Music In The Early Church — post by Michael J. Findley

lastsupperJesus and the disciples attended Jewish synagogues and temple worship. These services included stringed, brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments. The book of Psalms was the hymn book of the second temple. After finishing the Passover meal they sang a hymn, presumably not a Psalm, and presumably without instruments, before walking across the Kidron Valley to the garden of Gethsemane. Until forced out, first century Christians continued to worship in synagogues and follow Jewish customs.

Paul wrote to the new Gentile converts “Let the word of the Messiah inhabit you richly with wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, and singing to God with thankfulness in your hearts.” Colossians 3:16 and “Then you will recite to one another psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; you will sing and make music to the Lord with your hearts,” Ephesians 5:19. This admonition was taken by some to mean antiphonal singing, with either two choirs or dividing the congregation into two parts and alternating the parts of the hymn or song.

Pliny the Younger wrote a letter to Trajan (61-113) about the proper punishment of Christians. “They had been accustomed to come together on a fixed day before daylight and to sing responsively a song to Christ as God.” (AD 112?)

Five times in the book of Revelation a song is sung in heaven; 5:9, 5:11, 14:1, 14:3, 15:3. Harps are played heaven. Revelation 5:8, 14:2, and 15:2. The musical instruments of Babylon are condemned, Revelation 18:22. Trumpets in heaven are sounded, but not used as musical instruments. Zechariah 9:14, Matthew 24:31, 1 Corinthians 15:52, 1 Thessalonians 4:16, Hebrews 12:19, Revelation 1:10, 4:1, 8:2, 6,7,8,10,12,13, 9:1,13,14

Justin the Martyr wrote (AD 155?) in his Apology to the Emperor Chapter 13 “to use [material possessions] for ourselves and those who need, and with gratitude to Him to offer thanks by invocations and hymns for our creation …”

“Chapter 41. The crucifixion predicted And again, in another prophecy, the Spirit of prophecy, through the same David, intimated that Christ, after He had been crucified, should reign, and spoke as follows: Sing to the Lord, all the earth, and day by day declare His salvation. For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, to be feared above all the gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols of devils; but God made the heavens. Glory and praise are before His face, strength and glorying are in the habitation of His. Give Glory to the Lord, the Father everlasting. Receive grace, and enter His presence, and worship in His holy courts. Let all the earth before His face; let it be established, and not shaken. Let them rejoice among the nations. The Lord has reigned from the tree.”

Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus of Rome, approximately AD 235? “Then, rising up after supper, the children and virgins having prayed, they shall sing psalms. Then the deacon, holding the mixed cup of the offering, shall say a Hallelujah Psalm. Then, the presbyter having commanded, ‘And also such-and-such Psalms,’ after the bishop has offered the cup with the proper thanksgiving, all shall say “Hallelujah” as the Psalms are sung. And they shall say: We praise Him who is God most high; Glorified and praised is He, Then, when the Psalm is completed, he shall give thanks over the bread, and shall give the fragments to all the believers.”

Music had only two purposes in the earliest Church. It was used to instruct, build up, edify, believers. It was also used in direct address to God to worship God. There are no recorded instances of performing music to please those who listened. Performing music just to please the listeners has been condemned as a sin by thousands of pastors for over 1500 years. At the same time, music to glorify God is essential to worship in the Christian Church. The Spirit of the prophet must be controlled by the prophet and this includes music.
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Why I am, For Now, Staying on Facebook — post by Michael J. Findley

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Friends, other people; it really is that simple. If I could, I would leave. But the people I like and often love are not on these other sites. These are people I trust. Friends who supply better news links than the MSN, better sports analysis than ESPN, funny animal videos, wacky UFO/paranormal humor, touching military stories, interesting cars and hobbies, history and science links, and many other things I usually cannot imagine.

Facebook is public. Never, ever post anything you will not stand by in the future. And do not ever quote other people out of context. Like most of my friends, I wish Facebook was like it was ten years ago when I first joined. Every change (update) has degraded the Facebook experience. It used to be faster, easier to find what you wanted, and was not drowning in leftist political censorship.

Like many people, I spend too much time on Facebook. My tablet makes typing responses almost impossible. And I post things things I shouldn’t even think. But these are my sins. Facebook makes my sins public. Closing my Facebook account will not make me less of a sinner. It will make my sins less public. But I glorify God by confessing and forsaking my sins, not hiding them. Facebook, at least for me, is the opportunity to confront my sinful nature and ask the Spirit of God to both forgive me for the sins I post and to not commit the same sins in the future.

 

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Thoughts on Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time — post by Michael J. Findley

A Wrinkle In Time 1st edition cover

Front cover art for A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. The book cover art copyright is believed to belong to the publisher, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, or the cover artist. Wikipedia

Thoughts on Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time (from one who has not seen the movie) after just re-reading the book.

I personally believe that Disney did us a favor by removing all mention of God from the movie version. The name Jesus is only mentioned one time in the book, and in that instance as an equal with Euclid, DaVinci, Einstein, Gandhi, and others opposing evil. It is not a Christian book, though it promotes many Christian doctrines such as family, love, and faithfulness. It seems to be on a similar level to Harry Potter, but with Bible verses.

The writing style is very interesting. Like most books based on feelings, L’Engle gives just enough thought to the serious issues (raised on almost every page) to drive me crazy. It is well paced, with interesting action. For a very short book, Meg’s character is well developed.

Why did Disney wait so long to make this movie? The book seems to be founded on every modern Disney ideal. The protagonist is a teenage girl. Her parents are not together until the very end. Dad is a prisoner whom the children must rescue. The three spirit guides are female (Think Sleeping Beauty and her fairy guardians). One actually dresses in black like a witch. They are more powerful than any human. One of them used to be a star. Stars are living, spiritual beings in the book. There is a medium with a crystal ball, and she is called a medium. Discipline suppresses individuality. The universe is filled with planets, each one inhabited. The three children, with Calvin added to make three, all have psychic powers. Psychic powers are not only good, but necessary, to fight evil.

The book is told through Meg, the protagonist’s, feelings, a Disney’s standard formula. She is unsure of herself, yet attacks and beats up an older boy to defend her siblings. His mother calls her mother complaining that Meg injured her son. In the end it is Meg’s love for her 5 year old brother that breaks the hypnotic spell and saves him. Her love is a feeling, an emotional outburst, rather than any deeper concept as in the Scriptures.

Like C.S. Lewis’s space trilogy, Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength, earth is a silent planet being attacked by an evil psychic force. But Meg’s father is held prisoner on another planet in another solar system which is completely controlled by an evil disembodied brain called IT, which hypnotizes and requires complete obedience. In the end, they barely escape with her 5 year old brother Charles Wallace and return home to earth. Evil is left unchallenged, which cries out for a sequel.

 

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This Is One Crazy Free Book Offer

Some of our readers have taken advantage of the free first book in my The Great Thirst serial archaeological mystery. It has a nice collection of reviews. However, I am working on a promotion for The Great Thirst Boxed Set, the complete seven-part series, and it has not been so blessed with reviews. In hopes of making it more likely to be approved by promo sites, I would like to make a crazy offer. Anyone who would like a free copy of this ebook set, please just post a comment with your email and I will get you a copy in mobi or ePub. Please help me get my books in front of more readers, and I will be so grateful! Here’s the Amazon link so you can check it out! http://myBook.to/Great_Thirst_Boxed_Set

In case you are shy about posting your email, here’s mine. Mjmcfindley@gmail.com. Please let me know if you prefer ePub or mobi (Kindle) format.

Thank you so much!

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Writer Alert! Here’s your chance to win a free book!

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One of my goals for this year was to revise my writing and publishing advice book, Write for the King of Glory. I’ve learned a few things since the first edition of this book, and you are the ones to benefit if you want to learn how to make your writing distinctively Christian plus get an inside look at one indie writer’s publishing journey from start to finish.

If you didn’t know there was a first edition, here’s what it looked like:

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I’ve learned a few things about publishing (and cover design) since the first edition, and I’d love to share them with you. I’d also like to get more reviews. But most of all I’d like to give away some ebook copies of this book. So just respond to this post with your email or send your request to my email (mjmcfindley@gmail.com). I’m happy to send you a copy in whatever format you like!

Here are the links so you can check it out on your favorite site. But remember, you can have one for free! Just ask!

myBook.to/Write-King-Glory

books2read.com/Write-for-king-of-glory

http://bit.ly/2EPDCGX

 

 

 

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Review: The Far Corner of the Greenhouse by K.V. Case

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Four out of Five Stars. Highly recommended Romantic Women’s Fiction

If you like romances where opposites attract this is the book for you. What a tapestry of conflict and connection this book is. The ways in which Stone and Abigail turn out to be connected are stunning. It’s like that bedraggled bush in her father’s greenhouse. Layer by layer, as these two people intertwine on the outside, their pasts and inner lives open up like that mysterious plant. Don’t skip over the bush or the chats or the other clues that this book is deep and rich with threads of wonderful, surprising detail. sniff the air and find something extraordinary. This is a sweet incense offering to God.

The book also has sage and sweet and tough advice on how to deal with abuse and all kinds of relationships. It’s a strong metaphor of how in all walks of life humans need to listen to counsel and rely on others. In ourselves we make wrong decisions. When we get isolated we lose hope or lash out.
God is there, however, waiting for us to realize we can’t do any of this alone. Those who want to isolate themselves or control others have to step toward the light or they will never leave the darkness behind.

I received this book in exchange for my unbiased review.

 

 

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