Reggie M. Kidd. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 2005. 224 pp. $14.99. ISBN 0-8010-6591-7.
Here we have a thorough biblical theology of song—but far more. Dr. Kidd provides pastors, church musicians, and culture watchers with an insightful study of the many diverse voices that converge as the body of Christ finds its “heart language” for singing the truth of the gospel. From Bach’s Mass in B minor to U2, from the Gaithers to Caedmon’s Call, from Anglican psalmody to the simplest of American folk hymns, from the sinner’s lament to the exuberant praises of the redeemed—the author unfolds a vibrant, multi-textured tapestry of faith-building, life-shaping artistic expression. Like a docent at a fine museum, he explains the treasures from our rich heritage but also helps us understand the message of today’s innovators.
Author Reggie Kidd, a professor at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida, has served as worship pastor over the last twenty-five years, and also teaches in Robert Webber’s Institute for Worship Studies. (For more on Reggie Kidd and With One Voice, visit www2.rts.edu/site/staff/rkidd/.)
This book, however, is no heady seminarian’s discourse on the notion of biblical singing; rather the author has drawn on his life story and his knowledge of the Scriptures to expose an intimate love language for authentic communion with the Lord.
Chapters 2-4 are a careful study of David, “Israel’s Sweet Singer and the Architect of Praise.” In reflecting on the scope and nature of the Psalms, the reader is presented with an easy- to-grasp argument for the importance of both lament and celebration in Christian worship.
Chapters 5-7 reflect a similar expanse of emotion and content, this time applied to and coming from the “Singing Savior”—the song of Jesus (Zeph. 3:14-17) from his lament of abandonment (Ps. 22) to his victory chant of resurrection life.
With One Voice has helped me to understand more deeply that our songs of faith resonate most fully, most Christianly, when our believing communities draw on the strengths of high culture, folk culture, and popular culture (one chapter each on the importance of Bach, Bubba, and the Blues Brothers). As I grow in intimacy with the Savior, I understand the joys and blessings of deferring to the needs and preferences of my brothers and sisters in the faith.
This book is a personal testimony and a pastoral challenge concerning the power of song in life and in the Christian community. As a seminary worship professor, I want all my students to read it.