A Biblical Theology Behind Music, Praise, and Worship by Dr Mark Pearce

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A Biblical Theology Behind Music, Praise, and Worship by Dr Mark Pearce

Category: Spirituality and Religion
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Rev Michael Johnson
Reviewed by Rev Michael Johnson
Summary: A Biblically based history with something for everyone working in or interested in the realm of Christian worship music.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 166 Date: February 2017
Publisher: AuthorHouse
ISBN: 978-1524677282

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Music used in religions and worship itself goes back to the beginning of humankind. In this book musician and theological academic Dr Mark Pearce explores its Biblical history in a Christian context as well as providing tips and suggestions for those involved in worship in the present day.

I would start with a plea: if you feel that your churchmanship is at odds with the author's at the beginning please don't be put off. Dr Pearce starts by bringing out his heavy artillery, exploring Satan and his role in music and God's creation. The theological ideas here go between an almost Anglo-Catholic view of the pre-fallen Lucifer's purpose and the more Evangelical thoughts on non-Christian music being evil. If either side stops the book being a page turner for you then that's a shame as this is a passing chapter and you'll be missing a treat.

Once Satan's history has been explored along with some fascinating insights into his former names and musical position in creation, Mark brings us to the history of instruments from the Bible times. The names have become familiar to us over time and now we see the pictures along with the Bible references to look up at our leisure. This is also when we begin to realise that this may be a small volume but the knowledge shared is encyclopaedic right down to this history including clapping and the voice. (Reassuringly we're encouraged that God looks at the heart and intention of our worship rather than measuring vocal quality.)

Mark also proves himself to be fearless regarding the controversial side of his topic as he discusses liturgical dance, offering a convincing argument (and I speak as one who worships with my hands firmly by my sides usually). Prophetic worship is another area that benefits from we readers approaching with an open mind.

Many know of prophecy as being words from God for the future or to help someone in their life at that moment. How this is embraced depends very much on each of our theologies and denominational outlook. However, while accepting this, Dr Pearce widens the definition showing us that it also means to speak with God's authority and impromptu praise and worship comes into this category, making ourselves more open and available to God. This is a link that many may not have thought of as we sing through the morning hymn list on a Sunday.

The author is also adept at taking something worldly and using it to demonstrate more heavenly principles. For instance, his explanation of simple acoustic science at the end opens out into a discussion on the positive and negative vibrations released by what we say and our attitudes; yes, more food for thought.

We also need to remember that Dr Pearce writes for all levels of experience so some other ideas may seem nursery slope (e.g. never go to sleep on an argument) but it's good to remind ourselves of the important basics before we come across ideas that will surprise us to a greater extent.

I could go on and on… a study of the words for praise in Greek and Hebrew… Biblical examples of the power of praise and worship… the historical Bible study topics continue and then we're brought up to date with a guide for Christian worship bands and song writers.

There may well be moments that make us recoil slightly as worship relates to personality as much as to beliefs and these will be different moments for each of us. However the parts of this book that make us re-evaluate our beliefs and reasons behind any disagreement is as healthy as our urge to nod along to the areas of Mark's research and writing with which we agree.

Indeed this is an important subject written about here in a way that resonates at some point with all strata of the faith rainbow making this book an asset for every church's library.

(We'd like to thank the publisher for providing us with a copy for review.)

Further Reading: If this appeals and you'd also like to delve into the words of other Christian writers, we recommend: Cross Roads by Wm Paul Young, the author who wrote The Shack; and/or The Edge of Words: God and the Habits of Language by Rowan Williams, someone who always provokes thought. If you prefer thought provocation that comes with a smile then we suggest The Rev Diaries by Reverend Adam Smallbone from the acclaimed TV series.

Buy A Biblical Theology Behind Music, Praise, and Worship by Dr Mark Pearce at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Biblical Theology Behind Music, Praise, and Worship by Dr Mark Pearce at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy A Biblical Theology Behind Music, Praise, and Worship by Dr Mark Pearce at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Biblical Theology Behind Music, Praise, and Worship by Dr Mark Pearce at Amazon.com.


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