Heidelcast 75: The Psalms In Worship And Living

What worship is and how it should be done is one of the most difficult questions with which confessional Reformed and Presbyterian churches are presently faced. Few things will cause trouble in a congregation more quickly than making changes in a worship service. Yet, God’s Word as confessed by the Reformed and Presbyterian Churches is quite clear. We do that in worship which God has commanded and nothing else. This was the formal principle of the Reformation: sola Scriptura. The question is how we get from point A (where we are now) to point B (the Reformation of worship). We also we need ongoing dialogue about the destination. To facilitate Reformation and dialogue about the proper goals of the Reformation of worship, Midway Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Powder Springs GA (metro Atlanta) hosts the annual Reformation Worship Conference. The theme is year is The Psalms for Preaching and Living. Speakers include W. Robert Godfrey, Jon Payne, Mark Ross, T. David Gordon, Rick Phillips, Terry Johnson, Steven Lawson and others. The conference is scheduled for October 23–26 (Thurs–Sun), 2014 at Midway PCA, just west of Atlanta.

David Hall  joins us to talk about the role of the Psalms in worship and living. David is married to Ann (that woman is a saint!). They have three grown children. He’s been Senior Pastor of Midway PCA since 2003 and he’s been a minister of Word and sacrament since 1980. He’s a prolific author, having authored or edited more than 20 books including The Practice of Confessional SubscriptionPardigms in PolityA Theological Guide to Calvin’s Institutes, and Calvin in the Public Square to name but a few. Follow the link to see David’s books that are available on Amazon. It’s always an honor to have my good friend David on the Heidelcast. Here’s the episode:

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  1. Really enjoyed this interview.

    Especially the push back on the organ/instrument question using the “millennial” as a foil. It is inescapable that formally there is no difference between the “orchestra in the box” and a mandolin. Both are time-bound and aesthetically grounded in particular cultural expressions in a way acapella singing never is and never can be.

    • “… time-bound and aesthetically grounded in particular cultural expressions in a way acapella singing never is and never can be”?
      No, the scale you use in acapella singing is a particular cultural expression, and the tunes you use are aesthetically grounded in that scale. Look up the Thai scale on Wikipedia and listen to it. It is far more difficult to adjust to a Thai scale when you’ve grown up with a western (diatonic) scale, and vice versa, than it is to adjust to a tune played on a mandolin when you’re used to hearing it played by the “orchestra in the box”. In my younger days I constantly heard individuals casually sing tunes acapella that they’d heard accompanied by instruments on “Top Of The Pops”. They’d adjusted from instrumental accompaniment to acapella without even knowing that was what they had done!

  2. I understand and not so long ago shared people’s well-intentioned desire to use “the great hymns” and “God-centered hymns,” alongside the singing of the word of God. The problem is, by whose standard is a song “great” and “God-centered”? That mileage can and does vary wildly. There cannot be the unity God desires apart from the singing of his word (and I believe in the way he has prescribed, with hearts and voices alone). I appreciated your bit of push-back with the guy you interviewed. People still don’t know their church history like they ought to and are amazingly casual about it, are they not? I do appreciate the interviewee’s thoughts and views.

  3. I still don’t understand why singing God’s word and sticking to that is so difficult… I find ‘inclusive’ views to be increasingly insensitive. My opinion.

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