Theology of Music

Worship Music Basics for Beginners

These beginning studies from the Liturgy, Music, and Space curriculum contain short lessons, illustrations, exercises, and discussion questions ideal for both individual and small group studies.

Chapter 7 — Music: A Gift We Discover
Chapter 8 — Music: A Gift We Use
Chapter 9 — Music: A Gift We Cultivate

Music in the Old Testament

King David’s Lasting Musical Legacy

The Significance of King David for Israel’s Worship (and Ours)
These short articles by worship pastor Ron Man summarize key biblical texts that guide our understanding of the purpose and practice of music in worship.

Music in the New Testament

The Savior and Our Song

Bach, Bubba, and the Blues Brothers: The Singing Savior’s Many Voices
These short articles by worship pastor Ron Man and Reformed Theological Seminary professor Reggie Kidd explain why Jesus is a singing savior who leads his church’s song in worship, and also why the Savior’s song necessarily embraces the wide musical and cultural diversity found within the worldwide church.

Singing in the Body and in the Spirit
In this article, theologian Steven Guthrie argues that music is not simply a vehicle for words, but rather “whatever support music may offer words, however it may highlight, reinforce or enhance the text, music itself—the music of music—is used in the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit.”

Movements in Modern Hymnody

Old Hymns for Our Day
Mike Cosper (Sojourn Community Church, Louisville, KY) interviews Kevin Twit (Presbyterian campus minister and founder of Indelible Grace) and Isaac Wardell (chief musician at Trinity Presbyterian Church, Charlottesville, VA) about the use of classic hymns with old and new tunes in contemporary evangelical churches.

Why Young People are Returning to Old Hymn Texts (Kevin Twit)

Thoughts about Musical Style as It Relates to Worship and Hymns  (Kevin Twit)

Observations on the New Hymns Movement

Part 1Part 2Part 3

Bruce Benedict (chief musician, Christ the King Presbyterian Church, Raleigh, NC) reflects critically on the nascent modern hymnody movement in American evangelical churches.  Bruce is an important contributor and organizer within this movement (or, better, these movements), and he participated in a colloquium on this topic at the Calvin Institute for Christian Worship’s annual symposium in January, 2012.

The Hymns Movement (Zac Hicks)
Thoughtful analysis (both sympathetic and critical) on the new hymns movements in American evangelical churches.

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