Synod does not change its inability to call such a person to repentance and remove such a teacher where there is no repentance, then we are liars and our confession is meaningless. I do not want to belong to such a synod, much less lead it. I have no  intention of walking away from my vocation. I shall rather use it and, by the grace of God, use all the energy I have to call this Synod to fidelity to correct this situation.

Matt Harrison

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FW: Why I Will No Longer Be Updating the Hymns Movement Page


Hymnody Resurgent…


Feed: Zac Hicks Blog
Posted on: Wednesday, January 21, 2015 6:57 AM
Author: Zac Hicks
Subject: Why I Will No Longer Be Updating the Hymns Movement Page


When Strivings Cease

It is with great pleasure that I announce that I must cease my striving. When this blog began almost six years ago, one of its primary objectives was to herald, champion, promote, persuade, propagandize, coerce, ramrod the burgeoning retuned hymns movement. In addition to retuning hymns myself, especially on my first (The Glad Sound [2009]) and second (Without Our Aid [2011]) albums with Cherry Creek Worship, I wanted to highlight all the church musicians and independent artists who were taking seriously the movement to re-gift old hymns to new believers.

Along with others, I wanted to help turn the tide of contemporary/modern worship by undertaking the massive project of backfilling its gaping holes with the songs of the past. I consulted and networked with inspirational forerunners like Indelible Grace and Red Mountain Music, and I discovered some new partners in the vision, who would over time become great friends--Cardiphonia, Sojourn, and others. 

So I launched a page that would chronicle the movement by cataloguing the artists and pointing to their work. As I heard about more projects, and as they found my home base, the list increased, and I watched before my very eyes the spread of this movement to more and more places in the United States.

The Propaganda Campaign

At the same time, I began a concerted propaganda campaign to highlight these churches and artists and observe the "infiltration" of the vision in the contemporary/modern worship mainstream.  The following highlights track some of that campaign throughout the years (notice I hit the gas hard in 2010-2011). Just glance through the titles to get a glimpse of what we were thinking and doing:

The Effect

Somewhere along the way, as the conversation widened and the rehymning multiplied, I think we can say that this became a bona fide movement. The artists and churches became more aware of each other, and as networking possibilities increased through the saturation of Facebook and Twitter, conversations led to collaborations, and influence multiplied. With this spread came a diversification of styles, too. Retuned hymns went beyond the Southern, country, bluegrass, folk, and Americana roots of Indelible Grace and Red Mountain into the new waters of funk, blues, indie rock, pop, gospel, EDM, and experimental. In other words, the hymns began to take on more indigenous clothing as they were retuned in the accompaniment of their local contexts and influences.

Why I'm Shutting It Down, and a Vision Forward

As you can see, the retuned hymns movement is at the point where I simply can't keep up. If it is to be chronicled and catalogued, it's going to take efforts (and probably algorithms) that I don't have the bandwidth to generate. Thankfully, though I can't share much now, I know some people who are in the middle of a kind of cataloguing project and I'd ask you all to pray for its success. 

I'll no longer be updating the hymns movement page, but I will leave it there in the meantime as a kind of mile-marker and time capsule. 

The retuned hymns movement was never a be all and end all. There are deficits to the church's worship if all we do is recover a previous generation's hymns to the exclusion of the "new song" of other generations/cultures and our own. (I point out one of those deficits in a post about traditional worship here.) I gave heavy influence early on because I felt that a thick injection of hymnody would serve as a kind of "gateway drug" to other important worship reforms and correctives: historical connectivity, theological depth, gospel-centeredness, thoughtful cultural engagement--things that this blog is deeply committed to. I still believe that this strategy is an effective one at the local level, so if you're a worship leader whose church doesn't sing many songs except those of the present, I'd encourage you to slowly incorporate some historic hymns (retuned or restyled to suit your context) to begin broadening the doxological appetites and sensibilities of your flock.

I'm grateful that the retuned movement is at this point, and I cheer on its continued growth. Recovery and retrieval of this sort can only be a good thing. In fact, throughout history, recovery and retrieval were at the heart of every reform-movement of God's people, from Bible times down to the present. So, let's keep digging up these old gems, polishing them off, and casting them in new settings and display cases for the sake of Christ and His Bride!

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Monday, January 12, 2015

Received for Review



Who Is John Galt? Atlas Shrugged III. Atlas Productions, Inc., 2014. Special Edition 2-disc DVD set.  (N) 


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Monday, December 22, 2014

Received for Review


Luther, Martin. Edited by Benjamin T. G. Mayes and James L. Langebartels. Church Postil III (Luther's Works 77). St. Louis: Concordia, 2014. 422 Pages. Cloth. $54.99. (LHP)

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Received for Review



Worship-Fourth  Edition (Pew edition with readings)
. Chicago: GIA Publications, 2011. Cloth. $16.50. (LHP)

Worship-Fourth  Edition (Keyboard landscape edition). Chicago: GIA Publications, 2011. Cloth. Two Volumes. $120.00. (LHP)

Worship-Fourth  Edition (Bb instrument edition). Chicago: GIA Publications, 2011. Spiral. $90.00. (LHP)

Gather-Third  Edition (Pew edition with readings). Chicago: GIA Publications, 2011. Cloth. $16.50. (LHP)

Gather-Third  Edition (Guitar edition). Chicago: GIA Publications, 2011. Spiral. Three Volumes. $90.00. (LHP)

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Sunday, December 7, 2014

LHP Review: La palabra del Señor permanece para siempre

Engelbrecht, Edward A., General Editor of English Edition. Hector E. Hoppe, Editor of Spanish Edition. La Biblia de la Reforma: Biblia de Estudio (Reina Valera Contemporanea). St. Louis: Editorial Concordia, 2014. 2336 Pages. Cloth. $49.99. (LHP)

La publicación de un CPH idioma español luterana de la Biblia de estudio es ocasión para celebrar. Esta reseña del libro es mi primer intento de una revisión bilingüe.

La palabra del Señor permanece para siempre.
1 Pedro 1:25 Reina Valera Contemporánea (RVC)

The publication of a CPH Spanish language Lutheran study Bible is occasion to celebrate. This book review is my first attempt at a bilingual review.

The Word of the Lord endures forever.
1 Peter 1:25 (ESV)

 500 años en producción: La Biblia de la Reforma
¡La Biblia para los 400 millones de habla castellana que hay en el mundo!

Este amplio recurso celebra los 500 años de la Reforma con comentarios de Martín Lutero y más de 130 teólogos contemporáneos de todo el mundo.

La Biblia de la Reforma es un recurso primordial para acompañar el ministerio de cada pastor, y también ideal para líderes laicos, profesores y estudiantes de seminario, institutos y universidades cristianos, misioneros, y quienes quieran profundizar su vida devocional y estudio personal de la Palabra de Dios.

  • Introducciones y bosquejos para cada libro de la Biblia
  • Guía detallada de referencias
  • Más de 26.500 notas de estudio y notas de aplicación a la vida
  • Más de 6.000 referencias a introducciones y artículos
  • Más de 800 referencias a mapas
  • Más de 220 artículos temáticos
  • Más de 200 definiciones de los principales términos bíblicos
  • Más de 120 gráficos y diagramas
  • 17 páginas de cronología bíblica y notas cronológicas al principio de cada libro de la Biblia
  • Palabras de Jesús en rojo
  • Reina Valera Contemporánea 

500 Years in the Making: The Bible of the Reformation 
The Spanish study Bible for the world’s 400 million Spanish speakers!

This comprehensive resource celebrates the 500th anniversary of the Reformation with commentaries from Martin Luther, as well as more than 130 contemporary theologians from around the world.

The Bible of the Reformation is the premier resource to accompany the ministry of any pastor, and is ideal for lay leaders, seminary professors and students, Christian colleges and universities, missionaries, and anyone wishing to deepen his or her personal devotional life and study of God’s Word.

  • Introduction and outline for every book
  • Detailed reference guide
  • More than 26,500 study and life application notes
  • More than 6,000 references to introductions and articles
  • More than 800 map references
  • More than 220 thematic articles
  • More than 200 definitions of key Biblical terms
  • More than 120 graphics and diagrams
  • 17 pages of Biblical chronology, and chronological notes at the beginning of each book
  • Words of Jesus in red
  • Uses the clear, modern text of the Reina Valera Contemporánea
Also available in leather.

Como un estudiante de seminario, ayudé a una pequeña misión en español de Iglesia Luterana San Pablo, De Peres, Missouri. Como de vez en cuando "organista." Yo tocaba la guitarra para los himnos y liturgia. También fue una gran oportunidad de leer la Escritura y llevar partes de la liturgia en español y en Inglés. Yo aún no estaba listo para predicar en español. Recientemente, un amigo que se prepara para ir a la República Dominicana me animó con su ejemplo de ello.

As a seminary student, I helped at a small Spanish language mission of St. Paul's De Peres, Missouri. As occasional "organist," I played guitar for hymns and liturgy. It was also a great opportunity to read the Scripture and lead portions of the liturgy in both Spanish and English. I was not yet ready to preach in Spanish. Recently, a friend preparing to go to the Dominican Republic encouraged me by his example of doing so.

Utilizamos una variedad de diferentes traducciones de la Biblia. Esto no fue realmente útil. Una Biblia común en español nos habría dado una base más sólida, un texto estable para aprender y practicar y memorizar.

We used a variety of different Bible translations. This was not really helpful. A common Bible in Spanish would have given us a more solid foundation, a stable text to learn and practice and memorize.

Yo he encontrado algo de estabilidad en una edición bilingüe de 2008 publicado por Crossway incluyendo la ESV y el RVR. He utilizado esa Biblia con muchos recursos españolas desde CPH desde entonces. He amado los elementos de cuidado pastoral alemán y español en la parte posterior del compañero LSB Pastoral Care Companion.

I personally found some stability in a 2008 bilingual edition published by Crossway including the ESV and the RVR (1960). I have used that Bible with many Spanish resources from CPH ever since. I have loved the German and Spanish pastoral care elements in the back of the LSB Pastoral Care Companion.
Los usuarios de The Lutheran Study Bible notarán algunas similitudes y diferencias:
  • Esta edición da el fondo de la Reina Valera en lugar de la historia de la RV a través de ESV.
  • Los lectores notarán un prefacio español.
  • La concordancia ESV ahora familiar se sustituye con el de la tradición RV.
  • En lugar de centro de referencia a pasajes, buscar pasajes relacionados en la parte inferior de la columna de la derecha en su lugar.
  • Las notas se tradujeron del TSLB!
  •  Todos los versos están justificados a la izquierda, con números de los versículos. Este es visualmente diferente a la mayoría de las ediciones de la Biblia Inglés.
  • La Reina Valera tiene su propio tradtion arte único que comienza con un oso.

Users of The Lutheran Study Bible will note some similarities and differences: 
  • This edition gives the background of the Reina Valera instead of the history of the KJV through ESV.
  • Readers will note a Spanish preface.
  • The now-familiar ESV concordance is replaced with that of the RV tradition.
  • Instead of center references passages, look for related passages at the bottom of the right column instead.
  • Notes are translated from TSLB!
  • All verses are left-justified with verse numbers. This is visually different than most English Bible editions.
  • The Reina Valera has its own unique art tradtion beginning with a bear.

Su versión castellana de la Biblia (1569) fue conocida como La Biblia del Oso, por aparecer un dibujo con este animal en su portada.

The (1569) Spanish version of the Bible was known as The Bear Bible, appearing a drawing with the that animal on its cover page. 

La RVC es una revisión de la RVR en lugar de una nueva traducción. Sigue el Texto Recibido, todavía señala las diferencias más notables entre éste y el Texto Crítico través de notas al pie.

The RVC is a revision of the RVR rather than a new translation. It follows the Textus Receptus, yet points out the most notable differences between it and the Critical Text through footnotes.

Muchas gracias a Concordia de este maravilloso libro Luterana!

Many thanks to Concordia for this wonderful Lutheran book!

El reverendo Paul J Caín es el pastor de la Iglesia Luterana Immanuel, Sheridan, Wyoming, director de Martin Luther Escuela de Gramática, Yellowstone Circuito de Visitantes (LCMS Wyoming Distrito), un miembro permanente del Consejo de Administración del Consorcio para la clásica y Luterana Educación, Presidente Culto Wyoming Distrito, y Editor de QBR.

The Rev. Paul J Cain is Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, Wyoming, Headmaster of Martin Luther Grammar School, Yellowstone Circuit Visitor (LCMS Wyoming District), a permanent member of the Board of Directors of The Consortium for Classical and Lutheran Education, Wyoming District Worship Chairman, and Editor of QBR

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Monday, December 1, 2014

Closing Issue 8.4 and Volume 8 and Opening Volume 9



This post will mark the last entry in QBR 8.4 Angels' Tide,
and the opening entry in Volume 9 of
Liturgy, Hymnody, and Pulpit Quarterly Book Review,

also known as Lutheran Book Review.


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Monday, November 17, 2014

Received for Review


Farrel, Bill. 7 Simple Skills for Every Man: Success in Relationships, Work , and Your Walk with God. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2014. Paper. $10.99. (LHPN)

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Received for Review


Rowthorn, Jeffry and Russell Schulz-Widmar, Compilers and Editors. Sing of the World Made New: Hymns of Justice, Peace and Christian Responsibility. Carol Stream, IL/Chicago: Hope Publishing Company/GIA Publications, 2014. 297 Pages. Spiral. $18.95. (H)

Schalk, Carl. Sing with All the Saints: Twenty-one New Hymns and Carols for Congregation, Choir, and Accompaniment. Chicago: GIA Publications, 2014. 59 Pages. Staple. $12.00. (H)

Jones, Jacque B. Songs Unchanged, Yet Ever-Changing: 50 Hymn Texts. Chicago: GIA Publications, 2014. 128 Pages Spiral. $19.95. (H)

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Friday, November 14, 2014

FW: Things You May Not Know About Bible Paper




Feed: Crossway Blog
Posted on: Thursday, November 13, 2014 8:13 AM
Author: Lizzy Jeffers
Subject: Things You May Not Know About Bible Paper


What's the Big Deal?

A few weeks ago we posted a crash course on Bible cover materials, and now we turn our attention to the interior of the Bible.

You may have seen buzzwords like "opacity," "PPI," "ghosting," or "readability" flying around the internet, especially when it comes to "high-quality Bible paper." So what's the big deal? It's just paper, right?

The production of Bible paper is so technical that only a handful of companies in the world make it. The average ESV Bible, without any extra study content, has more than 700,000 words, and the ESV Study Bible has over 2.2 million words! Arranging this much content in an organized, cohesive, and readable way is a remarkable feat in and of itself. Then there's printing everything on paper—a challenge that can only be described as a lesson in paradoxes and chemistry. Once produced and run through massive printing presses, the pages are bound (sewn or glued), then finished off with a cover.

You could make the case that Bible printing is one of the most complicated printing projects in the world.

Key Terms

Here are some some key terms to know related to Bible paper:

  1. Opacity: transparency of the page: measured by how much light shines through a sheet (measured by a numerical rating of 800–1,600)
  2. Show-thorugh: the degree to which print shows through on the opposite side of a page (often referred to as "ghosting")
  3. PPI (pages per inch): a measurement of the number of pages in an inch of paper (measured by a numerical rating of 70–90)
  4. Formation: used in describing the degree to which the pulp and fibers of a sheet of paper are, or are not, evenly dispersed.
  5. Lignin: an organic substance found plant cell walls. Lignin is a fortifying substance, like a glue that binds fibers together and allows plants and trees to stand upright.
  6. Titanium dioxide: the most widely used white pigment because of its brightness and very high refractive index; Titanium dioxide is employed as a pigment to provide whiteness and opacity to products such as paints, coatings, plastics, papers, inks, foods, medicines (e.g., pills and tablets) as well as most toothpastes.

Common Types of Bible Paper

There are three main categories of Bible paper:

  1. Groundwood
    • Brownish or oatmeal colored paper
    • Most commonly used choice for books and newspapers because of its low production cost
    • The lignin in groundwood paper begins to deteriorate when exposed to air and sunlight, causing the paper to yellow and become brittle
    • Typically a thicker paper (low PPI) which means it has high opacity
    • Commonly used in economy Bible editions
  2. Free sheet
    • Most commonly used paper for Bible production
    • A chemical process pulls out the lignin, which makes protects the paper from discoloration but decreases its opacity
    • In order to improve the opacity, titanium dioxide (in powder form) is injected into the pulp
    • Titanium dioxide increases opacity because of how it refracts/scatters light, thereby keeping light from shining through the page
    • Increased titanium dioxide = increased opacity
    • Increased titanium dioxide = increased cost
    • Has high PPI compared to groundwood paper
  3. Blended
    • A middle ground: has gone through the free sheet process, but still has some groundwood pulp in it
    • PPI is higher because of free sheet components
    • Retains more opacity because of groundwood components
    • Difficult to tell the difference between a blended and freesheet page with the naked eye
    • This type of paper is new to the marketplace, so it is still unknown how much the paper is affected by yellowing and deterioration

Identifying High-Quality Bible Paper

In light of this information, the question naturally arises, "How will I know high-quality Bible paper when I see it?"

Well, there's no magic formula, but it comes down to a variety of factors and your prefernces. The next time you're looking for high-quality paper, consider this checklist:

  1. Opacity: Minimal or significant show-through?
  2. PPI: What is the paper's numerical rating? Does the thickness make the Bible too heavy and/or bulky?
  3. Formation: Hold a page up to a light and look for splotches or inconsistent amounts of light being allowed through the page.

Think of "high-quality Bible paper" as being on a spectrum rather than in a static, black and white category. There are some widely accepted non-negotiables (opacity, PPI, and brightness), but the rest comes down to subjective preference (whiteness, creaminess, texture, etc.). In the end, "high-quality" is in the eye of the beholder.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Quick Summaries for mid November 2015: Overcoming False Dichotomies



Quick Summaries are pithy paragraph-long reviews
of releases that cross our QBR desk. 


These are reviews for when you don't have all day 

to decide whether a resource is worth
your time, money, storage space, or trouble.

Ross, Melanie C. Foreword by Mark A. Noll. Evangelical Versus Liturgical? Defying a Dichotomy. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2014. 149 Pages. Paper. $17.00. (L)

Ludwig, David J. and Mary R. Jacob. Christian Concepts for Care: Understanding and Helping People with Mental Health Issues. St. Louis: Concordia, 2014. 304 Pages. Paper. $24.99. (Currently on sale for $21.99.) (LHPN)

Music, David W. and Paul Westermeyer. Church Music in the United States 1760-1901. St. Louis: MorningStar Music Publishers, 2014. Published in partnership with the Center for Church Music, Concordia University Chicago. 311 Pages. Paper. $24.95. 1-800-647-2117. (LHP)

False dichotomies. What do I mean? Gospel Outreach OR Human Care, Faithful OR Mission-minded, Gospel-centered OR Liturgical, Spiritual OR Psychological. Such distinctions sinfully and unnecessarily divide the body of Christ.

Law and Gospel are to be properly distinguished. The LCMS historically has cared about doctrine so that a pure Biblical message could be shared in our mission to make disciples of all nations by baptizing and teaching what Jesus gave us to cherish. Gospel outreach takes precedence, yet we care about human needs. The so-called social gospel is really no gospel at all. 

These books address important issues in the church today by overcoming false dichotomies (or failures to note true differences). 

+/ My experience with the publisher of Ross's Evangelical Versus Liturgical? has been mixed. I appreciate many of their Luther titles and reference books, yet have a trouble seeing eye-to-eye with any title related to worship. I commend the author and Eerdmans for noting that pitting "Evangelical" against "Liturgical" perpetuates a false dichotomy, one that continues to harm the church. The "Lutheran" teachings, practices, and teachers noted by this author are all at odds with much of the worship theology and practice of the LCMS. I felt much like an outsider looking in, though I appreciate the overall idea of the book. American Evangelicals and "free churches" have much to learn from one another. They are the intended primary audience of this text. More needs to be said on this topic to the benefit of all congregations, pastors, musicians, and Christians. 

+ Too many Christians see mental illness as either a spiritual issue OR a psychological issue. "Christian Concepts for Care serves as a resource to equip the Body of Christ to better understand and offer spiritual care for those with mental health issues-without feeling like they need a psychology degree" (back cover). People with mental illness need understanding, compassion, and BOTH spiritual and psychological help. They may need therapy and well-monitored medication. They especially need the Gospel. They need Word and Sacrament ministry. The authors will help caring family members, pastors, and Christians care for those in their midst who need the First Article gifts of God in addition to the means of grace. I personally appreciated the encouragement and practical advice of this book in giving pastoral care to a person in need earlier this fall. Recommended!


These essays by David W. Music and Paul Westermeyer discuss church music in the United States from the middle of the eighteenth century to the end of the nineteenth. Not a comprehensive history, they can be read singly or as a whole. Their insights into where we have been give perspective on where we may be called to go.

(Publisher's web site)

+ Hymnals contain much more than hymns. Rather than correcting a false dichotomy, this volume shows a proper division and contrast between kinds of Christian song that are usually misunderstood and misrepresented as being all alike, all "hymns." This delightful essay collection by Westermeyer and Music highlight the variety of Christian song used in the United States: elaborate psalmody, folk hymnody, camp meeting songs, Roman Catholic sacred music, anthems and solos, revival song, Sunday School hymns, Gospel song, African-American congregational song, Hymns Ancient and Mordern, spirituals of several varieties, the music of confessional revival, and Lutheran Chorales. Essay 11, "Out of the Mainstream," is alone worth the price of the book. Here you will hear of Mormons, Moravians, and the Missouri  Synod Lutherans. Highly Recommended!

More information about each of these titles
may be found on each respective publisher's website. 

The Rev. Paul J Cain is Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, Wyoming, Headmaster of Martin Luther Grammar School, Yellowstone Circuit Visitor (LCMS Wyoming District), a permanent member of the Board of Directors of The Consortium for Classical and Lutheran Education, Wyoming District Worship Chairman, and Editor of QBR.

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Hymnody Review: Getty Music


Getty, Keith and Kristyn Getty. The Greengrass Session: Six Hymns from the Old World and the New Limited Edition EP. Nashville: Getty Music Label LLC, 2014. Audio CD. $10.00. (H)

The latest album from Keith and Kristyn Getty is an EP, an Extended Play recording too long to be a "single," yet too short (29:05) to be considered a full studio album (what we used to call an "LP"). It is well worth your time to listen to these seven tracks.


The GreenGrass Session
Keith & Kristyn Getty (2014)

Brand new, limited edition EP from Keith and Kristyn Getty featuring

·  My Worth Is Not in What I Own – the new hymn written by Keith and Kristyn and Graham Kendrick

·  Good Shepherd of My Soul – a warm and moving a'capella rendition of one of Keith and Kristyn's newer songs

·  Come Ye Sinners – a musical journey from Ireland to Appalachia envelopes the traditional hymn

·  Plus 3 more brand new recordings!
BONUS!  Lobby Jam – a toe-tappin', foot-stompin', hand-clappin' instrumental featuring the Getty's band of Irish and bluegrass virtuosos

This limited edition EP is only available from Getty Music. 

Album Listings


  1. Come Ye Sinners (with Musical Priest)
  2. My Worth Is Not in What I Own
  3. Lift High the Name of Jesus (with The Legend of Saints and Snakes)
  4. Good Shepherd of My Soul
  5. Arkansas Traveler (with All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name)
  6. O for a Closer Walk with God
  7. Lobby Jam

(Getty Music website)

The "Lobby Jam" is just plain fun, not unlike local bluegrass sessions here in the Sheridan and Buffalo, WY area.

We first heard "Good Shepherd of My Soul" (track 4) earlier in the year ( I shared it with my congregation as a solo back in May. The a capella version here is beautiful, memorable, winsome, and imitable. 

Note the name of Irish and American musical influences on this recording. Track 5 indicates that "Arkansas Traveler" is used as incidental session music for interludes between stanzas on "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name." Perhaps, to keep consistent with the format of tracks one and three it should have been written as "5. All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name (with Arkansas Traveler)". I can appreciate the benefit of the musical affect and like the track, yet I was reminded that I probably sang "I'm bringing home a baby bumble bee" to the Arkansas Traveler tune too many times at summer camp.

"O for a Closer Walk with God" deserves a little more study. The William Cowper hymn with that title was adapted by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend. The original:

O for a closer walk with God,
A calm and heavenly frame,
A light to shine upon the road
That leads me to the Lamb!

Where is the blessedness I knew,
When first I saw the Lord?
Where is the soul refreshing view
Of Jesus and His Word?

What peaceful hours I once enjoyed!
How sweet their memory still!
But they have left an aching void
The world can never fill.

Return, O holy Dove, return,
Sweet messenger of rest!
I hate the sins that made Thee mourn
And drove Thee from my breast.

The dearest idol I have known,
Whate'er that idol be
Help me to tear it from Thy throne,
And worship only Thee.

So shall my walk be close with God,
Calm and serene my frame;
So purer light shall mark the road
That leads me to the Lamb.

The adaptation on this recording (italics mine): 

O for a closer walk with God
A calm and heavenly frame
A light to shine upon the road
Leading to the Lamb

Where is the blessedness I knew
When once I saw the Lord
Where is the soul refreshing view
Living in His Word

O fire of God come burn in me
Renew a holy passion
Til Christ my deepest longing be
My never-failing fountain
My never-failing fountain

A light to be my guide
The Father's presence at my side
In Your will my rest I find
O for a closer walk with God - leading to the Lamb


So shall my walk be close with God
With all the hopes made new
So purer light shall mark the road
Leading to the Lamb

William Cowper (1731-1800); Adaptation, new words & music by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend; © 2009 Thankyou Music (PRS) (adm. worldwide at excl. Europe which is adm. by

I can appreciate when older hymns are renewed with the addition of a refrain and when unclear archaic language is clarified and refeshed for comprehension's sake. The more significant revision here is the additional five lines that are used as a repeated refrain. The reference to the Holy Spirit in the original is as "dove," while here it is "fire of God." That is less clear textually, yet likely more clear idiomatically to American Evangelicals and pentecostals. Would I use the hymn as it stands? Possibly. Maybe not. I'd want to run it by my brother pastors in our circuit conference (winkel) before I would. This text is stronger than another Getty/Townend collaboration, "Holy Spirit," which raises concerns in its first phrase, "Holy Spirit, living Breath of God, breathe new life into my willing soul," something that could be made more like Psalm 51 by changing "willing" to "sinful." "O For a Closer Walk" appropriately connects the work of the Holy Spirit within us to God's Word. In His Word, God has promised to work through means, Word and Sacrament.






"Come Ye Sinners," while recognizable to some Lutherans, does not appear in Lutheran Service Book. It has appeared in a few American Lutheran hymnals, but revivalistic connotations in particular have made another text preferable in our church body:

"Jesus Sinners Doth Receive"
by Erdmann Neumeister, 1671-1756

1. Jesus sinners doth receive;
Oh, may all this saying ponder
Who in sin's delusions live
And from God and heaven wander!
Here is hope for all who grieve--
Jesus sinners doth receive.

2. We deserve but grief and shame,
Yet His words, rich grace revealing,
Pardon, peace, and life proclaim.
Here their ills have perfect healing
Who with humble hearts believe--
Jesus sinners doth receive.

3. Sheep that from the fold did stray
No true shepherd e'er forsaketh:
Weary souls that lost their way
Christ, the Shepherd, gently taketh
In His arms that they may live--
Jesus sinners doth receive.

4. Come, ye sinners, one and all,
Come, accept His invitation;
Come, obey His gracious call,
Come and take His free salvation!
Firmly in these words believe:
Jesus sinners doth receive.

5. I, a sinner, come to Thee
With a penitent confession;
Savior, mercy show to me
Grant for all my sins remission.
Let these words my soul relieve:
Jesus sinners doth receive.

6. Oh, how blest it is to know;
Were as scarlet my transgression,
It shall be as white as snow
By Thy blood and bitter Passion:
For these words I now believe:
Jesus sinners doth receive.

7. Now my conscience is at peace,
From the Law I stand acquitted;
Christ hath purchased my release
And my every sin remitted.
Naught remains my soul to grieve,--
Jesus sinners doth receive.

8. Jesus sinners doth receive.
Also I have been forgiven;
And when I this earth must leave,
I shall find an open heaven.
Dying, still to Him I cleave--
Jesus sinners doth receive.

Hymn #324
The Lutheran Hymnal
Text: Luke 15:2
Author: Erdmann Neumeister, 1718
Translated by: composite
Titled: "Jesus nimmt die Suender an"
Tune: "Meinen Jesum lass' ich nicht"
1st Published in: Neuverfertigtes Gesangbuch
Town: Darmstadt, 1699

"Come Ye Sinners" and "Lift High the Name of Jesus" are paired with reels, folk music closely tied to Irish dance. "Musical Priest" is rather well known, even in America. Like "Lift High," "The Legend of Saints and Snakes" is a new musical composition, the title being a reference to the missionary activity of St. Patrick in Ireland. "Lift High the Name of Jesus" was also on the Getty's Live at the Gospel Coalition album. This take is fresh and lively.

Finally, "My Worth Is Not in What I Own,"  a collaboration with Graham Kendrick of "Shine, Jesus, Shine" fame. I've never been a fan of the latter, but I am of the former, this new hymn, because we continually rejoice in the cross of Christ. There are allusions to Isaiah 40, Galatians 6:14, and John 4:14. I look forward to sharing this one with my congregation soon, perhaps at Thanksgiving Eve Divine Service.

My Worth Is Not in What I Own
My worth is not in what I own
Not in the strength of flesh and bone
But in the costly wounds of love
At the cross

My worth is not in skill or name
In win or lose, in pride or shame
But in the blood of Christ that flowed
At the cross

I rejoice in my Redeemer
Greatest Treasure,
Wellspring of my soul
I will trust in Him, no other.
My soul is satisfied in Him alone.

As summer flowers we fade and die
Fame, youth and beauty hurry by
But life eternal calls to us
At the cross

I will not boast in wealth or might
Or human wisdom's fleeting light
But I will boast in knowing Christ
At the cross


Two wonders here that I confess
My worth and my unworthiness
My value fixed - my ransom paid
At the cross


By Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, and Graham Kendrick
© 2014 Getty Music Publishing and Make Way Music (admin by

The YouTube video was filmed at Mussenden Temple in Northern Ireland.

I commend the Gettys and their friends for a recording that successfully meets their goal of a GreenGrass session, "so named for the combination of Irish and bluegrass songs and musicians that come 'round" (album back cover).

The Rev. Paul J Cain is Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, Wyoming, Headmaster of Martin Luther Grammar School, Yellowstone Circuit Visitor (LCMS Wyoming District), a permanent member of the Board of Directors of The Consortium for Classical and Lutheran Education, Wyoming District Worship Chairman, and Editor of QBR.

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