Tuesday, March 27, 2007

John Price's book on Music

John Price, Old Light on New Worship (Avinger, Texas: Simpson Publishing Co., 2005). ca $15.99.

Jeff Jenkins of Lewisburg, Texas, recommended this book; and I have been delighted to read it. There is much to commend within its pages. Price is the pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Rochester, NY and a graduate of Trinity Ministerial Academy. He has done a thorough job of presenting the Reformed view on music and describing the Regulative Principle (what we would call prohibitive silence). He is well-acquainted with John Girardeau's work (found in Foy E. Wallace's book and online). He has done a good job of looking into history.

I have only had a chance to glance at the book since I arrived home from Ghana and went to the office yesterday (Mon., 03/26). I ordered the book before I left. I am glad I did.

Price notes that Luther regarded IM as an indifferent matter, but his colleagues Carlstadt and Melanchthon certainly did oppose it as sinful. I had always heard Luther called IM an "ensign of Baal." The other leaders of the Reformation belileved that the truth of the gospel could only be upheld within the context of a "biblically ordered worship." (They could not see IM in Christian worship either.) The other reformation leaders believed the central issue was the restoration of pure and spiritual worship according to the New Testament." (94. See the footnote: Carlos M. N. Eire, War Against Idols [Cambride University Press, 1986], 2, 195-233).

Sounds like us. Zwingli based his arguments on Scriptural principles and said that "only what Christ has explicitly commanded in His word should be part of the worship of the church" (94). Zwingli specifically applied this to the use of musical instruments. "Everything which is added to the true institutions of Christ is an abuse." Amen and amen.

Of course, Zwingli went to far and also forbade vocal music. Fortunately his edict to Zurich did not become the norm, which was unaccompanied congregational singing.

The book has much to commend it. Since I have not read it all, I cannot give it an unqualified recommendation. Reader beware: eat the fish and throw the bones away. But by all means, eat the fish.

I am considering writing a book on the music God desires in Christian worship. Should I?



Paula Harrington said...

**I am considering writing a book on the music God desires in Christian worship. Should I?**


Neva said...

I found you via Bobby Cohoon. I was in Lubbock a few weeks ago and stayed with Gerald and Bobbie Paden from Sunset School of Preaching. They were reading this book and said much of what you have. So it is on my book wish list. Please post again when you are finished. I have three others I am reading now but would be interested to know if I should move this one up on the list.

Gary Kirkendall said...

Phil, you should. I would urge you to deal with the additions to Passover with the four cups of wine, the addition of the Festival of Lights in John 10 and the addition of the four fast days of Zech. All of these developed without biblical mandates. These seem to be problems in regard to Silence that no one speaks about in the current discussions from the side that opposses IM. Only folks like Maxey and Atchley seem to talk about it, and their thoughts and writings are quite compelling. I would love to hear your take, if for no othe reason, balance.

john dobbs said...

Phil, what would be the point?

The Biblical input would be next to zero. The only thing you could do is to rehash what has already been written by Restoration figures. You could add quotes by people with whom you disagree on the issue of justification (THE issue of issues), which always comes across as disingenuous to me, even if I can't spell it. And that's already been done a hundred times.

The only book on IM that I would read is one in which someone like you (an honest person dedicated to God and the Bible) and someone who disagrees with you on this issue who is also a honest person dedicated to God and the Bible (such as Jack Cottrell) ... interacting around the subject ... not in debate fashion point by point, but perhaps subject by subject. I'd like to hear both sides make concessions (because there are concessions to make on both sides) and come out of the project as brothers in Christ.

I could learn from a book like that because it would say that we are all very serious about what we believe ... and we are all very serious about loving our brothers ... and we can be convicted in our hearts.

A project with you and Jack ... that would be WOW. A book rehashing the silence "law", the meaning of "psallo" and how it changed over the years, and the opinions of the church fathers ... without 'the rest of the story' would be a bore, frankly, because it would simply be a repeat. Call Jack!

Glad you made it home ... hope your trip was a great one.

Phil Sanders said...


Writing a book is an education in itself, one I welcome and find quite interesting.

I do believe as Gary has observed there are things that need to be addressed on the silence issue that has not yet been addressed. I do not believe the items he mentions overrules what we have taught, but they should not be dismissed on that account.

Discussions are valuable, but some lately have had little punch. I do think there is room for dealing with new information.

I would welcome a public discussion written or oral with someone who disagrees with me.