Monday, June 02, 2014
Book Review: Forgotten Songs: Reclaiming the Psalms for Christian Worship
The subtitle of this book is Reclaiming the Psalms for Christian Worship. It could also be subtitled: Modern Baptists Discover Psalmody. Though not all the authors are Baptists, the majority are, and the book had its origins in a conference that was to be held at Union University, but was prevented by a tornado that tore through the campus not long before the conference was to be held. The work is divided into two parts: Biblical and Historical Foundations, and Practice. A look at the book on amazon.com will give the table of contents. Overall, I was quite pleased with the book, though, as with any such collection, the essays vary, not so much in quality, but as in how they affected me. I found C. John Collins' essay thin and unconvincing. The most helpful is Leland Ryken's essay "Reclaiming the Psalms for Private Worship." The essays by Craig Blaising and Douglas Bond I found quite moving. The essay by James Grant on introducing psalm-singing to a congregation was full of helpful advice. The essay by Richard Wells on the Psalms and pastoral prayer is challenging, especially in this day of short or non-existent pulpit prayer. The bibliographical essay (Appendix 3) is very good, though Garrett missed William Binnie's very fine work A Pathway into the Psalter. All in all a useful guide for bringing the Book of Psalms more fully into the life of the church and the Christian.