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Contemporary Worship Music: A Biblical Defense [Paperback]

By John M. Frame (Author)
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Item description for Contemporary Worship Music: A Biblical Defense by John M. Frame...

Is contemporary worship music shallow and self-centered? Does it "dumb down" worship, as some critics claim? This noted professor of apologetics and systematic theology answers these and other objections with a clear defense of contemporary worship music. He exposes careless and divisive criticisms and demonstrates the music's biblical strengths and benefits in worship.

Publishers Description
Contemporary Christian music has an increasing yet controversial influence on church worship today. This book discusses the topic from a biblical viewpoint and makes a case for using contemporary music in worship -- with theological integrity.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: P & R Publishing
Pages   212
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 5.75" Height: 8.75"
Weight:   0.55 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 1, 1997
Publisher   P & R PUBLISHING #97
ISBN  0875522122  
ISBN13  9780875522128  

Availability  0 units.

More About John M. Frame

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! John M. Frame (A.B., Princeton University; B.D., Westminster Theological Seminary; M.A. and M.Phil., Yale University; D.D., Belhaven College) holds the J. D. Trimble Chair of Systematic Theology and Philosophy at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando and is the author of many books, including the four-volume Theology of Lordship series.

John M. Frame was born in 1939.

John M. Frame has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Theology of Lordship
  2. Theology of Lordship

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1Books > Special Features > Music Books Store
2Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Music > Musical Genres > Contemporary Christian
3Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Music > Musical Genres > Religious & Sacred Music > Christian
4Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Music > Musical Genres > Religious & Sacred Music > General
5Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Music > Theory, Composition & Performance > Songbooks > General
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Clergy > Church Institutions & Organizations
8Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Judaism > Music

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > Worship & Litergy

Reviews - What do customers think about Contemporary Worship Music: A Biblical Defense?

A Unique Perspective  Dec 27, 2006
Written as a sequel to his earlier work on Worship in Spirit and Truth, this book focuses upon the new trend of Contemporary Worship Music (CWM), beginning with an all too brief theology of music and then exploring the pros and cons of this style of music. The author brings a unique perspective to the work as he personally favors a more classical style of music while still endorsing the value of this modern trend.

Though Frame is a competent theologian, his experience in the strengths and frailties of CWM go beyond the classroom as he draws from his extensive experience in leading worship in both traditional and contemporary settings. An honest attempt is made to balance both the pros and cons of CWM as each of the arguments for and against this style is presented. In the end, Frame advocates a mixture of both classical, traditional and contemporary music. In this era of intellectual and theological pluralism, it could be argued that his approach is a surrender to the philosophy of the world. But instead, it is seen to be in keeping with the principle stated in 1 Corinthians 14 that worship is to be understandable to the worshipers; that it is to take the form both of their spoken as well as their musical language.

This conclusion of a diversification of musical styles is even more important if a congregation is itself composed of a mixture of various ages and cultural background. Frame speaks out against the popular tactic of dividing congregations into traditional and contemporary, pointing out that both groups need each other.

Because I minister in a very cross-cultural setting, both with respect to age as well as with different national backgrounds, it becomes imperative that I am increasingly sensitive to the cultural translation or worship. My own tendency might be to move further toward Contemporary Worship Music, but I need to be equally sensitive to those who speak the language of traditional hymnology.

On the other hand, Frame reminds the reader regarding Contemporary Praise Music: "These songs are very close to the biblical text, focus on the praise of God, and communicate well with people of our time. It is hard to imagine why any knowledgeable Christian thinker would reject such music. But as we have seen, many do so out of ignorance of the songs and because of broader theological agendas wrongly applied to the CWM songs" (Page 129).
Well Written Biblical Defense  Mar 7, 2001
John Frame's book Contemporary Worship Music, is a must for any Christian, who truly wants a balanced defense of today's Worship music. Frame's classically trained background in music, and his theological training as a teacher and student, make him the perfect writer to bring a "balanced" argument for the use of contemporary worship music. A perfect tool and resource for any worship leader and pastor.
An Excellent Defence of Contemporary Worship Music  Nov 16, 2000
Though Frame comes from a Presbyterian/Reformed tradition, which is usually more conservative in terms of worship tastes, in this book he shows that many in the Reformed/Presbyterian and conservative traditions have not always got it right in their criticisms of contemporary worship music.

I found this book excellent! Frame is open and willing to learn from Christians of other traditions. His book is balanced. He advocates a mixture of both contemporary praise music and traditional hymns. Both have their strong points and both have their weaknesses and Frame tells you what they are in this book.

For charismatics and more conservatives, we need to learn from one another. And this book helps us learn from one another in a main issue that divides charismatics and conservatives. A great read, bound to challenge one's thinking. And a book of biblical balance - more of which is needed in Christianity today.

CWM, Confessional Tradition, & Sola Scriptura  Sep 7, 2000
How does a Presbyterian, committed to the confessional standards of Presbyterianism and the regulative principle of worship, defend the use of modern contemporary worship music (CWM)? To find out, read this book.

It became clear in reading this book there is a deeper more fundamental issue driving John Frame's discussion of the issues and controversy that surrounds CWM. At different points in the book he clearly states such is the case, and in the 2nd appendix at the end of the book, he specifically articulates that fundamental concern. In that appendix Frame calls for approaching issues from a basis in Biblical theology. This is to be in contrast with appeals to confessional systematic and historical theology that makes theological tradition equal to Scripture, and refuses to weigh those traditions against the Reformation principle of Sola Scriptura.

I confess to a certain sympathy with that principle, though I'm not ready to say that I would necessarily come to the same conclusions as Frame has regarding the issues of CWM. That sympathy comes from personally witnessing the systematic or historical theological approach used in preaching or teaching, and coming away with the feeling that my conscience was not carried in the way or to the degree I thought it should be if such indeed was the Word of God. My Evangelical friends will not have their conscience carried by my appeals to a confession they are not familiar with or do not agree with. Scripture alone is what will ultimately carry their conscience.

In browsing some of the reviews of this book found on the WWW, I find that Frame's critics tend to not meet him on the basis of Scripture, but on the basis of historical theology or tradition. At times I can not help but respond that Peter, James, John, and Paul I know, but who are these Westminster divines, however respected they be, to be my master when Jesus has told me otherwise (Matt. 23:8-11)? (And I DO respect them.) There is a tension between respecting Christ's past gifts of teachers to the church, and maintaining the principle of Sola Scriptura. Unfortunately in some areas of the Reformed community, confessional tradition has become equal to the Word of God. Maybe unintentionally so, but never the less so.

Regarding the symptomatic issue of CWM, John Frame does not say all CWM is appropriate for worship. He urges discernment in the use of CWM in the same way one evaluates the plethora of traditional hymns available. Nor does he argue for exclusion of all traditional hymns from worship. His position is that both kinds can be appropriate and both kinds should be used without the exclusion of one or the other.

There are a few issues regarding CWM I am still concerned about. I've been in worship services where CWM was a distinct distraction to edification, but I've also been in a service where CWM was used in a way that was edifying. The difference was in the clarity and predominance given to the hearing of the words.

In the edifying service the words were not over powered by the instrumental accompaniment; no loud pounding drums or screaming guitars and keyboard that obliterated the hearing of the singing of the words. I've also been in a few traditional services where the overpowering organ drowned out all edification of the singing of the traditional hymns. In both cases the principles of 1 Corinthians 14 regarding edification were violated.

Those who are for and those who are against CWM will profit from reading this book. More important, whatever conclusion you come to about CWM, more fundamentally you will be challenged to think through and to evaluate issues Biblically.

Thoughtful convert gives a reasoned defense of praise music  Jul 21, 2000
Frame writes as a classically-trained musician and theologically sophisticated Presbyterian/Reformed seminary professor in his 50's who adopted praise music late in life and with much initial resistance. He provides an extensive musical and scriptural evaluation--and eventually qualified affirmation--of praise music. He has read and understood his opponents (especially Marva Dawn) and he interacts with them in detail. He is especially good at providing detailed evaluation of actual hymns and praise songs and coming to reasoned conclusions about them. (So much of the debate over praise music involves more strong feelings on both sides than considered evaluation by either.) Along the way he gives the lie to stereotypes like, "praise songs are narcissistic." Frame concludes that praise music is indeed still uneven and incomplete, but that--especially at its best--it is a spiritually, musically, and lyrically worthy genre of music for worship. His parting words are, "What we must not do is to lash out as one another with false pretensions to knowledge, sophistication and rationality, and with intellectual arguments that are little more than masks for underlying anger." Amen!

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