From the editor. We often speak of the “worship wars,” and may, if we are involved in its skirmishes, miss the joy of worship song in our own tradition because of the weight of the conflict’s burden. Over the years I have read a number of defenses of exclusive psalmody. While I have deep appreciation for this tradition and those who represent it within our own denomination, I have always wished to see a biblical argument for the place of biblically and theologically sound hymnody. Most of us can articulate our reasons for singing hymns, but have never written them down, or seen them composed by others. David Gordon deals with one important aspect of this argument in “The Israelites Were Not Exclusive Psalmists (Nor Are We).”
Alan Strange brings his own considerable appreciation of music, especially worship song, to bear on his review of Douglas O’Donnell’s, God’s Lyrics: Rediscovering Worship through Old Testament Songs. O’Donnell challenges the modern tendency to shallowness by simply looking at the kinds of worship song we find in the Old Testament.
Democracy and the Denigration of Office” completes my argument for the three office view. I have sought to be fair to those who may disagree with some of what I have said. In the end I believe that we all want to preserve the priority of preaching along with the essential importance of the shepherding role of ruling elders.
I also offer reviews of a fine new presentation of the grace of God, often referred to as “the doctrines of grace,” by my friend and colleague Scott Meadows; and a very useful presentation of Presbyterian church government by Guy Prentiss Waters.
Francis Thompson has written many poems using the “she” to represent poetic inspiration. See if you can pick up the nature of the lament in this brief poem. He also alludes to Psalm 137:1, “By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion.”
Blessings in the Lamb,
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