A New RPCNA Psalter?

Bill Chellis says it’s in the works. He’s not entirely happy with it and blames those over 45 for an inordinate desire to fit into the spirit of the age. Well, just having turned 47 I would be outraged but I’m too tired.

The Word of God is, by the very fact that it is God’s Word, is always relevant. It’s God’s Word. Rather than focusing on my latest religious experience, God’s Word focuses on God’s attributes, God’s saving Word and work in Christ. Virtually every sabbath I am impressed by the fact that in place of every man-made, uninspired hymn or contemporary song, there is some passage in God’s Word that would be more appropriate to sing, more relevant to the service and sermon, more applicable to the lives of the saints, and more focused on God’s grace in Christ. This is my answer to those who say, “But we want to sing songs that explicitly mention Christ.” Well, the writer to the Hebrews didn’t have any trouble finding a text from which to preach Christ. He did it from Ps 110. If we want to sing songs that explicitly mention Jesus, there are NT passages that could be set to music and sung in corporate worship. 

I’ve been arguing that what we need isn’t so much a new translation of the psalter but rather new tunes. While I’m at it. There was a new metrical version of the psalter published. Whether singing from the old RP psalter or some other version it’s essential that the congregation sing God’s Word in response to God’s Word. Here’s some help in picking a psalm for worship.

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  1. “…the seductive appeal of appearing relevant, modern, and diverse. Why do men over 45 years old seem to find these considerations so appealing?”

    Because this was the tail end of the boomer generation, that pinnacle generation for not only taking the road less traveled but for being ruthlessly relevant (and have taught subsequent generations to do the same). Why, just the other day over lunch my mainline-boomer father brought his copy of Tolle’s new book and asked my opinion. I told him it sounded a lot like a lot of warmed over M. Scott Peck he had on his shelves in the 80s (secular spirituality’s strange-fire concoction of all law and no gospel). He laughed and said that’s what he thought I’d say. But aren’t Presbyterians supposed to be painfully predictable?

    God’s word is always relevant, just not the way we think. Neglect that qualification and, well, look around.

  2. My self-serving theory regarding who is a boomer this that, unless you remember seeing Howdy-Doody (and not just clips or on Happy Days) you’re not a boomer.

    I don’t. Ergo I am not a boomer.

    I’ve been influenced by them but they were always older than I was. I don’t think I’ve had any of the economic or social benefits of being part of the demographic “pig in the python.”

    My friends and I definitely grew up in a post-boomer world. The boomers had JFK and the moon landing. I had Jimmy Carter, malaise, the failed rescue in Iran, gas lines, beef rationing, inflation, and 19% interest rates. I never had time or money to drop out and go to Haight Ashbury and. I had to work my way through school.

  3. Ok, put the accent on “tail end” then. The conventional definition is to be born between 1946 and the early sixities. These things are nothing if not fluid.

    Anyway, you look familiar, Scott. Ever do any babysitting in Farmington Hills, MI, say around 1974? You’d’ve gotten all the quips on M*A*S*H while I just wanted the Fonzie’s jeans and jacket because I didn’t know any better.

  4. I know the conv. def. I dissent. It’s too broad. There aren’t enough universals. Boomers remember JFK. They remember the day he was shot. To exaggerate a bit, to me he’s just a just a figure in a grainy and still shocking 8mm film.

    I watched both Happy Days and M*A*S*H? The fifties were “in” when I was High School. (Are the 70s “in” now? It seems like it)

  5. Well, maybe can we agree that we are both securely outside the cool demographic of 18-34, which seems proven by the fact that you miss that it’s the 80s which are currently in–the retro 70s thing is so 1999. I’d claim points for knowing that, but it’s my wife who points out the slender men’s cuts. I mean, come on, Scott, didn’t you dig American Idol winner David Cook’s re-interpretation of “Billie Jean”? I sure did. Still, wasn’t quite enough for me to find myself at the Grandville Mall with Rob Bell. Sometimes being uncool has its rewards.

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