What a novel idea! Allow the songs of Scripture to inform and shape the songs that we Christians sing and, more, sing them to the Lord as he is revealed in the holy Scriptures. Novel? Yes, and also radical, as Doug O Donnell demonstrates, first, by uncovering the shared themes of the principle songs of the Old Covenant (themes also imbedded in the major songs of the New Covenant) and, then, by using these themes to analyze the content of today s most popular classic hymns and contemporary Christian choruses which, sadly, reveals their tragic discord with the inspired lyrics of Scripture.O Donnell s faithful expositions of the sacred songs coupled with his careful research and pointed analysis of the current church music, plus his recommendations, serve together to make God s Lyrics prophetic. In places (to borrow Bernini s Habakkuk and the Angel image from this book) the reader will grasped by the hair and elevated high to heaven and so see life below as it really is.
ODonnell examines the significance of songs in the Old Testament and shows, in the light of the person and work of Jesus Christ, how the lyrics of Gods Word apply to congregational singing today.
Douglas Sean O'Donnell (MA, Wheaton College; MA, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) was senior pastor of New Covenant Church (PCA) in Naperville, Illinois, and an instructor for the Charles Simeon Trust. He is currently a senior lecturer at Queensland Theological College in Brisbane, Australia, while obtaining his doctorate.
What a novel idea! Allow the songs of Scripture to inform and shape the songs that we Christians sing and, more, sing them to the Lord as he is revealed in the holy Scriptures. Novel? Yes, and also radical, as Doug ODonnell demonstrates, first, by uncovering the shared themes of the principle songs of the Old Covenant (themes also imbedded in the major songs of the New Covenant) and, then, by using these themes to analyze the content of todays most popular classic hymns and contemporary Christian choruseswhich, sadly, reveals their tragic discord with the inspired lyrics of Scripture. ODonnells faithful expositions of the sacred songs coupled with his careful research and pointed analysis of the current church music, plus his recommendations, serve together to make Gods Lyrics prophetic. In places (to borrow Berninis Habakkuk and the Angel image from this book) the reader will grasped by the hair and elevated high to heaven and so see life below as it really is. It is one thing to have the courage to engage in a hard-hitting critique of church hymnody; it is quite another to have the temerity and vulnerability to pen lyrics to fill the void. But ODonnell has done just this. May his example embolden a gifted new generation of poet-theologian-preachers to help the church sing in concert with the Spirit-breathed Word.
For the Christian who has become a bit numb to the grand realities of Gods saving acts recorded in the Bible, Doug ODonnells prescription is a healthy dose of the Songs of Scripturethe Songs of Moses, Deborah, Hannah, David, and Habakkuk. This book makes great medicine!
Gods Lyrics takes us back to the deeply theological and passionate songs of Gods people, graciously preserved for us in Holy Scripture takes us back to the history of our faith and of the worship of God. We need to know this heritage which continues to shape how we think and feel and live before God and with one another. Gods Lyrics helps us understand our present situation and the deep need to worship the Lord with song and hymns and spiritual songs that extol in explicit and specific ways who God is, what He has done, and how we are to live faithfully before His face. And Gods Lyrics carries us forward as we seek to pass on to the next generation a glorious tradition of singing that will teach and edify and encourage our children and our childrens children. Doug ODonnell has carefully and caringly unpacked the treasury of Scriptures songs and provided a rich resource for all who aim to follow along the Bibles own trajectory for the worship of song.
This book is unique: it combines the careful exposition of Gods Word with creative work in hymnody. It will be appreciated by pastors, musicians, and everyone else who loves to worship God in the biblical way.
I had the privilege of hearing the opening chapters as sermons at College Church in Wheaton, and find that they delightfully and powerfully preserve the preachers voice in print. Here are soul-searching expositions of some of the canticles of the scripture, the hearing of which creates a longing for something more in our congregational song. The canticle sermons are followed by a search for the biblical themes in the songs and hymns sung by todays church. Here is no style-centered appraisal pitting new against old, or classic against contemporary. Rather, the lyrical content of the (presumed or arguably) most-sung hymns and songs of our day is held up to the mirror of the biblical examples. Both sources are found wanting in some respects, and both are celebrated when they measure up. ODonnell argues passionately, humorously, challengingly that we must compare our singing to the scripture and take our cues from the songs of scripture. And he takes the risk of offering up some of his own texts, based on the canticles he has preached, as examples. Let these challenge preachers and musicians to do the same work, and usher in an era of canticle-driven songs for the people of God.
Irish evangelist, John Moxen, is correct - Christians who demand truth in the pulpit are often strangely willing to sing lies in their songs. God's Lyrics, is a sane and salient remedy for this dangerously prevalent condition. As one who prepares over a hundred corporate worship gatherings a year, I am supremely grateful for this practical resource. Dougs compelling expositions and clear applications are well suited, by Gods grace, to transform both the Christian worship planner and his people. Finally, God's Lyrics, is a bracing challenge for both classic and contemporary Christian lyricists. Gratefully, it is also as a helpful primer, pointing the way forward toward a revival of song texts that are both biblically true and balanced.
In this timely work ODonnell ushers readers into the treasury of biblical music and the world of contemporary Christian music. His sources for the former are five of my favorite hymnic compositions in the Old Testament. Extracting from these texts theological principles that might govern the music of formal worship, ODonnell offers insightful commentary on the music that drives worship in many churches today. His expositions provide preachers with models of responsible exposition, and his analysis of contemporary trends in music offers musicians a helpful grid through which to evaluate their own ministry. Through it all ODonnell pleads for music with integrity, that glorifies God and edifies and transforms his people.
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