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Henry (Rick) Frueh

A good article, Chris. And let me say that although we have substantive disagreements about other things, you are one of the few people who post openly about your beliefs.

I respect that, and when I read something from Spurgeon that suggested he had respect for some who taught openly concerning baptism even though he disagreed I thought of you.

You net metaphor is good and one I have never heard before.


Aren’t you casting a rather ‘broad net’ over those that practice the ‘Purpose-Driven/Seeker-sensitive’ type of church? Is it all just gimmicks, nothing but concealed ‘hooks’? If the accused ‘church’ is radically different because of its music (“culturally appealing rock shows”) does that automatically make it unorthodox?
I wonder what they said of Luther, with his ‘different hymns’ and German speaking liturgy?
Cannot the church be constantly reforming itself?
Is there really only one way (proper) to bring the Gospel to the lost?
And before you jump on that with Law and Gospel (which I am in favor of) let me ask this final question: When the Kingdom of God is proclaimed, are we not hoping and praying that the Holy Spirit will infuse the Word and burn in the ears of those who hear it thereby generating faith? (Rom 10.17)
It seems then, we ALL are more dependant on ‘God’ than we are on the proper way to do church.


Hey Chris!
The first part of this I struggle with. Change is not a bad thing. We can change our method and still have the same message. I think this is the case in the church today. The church has changed the way it does things all throughout history. I always find that argument the church as to stay the same impracticable. However, our message should be the same are method may not be.
I agree with you on the part the Christian life is not easy. We should never present it this way! Jesus says we have to deny ourselves, hate our father and mother ect. Rob just preached on this Sunday! As far as good expository preaching. I am a huge fan! There was a church we use to attend in Maryland that was a purpose driven church and most of the messages were topical in nature. I like good expository preaching. The church I am at now I would say 90% of the messages our expository and I learn so much!
The fish illustration was brilliant.
I don't think ever church who does things differently than our forefathers should be labeled "Emergent" or "Seeker Sensitive."
Money is not bad in itself, it is what you do with it. I know a lot of people who are rich and donate most of it or use it to help others. On the other hand their are people who have a lot of money and it never seems to satisfy them and they always want more. I know some of these people as well.
Good post!


That was suppose to be Erica. Oops!


"If the accused ‘church’ is radically different because of its music (“culturally appealing rock shows”) does that automatically make it unorthodox?
I wonder what they said of Luther, with his ‘different hymns’ and German speaking liturgy?"

Are you suggesting Martin Luther should have spoken in Aussie or English or Kiwi or Chinese or Yankee or something else? He was German, so he spoke in his native tongue, German (though he did know Latin, he was a brilliant bloke was ol Luther). Are you also suggesting Martin Luther copied music from the boozers down at the local pub and used it to write his hymns. It's a myth that Luther used the local taverns popular songs/tunes and set theological words to them.

Did Luther use a drinking song as the basis for "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God?

(from Public Service Librarian at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN)

Did Luther use a drinking song as the basis for "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God"?

This is a common misconception, but the answer is an undeniable "no."

Martin Luther wrote both the words and the tune for "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" (in German "Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott"). Carl F. Schalk, a well-known contemporary hymnologist, writes in Luther on Music: Paradigms of Praise (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1988) as follows:

"Luther also set his hand to the task of writing hymn melodies. It is generally acknowledged that at least three hymn tunes are from Luther's own pen. "Wir glauben all an einen Gott", "Ein feste Burg," and the Sanctus hymn from the German Mass, "Isaiah dem Propheten das geschah." Considering his own musical experience and training, and living at a time when the Meistersinger tradition prescribed that poet and tune writer were one and the same person, it would be strange had he not attempted to give musical expression to his own texts" (p. 26).

Leonard Woolsey Bacon, in The Hymns of Martin Luther Set to Their Original Melodies (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1883), refers to a near contemporary of Luther's in reporting that the tune is by Luther:

"It seems superfluous to add to this testimony the word of Sleidan, the nearly contemporary historian, who says expressly concerning "Ein' feste Burg" that Luther made for it a tune singularly suited to the words, and adapted to stir the heart. If ever there were hymn and tune that told their own story of a common and simultaneous origin, without need of confirmation by external evidence, it is these" (p. xix).

Continued here:


Music Leader

Music Expert Debunks Myth That Wesleys Used Drinking Songs

By Linda Green

An oft-heard myth about the Methodist tradition is that founders John and Charles Wesley used drinking and tavern songs as the melodies for hymns.

"The Wesleys did no such thing," says Dean McIntyre, director of music resources at the United Methodist Board of Discipleship in Nashville, Tenn. "Given their aesthetic and theological sense, it would (have been) unthinkable for them to do so."

Continued here"


We do not need to preach the gospel using worldly humanistic cultural pragmatic methods, we need to clearly and boldly proclaim the full orbed doctrinally sound gospel, which transcends all cultures, all people groups, all times, using the tried and proven method, the whole counsel of God, the Word of God.


Douglas. I think you are missing Erica's point. Not once did she mention anything about Luther's hymns being drinking songs. I think the point she was trying to make (and she can correct me if I'm wrong) is that just because a church does not use hymns (of which I do appreciate, mind you) does not make their music some how less worthy. There is some very scripturally based modern worship music out there, just as there are some very unscripturally based hymns. Are we to assume that before the great hymn writers came along, the church was at a loss for "Godly" music. Using modern worship music does not equate to "using wordly humanistic cultural pragmatic methods." Wasn't it Paul who said "I am all things to all men." In other words, his message did not change, but sometimes his methods had to in order to be heard in varying cultures. I am very much for preaching the "whole counsel of God," but music, Luther's or otherwise, is not the word of God. Songs are an outward expression of an inword love of God. Each generation has to find it's own voice to God. Luther was one for his generation and we have ours now. As a worship leader and songwriter, I take exception to someone saying that I "must" use hymns to express my love to God in singing. Isn't it possible that songwriters of today are just as capable of writing songs that are rooted in the Word of God. I will be the first to confess that there are plenty of examples of poor unscriptural song writing by contemperary song writers, but that doesn't mean all modern worship is bad. You can throw the baby out with the bath water.


I would suggest than that you discover what songs were sung in Acts when the first recorded church met. If culture does not change than we should be singing the same songs they sang in the early church not songs Martin Luther or whoever else wrote. Doug has an excellent point!


"Douglas. I think you are missing Erica's point. Not once did she mention anything about Luther's hymns being drinking songs."

Doug me old china plate, mate, I wasn't talking to Erica, I was talking to Mike. Here's a hankie to clean your glasses. :)

In the meantime, I will have a think about the rest of what you said.

Erica, I will just whip out me old time machine from the back of the garage and pop back to the 1st. century and see what type of music they played back then. Maybe it was a bit of Pink Floyd of Dire Straits or Jimi Hendrix or Elvis or Meatloaf or something, boy wouldn't that freak me out if they were into that sort of stuff then, I'm a child of the 60's to the 80's music, especially some heavy stuff when I was in the bike gang.

Nuh. They would have sung 15th-16th century hymns for sure, way back then, I just know it. In Japanese too. Those first century blokes spoke in tongues didn't they, I bet ya they sung in tongues as well. African drums and all. Electric guitars and sound systems? Only if God was sending electrical currents down in the form of lightening bolts, how they plugged into them is a mystery.



My apologies on the mistaken identity. When I typed my response I did not scroll up far enough to see where Mike's ended and Erica's began. Regardless, the point still remains the same. I have become less and less a fan of topical preaching over the years because so much of it is taken out of context, which is why I generally agree with the context of Chris' post. My problem lays primarily in the second sentence of the post; "Gone are hymns, and Biblically expository sermons." While I absolutely agree with the need for Biblically expository sermons, I don't agree that because a church does not sing hymns, their songs are somehow less able to communicate praise and worship to our God. Again, songs are not the Word of God and thus can change with time and culture, while God's word can't ever be modified.

By the way, we should try to keep our discussion civil and not resort to talking down to people as you did with your last post.




sorry, I did not mean to come across as if I was talking down to people, I was just injecting a touch of humor indicated by the smiley face >>> :) I suppose in reflection it does look like I was not very nice in what I said. Sorry for offending you and all the others that felt the same as you. You do make some good points.

In person, I am actually quite a friendly character but also can be very serious as well.

Off topic here but I am in the midst of listening to Sandra Tanner being interviewed by Hank Hanegraaff on the B.A.M. program:

Sandra Tanner on BAM Discussing Mormonism

"Sandra Tanner appeared on the Bible Answer Man Tuesday (10/16) and Wednesday (10/17) discussing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Click here to listen in.

Sandra runs Utah Lighthouse Ministry. A ministry that has helped many Mormons come out of this cult and come to faith in Christ.

Interestingly Hank asks about methodology. She nails the issue when she states she has both, a friendship and a confrontational approach. This is a no brainer for most of us, but for some reason the Countercult community has been recently (and wrongly) criticized for only being confrontation.

Sandra seems to indicate that she would not vote for Mitt Romney. An interesting comment in light of the recent decision from Bob Jones University."

I really do want to learn how to be friendly and confrontational without being obnoxious. Sins and weights so easily beset me.



Thanks for you response. I understand your desire to be friendly and confrontational. Unfortunately one of the downsides to posting things on the internet or via email is that you often lose the intent of the author due to a lack of body language and tone. I appreciate that you are willing to consider the points of those with whom you may presently disagree. This blog has actually played a little bit of a part in my recent longing for more Biblically exegetical preaching. Now, I don't always agree with what Chris posts on this site, but I do try to take what he writes and consider it. I just hope that he and others understand that all churches under the "Evangelical" umbrella are not like the mega-churches and purpose-driven churches. There are many pastors at evangelical churches that strive for sound Biblical teaching.


It is funny how folks always pounce on any question that church music should not be contemporary christian music. I have a pretty broad taste in music, but I find much of the stuff in seeker sensitive churches has not only a lot of repetition and simplicity, but also very little to do with words like Jesus, Sin, Blood and Submission. In fact it could be on a secular radio station and pass as a love song. Funny isn't it? The real problem with the Church Growth Paradigm is that man is at the center and the Lord is a good buddy. Good buddies like rock music, not poetic hymns of praise.


The real problem is this:

"Music, Luther's or otherwise, is not the word of God. Songs are an outward expression of an inword love of God. Each generation has to find it's own voice to God. Luther was one for his generation and we have ours now. As a worship leader and songwriter, I take exception to someone saying that I 'must' use hymns to express my love to God in singing."

As a former contemporary-praise-loving evangelical, I can spot it a mile away. Worship is viewed as me and my personal feelings about God. How dare anyone infringe on my right to personal expression!

But that's NOT what's worship is about. It's not about me and my feelings and my styles and preferences and expressions. It's about the truth of God's Word and his Gospel for the forgiveness of sins, not about my desires as a sinner.

And for the record, we do know what sorts of songs they were singing in the 1st century. They were singing the Psalms-- this was the hymnbook of the church. They were also likely singing other confessions of faith that you find in poetic form in some of Paul's letters. Worship in the early church was very much based on the synagogue worship of the Jews, which included singing and chanting God's Word. If you look into any Christian church today that has any historical sense of self at all, you usually see these aspects of worship manifested. Personal styles and tastes are taken out of the picture to be subject to something bigger, more "other," more transcendent, and more about God instead of us. Only recently has the church decided that they are smarter and hipper than several centuries of Christianity.


Yes, Kelly, they were singing the Psalms and the Psalms were David's and other writers' outward expressions of their love and worship of God. Did David not write about his feelings about God? Of course he did. In fact he even wrote about how he himself was feeling. Sometimes distress and other times joy. God created us as emotional beings.

I will again, as I did in my previous post (the problem with taking one quote out of context and posting it in your response), admit that much of the contemporary music in the church is not biblical and instead is self-serving. You say that you are a "former contemporary-praise-loving evangelical." You give no indication of how long ago that was so maybe you are not aware that there is a move within many contemporary worship circles back to biblical song writing. Many contemporary worship songs of today are right out of the Psalms and many are declarative in nature saying nothing about the person singing, only declaring the attributes of God. Would you consider that unbiblical. In fact, many contemporary worship leaders are using hymns with more modern instrumentation.

I know everyone finds contemporary worship music an easy target, and sometimes for good reason, but I doubt that many of those who attack it spend much time researching or listening to it. You say that in churches who have any historical sense "Personal styles and tastes are taken out of the picture to be subject to something bigger, more 'other,' more transcendent, and more about God instead of us." Could it be that sometimes those who attack contemporary worship are allowing too much of their own "personal styles and tastes" to get in the way of actually listening to the words of many modern worship to find that, believe it or not, there is some very well written songs being sung in "contemporary-praise-loving evangelical" churches today. It seems to me that many have much to complain about, but not many have much to say that is contstructive and uplifting. God made us all to worship him and it's rediculous to say that only those who lived hundreds or thousands of years ago have the ability to pen acceptable worship songs.


Jane, please divorce the terms "contemporary christian music" and "seeker-sensative church." They are not one in the same. Yes, seeker-sensative churches do use contemporary Christian music, but not all contemporary Christian music falls into the "seeker-sensative" category. This is a mistake that many who are uniformed about contemporary Christian music make.

I do not attend a seeker-sensative church, yet my wife and I, as worship leaders, use both hymns and contemporary worship. There are plenty of contemporary songs that have much to do with Jesus, Sin, Blood and Submission.

I can understand why some would want to cast a broad net over contemporary music. I used to do the same with hymns, but I have since grown to appreciate many of the traditional hymns. I trust that you will do the same when it comes to contemporary music.

Don't throw something out just because it has the "contemporary" title thrown on it. Try investing some time in exploring them. By doing so you are also investing in the younger generations.

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