Sunday, August 29, 2010

FW: Why I’m A Book of Concord Fanatic (Free Pamphlet!)

I'm not sure who this fellow is, but you should check out the blue links below…


Feed: Cyberbrethren Lutheran Blog Feed
Posted on: Saturday, August 28, 2010 7:56 AM
Author: Paul T. McCain
Subject: Why I'm A Book of Concord Fanatic (Free Pamphlet!)



"A fanatic is a person who won't change his mind, and can't change the subject." – Winston Churchill

Yes, that's pretty much me when I get going on the Book of Concord, which is often. I have to begin this post with an apology, to my friend, Myrtle, a dear sister in Christ who sent this to me, longer ago than I care to admit. She has been very patient waiting for me to share this resource with you. But, finally, here you go. Pastor Fisk's great video on the Book of Concord reminded me of my forgetfullness.

Please do check out her fine work at assembling a nice little pamphlet on whyt he Book of Concord is so great. It is nice to see I'm not the only one who is nuts for the Book of Concord. There are a lot of us BOC Fanatics out there. Why?

OK, to repeat: Well, watch Rev. Fisk's video and read Myrtle's great little pamphlet. You can get it here.

Told you I can't change the subject!

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FW: What is Worship? by Rev Joshua Scheer

Another resource for your consideration…


Feed: Steadfast Lutherans
Posted on: Saturday, August 28, 2010 7:57 AM
Author: Norm Fisher
Subject: What is Worship? by Rev Joshua Scheer


Rev. Joshua Scheer of Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church, Bagley, MN has this article available as a PDF file on his church website; we've posted several similar to this in the past, but wanted to make it available to any new readers or to continue the discussion on what Worship is.

O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. – Psalm 51:15 (NKJV)

Just what is it that we gather in a church for? Is it just fellowship, fun, and social interaction? How about to catch up on news, or to enjoy donuts and coffee? No, those things are only in addition to the real reason to come to Church. We come to church to worship. But what is worship? Whose work is it?

The real meaning of worship is that it is God's work first, and we come in a very far second. That is sometimes confused as we view church as a time to be active in singing, praying, and speaking. But don't let all of that activity fool you, worship is passive, worship is receiving from God those things that He gives.

I chose the opening verse of this article for a couple of reasons. First, some of you may recognize it as the beginning of a few services, were the pastor reads (or chants) the first half, and the congregation responds with the second part. The liturgy is built on top of the Scriptures. It is not boring, dull, or dusty because it is made of the very Word of God. Secondly, and most importantly, the passage emphasizes that worship is primarily God's work. God is the one who opens our lips to declare His praise.

God acts first. Our worship should reflect salvation, where God acted first. The Scriptures teach that while we were still trapped in sin, Christ died for us. God took action. We couldn't do it. Our worship should reflect that reliance on God's action.

How does this work? Well, we hear from God first, He speaks, we listen. His Word gives what it says. Faith is created from that Word of God, and the heart acknowledges the gifts of God that have been received with eager thankfulness and praise. Out of this, we sing hymns, which are a natural way to praise God, who has acted first.

Hymns make up a good portion of our part in worship. Through our song, we declare His praise. Our hymns should not be chosen by chance, but should reflect a focus on the work of God. Hymns do not try to create the right atmosphere or mood for worship, but they serve as a vehicle for the Spirit-filled Word of God. Hymns are never entertainment, but proclamation (declaring His praise). Hymns are shaped by an understanding based upon the cross of Christ. Hymns do not have to be exact quotes from Scripture, but instead are based upon Scripture, interpreted in reference to Christ. Hymns are not bound to any culture except the culture of the universal church of all times and places.

What we sing on Sunday morning should reflect these points, otherwise we are just playing and singing to ourselves. Church should not be entertaining, but should serve you with the gifts of God. Again, the focus is on God and His work in Christ Jesus. Even what we sing about should be about God's work. A good way to analyze what you are singing is to ask "who is doing the verbs?" That means that you look at the verses of a hymn, or lyrics of a song and ask who is the focus, who is the one doing the action of what you are singing? If the answer is anything but God, then maybe the song should be saved for our local radio stations and kept away from the sanctuary.

In the Lutheran tradition, our worship services are often called "Divine Service". This name reflects exactly what I have been talking about. It is God's service. And what happens in church is for us. God does not need anything from us, but He does have a lot of things to give to us. These gifts of God are very important, and our Divine Service or worship serves as a time to receive from God.

I often encounter people who are intrigued about the work of a pastor who leads worship. They often think very highly of such work, and rightly so. It is a humbling thing to lead God's saints in receiving His gifts. But I would suggest that the most precious place in any sanctuary is the pew, where you can sit, stand, kneel and receive from God freely. Pastors serve as Christ's servant to bring those gifts to you in an orderly way.

Our Lord speaks and we listen. God acts first. We respond by speaking back to God the Words He has given us to speak. This is worship. It reflects the God we have, the God of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the God of our salvation, who acted first while we were still dead in sins and trespasses. Blessings as you seek out worship this week.

Sources: "Lutheran Worship" Introduction

"Why Lutherans Sing What They Sing: An Apology for Lutheran Hymnody" by Chad Bird

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FW: Look What My Father-in-law Made for St. Paul's!

An idea as your congregation prepares for Good Friday…


Feed: Weedon's Blog
Posted on: Saturday, August 28, 2010 10:44 AM
Author: William Weedon
Subject: Look What My Father-in-law Made for St. Paul's!


A hand-crafted hearse for the Good Friday Tenebrae Vespers.  Unlike the traditional hearse of 15 candles, the LSB rite calls for extinguishing only seven, hence the number of candle slots in this one. You can use it with smaller candles, or remove the wooden insets and use larger candles.  Dave's workmanship is meticulous.  And it humbles me that he spent so many hours making this beautiful hearse for use in the liturgy at one service on one day of the entire year.  But that's exactly like my father-in-law.  Only the best for the Lord.  Thanks, Dave!

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FW: Shaping Modern Lutheran Worship sans Praise Band

More from Kantor Johnson…


Feed: Fine Tuning
Posted on: Thursday, August 26, 2010 9:28 AM
Author: Stephen R. Johnson
Subject: Shaping Modern Lutheran Worship sans Praise Band


Part 4 in a series.

As I mentioned at the end of my last post, we in the LCMS do have models that can show us what a contemporary, vibrant, fresh, music program can look like without compromising a shred of authentic Lutheran identity. Let me show you a program that I know a little about. That is Bethany Lutheran in Naperville, where Phillip Magness, my partner here at Liturgy Solutions, is Cantor.

First of all, I am very much aware that many if not most of our churches do not have the resources that Bethany has. But that does not mean that they do not have any resources. Be aware that when I speak of what Bethany does, we must understand this to mean, what Bethany thinks. What is the philosophy that lies behind their approach to music? If we can understand this, we can begin to implement it with success in parishes that have limited or few resources as well as those that have a wealth of resources. Here are some things that I think Bethany Lutheran has realized; that have led them to the place where they are as a vibrant, flagship example of authentic Lutheran worship.

Lutheran hymnody is exciting

This is really a theological matter. If a pastor is convinced that the Lutheran hymn heritage has something unique to offer Christians in the way of Gospel proclamation and catechesis, they will want to drink deeply from it. If they want to use it, they can find ways of making that happen without capitulating to the desires of naysayers who think other, less theologically astute songs are more "exciting." There is nothing more exciting about one kind of music over another. One can cultivate an appreciation for all kinds of music, if one opens their minds and interests to doing so. As Christians, we should be open to cultivating appreciation for the Lutheran hymn corpus because of the great value it possesses and the great contribution it makes to Christian understanding theological knowledge and ultimately, spiritual growth.

In order to do this, pastors and musicians may need to streamline their hymn repertoire in their parishes to contain fewer songs sung more frequently. They will also want to introduce more complex hymns slowly, one at a time.

The unfortunate flip-side of this is that one of the reasons why pop-styled music is becoming more and more prominent in our churches is because pastors and their congregations really do not value the hymn heritage of our Lutheran church. They find the musical remoteness of some of the hymns off-putting and do not think it is worth the time to learn such hymns. We have addressed this matter on the blog before and will not go into details now, but this view is absolutely fatal to Lutheranism, because all the hymnody becomes music that does not discuss distinctively Lutheran theological issues, denying the people the comprehensive richness of our Lutheran theology. If this is missing from our music, one can bet that it is missing from the preaching too. That's how it was in evangelicalism as I witnessed the erosion of strong doctrinal categories. That's how it will be for Lutheranism too as we toy with the trend toward all things contemporary in our parishes.

Singing begets singing

If you want your congregation to sing, then sing. Adding instruments does not beget more singing. If anything, fewer instruments begets more singing, because the voices themselves must supply the musical sound that fills the room. When a congregation gets the fact that their voices are creating the pleasant the sound they are hearing, they'll sing more and better. They accomplish this by just singing. Sing the hymns from LSB, the old chorales and the new tunes. Let me give an example:

Let's imagine two congregations. One is inclined to sing and loves their hymnody, the other is not inclined to sing and is uncomfortable with their hymnody. With the latter, the biggest mistake a congregation could make is to employ lots of instruments, especially if a PA system is involved. Why? Because it will not create more singers, but will create more spectators. People who are not inclined to sing, will not become so because you get more enthusiastic people to lead them, or more pop-friendly musicians to accompany them. They will neither become so, if you have an organist who improvises fancy introductions to hymns and re-harmonizes stanzas at will. The only way a congregation like this will sing is if they are responsible for producing the primary sound component in the service through opening their throats and singing. Simple accompaniments will be necessary to accomplish this, be they by a keyboard, guitar or organ, with the help of a solo vocalist or small group singing the hymns. But even more effective, would be simply a few people in the congregation who will just sing out, making the people around them feel more comfortable to do the same. I have often suspected that the trend we are witnessing to put up the rock band as the primary sound for worship has really not encouraged more enthusiastic singers, but rather, more enthusiastic spectators.

I have experienced this phenomenon where I currently work. I teach music in a Catholic high school where the student body is not inclined to sing. I was asked to try to change this by creating a "singing culture" of sorts at the school. Here is how I am proceeding. When I arrived there was a small group that led the singing. They were not very good and they were too small to fill the room with sound. When many of those students graduated, I started using my classes to lead the music for the liturgy. Now I was using 60 – 80 students at once, who could fill the room with their sound. This made them love what they were hearing and want to do it more and better. There were groups that ended up being disappointed when they were not chosen to participate in a particular liturgy, even though they had for the previous one. The point is this: As these students began to experience the sound that they as a community were making, they grew more enthusiastic about continuing to do it. As they learned the songs in class they began to enjoy them. That's what will happen with our hymns. To learn them is to love them.

Bethany Lutheran understood two things: 1. Sing the Lord's song to the fullest, including the hymnody of the historic church, and, 2. It is not more instruments that lead people to more singing. Rather, more singing leads to more singing.


FW: Leaving It All NOT to the Experts...

The LCMS used to have a Commission on Liturgics and Hymnology.


More from Pr. Peters…


Feed: Pastoral Meanderings
Posted on: Sunday, August 29, 2010 5:53 AM
Author: Pastor Peters
Subject: Leaving It All NOT to the Experts...


Some of those whom we might call experts, have an expertise which is too far removed from experience to be fruitful or useful.  I am not trashing experts but suggesting that some things are too important to be left only to the experts.  One of those things is the worship life of the parish.  While I do not presume to be an expert here, I do believe I possess a bit more knowledge than average.  The perspective of what I think I know has been shaped by more than 30 years of preaching and presiding in a Lutheran parish setting.  There some things to be learned there that cannot be taught in an academic setting or learned from books.

The Roman Catholic Church will soon begin a recovery of sorts from the direction of liturgical experts that dismantled generations of tradition in one fell swoop.  It was not only a move from Latin to the vernacular, but the disregard for the previous spirit of the liturgy and an infatuation with the moment that turned great collects into casual theme prayers, turned the liturgy into a disposable missalette printed on newsprint, and distanced the people from their centuries old musical tradition in favor of throw away songs no one bothered to memorize.  What we saw at work there is a reminder that the domain of the liturgy is not for one side alone.  Neither liturgical experts nor those who actively serve the parish can be allowed exclusive domain over what happens on Sunday morning.  It must be a collaborative effort.

We cannot afford the performance of the liturgy to become a spectator event in which the experts direct the drama.  We must be careful to make sure that every liturgy is authentic to its surroundings and does not attempt to recreate what is done somewhere else or to manufacture the liturgical action of a previous age.  The liturgy is not the work of the people but as God's work's it does take place within a specific group  of people at a specific time.  This is the careful role of the presider who knows his people and authentically leads them through the Divine Service, attuned to them, the circumstances of their lives, and the gracious gifts of God bestowed through the Word and Sacraments.

In the same way, preaching is not some academic pursuit but the proclamation of the Law and Gospel to a specific people by one who knows something of them and their lives and so is able to apply the Word faithfully and locally.  It is a good thing to take courses in homiletics and to learn the craft of the preacher but this preaching is meant to take place among a people and at a place that expects and even anticipates the preacher knows his hearers just as he knows the text.

We have often said that every Pastor is a theologian by definition -- a theologian in residence among His people.  We could say that every every Pastor is a liturgiologist by definition -- a liturgical practitioner among His people.  I am constantly amazed at how the lines of theology, liturgy, counsel, teacher, preacher, presider, and Pastor crisscross across the landscape of my ministry.  Ivory towers do little good among the wounds, needs, questions, and hopeful faith of a people seeking God and His gifts where He has promised to be found.  But the opposite is equally true.  Not every decision about the liturgy or preaching is a practical one.  We have rubrics and church orders for good purpose.  We do not start every week with a blank page but with the outline delivered to us in the liturgy with its propers and ordinary and in the sermon with the lectionary and the Church Year.

It does no one any good to pit the scholar against the practitioner, the expert against the one who every week does what the experts study and write about...  This is a both/and situation that calls for scholars who know the history and can tell us what and why and the Pastors who put this to work in the parish setting week after week.

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Saturday, August 28, 2010

FW: Greek Orthodox Church at Ground Zero Makes Plea to Rebuild

The missing part of the whole religious discussion about ground zero.


Consider for yourselves…


Feed: Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly
Posted on: Friday, August 27, 2010 1:03 PM
Author: Fred Yi
Subject: Greek Orthodox Church at Ground Zero Makes Plea to Rebuild




Amid the so-called "mosque" furor, supporters and members of the Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox congregation sought to bring attention to the impasse over rebuilding the tiny church, which was destroyed in the 9/11 terrorist attack. Former New York governor George Pataki accused the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey of failing to "reach out and engage" with the church even as it clears the way for the Islamic center. Port Authority officials say they fully support the rebuilding but say negotiations have broken down over the precise siting, size, and financing for a new church building.

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Resources Received

Richards, Larry. Earthbound (The Invisible War Series, Volume I). Mustang, OK: Tate Publishing, 2009. 277 Pages. Paper. $16.99. (N)

Richards, Larry. The Day of the Others (The Invisible War Series, Volume II). Mustang, OK: Tate Publishing, 2009. 261 Pages. Paper. $16.99.  (N)

Richards, Larry. The Blind Prophet (The Invisible War Series, Volume III). Mustang, OK: Tate Publishing, 2008. 283 Pages. Paper. $16.99. (N)

Richards, Larry. The 69th Week (The Invisible War Series, Volume IV). Mustang, OK: Tate Publishing, 2009. 286 Pages. Paper. $16.99. (N)

Richards, Larry. Possessed (The Invisible War Series, Volume V). Mustang, OK: Tate Publishing, 2010. 286 Pages. Paper. $16.99. (N)

FW: New church body formed for North American Lutherans

News worth noting.


QBR has liturgical questions. What hymnal(s) will be used? Would they be open to Lutheran Service Book? Will they pursue their own? Will they consider RECLAIM?


More to come…


Feed: Lutheran CORE - News and Discussion
Posted on: Friday, August 27, 2010 5:17 PM
Author: Pastor David Baer
Subject: New church body formed for North American Lutherans


A new Lutheran denominational body was born on Friday, Aug. 27, as Lutherans from throughout North America voted overwhelmingly and enthusiastically to form the North American Lutheran Church (NALC).

The decision to form the new church body was made at the annual Convocation of Lutheran CORE which attracted more than 1,100 Lutherans Thursday and Friday at Grove City Church of the Nazarene in Grove City, Ohio. Thousands more watched the convocation online.

The Convocation adopted a constitution and elected provisional leaders for the NALC. The Rev. Paull Spring of State College, Pa., was elected as bishop of the NALC. Spring served as the bishop of the Northwestern Pennsylvania Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) for 14 years.

Spring and other church leaders were elected for one-year terms. Those congregations and individuals who join the NALC will elect their own leaders at the church body's first annual meeting next year. Spring has said that he will not be available for reelection.

"We have a great opportunity before us. We not only want to look back toward the past, but to look ahead to the mission God has given us — to confess Christ faithfully, to witness to others, and to grow in God's mission. This is our opportunity now in Lutheran CORE and in the North American Lutheran Church," said Spring.

"The NALC will embody the center of Lutheranism in America. The NALC will uphold confessional principles dear to Lutherans including a commitment to the authority of the Bible and the Lutheran Confessions. Members and congregations of the NALC will have direct involvement in the decisions and life of the NALC," said the Rev. Mark Chavez of Landisville, Pa., director of Lutheran CORE.

The new church body was approved with no opposition. Some current pastors in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America who attended the Convocation chose to abstain because of their ELCA responsibilities.

Some of those in attendance asked to be able to sign a document noting their assent to the creation of the NALC. Many waited for more than an hour to do so because they wanted to formally note their involvement in the historic action.
Lutherans around the world celebrated the creation of the NALC. Two of the largest Lutheran churches in the world sent official representatives to the Convocation. Representatives of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania and the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus told the Convocation of the support of their church bodies for the NALC. These two church bodies from Africa are the second and third largest Lutheran churches in the world, each with 5.3 million members. They reported that Lutherans throughout Africa were praying for the Convocation and for the NALC.

"May God bless Lutheran CORE and the vision of the NALC," said the Rev. Francis Stephanos, president emeritus of the church in Ethiopia and a former vice president of the Lutheran World Federation. "One cannot put the word of Scripture to a vote. . . . The churches of the South will choose Scripture over the mighty dollar."

The Rev. Dr. Benson Bagonza, bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania's Karagwe Diocese, preached for the closing worship service and participated in the installation of Bishop Spring.

"The presence at our convocation of so many ecumenical and international guests is very significant," said Spring. "Their presence among us is a reminder that we are not alone in our ministry and that we intend to forge strong ties and relationships with other Christian communities as we go forward in the North American Lutheran Church."

The Convocation voted to request membership in the Lutheran World Federation for the NALC as a part of the church body's commitment to an ongoing relationship with faithful Lutheran churches in Africa and Eastern Europe.

The NALC is also committed to a close partnership with Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC), an association of congregations that many former ELCA congregations have joined since it was formed in 2001. More than 280 congregations have joined LCMC since last August.

"As you make your stand today, I pledge that your siblings in LCMC will stand beside you," said the Rev. Larry Lindstrom of Farmersville, Ohio, chair of the LCMC Board of Trustees. "I anticipate many congregations will choose to join both LCMC and the NALC."

A way to move forward together

In addition to creating the NALC, Lutheran CORE's 2010 Convocation approved proposals designed to provide a way for Lutherans who uphold Biblical teaching to move forward together.
Lutheran CORE will continue as "a confessional and confessing unity movement for all Lutherans regardless of church body."

"The NALC and Lutheran CORE will link us together as confessional, faithful Lutherans," said the Rev. Paul Ulring of Columbus, Ohio, who was elected Thursday as the moderator of Lutheran CORE. "We believe that God is at work, so these are wonderful times ahead." Ulring is pastor of Upper Arlington Lutheran Church.

"Lutheran CORE's actions at this convocation and the launching of the NALC are significant progress in forming a community of confessing Lutherans that crosses denomination lines and national boundaries," Chavez said.

"Our Lord's reconfiguring of the Lutheran landscape not only in North America, but worldwide, is breathtaking and exciting. We pray that Lutheran CORE and the NALC will faithfully follow Him and in all things give glory to our Heavenly Father," said Chavez. "It has been wonderful to witness the joy and hopeful excitement of so many Lutherans to move forward and do the main thing — proclaim Jesus Christ and His Gospel to make disciples."

"The future that we envision for confessing Lutherans in North America is one that is centered on the absolute truth of Christ Jesus and committed to making disciples for Him," said Ryan Schwarz of Washington, D.C., chair of Lutheran CORE's Vision and Planning Working Group. "Both Lutheran CORE and the NALC will stand in continuity with the tradition of the Christian Church over the past 2,000 years and will orient their activities primarily for the support of congregations in their ministries."

"Lutheran CORE and the new NALC are two pathways for faithful, confessing Lutherans in North America to remain connected to each other and to the vast majority of Lutherans and Christians globally who reject the theological innovations of the ELCA and ELCIC," added Schwarz, who was elected to serve on the NALC's Executive Council.

The NALC is a member of Lutheran CORE and will do much of its mission and ministry in conjunction with Lutheran CORE to help maintain unity among confessing Lutherans and to carry out mission and ministry efficiently.

Lutheran CORE's 2009 Convocation Sept. 25-26, 2009, in Fishers, Ind., asked that a proposal for the "reconfiguration of North American Lutheranism" be prepared and brought to the 2010 Convocation. In response, "A Vision and Plan for The North American Lutheran Church and Lutheran CORE, a Community of Confessing Lutherans" was released in February.

"The North American Lutheran Church places great emphasis on congregational ministry and congregational renewal." Spring said. "We know that the congregation is not the sole form of ministry in the church. But the congregation is surely the chief community of faith for ministry and renewal. We are hoping that our congregational focus will be evident in the way we carry out our ministry."

Spring noted that Lutheran CORE and the NALC are committed to faithfully teaching the historic Christian faith as it has been confessed by Lutherans and also to moving forward in faith and mission.

"We are inspired by the groundswell of congregations interested in joining the NALC, as well as the other Lutheran and Christian church bodies interested in discussing fellowship and shared ministry opportunities with the NALC," Schwarz said.

"Our common commitment to Christ's Great Commission — making disciples of all nations — is a firm foundation for continued growth of the NALC, broader unity through Lutheran CORE, and building of church-to-church relationships in coming years."

Lutheran CORE and the NALC are also committed to close ties with Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ.

Theological Conference addresses crisis in Lutheranism

More than 800 people attended a theological conference featuring some of the most significant Lutheran scholars in America that preceded the Convocation. "Seeking New Directions for Lutheranism" was the theme of the Aug. 24-26 conference at Upper Arlington Lutheran Church in Hilliard, Ohio.

"We are at a crossroads where our theological tradition and the teaching of the Christian faith are being placed in jeopardy," the Rev. Dr. Carl Braaten told the conference. Braaten is one of the most respected Lutheran theologians in the world.

Lutherans throughout the United States have been wrestling with the implications of recent actions by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America reversing the ELCA's policy on pastors in same-sex sexual relationships. ELCA pastors are now allowed to be in same-sex relationships and to officiate at same-sex union ceremonies. The ELCA Churchwide Assembly approved a social statement in August 2009 that changed ELCA teaching on sexuality and authorized a reversal in policy regarding pastors in same-sex relationships.

Lutheran CORE leaders note that the problems in the ELCA are really not about sexual behavior but rather about an ongoing movement away from the authority and teaching of the Bible throughout the ELCA, on issues far broader than simply human sexuality.

"It was not our choice to leave the ELCA, but the ELCA has chosen to reject 'the faith once delivered to the saints,' so now we are acting to maintain our position within the consensus of the Church catholic," said Schwarz.

"The ELCA has decided that it is in a position of authority over the Bible itself rather than submitting to the authority of the Bible over all matters of faith and life," Chavez said. "And unfortunately, most of the attention is given to the sexuality issues, but there are actually much more disturbing trends within the ELCA."

For more information go to or

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

FW: Smalcald Articles: On Confession and Enthusiasm

A timely topic…


Feed: Confessional's Bytes
Posted on: Wednesday, August 25, 2010 8:14 AM
Author: Jim Pierce
Subject: Smalcald Articles: On Confession and Enthusiasm


Man "slain in the spirit."



3] And in those things which concern the spoken, outward Word, we must firmly hold that God grants His Spirit or grace to no one, except through or with the preceding outward Word, in order that we may [thus] be protected against the enthusiasts, i.e., spirits who boast that they have the Spirit without and before the Word, and accordingly judge Scripture or the spoken Word, and explain and stretch it at their pleasure, as Muenzer did, and many still do at the present day, who wish to be acute judges between the Spirit and the letter, and yet know not what they say or declare. 4] For [indeed] the Papacy also is nothing but sheer enthusiasm, by which the Pope boasts that all rights exist in the shrine of his heart, and whatever he decides and commands with [in] his church is spirit and right, even though it is above and contrary to Scripture and the spoken Word.

5] All this is the old devil and old serpent, who also converted Adam and Eve into enthusiasts, and led them from the outward Word of God to spiritualizing and self-conceit, and nevertheless he accomplished this through other outward words. 6] Just as also our enthusiasts [at the present day] condemn the outward Word, and nevertheless they themselves are not silent, but they fill the world with their pratings and writings, as though, indeed, the Spirit could not come through the writings and spoken word of the apostles, but [first] through their writings and words he must come. Why [then] do not they also omit their own sermons and writings, until the Spirit Himself come to men, without their writings and before them, as they boast that He has come into them without the preaching of the Scriptures? But of these matters there is not time now to dispute at greater length; we have elsewhere sufficiently urged this subject.

7] For even those who believe before Baptism, or become believing in Baptism, believe through the preceding outward Word, as the adults, who have come to reason, must first have heard: He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, even though they are at first unbelieving, and receive the Spirit and Baptism ten years afterwards. 8] Cornelius, Acts 10:1ff , had heard long before among the Jews of the coming Messiah, through whom he was righteous before God, and in such faith his prayers and alms were acceptable to God (as Luke calls him devout and God-fearing), and without such preceding Word and hearing could not have believed or been righteous. But St. Peter had to reveal to him that the Messiah (in whom, as one that was to come, he had hitherto believed) now had come, lest his faith concerning the coming Messiah hold him captive among the hardened and unbelieving Jews, but know that he was now to be saved by the present Messiah, and must not, with the [rabble of the] Jews deny nor persecute Him.

9] In a word, enthusiasm inheres in Adam and his children from the beginning [from the first fall] to the end of the world, [its poison] having been implanted and infused into them by the old dragon, and is the origin, power [life], and strength of all heresy, especially of that of the Papacy and Mahomet. 10] Therefore we ought and must constantly maintain this point, that God does not wish to deal with us otherwise than through the spoken Word and the Sacraments. 11] It is the devil himself whatsoever is extolled as Spirit without the Word and Sacraments. For God wished to appear even to Moses through the burning bush and spoken Word; and no prophet neither Elijah nor Elisha, received the Spirit without the Ten Commandments [or spoken Word]. 12] Neither was John the Baptist conceived without the preceding word of Gabriel, nor did he leap in his mother's womb without the voice of Mary. 13] And Peter says, 2 Pet. 1:21: The prophecy came not by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. Without the outward Word, however, they were not holy, much less would the Holy Ghost have moved them to speak when they still were unholy [or profane]; for they were holy, says he, since the Holy Ghost spake through them. —Smalcald Articles, Part III, Article VIII. Of Confession. (on-line source)

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

LHP Review: Additions to Your Worldview Library

Jahn, Curtis A., Editor. Here We Stand: A Confessional Christian Study of Worldviews. Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 2010. 350 Pages. Paper. $20.50.  (LHP)

Sire, James W. The Universe Next Door: A Basic Worldview Catalog, Fifth Edition. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2009. 293 Pages. Paper. $22.00.  (LHP)

A worldview, simply defined, consists of the lenses through which a person sees and interprets the world. Most people have never critically examined their own worldview and usually have plenty of inconsistencies. These two books will help readers to narrow the gap between Biblical faith and Christian life.

"Five hundred years ago, Martin Luther said, 'Here I stand!' when confronted with the heresies of his day. Not much has changed. Christians are still confronted with faith-destroying teachings that now seem to come from every direction. Today the entire Christian worldview is under attack. Even the notion of truth itself is denied. How is a Christian to respond in the face of such non-Christian worldviews? We need to understand those views as well as our own faith and worldview based on Scripture and firmly says, 'Here we stand!'

"In this Impact Series book, the authors use the truth of God's Word to examine such worldviews as Darwinism, Islam, New Age, atheism, pantheism (the view that everything is God--humans and all of nature), postmodernism, and the moral relativism that says anything and everything is 'OK.' By learning about other worldviews, Christians can better understand and witness to the people who hold those views. Readers will also see how such non-Christian worldviews influence their own beliefs, attitudes, and actions  without their realizing it" (pulbisher's website).
Of the two books reviewed here, this is probably the most "friendly." I mean that with regard to a confessional Lutheran theology and worldview as well as vocabulary, reading, and reasoning level for the average lay reader. I recommend it for high school age and up.
Readers will get a great review of the basics of Christianity as well as Lutheran distinctives that have their source in Scripture and are sadly denied by much of Christianity. I particularly appreciated the denominational statistics in context (264-5, et al), the challenge of American Evangelicalism (276ff), and a review of the Muslim concept of "abrogated passages" where newer parts of the Koran replace older so-called "revelation." 
This book reminds us that justification by grace through faith in Christ alone is at stake. The essay authors, presenters at a 2005 Worldview Conference, have AFLC, WELS, LCMS and ELS backgrounds, yet are united in their call for a confessional Christian Lutheran worldview. Views presented show a chasm between confessional Lutheran synods and the ELCA. Perhaps such discussions, conferences and future "free conferences" could result in the rebirth of the Evangelical Lutheran Synodical Conference of North America.
Ready for whats next? Consider how your neighbors in this world perceive the world around them.

"For more than thirty years, The Universe Next Door has set the standard for a clear, readable introduction to worldviews. In this new fifth edition James Sire offers additional student-friendly features to his concise, easily understood introductions to theism, deism, naturalism, Marxism, nihilism, existentialism, Eastern monism, New Age philosophy and postmodernism. Included in this expanded format are a new chapter on Islam and informative sidebars throughout.

"The book continues to build on Sire's refined definition of worldviews from the fourth edition and includes other updates as well, keeping this standard text fresh and useful. In a world of ever-increasing diversity, The Universe Next Door offers a unique resource for understanding the variety of worldviews that compete with Christianity for the allegiance of minds and hearts.

"The Universe Next Door has been translated into over a dozen languages and has been used as a text at over one hundred colleges and universities in courses ranging from apologetics and world religions to history and English literature.

"Sire's Naming the Elephant: Worldview as a Concept provides a useful companion volume for those desiring a more in-depth discussion of the nature of a worldview" (publisher's website). [We at QBR would be interested in reviewing this companion volume.]

This volume has a more academic feel to it. That in itself should NOT put it out of read for lay readers, but it is rich in detail, has abundant footnotes, and is pretty comprehensive in cataloging worldviews. Sire provides an expanded discussion of some philosophies/theologies presented in Here We Stand and would be a good book to read after that. As a confessional Lutheran Christian, I see Here We Stand as a necessary prequel/antidote to the confessional Reformed worldview Sire presents. Not everything in Christianity is reasonable. Some topics must be held by faith, like the Incarnation, Resurrection, baptismal regeneration, and the Real Presence of Christ's Body and Blood in the Sacrament of the Altar because God in Scripture says so!

One danger of apologetics, logic, and worldview studies is a temptation to make reason equal with Scripture or its master. Both must be avoided.

I found this book particularly helpful in better understanding the philosophies and religious worldviews of the American founders. Some of the most influential men behind the Declaration and Constitution were Deists or Unitarians depending upon your definition of those terms. Yes, there were many Christians involved, and their worldview shows in our founding documents. Yet, there is no explicit mention of the Gospel or Jesus Christ. Some contemporary commentators redefine as "Christian" founders who denied the divinity and exclusivity of Christ. Sire to the rescue!

As Headmaster of a classical Lutheran grammar school, I am preparing text recommendations for beyond our current K-5 offerings. We will likely begin a study of worldview with Veith's The Spirituality of the Cross. Now I will add both Here We Stand and The Universe Next Door to our worldview curriculum. Once we have covered basic logic, I will add apologetics to the mix with Parton's The Defense Never Rests and Religion on Trial and then will review Jahn and Sire at the high school level.

Is that a lot to expect of teenagers? Yes. But they are already thinking about these concepts because of the cultural exposure they receive. This will give our classically-taught teens better tools to determine what is true and how to stand up as winsome advocates for God's truth.

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

FW: Perversion and Ignorance of Classical Education

From Dr. Kern…


Feed: Quiddity
Posted on: Monday, August 23, 2010 2:36 PM
Author: Andrew Kern
Subject: Perversion and Ignorance of Classical Education


Every now and then I am tempted to think I know something. When that happens (and it happens less frequently as I age), I have the perfect cure.

Pick up David Hicks Norms and Nobility and start reading.

What typically happens is that some great new insight on which I've spent years questing, will be sitting there on the surface of the page, serenely welcoming me and not even laughing at me for taking so long.

I'm doing a close study of this book for the apprenticeship even now and, once again, I am being humbled by the experience.

For one thing, when I do a deep study of a book, I like to get at the structure so I can see the flow of thought. That's pretty easy with a modern book because it usually sits on the surface of the text, blaring at you that you are where you are.

The whole outline of a book reads like the document map on the side of a Word document with large fonts italicized, bold fonts, bullet points, tables to summarize, etc. etc. At no point is the mind of the reader challenged to engage the text directly and actually think about the relationships among the parts.

I find that frustrating and rather insulting because I know that the effort to organize the text is what of the ways to understand it. However, conventional writers don't write to be understood, they write to be applied. So they write things that don't take any thinking, that assume the reader doesn't want to think, and that can be easily applied without any thinking.

Here's the challenge with Norms. To identify the structure, you have to compress what the text says. You have to take paragraphs and funnel them down to a single core idea (this, by the way, is a great reading exercise that actually involves thinking and is much more profitable than answering worksheet questions, which almost necessarily focus on trivia and are controlled by the teacher instead of teaching the student higher reading skills).

I find that with Norms and Nobility, the impulse is always to unpack and develop a thought rather than to condense and summarize it. The insights are so profound and come from such a different perspective that I don't trust myself to summarize them.

Today I spent about 40 minutes on chapter 1, section one. Which is three pages long!

Each page contains a doctoral thesis of analysis. Listen:

The popular mind associates the idea of a classical education with the narrow and elitist schools of Victorian England. In fact, these schools perverted classical education by teaching in precept and in example a hereditary aristocratic ideal intended to serve the ambitions of Empire and to preserve the status quo.

I suppose anybody could make this claim after a cursory reading in Dickens or a biography of Carroll or something like that, but with Mr. Hicks, these two sentences express the condensed result of years of reflection of his own on education.

For those of us who yearn to understand classical education he has already, in this first sentence of the first chapter, warned us off a false scent. After all, if we are looking to understand classical education, it only makes sense that we would look to that era when it stood most proudly, just before it was replaced by the evil moderns.

But Mr. Hicks says, "No, your job won't be that easy. You can't just bounce back 100 years and imitate what those who share your language did back then. Your going to have to think more deeply than that. You're going to have to go beyond the surface to the spirit. And that's never easy." (This is my supposition of a dialogue with Mr. Hicks, not a quotation from the book.)

So he's warned us off one false track by telling us about those who perverted classical education. The end of the first page warns us off another false track by noting the opposite error:

By the turn of the century, a growing number of self-proclaimed progressives, desiring to democratize the school and mistaking what went on in Victorian schools with classical education, began to put forward their own theories of education…. Neither ideal types, aprioric truths, nor transcendent human needs figure in the writings of these spokesmen for the progressive movement [he refers specifically to Dewey and James].

Of course, the blank stare these phrases call forth from our own minds indicate that they haven't figured much in our own thinking either. Ideal types? Aprioric truths?! Transcendent human needs!!?? What have these got to do with education?

Heck, aprioric truths doesn't even pass the spellcheck!

Mr. Hicks has thrown down the gauntlet. He is going to use terms that we aren't familiar with. He has to if he is going to talk about classical education. We have all been educated under the progressives, who don't care about the things that classical educators care about. They don't use this vocabulary because they don't want us to think about these things.

So you and I cannot hide behind the excuse of not knowing the terms Hicks uses. If we are going to understand classical education, we are going to have to make the effort required to learn his vocabulary. Because, as he ends page one:

To the extent that the Victorian schoolmaster perverted classical learning and the progressive educator ignored it, our modern schools have suffered.

I would change that third word from the end from schools to students. It seems like every day I meet or hear about a new person, child or adult, who has been victimized by the modern school. It's not that the teachers don't care. It's that they are castrated, crippled, and crazed by administration, systems, and inhumane and subhuman ideas.

Even today a student was admitted to eighth grade in a school I know to be tutored by someone I know because someone else cared enough to see that he was pulled out of a failing school. He struggles with reading and writing apparently, but the first thing his tutor learned is that he is perceptive, intelligent, and determined to succeed.

It is no longer possible to exaggerate the negative moral impact of our schools.

Therefore, we have to be willing to put in the work this renewal requires. Forget the culture; forget schools. People's well-being (their souls) depends on it.

Please read and meditate on this book if you are an educator or know anybody who wants to be educated.

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FW: adiaphora -- In the Way of the Law or In the Way of the Gospel

More like this to come from Albert Collver…


Feed: The ABC3s of Miscellany
Posted on: Tuesday, August 24, 2010 6:51 AM
Author: ABC3+
Subject: adiaphora -- In the Way of the Law or In the Way of the Gospel


Zeno from the Nuremburg Chronicle,
Published by Anton Koberger, the godfather of Albrecht Dürer


Last night I was reading The Fragments of Zeno and Cleanthes while tracking down the phrase κατὰ φύσιν (kata physin -- "according to nature") for a study about natural law. The antonym of is παρὰ φύσιν (para physin -- "against nature").  Saint Paul uses the phrase in Romans 11:21, "the natural branches" -- (εἰ γὰρ  θεὸς τῶν κατὰ φύσιν κλάδων οὐκ ἐφείσατο, οὐδὲ σοῦ φείσεται.) The phrase seems to have originated in Stoic philosophy but was appropriated by the church.


Athanasius uses the phrase when discussing the two natures of Christ. Martin Chemnitz uses the phrase in The Two Natures of Christ. He writes, "So let us believe Scripture when it speaks of Christ's human nature, both as to the things which are according to nature (κατὰ φύσιν) and the things which are above nature (ὑπὲρ φύσιν) and even contrary to nature (παρὰ φύσιν). And let us agree that the Son of God wills and can be present with His body where we have His express word."  (pg. 438) 


All of this comes as way of background to the point of the post. The phrase "according to nature (κατὰ φύσιν)" is used as a term for "natural law," that is, something that is according to the created order. Everything "good" and "worthy" is according to nature.  Likewise, if it is against nature, then it is bad.


Zeno has another category of ἀδιάφορα "indifferent things."Adiaphora are things in between what is "according to nature" and "against nature." It is important to note that what is adiaphora cannot be "against nature." 


Leaping ahead to adiaphora in Lutheran theology. Usually, adiaphora is described as "something that is neither commanded nor forbidden." This is a Law or legal sort of definition. A Gospel way of describing adiaphora might be "something that is according to the nature of the Gospel," or even "something that is not against the nature of the Gospel." Adiaphora described in terms of the Gospel was something Dr. Norman Nagel was trying to teach me years ago -- perhaps it is coming clear.


Now some of you might be thinking of Augsburg Confession VII and the satis est in regards to adiaphora.  To fully get the point of the confessors, you need to read the Augsburg Confession in both Latin and German. In Latin, you get satis est ... it is enough, a minimal definition. In German you get einträchtiglich ... "with one accord," a maximal definition, that is, running adiaphora "according to the Gospel."


Some preliminary thoughts... more later.



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Monday, August 23, 2010

Hymnody Review: Townend

St. Michael's Singers (Recorded in Coventry Cathedral). Conducted by Paul Leddington Wright. Graham Eccles, Organist. The New Hymn Makers: Stuart Townend (How Deep the Father's Love). Eastbourne, East Sussex, UK: Kingsway Music, 2003. Audio CD. (mp3 album downoad available on iTunes for $11.99.) / (H)

Townend, Stuart. Personal Worship/Say the Word. Eastbourne, East Sussex, UK: Kingsway Music, 2005. 2 Audio CDs. (mp3 download available on iTunes for $9.99 for each album.) (H)

Townend, Stuart. The Best of Stuart Townend Live... Eastbourne, East Sussex, UK: Kingsway Music, 2007. 2 Audio CDs. (H)

Townend, Stuart. There Is a Hope: Live Worship from Ireland with Guests Kelly Minter & Aaron Keyes. Eastbourne, East Sussex, UK: Kingsway Music, 2008. Audio CD. (H)

Townend, Stuart. Creation Sings. Eastbourne, East Sussex, UK: Kingsway Music, 2009. Audio CD and DVD. (mp3 album download available on iTunes for $9.99.) /  (H)

St. Michael's Singers (Recorded in Coventry Cathedral). Conducted by Paul Leddington Wright. Alistair Reid, Organist. The New Hymn Makers: Stuart Townend (The Power of the Cross). Eastbourne, East Sussex, UK: Kingsway Music, 2009. Audio CD. (H)

Townend, Stuart. The Ultimate Stewart Townend Songbook: 50 Best Loved Songs. Eastbourne, UK: Kingsway Music, 2010. CD-Rom including sheet music, chord charts & words masters. £10.99. (About $16.50.) (H)

Stuart Townend is a modern hymn writer.

His life has prepared him uniquely to write words and melodies that can be sung by a variety of Christian congregations. His father was a pastor in the Church of the Nazarene who became an Anglican vicar. Stuart himself studied at the London and Royal Colleges of Music. At University, he was president of the Christian Union. He joined New Frontiers Church, Clarendon, now called the Church of Christ the King. He shared his musical gives at worship and in concert. He became head of the music department of Kingsway communications.

His signature hymn is "How Deep the Father's Love for Us," a hymn that our congregation used to welcome the congregation back for part three of the Triduum on Good Friday.

How deep the Father's love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the man upon a cross
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts no power no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Stuart Townend
Copyright © 1995 Thankyou Music

Townend himself tells the story behind the hymn. He woke up one morning saying to himself, "I'm going to write a hymn. I'm going to write a hymn?" It became the first in a series of modern hymns that show a growing musical and theological maturity.

His early albums have a very different feel than much of 90's Christian pop Christian feel. Personal Worship is to be noted for acoustic piano and guitar. Be sure to listen to an earthy Christmas hymn, "From the Squalor of a Borrowed Stable (Immanuel)."

The earlier collection, Say the Word, has more of a pop groove, yet hints at all the good that is to come. Lyrics have yet to find the depth Townend achieves later and are more at home in pentecostal and Reformed circles. "How Deep" is a standout here. "The King of Love" takes the first line of an historic hymn and develops it in a new way, as the subtitle (The King has come) indicates.

The best introduction to Stuart Townend is actually a different CD set, the 2003 and 2009 collections in the Kingsway series called The New Hymn Makers.  The soaring vocals and organ arrangements by the St. Michael Singers and Paul Leddington Wright with Graham Eccles or Alistair Reid are to be cherished.

These recordings give proof of the great variety found within Townend's hymn texts and hymn tunes and examples of their distinctive versatility.

I appreciated the Churchly English choral sound. One will hear Townend's collaboration with Keith Getty on "King of the Ages," "In Christ Alone," and "You're the Word of God the Father," on the 2003 disc as well as most of the tracks on the 2009 release. Townend shines on his own with "To You We Bring Our Hymn of Praise (Glory be to God)" (2009) and a second signature hymn, "All My Days (Beautiful Savior)" (2003).

Our next pair of CDs for consideration is The Best of Stuart Townend Live...

Townend is commonly depicted with the same cap, as you can see on the next several album covers.

The recordings have a distinct concert feel, incorporating a full band, grand piano, vocalists, and plenty of vocals from fans.

Musicians are highly-skilled and arrangements are quite lively.  Townend shows his musicianship and artistic flexibility, seemlessly transitioning from one style or one instrument to another.

Will I duplicate these particular arrangements and performances on a Sunday morning at my parish? Probably not. But I can and will enjoy them as an audio concert and be edified by them.

The most current two albums are among my favorite recent Christian releases!

There Is a Hope melds a modern band sound with traditional Irish and English instrumentation and arrangment. Frequent readers of QBR won't be surprised to hear that I think the drum set is often overpowering and even unnecessary. Subtle is better, I believe.

This album reminds me of one the strengths of modern hymn arrangements like these: instrumental interludes between stanzas. That is a tradition common in organ hymn leading that should be recovered.

Some highlights:
  • "Hear the Call of the Kingdom" has a similar feel to "Go Tell It on the Mountain" and I believe the two would work well in an arrangement together.
  • "There Is a Hope" is a hymn on hope with a foundation in Christ!
  • "My Soul Finds Rest" is one of many hymns by Townend that paraphrases a psalm, 62 in this case, and incorporates an Alleluia refrain from the tune LASST UNS ERFREUEN.
  • This arrangement of "From the Breaking of the Dawn (Every Promise)" prompted its use at our Wyoming District Spring Pastoral Conference.
  • "Will You Hide Me (Healing Streams)," featured Kelly Minter on vocals. She has recorded a compelling version of "How Deep."
  • "Spirit of Heaven (Christ in Me)" has many strengths textually, but the action of the Spirit seems to be separated from the means of Christ, Word and Sacrament.
We would love to see the DVD version of this release when it is available to us!

Creation Sings "is Stuart Townend’s seventh solo album, following hot on the heels of the successful 'Best Of' and 'There Is A Hope' albums.

"It’s a studio recording with a strongly acoustic sound, drawing on the strong melodic traditions of English, Scottish and Irish folk and combining them with classical, country and gospel influences to create a distinctive worship sound that will appeal to a broad market.

"There are instruments that don’t usually make it onto worship albums: alongside the guitars and drums there is double bass, fiddle, accordion and tin whistle, as well as banjo, bouzouki, pedal steel guitar, harmonium.... sounds that set this album apart from the usual offerings that cram the shelves of the worship section of the local store. [Don't forget the Melodica!]

"So the sound is varied, new and fresh: but Stuart’s commitment to singable melodies and lyrics of poetic and theological depth remains evident throughout this album. As we have now come to expect from the world’s leading worship writer, Stuart delivers a fresh outpouring of great new worship songs. Songs that will undoubtedly prove an invaluable resource for churches of all streams and denominations for years to come" (publisher's website).

I agree with the publicity department's glowing praise. Song that is strongly Biblical textually and creatively and naturally accompanied will edify Christians of every background.

As noted before on other texts, "O For a Closer Walk with God" needs to anchor the work of God the Holy Spirit in God's promises in the Word, in Holy Baptism, in Absolution, and in Holy Communion. Christians may well be able to "fill in the blanks" theologically, but shouldn't have to be forced to.

I appreciated the five-track video DVD with interviews. The drum set was more in the background. Guitar technique on "O Church Arise" is amazing!

And now, one of the real treasures of this review:

"The Digital Songbook Series is an indispensable resource for today’s worship leaders. By focusing on the work of individual songwriters and worship leaders each Digital Songbook offers up a comprehensive guide to some of the most significant songs of our time. Each CD-ROM brings home easily accessed and printable sheet music, chord charts and word masters for fifty of the very best songs within each artist’s back catalogue.

"The writer of countless modern classics, few songwriters have had greater impact than Stuart Townend. By reclaiming the art of the lyricist and the power of the collective voice, Stuart’s songs have united the Church worldwide. From ‘In Christ Alone’ to ‘How Deep The Father’s Love’, from ‘There Is A Hope’ to ‘The Lord’s My Shepherd (Psalm 63)’, this Digital Songbook contains them all.

"Lord I’m Grateful (Grace) / See What A Morning (Resurrection Hymn) / What Wonder Of Grace (My Desire) / Your Love (Pour Over Me) / We Have Sung Our Songs Of Victory (How Long) / Oh To See The Dawn (The Power Of The Cross) / All My Days (Beautiful Saviour) / O My Soul Arise And Bless Your Maker / Speak O Lord / Who Paints The Skies (River Of Fire) / Lord How Majestic You Are (You Are My Everything) / My Heart Is Filled With Thankfulness / My God / Jesus Is Lord / Joy Has Dawned Upon The World / The Lord’s My Shepherd (Psalm 23) / My First Love (Like A Child) / You’re The Word Of God (Across The Lands) / In Christ Alone / How Deep The Father’s Love For Us / With A Prayer (Love Incarnate) / Holy Spirit How I Love You / From The Squalor Of A Borrowed Stable (Immanuel) / The King Of Love (The King Has Come) / Our God Is Strong And Mighty (Breaking Out) / I Have Heard (I Won’t Let Go) / O Church Arise / Behold The Lamb (The Communion Hymn) / Beloved And Blessed / You Are My Anchor (The Father’s Embrace) / Giver Of Grace (You Are Good To Me) / Every Promise / Come People Of The Risen King / Creation Sings / O For A Closer Walk With God / The Light Of The World / Holy Spirit Living Breath Of God / Let The Earth Resound / Salvations Song / There Is A Hope / Hear The Call Of The Kingdom / Psalm 62 / Healing Streams / Glory Be To God / Spirit Of Heaven / My Soul Will Sing (Psalm 103) / May The Peace Of God (Benediction) / Hear O Israel / By Faith / Still My Soul Be Still

"Includes Word Masters, Chord Charts and Sheet Music for each song" (publisher's website).

This is an impressive, versatile, and varied collection. QBR readers will note some titles of popular modern hymns that Townend wrote in collaboration with Keith Getty and his wife Kristyn.

These modern hymns are worth considering as additions to the successor or supplement to Lutheran Service Book.

"In Christ Alone" and "How Deep the Father's Love" are included in the list called "The Song of the People" prepared by the former Commission on Worship of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod. I believe these two modern hymns in particular will wear well. Both were sung at the recent LCMS Convention. "In Christ Alone" was sung at last November's Lutheran Church Extention Fund "Leadership Week."

Further, I hope that "O Church, Arise" will soon join the list of regularly used Townend/Getty hymns in our LCMS. It was featured at the 2009 Wyoming District Pastor-Teacher Conference and as the opening hymn Divine Service at the January 2010 LCMS CoW/CTCR Model Theological Conference on Worship. All three of the hymns mentioned in the last two paragraphs are in this year's hymn book for our classical Lutheran grammar school.

I would love to see a Townend hymn version of Psalm 141 for use at Evening Prayer/Vespers/Evensong, metrical modern hymns of psalms appropriate for Compline, a modern hymn paraphrase of Psalm 95 for Matins/Morning Prayer, and, if I may be so bold, hymn versions of the Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, Agnus Dei, and Nunc Dimmitis for use at Eucharist/Mass/Divine Service.

Some day, I hope to meet Mr. Townend in person. I look forward to his future individual work as well as his collaborative work with the Gettys and others.

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