Thursday, February 23, 2006

Darryl Hart on P&W (contra John Frame)

Darryl Hart argued this in early 1998. The whole piece can be found here. When reading this, it boggles when one considers how much the Christian mainstream has moved in eight short years.

"Diane West in an article for The Weekly Standard wrote about the trend of political conservatives who attempt to show that they are cool. . . . West admits "an all-but-irresistible culture force pulls from Right to Left," luring the middle-class into anti-middle-class guises. But this cultural drift cannot change the fundamental antithesis between bourgeois values, namely, "responsibility, fidelity, sobriety, and other badges of maturity," and the "cumulative" message of rock culture -- "sexual and narcotic gratification, anarchism, self-pity, and other forms of infantilism."



"Now if West is right, and she is not the only one arguing this way about rock music, soft or otherwise, then we might reasonably pause in using its forms to communicate praise to God. And this isn't because we are hoping to preserve middle-class culture. It is because music that expresses sexual and narcotic gratification, anarchism, self-pity, and other forms of infantilism is not a fitting form (more on forms below) for worship. It cannot carry the weight that we want to put on it. So my response to praise songs is that they are irreverent, no matter how much Prof. Frame insists they are. Of course, we could do a better HE SAID, SHE SAID exhibition than the President and Monica are now giving us, and our imitation of the Miller Lite commercials, LESS REVERENT, MORE RIGID will not solve anything. But I wonder if Prof. Frame has ever considered the subtler message conveyed by the music he uses in his service. Again, as a good Van Tilian I would think he would see that nothing is neutral, even cultural forms. And therefore, the cultural message of rock music is one that stands for something other than the virtues that Paul says are fitting sound doctrine in Titus 2 (sobriety, moderation, self-control). Why should we exhibit these things in our lives (which may mean I should give up my U2), but not in our worship? I also wonder if what is going on at New Life Escondido is the J. C. Pennification of American Presbyterianism -- the effort of uptight, middle-class, white folk trying to be hip. Prof. Frame is right. I have never been to his church and so I should be cautious in what I say. But I do not live in a bomb shelter. Our CRC congregation went hip during my time on the consistory there, and at that time we lived close to Willow Creek, whose influence in the Chicago area was enormous (literally). So I know a little more of what I speak that what Prof. Frame incautiously alleges in his book and in this debate.





"Maybe the reason why Prof. Frame cannot see the problems of contemporary music is because of his understanding of what it means to be biblical. It is an unhistorical, abstract, and largely individual notion. . . .





"This is where charismatic worship, I believe, falls woefully short. It is not reverent nor does it exhibit godly fear. (New heavens, new earth worship will also express godly fear, if Revelation is any indication, something which argues against the kind of "ecstatic joy" that Frame thinks we should now display because of what Christ has accomplished.) Frame and I can go back and forth, DOES TOO, DOES NOT until our microprocessors melt. But his insistence that P&W music is reverent will not be convincing in the light of what I have said above about rock music (no matter how soft, and therefore bland and vanilla it is). Even more important, however, in the context of the RPW is the consideration of all the consciences of God's people in worship. I think it should trouble Prof. Frame that there are critics of contemporary Christian music who are saying that it wounds or binds the consciences of believers. Unless he can argue that the Bible commands this kind of music, then love for neighbor would force him to find music to which no one may possible object (see the recent article on the Charity and the RPW in the Nicotine Theological Journal), music that does not needlessly carry cultural baggage at odds with the very thing we are doing in worship."

2 Comments:

Anonymous Joel said...

I wonder if he's given up his U2 now?

What is up with Westminster and U2?

2/25/2006 07:27:00 AM  
Blogger Ryan Martin said...

I know. Weird.

2/25/2006 09:09:00 AM  

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Immoderate: Darryl Hart on P&W (contra John Frame)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Darryl Hart on P&W (contra John Frame)

Darryl Hart argued this in early 1998. The whole piece can be found here. When reading this, it boggles when one considers how much the Christian mainstream has moved in eight short years.

"Diane West in an article for The Weekly Standard wrote about the trend of political conservatives who attempt to show that they are cool. . . . West admits "an all-but-irresistible culture force pulls from Right to Left," luring the middle-class into anti-middle-class guises. But this cultural drift cannot change the fundamental antithesis between bourgeois values, namely, "responsibility, fidelity, sobriety, and other badges of maturity," and the "cumulative" message of rock culture -- "sexual and narcotic gratification, anarchism, self-pity, and other forms of infantilism."



"Now if West is right, and she is not the only one arguing this way about rock music, soft or otherwise, then we might reasonably pause in using its forms to communicate praise to God. And this isn't because we are hoping to preserve middle-class culture. It is because music that expresses sexual and narcotic gratification, anarchism, self-pity, and other forms of infantilism is not a fitting form (more on forms below) for worship. It cannot carry the weight that we want to put on it. So my response to praise songs is that they are irreverent, no matter how much Prof. Frame insists they are. Of course, we could do a better HE SAID, SHE SAID exhibition than the President and Monica are now giving us, and our imitation of the Miller Lite commercials, LESS REVERENT, MORE RIGID will not solve anything. But I wonder if Prof. Frame has ever considered the subtler message conveyed by the music he uses in his service. Again, as a good Van Tilian I would think he would see that nothing is neutral, even cultural forms. And therefore, the cultural message of rock music is one that stands for something other than the virtues that Paul says are fitting sound doctrine in Titus 2 (sobriety, moderation, self-control). Why should we exhibit these things in our lives (which may mean I should give up my U2), but not in our worship? I also wonder if what is going on at New Life Escondido is the J. C. Pennification of American Presbyterianism -- the effort of uptight, middle-class, white folk trying to be hip. Prof. Frame is right. I have never been to his church and so I should be cautious in what I say. But I do not live in a bomb shelter. Our CRC congregation went hip during my time on the consistory there, and at that time we lived close to Willow Creek, whose influence in the Chicago area was enormous (literally). So I know a little more of what I speak that what Prof. Frame incautiously alleges in his book and in this debate.





"Maybe the reason why Prof. Frame cannot see the problems of contemporary music is because of his understanding of what it means to be biblical. It is an unhistorical, abstract, and largely individual notion. . . .





"This is where charismatic worship, I believe, falls woefully short. It is not reverent nor does it exhibit godly fear. (New heavens, new earth worship will also express godly fear, if Revelation is any indication, something which argues against the kind of "ecstatic joy" that Frame thinks we should now display because of what Christ has accomplished.) Frame and I can go back and forth, DOES TOO, DOES NOT until our microprocessors melt. But his insistence that P&W music is reverent will not be convincing in the light of what I have said above about rock music (no matter how soft, and therefore bland and vanilla it is). Even more important, however, in the context of the RPW is the consideration of all the consciences of God's people in worship. I think it should trouble Prof. Frame that there are critics of contemporary Christian music who are saying that it wounds or binds the consciences of believers. Unless he can argue that the Bible commands this kind of music, then love for neighbor would force him to find music to which no one may possible object (see the recent article on the Charity and the RPW in the Nicotine Theological Journal), music that does not needlessly carry cultural baggage at odds with the very thing we are doing in worship."

2 Comments:

Anonymous Joel said...

I wonder if he's given up his U2 now?

What is up with Westminster and U2?

2/25/2006 07:27:00 AM  
Blogger Ryan Martin said...

I know. Weird.

2/25/2006 09:09:00 AM  

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