PRAISE TEAMS OR CHURCH BANDS?
I thoroughly enjoy reading and learning from Reformed Worship. RW 43 brought something to my attention that has concerned me for some time. In Emily Brink's editorial, she hesitantly uses the term "small group" to describe a group of musicians who play in the church using guitars and drums. She dislikes the phrases "praise team" and "worship team" but continues to use them "because [they] communicate." I too dislike these terms, both for the reason Brink gives and for several others. My question is this: why can't we simply call these "groups" what they are? They are church bands, church pop/rock groups. They are bands that play music in church. By using the wrong terms to describe these bands, we have come to associate the word "praise" with a style of music. This is false and leads to division. (I've actually heard people say things like, "We need hymns and praise music," as if they were different things.) Brink had the opportunity to use language that said what it meant, and would therefore have communicated, but continued to use the term "worship team." I strongly urge Reformed Worship and every leader in the church to start using the phrase "church band" and call things as they are.
HOMELINK A HIT
Thanks for the wonderful Advent resource [in RW 45]! As a preacher I found the devotions set up my lectionary sermons superbly with a wealth of illustrative material that especially resonated with the congregation members who had read them during the week.
Feedback from users has been extremely positive. We would certainly use HomeLink again and hope it will be offered not only for Advent, but for other times in the church year as well.
Two suggestions on improving this resource: (1) Carry the devotions for the full twelve days of Christmas through Epiphany. Instead of "When Advent Doesn't Feel Like Christmas" you could call it, "When Christmas Should Feel Like Christmas"! (2) Find a better binding process than tablet form. The only negative comment I received from my people was that the pages kept falling out. I would guess that this was the least expensive way to produce the materials, but it is such good stuff that we would be willing to pay more to have it in an easier-to-use form.
Thanks again for helping us share a wonderful Advent and Christmas!
David A. Currie
Penns Park, PA
We used Scott Hoezee's series for Advent and the response from the congregation to linking personal or family devotions to the sermon series was very positive. We had ordered twenty copies of the devo-tionals for our forty-some families, and they were snapped up immediately with one announcement, so we probably could have used more. We would be very favorable toward doing the same thing next year.
If Mr. Boonstra ("The Best of Times? The Worst of Times?" RW 47, March 1998) thought my article on contemporary worship music was so egregious, then he might want to ask his colleagues at Calvin Theological Seminary why they chose to publish it. Could it be that its main point was lost on Mr. Boonstra in his haste to score a point? In that article I tried to account for evangelicalism's schizophrenic relativism in liturgy and absolutism in moral and political/cultural matters. Perhaps Mr. Boonstra missed the same freshman English class that I did, the one that covered "hasty generalizations" and "ad hominem" arguments. Had he read my article with more care, he would have seen that I was not trying to include Moody and Sankey, The Book of Common Prayer, the conversation of the West, or my taste under the umbrella of historic Reformed worship. Rather I was arguing that older traditions of worship, from Episcopalian to African-American, have more integrity and consistency than evangelicalism's melting-pot approach to liturgy, what has been baptized as "blended worship." If Mr. Boonstra wants to know more about my views on Reformed worship, he might want to look at the recent issue of the Calvin Theological Journal. That his colleagues would print pieces by me twice may indicate that my views are not as extreme as Mr. Boonstra portrayed them.
Westminster Theological Seminary
Editor's note: The November 1997 issue of the Calvin Theological Journal was a theme issue on worship.