Sunday, September 27, 2009

Tory Party at prayer or ‘charismatic renewal’?

The Daily Mail reports that the Conservative Party conference in Manchester next month is abandoning its opening religious observance of ‘one warbled hymn and a soapy prayer’.

Cranmer would abandon them too, if that were the sum total of the traditional opening liturgy. But it is not: it is a caricature as insidious as the Thatcherite 'blue rinse brigade'. There is in this opening ceremony all the reverence and respect one finds at the opening prayers before each session of Parliament. The hymn is fine and traditional: the prayers have form and meaning.

But instead ‘there is going to be a belter of a church service in the 500-seater town hall, complete with 5,000-pipe organ, grooved-up folk music and a massed gospel choir’.

David Cameron meets Jim and Tammy Bakker.

Cranmer is all in favour of well-populated churches and fine blasts on the organ. He even encourages the occasion ‘Hallelujah!’. But he is more than a little wary of ‘grooved-up folk music’ supplanting the church’s magnificent hymnody. Why ditch the sturdy ‘And Can It Be?’ for the modulational banalities of the theologically vacuous ‘Shine Jesus Shine’?

Happy-clappy songs are a dumbing down: they are something of a pestilence in church worship and tend to reduce God to a pixie. They demean those who sing them, and communicate little more than a Sunday School level of theology. And not even that, for Robert Raikes would have had no truck with the saccharine and cringe-worthy. It is music for the crèche: melodies for the nursery. One might as well replace The Book of Common Prayer with the Ladybird book of ABC.

Of course styles change, and the ‘Tory Party at prayer’ is not immune from liturgical developments. But Cranmer can hardly wait to see Eric Pickles swaying his hips or Francis Maude banging his tambourine to Dave’s evangelical beat while the mesmerised (if bemused) faithful irritatingly clap on beats two and four.

Worship should exalt: it should heighten, reach upwards and glorify God. It is not X-Factor entertainment.

But never mind the show. The Lord requires the heart.


Blogger Red Kite said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

27 September 2009 at 09:58  
Anonymous Anguished Soul said...

"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it." Matthew 7.12-14

27 September 2009 at 10:02  
Anonymous Anguished Soul said...

Sorry! Missed off verse 14...

"But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."

27 September 2009 at 10:08  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

Not the "Happy Clappy" epithet again Your Grace? It demonstrates a degree of ignorance, prejudice & laziness that does not become Your Grace's normal erudite self.

What is so intrinsically wrong with songs that make one feel happy or like clapping?

Are you really of the opinion that all hymns written from a particular era are naturally superior to all contemporary music merely because of their antiquity?

You are aware - I presume - that the vast majority of hymns written by (for example) the Welsey's are complete rubbish and thankfully were never transmitted to the next generation. And you are aware that many great worship songs were written in the style & vernacular of their period? I suspect that many of the great hyms you are lauding now you would have equally have condemned at the time for not being written in Latin or for being accompanied by an organ.

I do not doubt that a great many of the contemporary worship songs are vacuous & saccharine - especially those of the "Jesus is my boyfriend" ilk. However amongst all the dross their is a very rich, majestic vein of purest gold.

Indeed even as I type, I am listening to some of the majestic songs of Chris Tomlin. May I suggest that Your Grace goes to iTunes and downloads "How great is our God" or "Indescribable" for example.

I think the Conservative party should be congratulated for having the courage to maintain the service at all. If you are going to have an act of worship, is it really a sin to have songs less than 200 years old. What will you be suggesting next, that the King James translation is the only true rendition of scripture?!

27 September 2009 at 10:37  
Blogger King Athelstan said...

Amen to that , Your Grace.

27 September 2009 at 10:50  
Blogger Red Kite said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

27 September 2009 at 11:11  
Anonymous It doesn't add up... said...

The King James version is certainly the finest in the English language: even its mis-translations have become part of the language. It is interesting to note that the Luther Bible retains a similar position in German.

27 September 2009 at 11:14  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Shine Jesus Shine'??

The 90s called, your Grace, and it wants its song back...

27 September 2009 at 11:28  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cons go happy clappy....what's next?

27 September 2009 at 11:29  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(a) You are wrong in suggesting this is anything new. This at least the third year running that things have been this way.

(b) Your characterisation of the style of service is inaccurate and uncharitable - as you would know if you'd been more informed as to point (a).

27 September 2009 at 11:35  
Anonymous Nigel Sedgwick said...

Even from the Anglo-Catholic perspective, I think this offers its own defence, and it sounds pretty good with just an organ: and the voices of course.

Lord, the light of your love is shining
In the midst of the darkness, shining
Jesus, Light of the world, shine upon us
Set us free by the truth you now bring us
Shine on me, shine on me

Shine, Jesus, shine
Fill this land with the Father's glory
Blaze, Spirit, blaze
Set our hearts on fire
Flow, river, flow
Flood the nations with grace and mercy
Send forth your word
Lord, and let there be light

Lord, I come to your awesome presence
From the shadows into your radiance
By the blood I may enter your brightness
Search me, try me, consume all my darkness
Shine on me, shine on me

As we gaze on your kingly brightness
So our faces display your likeness
Ever changing from glory to glory
Mirrored here may our lives tell your story
Shine on me, shine on me

Graham Kendrick
Copyright © 1987 Make Way Music,

Best regards

27 September 2009 at 11:54  
Anonymous no nonny said...

Rebel Saint - that was the Wesleys. Their hymns were wonderful. The new ones are ugly, empty, insensitive, ignorant of English, and completely forgettable. They're not even music.

The Church of England Liturgy is wonderful.

The King James Bible is wonderful - I don't know what you're calling mistranslations. Having compared various passages with Douay Rheims, Jewish translations, and the unutterably inferior, nasty, ugly, insensitive, ignorant of English, euro versions - nothing will take me away from King James.

You can take your new interpretations into euro measurements, and the new version of English that you want to set as a standard for future generations, and you can do what you will - but don't expect me to participate or give it houseroom. I loathe it.

And I still say the old version of the 'Our Father.' Just because you don't understand the difference doesn't make it wrong.

Thank you, Your Grace. We need the opportunity to say these things. One more reason to despise Camfoonery.

27 September 2009 at 11:57  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

I had shine jesus shine at my wedding- as well as traditional hymns such as Guide me O Thou Great Redeemer, thus a balanced mixed of old and new hymns and songs.

I wouldn't say all new songs are without any kind of biblical foundation- far from it , in fact most are written by Evangelicals, who are always looking for biblical justification for what they say and believe- including their songs , so you are wrong on that point.

Sadly your have put yourself in a box. Something with Jesus never did .

27 September 2009 at 12:00  
Anonymous Adrian said...

I have to side with Rebel Saint and Lord Lavendon on this one Your Grace.

Just because we're not singing an essay doesn't mean it's "theologically vacuous."

27 September 2009 at 12:24  
Anonymous no nonny said...

Rebel Saint - that was the Wesleys.

Their hymns were wonderful: beautiful, skilful, and memorable throughout life and nature. The new ones are ugly, empty, insensitive, ignorant of English, and completely forgettable. They're not even music.

The Church of England Liturgy is wonderful.

The King James Bible is wonderful - I don't know what you're calling mistranslations. Having compared various passages with Douay Rheims, Jewish translations, and the unutterably inferior, nasty, ugly, insensitive, vulgar, crude, ignorant of English euro versions - nothing will take me away from King James. I simply don't see where it differs in sense.

You can take your new interpretations into euro measurements, and the bathetic version of English that you want to set as a standard for future generations, and you can do what you will - but don't expect me to participate, contribute, or give it houseroom. I loathe it.

And I still say the old version of the 'Our Father.' Just because you don't understand the difference doesn't make it wrong.

One more reason to despise Camfoonery, too, really. Surely the business of formulating a new government and its policy should be about rescuing our country and culture - not about hammering one more ton of nails into acres covered by their coffins. Trying to induce artificial 'feel-good' while you're burying us (or leaving us to rot) is all the way down there with Bliar, Gordissimo, Faustus and M...
btw - 'feel-good' is just a dumbed down version of Lacanian-Marxist "jouissance." Not being french 'intellectuals' the rest of us presumably need more vulgar fodder...

Thank you, Your Grace. We need the opportunity to say these things.

27 September 2009 at 12:29  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

no noony , I bet if you were around in the times that the King James Bible was written that you would be decrying the fact that there was a new fangled English version of the Bible and a new order of service the book of common prayer; furthermore I suspect you would be demanding services stayed in Latin because English is such a vulgar language to use etc .

True both of these were radical for the time, but that was about 400 years ago, so the meaning of some of the words are now lost , e.g. I went to a Church where they used the old language and no-one could tell me (although they all said it ) what the word "meet" meant in the phrase during the Communion of "It is meet , right and our bounden duty". When does anyone use this phrase in today's society ?

Also to Cramner, 'And can it be', was written by Wesley, who was the 18 century eqivelent of the so-call 'happy clappy' people you so disparage today.

I trust that you both see the irony of your positions ?

27 September 2009 at 13:35  
Blogger English Viking said...

By using the 'logic' that, as the KJV and book of common prayer were innovative and provocative when first issued by nature of the fact that they were in English and also written 'in the vernacular', and so called 'traditionalists' support their continued use today, and therefore it is inconsistent for these traditionalists to decry the 'new', vernacular versions of the Bible and 'happy clappy' worship, this line of reasoning allows for any old clap-trap to be issued in the name of progress, without allowing any room for legitimate criticism of it's apparent shallowness.

I'd rather be a Wesley than a Kendrick, a C.H.Spurgeon or a C.T.Studd than a Benny Hinn or a Maurice Cirello. I'd rather be described as boring and unwilling to adapt to modern conditions, than give in to the spirit of vacuous, superficial, vapid, witless and insipid 'worship', that more resembles a pop concert than an act of praise.

I'll stick to the scriptures as laid out in the KJV, which, aside from the unrivaled beauty of the prose and meter, can be relied upon to be a genuine and accurate attempt at translating the original, rather than the Beano and Dandy style NIV, The Message, etc which are best described as comics which are loosely about a God, and most certainly not Bibles, the translators of which have been thoroughly inconsistent in their methodology and devious in their theology.

II Thess. 2 v 15

27 September 2009 at 14:51  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

I can’t see why they can’t have a Traditional British Church service raising the roof with lovely old Hymns like “Abide with Me.”

All this happy clappy stuff isn’t really in the British tradition. It’s reminiscent of the UCKG sort of worship which isn’t British. it’s a bit too Cultish and controversial for a main British party to be emulating I think.

No doubt another one of “ Call me Dave’s bright ideas like “hug a hoodie.”
Gospel is lovely and uplifting with the right people in the right setting it somehow doesn’t seem to fit with our culture.

27 September 2009 at 14:57  
Blogger UKViewer said...

As a refugee from the RC Church, now firmly ensconced in the CofE, I have found that Anglican Liturgy is far superior.

Both the Book of Common Prayer and Common Worship have much to offer.

Mattins this morning was a wonderful service (BCP), with wonderful singing and uplifting.

Modern hymns and liturgy have their place, I just wonder if the Modern Conservative Party has a place?

They seem to be winning in the polls, but not convincing me that they are actually ready for Government.

But I will settle for them, If I must choose between them, New Liber Archy (Sorry Labour) and the Liberated Democrats.

Why can't we have a Political Party made up from Peers of the Realm and Aristocrats, tempered with one or two Middle Class Business types, to run the Mess (Sorry Country).

27 September 2009 at 14:57  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Abide: To put up with; tolerate....

'Abide with me' seems very relevant. What do you guys do for fun?

I kid you not, the word verification is: swamphot

27 September 2009 at 15:17  
Blogger Terry Hamblin said...

Shine Jesus Shine was written 22 years ago - hardly up to date. Graham Kendrick has written some fine hymns and a lot that will fade into obscurity, just as most of Charles Wesley's 6000+ hymns have. The best of modern hymns are being written by Stuart Townend and Keith Getty. Try "How great the Father's love for us" or "In Christ Alone". They have modern tunes but they are theologically sound and poetically beautiful. A lot of Victorian hymns are theologically banal and musically turgid.

I'm not sure that church music really existed in your day, your Grace, so it must be quite a task to enter the twenty-first Century.

27 September 2009 at 15:28  
Blogger dmk said...

I'm surprised at the intolerance of some of these comments, given that (I'm guessing) it's Christians commenting. There's no reason why it can't be 'both/and'. There are lots of 'traditional British' folk in our church who enjoy the new songs as well as the old, including most of our choir (average age about 70).

We've also discovered that 'And Can It Be' works very well if you have a decent rhythm section.

27 September 2009 at 15:36  
Blogger 1662 BCP said...

I'm just surprised that they've not opted to use some Mohammedan prayer.

27 September 2009 at 15:51  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

Would Rebel Saint like to say a little more to explain why he regards the Wesleys' hymns as rubbish? I can't think of a single one of them that fit that description.

27 September 2009 at 16:08  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

"Fits", not "fit".

27 September 2009 at 16:10  
Anonymous chris r said...

Your Grace

Jesus came, not only for the theologically trained and erudite, but for the simple and un-learned - those who do not have the intellectual equipment to fulfill the calling God has given you, or worship in the way that fulfills you.

So while it may be appropriate for you to yearn for songs and worship which are intellectually stimulating in the context of a Tory party conference, I think you are in danger of excluding the very people Christ came for in the tone you take over 'happy clappy' songs and culture. It smacks of spiritual snobbery and superiority. And I suspect God may be more pleased with a simple uneducated offering from a sincere heart, than a deeply theological one from the heart of a hypocrite. (and I do not mean to imply here, that you are a hypocrite!)

I wonder if the worship in Heaven, with it's repeated 'Holy, Holy, Holy' will be a bore to you, Your Grace.

Please be at least grateful that God is being recognised.

27 September 2009 at 16:19  
Anonymous Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...


it means seemly, right, proper appropriate...

according to Mr Slope, who isn't at all 'meet' come to think of it

27 September 2009 at 16:48  
Anonymous Willie Wonka said...

Christians are like a tin of Quality Street. There are horrible sticky ones; ones that get stuck in your teeth; ones that make you feel sick; sweet ones; ones that you avoid; ones that everybody else seems to like but you hate; small ones covered in chocolate that you take with you; ones witch are too nutty; squishy ones; tangy ones; sickly ones; ones which surprise you; ones which disappoint you; ones which are irresistible; ones that you really have to dig around to find; ones that simply should not be there.

But whenever you open the tin, it's always a pleasant feeling to see them all.

27 September 2009 at 16:49  
Blogger steve said...

It's interesting how both Cramner and many of the commenters seem ignorant of both the dross that was produced in previous eras of writing worship songs, and of the many gems of modern worship songs.

In my experience of charismatic churches since the 80s, I'd say that something like 50% of the lyrics were taken straight from the Bible, whilst there are plenty of other songs which are deep, poetic, or both. Stuart Townend is a great songwriter to start with if you're looking for those gems.

I also find it odd that people seem to think that there aren't any good modern translations of the Bible. Yes, the KJV stands alone in terms of its impact on the English language (although it's really only a minor revision of the translations that came before it), but translations like the NASB and the ESV are every bit as literal (and possibly more so) as the KJV, and have the advantage that you don't miss the point of a passage when the KJV uses archaic language.

God Bless,


27 September 2009 at 16:51  
Blogger English Viking said...

Steve @ 16:51

The KJV was not a 'minor revision of the tranlations that came before it'. It was a total re-translation, employing dozens of language scholars and using the Texus Receptus and Masoretic Hebrew texts. Unique then, unrivalled now.

27 September 2009 at 17:16  
Blogger Green Christian said...

English Viking, I was probably wrong to use the word "minor", but the KJV was most certainly a revision of earlier Bibles. The remit of the translators was, in fact, to be guided by the Bishop's Bible - and comparison of the two translations shows that this was, in fact, what happened.

As for whether the KJV is unrivalled, I prefer to use a translation that is based on the more reliable manuscripts available to modern translators and one that doesn't obscure the meaning by using obsolete English. That's not a slight on the achievements of the KJV translators, merely a recognition that the best of the modern translations better convey the meaning of the original text.

God Bless,


27 September 2009 at 18:12  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your grace.

I am I right in saying that you have up till this time not commented on the growing problem within your own flock concerning the sharing of the cup during Sunday service?

If not, sorry. Whatever the case the problem is still to pass. Your comments would be welcome.

It was evident right from the very start, that this CofE directive, had a problem.

Apart from the OBVIOUS fact that this swine flu nonsense was only ever going to turn out to be just yet another establishment SCAM, deliberately created to cause wide spread concern. Resulting in a subdued and diverted public, and a massively profitable earner for the establishments drugs corporations. The problem was always going to be, WHEN exactly is it ever going to be perfectly safe to go back to how things were done in the past?

For logically no such time is ever going to arrive. There is not going to be a time when the Church of England can safely say that there are no more potentially fatal viruses. This for the very simple fact, that there always has been, and very likely always we be. It is also VERY worthwhile stating that if the establishment have their way, which of course they ALWAYS do, there will be ever more of them.

27 September 2009 at 18:46  
Blogger ultramontane grumpy old catholic said...

The late lamented Alice Thomas Ellis (as reported by Damian Thomson in the Spectator in 2005)put it succinctly

"The sneer on the face of a teenager confronted by a 'rave in the nave' is enough to freeze the blood"

27 September 2009 at 20:09  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

Little Black Sambo said... "Would Rebel Saint like to say a little more to explain why he regards the Wesleys' hymns as rubbish? I can't think of a single one of them that fit that description.

That's a misquote. I said the vast majority of the Wesley hymns were rubbish. How many of their 1000's upon 1000's of hymns can you remember Little Black Sambo, and how many have endured the generations? Re-read my original post ;o)

For those who mistook what I said about the KJV, I do not doubt it's beauty or magnificence - but (unlike the language of God incarnate) it is also quite incomprehensible to most.

Art, literature and music did not reach it's zenith in the middle ages. Get over it!

27 September 2009 at 20:27  
Anonymous no nonny said...

Rebel Saint -

Either you're no saint or I am one.

If the language of the KJV is incomprehensible to anyone, it is because people like you demand that it be so. You go around legislating who may use words (e.g. "meet")in what senses; you tell us we may not say Holy Ghost, on account of Caspar (though if you ever saw Caspar... do tell! What was he like?); you deny people of the north their rightful pride in their vernacular 'thee' and 'thou'; and you enforce horrible euro measurement systems on people to whom they mean nothing. To mention but a few of the ways in which you contribute to the Marxist deconstruction of our language and culture.

Just because you don't understand something, doesn't mean no one else does.

Once more, please yourself who you command to 'get over' anything - just don't expect people like me to obey.

Furthermore, the sixteenth century is not usually kicked aside as 'Middle Ages.' For some reason (probably because of the nasty filthy stuff in there) it's still fashionable.

Oh - and since you don't even know what the Middle Ages is - what makes you think you understand anything about its art, literature and music? You, speaking from a generation that doesn't have any of them?

Oh - and Lord Lavendon - you'd have lost your bet. I'd have been out defending and preserving everything Anglo-Saxon: as I do now.

27 September 2009 at 20:57  
Anonymous martin sewell said...

Liturgical snobbery is no more Christian than any other form.

27 September 2009 at 21:27  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Goodness me, Jesus Christ even! Second thoughts, keep going it's highly entertaining.

I am watching Darwin on BBC Four, and it has transpired that Barnacles have the biggest penis (Proportionally) in the entire animal kingdom.

Speaking of bible versions, I read somewhere that the NIV is going to produce a new non homophobic version, what ever the hell this consists of I do not know.

Darwin spent eight years studying Barnacles.

Found a link to the NIV gender inclusive version.

27 September 2009 at 21:46  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

no nonny said... "If the language of the KJV is incomprehensible to anyone, it is because people like you demand that it be so"

Forsooth! Seems I've really rattled thine cage.

I do not demandeth it so at all - verily I say, it's just the way it is. I suggest you accompanyeth me on my regular home visits around the housing estates of Bradford and then tell me if the language of the KJV (or Shakespeare, or Milton etc) is comprehensible or not! And if I were a betting man I would place good money on the fact that you could conduct the same exercise on most English Literature graduates and not get massively dissimilar results.

Thank you for correcting me on the dating of historical eras. My ignorance of such things obviously proves the inferiority of my culture and so you are right to dismiss all I have to say on the subject. That was also the practice of the worship snobs of Jesus' day to (John 9:28).

27 September 2009 at 21:47  
Blogger Concerned said...

Well said Your Grace, well said.

27 September 2009 at 22:38  
Blogger Terry Hamblin said...

The KJV is a revision of Tyndale's translation (with added extras by Miles Coverdale). It is pretty difficult to comprehend in places and has some startling errors because knowledge of Hebrew and NT Greek was poorer then than now.

27 September 2009 at 22:51  
Blogger English Viking said...

Rebel Saint @ 21:47

I think the point that No Nonny and I have been trying to make is that just because the inadequacies of modern schooling leave large sections of society without the ability to properly investigate writings that are written in their native tongue, albeit a slightly outdated form, is not an excuse for toy-town versions of the Scriptures. Nor is there a need for entertainment to be introduced into forms of worship. The LORD makes wise the simple, with this in mind, perhaps dragging the Scriptures and liturgical forms down to the level of a very badly educated teenager is not the best way to go about things.

BTW, the KJV is a technical 'book', and as usual with such books, a glossary of terms is to be found in the rear sections. The KJV contains less than 300 words that are not in common usage today. Not too difficult, is it?

27 September 2009 at 22:52  
Blogger English Viking said...

Terry Hamblin @ 22:51

Tyndale and Coverdale laid the groundwork for The Great Bible, the flaws in which eventually led to the need for a total retranslation of the Scriptures ordered by King James. Obviously, the 47 experts consulted extant versions of other translations, but if the KJV is mere a 'cut and paste' re-hash of some-one else's work, it wouldn't have taken so many people so long. The differences between versions are too numerous to mention but similarities must surely be expected, unless one or the other versions is totally wrong.

'It is pretty difficult to comprehend...'

2 Peter 3 v 16 states: As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

The study of the Scriptures is not easy.

27 September 2009 at 23:20  
Anonymous Philip Walker said...

Agree with the need for good doctrinal content in worship, but as the Cross has removed the penalty and judgement for sin, the Christian should experience intimacy with God, and can expected to be exited and exuberant at such a salvation.

Yes some modern worship songs are theologically empty, but many are full of Gospel truth e.g.

IN CHRIST ALONE my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone! - who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save:
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied -
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine -
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand!

(Keith Getty & Stuart Townend Copyright © 2001 Thankyou Music)

No dumbing-down nor any “banalities of the theologically vacuous” there.

But of course, it would still be good to have prayers to Jesus in the conference itself as well as the church service rather than push God to outside the main conference – part of the tendency to desire to eject God from the public sphere? (But maybe they realise they can’t expect God to bless all the goings on at the conference!)

27 September 2009 at 23:46  
Blogger Reformation said...

Your grace:

1. 1662 BCP for this American.

2. Scots Psalter, 1650, for opening and closing of MP and EP, as well as daily Psalter Readings.

3. 10 chapters of OT and 10 chapters of NT for the daily lections.

4. Irish Articles 1615 for the Confession.

Retired and able to do it. But, your Eminence, this humble scribbler cannot abide the Gnosticism and Montanism of the times.

Your humble servant,
Philip Veitch

27 September 2009 at 23:55  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

English Viking - I actually agree whole-heartedly. However, I fear that what is actually demonstrated by many, even His Grace, is actually thinly veiled cultural/worship snobbery; a belief that a zenith was reached millennia/centuries/decades ago, and that everything that follows falls short of the glory.

I simply contend that there are still majestic, regal, awesome & inspiring examples of worship songs/literature/liturgy/architecture/art being produced now as there were at whatever particular era the snobs regard as the divinely anointed zenith.

There is indeed much dross as well. I would even agree that the modern ability for individuals to easily create & propagate their work means that such dross is increasingly more prolific. But that just makes the jewels shine even brighter. And there are still some beautiful jewels of worship being unearthed, polished & honed. Kendric, Redman, Tomlin & Zesch all shine just as bright as Wesley.

The worship zenith is yet to come!

28 September 2009 at 00:05  
Blogger Andrew BOD said...

Your Grace

I'm sure in the 18th century "And Can It Be" was the "Shine Jesus Shine" of it's time.

28 September 2009 at 00:45  
Anonymous not a machine said...

Oh your grace , far be it for me to correlate the rise of happy clappy with the ascent of Blair , and those believers who enjoy a mood and the er "new", that god has infused them with , I had wondered if the ultimate happy clappy song could be "things can only get better" .

I recall being in one such gathering from the new frontiers church oddley enough based in Brighton , after being singled as "unkown" and interrogated for my personal details , i was told that this was new church , not stuffy like the old , but living in the new testament in the new covanent of the new tesament .

There was pop music for worship , flag waving, dancing , I was told the idea was to get the line between everday and church as thin as possible . prophecy that the old church was dying and this new church was what god wanted .

then came the first doubts "the miracle gold fillings" , the TV nature , the formations of zealots and there promotion , the way the wrong question could see you prohescised against in public.

we were to give , to give all we had , I never did see any accounts we were all being kept in the moment .

It isnt so much that some did not find god , but what sort of god they found , moody ? tempremental depending upon what book was being promoted , sometimes it had all the hall marks of a cult .

The new testament is vital , but in order to know the new covanent you need to understand the old one or christs works is not explained fully .

I have seen and known some damged souls from these churches , in an era of spin , I now take some comfort in the simplicity of the format of the CofE , the fact the bible is still read , hyms are still sung and baptism still performed and a candle lit .

for some this may be a touchy subject but with the repentence comes the humbled comittment and with humbled comitment comes the true emotions/knowing of God , and we must be a disciplined vessel both to receive them and to not leak them away.

28 September 2009 at 00:48  
Anonymous John Knox said...

Your Grace,

Unless you use a revised version "And can it be?"'s theology is hardly any better than "Shine, Jesus, shine". Both Nicea and Athanasius would have major trouble claiming the death of God or Jesus' divine nature on the cross. For superficial revivalist theology it is all the same. "Shine, Jesus, shine" is just mixing up the roles of Father, Son and Spirit in prayer-address of the God-head, authority to ask and enablement to pray. But it's all the same spirit, as long as it's about Jesus and God, we shouldn't bring in theology...

What about reintroducing the psaltery or gregorian? Even the CofE didn't have hymns for 1800+ years.

28 September 2009 at 00:52  
Anonymous estwdjhn said...

I think that there are several issues which frequently get intermixed to the confusion of many. The resultant discusions frequently generate more heat than light.

Here are some of my thoughts on some of the issues this throws up.

1) It is fashonable in some circles to set Graham Kendrick up as a bit of a straw man. He does have a rather unfortunate tendancy to be a content free zone, although the same charge can be stuck to a goodly number of older hymns. If modern hymns are to be critised, I for one would be more interested in a serious criteque of the works of Stuart Townsend.

2) Perhaps there is also a case for a balance in singing - it surely is not neccesary for the total abandonment of traditional hymns, but at the same time is there not room to accomidate some of the more worthy modern compositions. It seems that many people either squirm with horror over modern compositions, or squirm with equal horror at the "dated" language of a couple of hundred years ago. Surely your Grace should be aware of the dangers of expelling the baby along with the bathwater.

3) It seems odd to me, the way that people aproach the question of Bible versions. If I only spoke French or Polish, few indeed would rush to give me a AV as the only way to read God's word. Indeed, I would hope that a good many of your comunicants would rush to provide a copy for me in my native toungue. Now, I grew up in the United Kingdom, in the last 25 years. I have English that is usable, indeed according to standard tests I belive I have an above average vocabulary for my age. I had the blessing of being raised in a home where the Bible was read every day (from the AV). Regrettably, I still don't understand the AV's rendering of many passages. I bought an ESV as an experiment about 3 years ago, and found it transformed my Bible reading - I actually could understand the plain english of a passage easily. If that makes me ignorant, so may it be. Tindale did perhaps translate the N.T. that "the boy who drives the plow" would be able to understand.

4)Again, by citing the NIV and The Message, it would seem that perhaps a straw man is being prepaired. I understand well the concerns regarding excessive freedom of paraphrase that such versions have. However, perhaps those who have such concerns could investiagte for themselves the New American Standard Bible(NASB), or the English Standard Version(ESV). These are both translated to a much higher quality. They use literal word for word comparison where-ever possible, and where no other word is readily avalable will use a now arcaic term(e.g. Propitiation). That the ESV in particular is steadily gaining ground from the NIV implies to me that the NIV has always been considered a poor option, and used from neccesity rather than a great preferance.

As a parting shot, I'm tempted to ask why anyone cares what the Conserative party do at their conference. They may pay lip-service to the true and living God, but at the same time they appear to be rather more actively worshiping the various modern day golden calfs. I'm a conservative voter, but only on the grounds of the "lesser evil" rather than any great conviction of their virtues.

I suspect that the main thing most people at this service will be hoping is that is passes unremarked by the liberal media...

28 September 2009 at 01:05  
Anonymous no nonny said...

These accusations of snobbery!!! Such a fine thing, led by the froggies and foreigners who feel inferior even when they're on top of the muck-heap they've created: they have to keep their noses in the air because...
[And they just can't stand the power and position that still adheres to English, in spite of all their destructive efforts... from 1066 on, I might add.]

Rebel Saint - on the ethnic make-up of Bradford. The place is no longer Yorkshire. Which suggests several possibilities as to why you don't know the Yorkshire use of 'thy' -- and that it has nothing to do with whether or not someone's been forced to participate in your debased system of indoctrination.

'Thees' and 'thous' aren't snobbery: they're Broad Yorkshire (and also the singular of 'you' which your euro friends have retained in their 'tu's and what-nots, but have apparently decided we have no right to).

When I went to school, near enough to Bradford, it was still English and everybody knew Broad Yorkshire; and they also knew, loved, and understood the language of Shakespeare and the Bible, and Milton, and many others besides. And they knew all kinds of things about interpreting them.

As to the knots of scripture, even the frogs used to admit they take some sorting out: but much is to be gained from the labour.

If you know English Lit graduates who don't know English - well then you've succeeded in your destruction up to a point - some programmes and teachers are useless (and run by foreigners). However the end result would be the fault of the system, and the homes that bred such ignorami, and the possibility that English is not their natural language. High and Mighty as you sit, perhaps you'll one day realize that you can take English away from the English; but you can't take English out of them.

Your cultural zenith, by the way, is a construct of your own. You may like the sound of it, but it's divorced from reality, from English, and from Christianity.

28 September 2009 at 01:57  
Blogger Tarquin said...

'Happy-clappy songs are a dumbing down: they are something of a pestilence in church worship and tend to reduce God to a pixie.'

Welcome to modern life - you either take your religion seriously and accept that few people will be interested, or you play to the lowest common denominator

It's unfortunately been true for politics for years, so I don't see why we should expect better from religion

28 September 2009 at 02:14  
Blogger OldSouth said...

Your Grace:

Happy-clappy songs are a dumbing down: they are something of a pestilence in church worship and tend to reduce God to a pixie.


And much more of a concern--and I speak as a conservative Protestant American--is watching the replay of the alliance of a political party with the evangelical right. Much too long a tale to tell here, but I was witness to it.

It did them both harm, in the long pull, as the Republicans became identified in many peoples minds as the party under the thrall of preachers like Jerry Falwell; and more ominously, the Christian faith began to seem like a political affiliation, instead of the outrageously joyful good news of Incarnation and Redemption.

If you have any influence in either camp, urge them both to refrain from this course of action, for the sake of both the nation and the gospel.

28 September 2009 at 04:16  
Anonymous sydneysider said...

English Viking and Nonnyno are absolutely right.Reducing God to
a pixie through this happy clappy nonsense is insulting and sacriligious when glorious music has been written in his name.It is heartening that a few remain with some idea of dignified and respectful worship Historically the church was always a proponent of high culture.It should do so again before all is lost.

28 September 2009 at 07:26  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

"...tend to reduce God to a pixie."

I laughed out loud at that one.

It's religion Jim, but not as we know it.

28 September 2009 at 08:42  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

@ Willie Wonka

I think that religion in general is more like a Snickers bar (Or a Marathon for those that prefer a nostalgic feel).

28 September 2009 at 08:45  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree. Although the Psalms do suggest quite a lively form of worship.
I hope you have also noticed many anglican churches are omitting the prayer of humble access before communion.
The Church should not dumb down - but raise up.
Mark Pritchard MP

28 September 2009 at 09:25  
Blogger Red Kite said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

28 September 2009 at 10:08  
Anonymous Old Grumpy said...

@The Glovner

A very small point, but what exactly IS a 'Glovner?' My dictionary doesn't list it, and my search engine didn't seem to offer anything which specifically matched.

Could you share your thinking?

I'm only interested....this has no hidden agenda

28 September 2009 at 11:24  
Blogger Preacher said...

A very revealing blog. Why is the Church so ailing? Because of division over gnats & camels. I would like to say that I'm surprised at firstly Your Graces comments secondly at the conflict between the bretheren over such a small issue. If we can't be sensitive & sensible to one another, what hope is there of resolving the major issues & reaching the lost? Personally I find some modern choruses aren't to my taste, during these I find it's better to remain silent & focus on the Lord & what He has accomplished, a time for reflection & adoration. At other times the modern worship songs are as good & often better than some of the dirges trotted out week after week at dead churches everywhere. Having said that, some of the old songs are truly inspiring, 'Be thou my vision' is a particular favourite, but many of the new songs are equally uplifting & inspiring e.g some of those by the Belfast worship leader Robin Mark stand out as straight from the heart songs of awe & adoration.
In conclusion, until we can love each other & 'sing of the same hymn sheet' we will be at a great disadvantage in reaching the lost. Good luck to the Tories for making a stand & flying the flag, perhaps when the present left wing lot are gone we can eradicate the anti Christian PC rubbish that they were so keen on establishing as law & get on with the Lords work of saving the souls of lost Humanity.

28 September 2009 at 11:40  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

@Old Grumpy

You probably won't find it in a dictionary.

It is a name given to me some time back which is an amalganmation of my surname (Glover) and the book I was reading at the time (The biography of Lenny McLean, called The Guv'nor).

So we get "The Glovner", it kind of stuck from then on and that's what I got called as a nickname ever since.

28 September 2009 at 12:14  
OpenID scottspeig said...

Your Grace,

As a so called "happy clappy christian" (I'm quite happy being in this group) I do understand where you are coming from when you say "theologically vacuous" songs for there are plenty of those. However, there are also excellent modern songs (or should I say "choruses"?) which are not. One would only have to look through the Methodist hymnbook to find the newer theologically accurate songs (since they are currently updating the book and the songs are vetted for theological inaccuracies).

More to the other point, which is the precise reason I detest liturgy, is that after saying the oft repeated statements, many in a congregation will detach themselves from the prayers and hymns, which then creates the fact that the theologically superior statements are glossed over making them worse as a teaching aid than the vacuous songs you dislike.

You have also made the mistake of comparing worship to singing when most mature christians should know that singing is only one aspect of worship and is there to encourage and help people into "worship" and believe me when I say, that songs sung at places such as Stoneleigh bible week (no longer running) and New Wine do precisely what they are written for: glorify God giving him praise and leading the congregation to the position that they can focus on the Almighty.

28 September 2009 at 12:55  
Blogger Andy John Paul said...

If David danced before the ark and scripture commands us to celebrate with timbrel, lute and harp then who are we to scorn the Tory party's attempts to identify with the Christian faith it was charged to protect? Modern hymns are often nearer to the original scripture than the old non-conformists songs of yesteryear. Moreover worship changes and improves like good art. How absurd to argue we should stay stuck in a timewarp. The Christian religion is under threat as never before. It is imperative to show the world that we praise God, worship him and adore him. Christians are not in the business of producing slick spectaculars - leave that to the West End theatres. I speak as a traditional catholic,a fan of the Latin Mass and church music generally. I also love new music, new hymns or songs. As Wesley said why should the devil have all the good tunes? However we pray and praise the essential point to grasp is that we must mean it. Sitting through a quaint mass or piece of music and saying 'how nice' serves neither God's purpose nor the Conservative Party. Hoist up y'skirts, your grace and get on down and boogie

28 September 2009 at 13:21  
Anonymous Sneaky Mischief Maker said...

I think we will all find that His Grace is simply wishing to create the unwitting testimony that the Conservatives are doing God, and He is probably enjoying the fact that we are indeed swallowing the bait as He reels in His prize specimen.

28 September 2009 at 14:36  
Anonymous TJ said...

Your Grace,

Thank you for adding weight to the feelings of a downtrodden segment of the Church universal who are saddened when we engage in the post-modernist notions of 'style over substance' and 'this is my truth, tell me yours'. To request rigour in truth, to seek craftsmanship in vehicles for divine worship, is not elitest whatsoever.

I acknowledge Nick Page's superb book 'And now let's move into a time of nonsense' as providing fuel for my thinking.

The Wesleys wrote some dross, sure, but now that their contemporous generation is long gone, the best remain. Very little of Kendrick, Getty, Townend or Redman will make it beyond the generation which they came from.

There are notable exceptions. "Hail, the Sun of Righteousness! / Light and life to all he brings / Risen with healing in his wings" remains in in many carol services at Christmas, and yet Kendrick's 'Come and See', one of his best songs, is very seldom wheeled out at Easter now.

A case study. Recently a bunch of youngsters sang 'These are the days of Elijah' at my congregation, citing it as a favourite. Songs of Fellowship tells us this song quotes 19 passages of scripture in sixteen lines of prose (since the metre changes and the rhyme is erratic, prose it is!). Sadly, these children were unable to expand on the fleeting references to Elijah or Ezekiel, let alone tell me anything much about the content of the chorus. The song itself will not have taught them anything much about them, either.

So, we encourage our young people, impressionable and sometimes faltering in the faith, to sing with gusto, to a tune with the musical merit of a car crash, words which on investigation mean nothing whatsoever to them, and not to be worried that this is vacuous.

Hymn singing is a vehicle for conveying and understanding truth, which in itself is an act of worship. Respect for the means and reverence for its' intended end should go hand in hand and be reflected in the quality of what we do.

'The best for the highest' or 'Anything for Jesus'?

28 September 2009 at 16:17  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

I prefer Highway to Hell by AC/DC myself, yup it seems the devil still has the best tunes.

28 September 2009 at 16:48  
Anonymous Old Grumpy said...

@ The Glovner 12:14

Appreciated, Sir....many thanks

28 September 2009 at 16:53  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eric Pickles swaying his hips to AC/DC is probably a more imaginable scenario. Maybe Led Zeplin's Highway to Heaven could be also on the hymn book.

28 September 2009 at 18:36  
Blogger Andrew BOD said...

Would that be Led Zepplin's "Stairway to Heaven" perchance? Sacrilege indeed!

28 September 2009 at 20:31  
Anonymous Old Grumpy said...

Your Grace -

....but heaven has the best choreographers.

PS word verification today is "ching"

very deep, that. I ching, and all that stuff

28 September 2009 at 21:03  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That should of indeed been 'Stairway'. I cannot believe I said that?

28 September 2009 at 21:45  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

It did provide a laugh though, kudos to you.

28 September 2009 at 22:00  
Blogger Brad Evans said...

Why not just separate church and state and have done with this?

29 September 2009 at 02:29  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

Completely agree Brad.

The reason is that an inordinate amount of power and representation would be taken away from groups that feel they have the right to be the moral police for the country.

And they don't like that because they already know they are right and everyone else is wrong.

29 September 2009 at 09:11  
Blogger Gnostic said...

Happy-clappy songs are a dumbing down: they are something of a pestilence in church worship and tend to reduce God to a pixie.

Thank you, Your Grace, for highlighting one of the main reasons I quit attending church services.

29 September 2009 at 11:38  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

The fact that god is as equally believable as a pixie?

29 September 2009 at 11:41  
Blogger Gnostic said...

I used to take my grandmother to the weekly shoppers service because I was the only one who would volunteer. I used to be a regular attender as a child and belonged to various youth clubs. My family background was staunch C of E.

I have no idea whether or not God exists. If s/he/it does I don't believe s/he/it's an anthropomorphic god. However, the universe came into being somehow so it's clear there is some power of creation going on. Some prefer to call it God but it's possible it could be some sort of cosmic pixie who, if there's any justice at all, will hate happy clappy music as much as I do...


29 September 2009 at 12:08  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

Can't disagree with anything there.

I just prefer to go with "I don't know, but I won't bother making any leaps" rather than "something must have done it".

I guess it just means you are at the 50:50 where as I sit 99% against.

Agreed on if there was anything I would hope to god (if you will pardon the pun) that they can't stand that happy clappy flacid nonsense, otherwise they wouldn't deserve much worship in the first place anyway.

29 September 2009 at 13:22  
Anonymous sydneysider said...

If that's your thinking Glovner
you are not an atheist.If you consider the magnificence of creation then it stands to reason
that the creator must be awesome
and worthy of the very best that
we can offer through worship.I don't think you 99% against.Your
posts manifest a lot of unconscious
Christian values.

29 September 2009 at 16:03  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

It is the position of a logical atheist, maybe not a fundamentalist atheist, but who in the hell wants to be a fundamentalist anything.

Except the fundamentalists of course.

It is not that I have 1% of doubt, it is just that I don't have 100% of proof, but I don't need to disprove someone else claim to something, the actual burden of proof lies with the claiment.

So I choose not to worry about it as long as it doesn't affect my well being, which is where I do take issue with religion.

For an example, I don't force the relgious people to go and have abortions, but I do think they should be available for people that need them regardless of the religious persuasion. And so I don't feel it right for religious groups to push their choices on to groups that don't share their thoughts.

I can't say I "consider the magnificence of creation", as I can't say that it was a creation (in the way you mean creation anyway). I would say that I certainly consider the magnificance of nature.

And maybe 99% against isn't the correct way to present it as this implies that 99% of myself goes towards not beliving. It's not that I disbelieve, its that I have no need to believe and see no evidence to change my mind on it.

That doesn't mean that I can't be a good person or have decent morals, the only difference is I do these things through choice.

Rather than through any fear or whorship of something that in my mind just doesn't exist.

29 September 2009 at 17:14  
Anonymous Old Grumpy said...

@ gnostic 11:38

Fair enough, you don't like happy clappy. As I get older I find it less and less of interest, too.

And the new 21st century stuff stuff (not Mr Kendrick, most of his is 1960/70's works, and at least this has a defined melody, and occasionally a harmony, too) I find impossible to even sing, seems to me it's generated by a random number generator inside a computer

But why quit church?

Surely there are plenty of "traditional" congregations?

In our parish we have everything from happy clappy right through to the book of common prayer, take your pick, we have a service to suit you. And that's only the COE. If you want traditional, there's always Rome. Plus as many strict sects as you can shake a stick at.

29 September 2009 at 18:18  
Anonymous len said...

I would suggest that God ıs not the staıd old gentleman that some mıght suggest. Davıd danced wıldly before the Lord who seemed more than happy.
Clappıng and even shoutıng are better than some of the dead relıgıous servıces ı have attended.

30 September 2009 at 19:28  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older