He Will Hold Me Fast

Not only is God able to keep his people, but he does so “with great joy.”

After the unsettling conversation with the Canadian convert, Harkness wondered how he might help other Christians celebrate the power of God’s sustaining hand in our perseverance and have this sweet truth bore deep into our souls. The answer was obvious for a musician like Harkness: a song. He mentioned the need in a letter to... Continue Reading

The Encouragement Of Congregational Singing

One of the great gifts that God has given His church is the gift of congregational singing

“I hear these people singing and I am reminded of the victory and power of the gospel. There is no weakness, no stain of sin, no power of temptation, no spiritual darkness that can ever conquer the power of God working in the lives of His people. Their voices remind me of the freedom and... Continue Reading

The 6 Songs Billy Graham Picked for His Funeral

The evangelist planned his own ceremony. Experts analyze the music he chose.

“To God Be the Glory” and “Because He Lives” bookend the sweet spot of evangelical hymnody: Fanny Crosby’s song is a classic example of the gospel hymn genre that was synonymous with the 19th-century revivals that birthed evangelicalism, while Bill Gaither’s song is a 20th-century hit of the same lineage.   As Billy Graham is... Continue Reading

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

Discovering the power of Luther’s original lyrics

Leading the way not just in word, but in song, was Martin Luther. He wrote nearly forty hymns, many of which he composed not only the words but even the music. His most famous, of course, “A Mighty Fortress,” often is called “The Battle Hymn of the Reformation.”   The Reformers didn’t just protest; they... Continue Reading

The Reformation: classical music’s punk moment

The great cultural and religious schism of the 16th century democratised music and participation, creating the template for modern classical music.

Luther certainly developed a practice in which music took on a more highly charged value, consolidating the drama and struggles of belief within the mind of the believer rather than in the multi-sensory panoply of traditional Catholic practice. It is perhaps no surprise that Bach once related the presence of God and his grace specifically... Continue Reading

7 Reasons God Commands Us To Sing To Him

Have you ever wondered why God commands us to sing to Him?

“We have so many incredible things to be thankful for and sing about – we’ve been forgiven, justified, and adopted as God’s own children and made joint-heirs with Christ. We’ve been rescued from eternal destruction. We’ve been given eternal life. Jesus SAVED us! That’s something to sing about.”   Have you ever wondered why God... Continue Reading

The Gospel is Like an Old Hymn

The classic hymns, like the gospel they help us exult in, are much bigger than they appear

“I think many of the old hymns, the ones that have endured–and plenty of the newer hymns too, actually–tap into a deeper reality than a lot of the more explicitly emotive stuff. In a strange way, the old gospel hymns affect us more emotionally by not dealing primarily with how we feel.”   The gospel... Continue Reading

Luther’s Theology: Music as Servant of the Word

Using the gospel as his grid, Luther retained, replaced, or revamped various elements from the mass

Having ensconced the Bible at the pinnacle of worship, Luther sees an intimate connection between music and the Word: “Thus it was not without reason that the fathers and prophets wanted nothing else to be associated as closely with the Word of God as music. Therefore, we have so many hymns and Psalms where message... Continue Reading

Who Killed The Contemporary Christian Music Industry?

The descent of CCM is a reflection of America's waning interest in Christianity as a whole.

The birth of CCM can be traced back to the Jesus Movement of the late 1960s, and was shepherded through its infancy by God-fearing hippies like Larry Norman. But it didn’t really take off until more than a decade later, as a result of early pioneers like Andrae Crouch and Amy Grant. Grant was especially... Continue Reading

Five Reasons Preachers Should Listen to Hip Hop

This particular style of music has some unique benefits for preaching

“The more important the truths we share the more they deserve to be said in a beautiful way. Why would you display an expensive painting in a cheap frame? Preaching shouldn’t be merely about helping our audience know something, but helping them feel something, helping them see something.”   In his book The Artist’s Way of... Continue Reading