Worship wars are nothing new, says Stapert, who carefully documents views on music in such patristic luminaries as Augustine, John Chrysostom, Clement, and Tertullian. What kinds of problems did the early church encounter integrating psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs into their corporate life? 216 pages, softcover. Eerdmans.
Even as worship wars in the church and music controversies in society at large continue to rage, many people do not realize that conflict over music goes back to the earliest Christians as they sought to live out the "new song" of their faith. In A New Song for an Old World Calvin Stapert challenges contemporary Christians to learn from the wisdom of the early church in the area of music.
Stapert draws parallels between the pagan cultures of the early Christian era and our own multicultural realities, enabling readers to comprehend the musical ideas of early Christian thinkers, from Clement and Tertullian to John Chrysostom and Augustine. Stapert's expert treatment of the attitudes of the early church toward psalms and hymns on the one hand, and pagan music on the other, is ideal for scholars of early Christianity, church musicians, and all Christians seeking an ancient yet relevant perspective on music in their worship and lives today.
Calvin R. Stapert is professor emeritus of music at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan. His previous books include My Only Comfort: Death, Deliverance, and Discipleship in the Music of Bach; Handel's Messiah: Comfort for God's People; and A New Song for an Old World: Musical Thought in the Early Church.