March 29, 2024 Show with Tim Bushong on “Bringing Reformation to Music”



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Good Friday on this last Friday of March, March 29th, 2024.
I am thrilled to have for the very first time, even though I've known this brother for quite a number of years,
I finally have him on the program. I'm not even sure why it took so long to get him on the program, but today we have for the very first time
Tim Bushong, pastor of Syracuse Baptist Church in Syracuse, Indiana.
He is a musician and co -host of the soon -to -be -released podcast
Reforming Grandma's Church, and today we're going to be addressing Bringing Reformation to Music.
It's my honor and privilege to welcome you for the very first time ever to Iron Sharpens Iron Radio, Pastor Tim Bushong.
Thank you so much, Chris. It is just a great privilege to be sitting in this chair right next to you.
Well, anyway, yeah, I've been listening to the program for many years and really benefited a lot from Iron Sharpens Iron, and wow,
I'm just, again, my privilege, my honor, and my great surprise to be on your show.
Well, one of the reasons your name is no doubt familiar to some of the audience of Iron Sharpens Iron Radio is your long -time, very close friendship with Dr.
James R. White of Alpha Omega Ministries, who has brought you up on the dividing line numerous times, and in fact has played some of your music there.
Yes, yes. I think that's one of the funnier works of providence that God has done in my life is back in 15,
I had a couple weeks where I was slow in the studio and had some extra time and reached out to Rich Pierce and said,
Hey, I think Radio Free Geneva needs something a little heavier. And do you remember the very first time they auditioned the music?
And Rich told James that, well, you better get a deep seat in the saddle. And after the song was done, the first thing
James White said was, I can tell you one thing right now, when I was a kid, I wouldn't have been allowed to listen to that kind of music.
Yes, I do remember that. Yeah, exactly, exactly.
So I thought, boy, we I bet our households were similar growing up and sure enough, yeah, they were.
Well, you are certainly a talented brother. And why don't you tell us about Syracuse Baptist Church of Syracuse, Indiana, which is also a church that should be familiar to my listeners, because you do the voiceover for one of my versions of the the
New American Standard Bible commercial. You do one of the you do one of the testimonies because you do love that translation.
Yeah, I remember when you when you reached out and I think it was via email and I said, you bet
I use the 95 NASB and had for for quite a while, you know,
I was I was perfectly comfortable with the 1984 NIV, I'll be honest.
And I've got some side notes in there where the language may be a little little too periphrastic.
But, you know, they forced my hand in 97 and then later on when they said, well, we're no longer going to print this version.
So I've made the leap to and it wasn't quite as big a leap as you might think to the
New American Standard. Syracuse Baptist Church has been in my hometown since 1994.
And believe it or not, I live exactly one mile from the church house.
I've I've lived on this property since 87. It's actually been in the
Bushong family since the mid 19th century. The way the story goes, a bunch of farmers were on their way to Illinois from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and decided they liked the woods and the lakes.
So they moved here and we live on old family land. So this church originally was a
United Brethren Church, the building right across the street from a one room schoolhouse that's still in very good shape.
And that's where my my grandpa, Gerald Bushong, had attended school when he was a boy. And here's here's something really interesting.
I know you want you're going to have me give my my testimony. I'll give you my dad's testimony. He was born in 32 and he answered the call to repent and receive
Christ as his Lord and Savior in the building. I now pastor. Wow. And he
I am now older at 63 than he was when he died. He was a he was a godly man, died of cancer in 94.
Everybody was just like, what? No way. And but anyway, he had when he was 12 years old, he went forward during a revival service and never turned back.
And so I'm just like, I don't know how it gets much better than that, you know. And I understand that you are a confessionally reformed
Baptist church. Yeah, we I came to this church in June of 2017.
And at the time, there were 11 people in the in the church, they were ready to close the doors.
And this is, you know, just to tie into what you said about the the upcoming reforming grandma's church podcast that Pastor Jason Gingrich and I are going to be doing.
He's one of my best friends. We both left very comfortable church situations, churches we had planted.
Our fingerprints were on everything. And we left those situations to come to a little country church full of older Barney Fife people.
You know, everyone wants to be the leader and no one's qualified and all kinds of different things.
And so this church is in the Southern Baptist Convention. We still are. And we're also a 1689 church.
So there we go. Founders. We love the founders. We're a member of the founders group.
Yeah, I love the founders, too. And I love interviewing Tom Askell, their president.
He's a good brother. If anybody doesn't understand what we're talking about, that the founders ministries is a ministry made up of Southern Baptists that are seeking to bring a revival of those very teachings taught by the founders of the
Southern Baptist Convention. Each and every one of them was a thoroughgoing Calvinist, a firm believer in the doctrine of grace.
And now in our current day and age, that viewpoint is a tiny minority in the
Southern Baptist Convention, tragically. Yes, that's exactly right. And I had known my connection with the
Southern Baptist Convention. I remember in 06 when
Brother Askell and James White were supposed to debate the Cantor Brothers.
Oh, yeah, I remember that as well. And I was I was following that pretty closely.
And if anyone, you know, it's online. If you want to see the email exchange between the two parties, it's on the
Alpha and Omega website. But so I was interested in in this.
We had we had. OK, do you want me to get to my testimony yet?
Because I can feel that I can fill this in. You can speak freely what's on your mind.
OK, I was raised in a Christian house for which I am absolutely blatheringly grateful.
Absolutely, yes. I knew Jesus was God in the flesh. I knew that the only way that I could be saved from my own sin was through the blood of Christ shed on the cross.
I was baptized when I was 12, and this would have been in 1973.
The year of the evangelical was three years later. Remember Time magazine and Jimmy Carter and all that.
And I just as a young man became disillusioned with the church. It was my own fault.
I didn't I didn't really internalize what I knew to be true. And so I spent many years trying to be a rock star and got met my wife in early 82, got married in 83.
We've been married. It'll be 41 years this summer. Praise God for that. And it was in beginning in in May of 1986,
I began to just come under the heavy conviction of the spirit that I had to either either go one way or the other.
I couldn't continue to be in a heavy metal touring rock band with a bunch of pagans.
And and and think that I've got it all figured out. Right. And so it was about a year later, kind of dramatically, the band
I was playing with, the keyboard player had been murdered and beaten to death.
And the drummer and I were now this is before we knew any of this, the drummer and I were tasked with going to talk some sense into him because he missed a gig.
We knew he was either drinking or doing a bunch of blow. We really didn't know. And so band meeting,
OK, you guys on your way home, stop by and and and try to talk sense into him. And that's when we found him.
And at that moment, I I knew it's it's just a matter of time. I have to repent of my being an idiot, my my sin and get serious about what
I knew to be true. And so it was about a month after we we found found the guy that and the first person
I called was my dad. I was like, hey, dad, I got something to tell you.
And I drove to his house and it was just wonderful. He hugged me and he said, oh,
Tim, I I'd committed you unto God years ago. I couldn't I couldn't do it. And so we had a great we always had a great relationship, but that just just sweetened everything.
And so at the time, having grown up in that kind of fussy, overly fastidious, fundamentalist kind of background,
I kind of went the other way. I said, hey, maybe these charismatics have something to offer.
And so I experienced what I thought was the second work in the baptism. And I spoke in some kind of thing.
I could do it right now. I don't think I should. And so we were in a church, a good church, by the way, who really loved on us, took the
Bible seriously. They had a biblical ecclesiology and but it was about seven years into that that.
So between eighty seven and ninety four, I was I was definitely a charismatic, but I was also coming to believe in the doctrines of grace.
And that happened by reading the Bible. The book of John was massive in in changing my world view from the but you got to do your you got to do your thing to salvation is of the
Lord. And then you read the rest of the New Testament, then you go back and read the Old Testament. So anyway, we left that church on really, really good terms, started attending a
Reformed Baptist church in Winona Lake, Indiana. And so during that time period, just became more and more convinced and solidified and really, really rested in the truth of the doctrines of grace.
And then in 2005, we had another number of families decided to plant a church, which which that's that's another story altogether.
That's where I was located when I got the call from Syracuse Baptist to come here.
So now we've got about one hundred and twenty, one hundred and thirty people, the auditorium fits 90.
God's been really good to us. We just baptized nine people last Lord's Day on Palm Sunday.
And I tell you what, the old prayer, God send the people of your choosing to our fellowship has has just been answered so many times.
I'm so grateful to the Lord for for the people that he sent. And in fact, one of the guys
I baptized, though, to tie it back into music, I met him 22 years ago.
He was a studio client, a singer in a metal band, and he had reached out to me about a year ago and we started talking and he's like,
I want to get serious about God and read my Bible. I want my whole family to, you know. So it was such a joy to baptize him.
Man, I tell you the phrase anyway, that's that's a little bit of of my my testimony right there.
Well, I've already said in your introduction that you are a musician, a singer, a studio music recorder.
And yeah. And before we go to our first commercial break, I want to play one of the songs that you have recorded,
Hail to Jesus from Psalm 110. Is there anything you care to say to set this song up before I play it?
Yeah, the the the the psalm was adapted into versified lyrics by Brianna Smith.
She is the wife of the man who is my assistant pastor, the other elder at Syracuse Baptist, Matt Smith.
And to be honest, I kind of I had just mentioned this is the kind of people I get to serve.
I'd mentioned how much I wanted to sing Psalm 110, how much it had influenced my theology, my eschatology and all these things.
I just couldn't find a good version of it. And seven days later in my inbox are the words versified out.
And so it was another probably nine months before I finally got around to setting it to music.
And when I was working on it, I realized, you know, this this could actually use a chorus, a refrain, as the old people would call it.
So I wrote the Hail to Jesus, Christ is reigning. But she wrote all the words and that set the thing in motion.
So, yep, great. It's our original composition. Well, here is
Hail to Jesus. A kingly foodstall for your sake shall set your mouth clear.
The kings who fight against my Lord shall taste his wrath and meet his sword.
Hallelujah. What a powerful, powerful song. And there was obviously some
Celtic or Irish influence into that, wasn't there? Yeah, just a tad.
As soon as you add flute to like a 6 -8
Bierstein swinging rhythm, you're going to get a little
Celtic. Yeah, that was beautiful. Well we are going to our first commercial break, and if you have any questions you'd like to ask of your own, for Pastor Tim Bushong on our theme,
Bringing Reformation to Music, our email address is ChrisArnzen at gmail .com,
C -H -R -I -S -A -R -N -Z -E -N at gmail .com.
As always, give us your first name at least, your city and state of residence, and your country of residence, if you live outside the
USA. And please only remain anonymous if your question involves a personal and private matter.
Let's say you disagree with or have a problem of some kind with the music that is being played and sung in your own congregation, and obviously you wouldn't want to identify yourself publicly about that.
Maybe you're even the pastor, and you have those problems, and you have disagreements maybe even with your own elders or your denomination or something.
Whatever the case may be, you may remain anonymous if it's a personal and private matter. But please, if it's a general question, give us your first name at least, your city and state, and your country of residence.
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Tim Bouchong. And by the way, Tim, what ethnic origin is Bouchong? Is that German?
I'm glad you asked. Remember on the old All in the Family where Archie would go, so who are your people?
It's actually Swiss. So there's kind of a quick history.
The Swiss brethren were kicked out of every decent country in Europe, ended up in Germany for a while, then in London, and then actually joined up with the
German palatines and came over to Pennsylvania.
And so yeah, both sides of my family, my sister Julie is in the
Daughters of the American Revolution on both sides. We've been here, both been here since like 1710, something like that.
Well, I want to remind our listeners also, if you'd like to send in a question of your own, chrisarnson at gmail .com,
chrisarnson at gmail .com is our email address. And we are discussing bringing
Reformation to music. And please give us your first name at least, city and state and country of residence when you send in a question.
Well, that theme, bringing Reformation to music, is an implication that you believe that in many instances, not all, but many instances, you believe that there is something within the music loved by, listened to by, and sung and performed by Christians that is, that there's something lacking in that.
If you could tell us, what is it? There we're done.
No, um, you know, you're right. And okay.
I don't want anyone to mishear me. I'm not a music snob. I personally like all kinds of music.
I personally will record anyone in my studio as you probably picked up. I'm, I'm a bi -vocational.
Um, I also tune pianos, but that's, um, that's just tuning.
That's not making music really. So there there's, don't take anything that I say about music to be,
Oh, he just doesn't like that kind of music. There's a, there's a couple of things involved,
Chris. And I think these are, these are what I want to see working through the next few decades in, uh, in the evangelical church.
So I grew up with the hymns, uh, every, every church experience we had, whether it was the, uh, uh, brethren in Christ or, you know,
Baptist, uh, uh, G G A R B C Baptist, whatever. They always sang out of a hymn book.
In fact, my dad would lead the singing and he played trumpet. He was a very talented trumpet player.
Uh, his, his guy was Harry James. If you know who that is. And, um, he would oftentimes play the third verse and the state and the stanza and the refrain on his trumpet.
So I grew up with all those kind of revivalistic songs, you know, not the, not the first 30 pages in the hymnal, but the ones after that, you know, showers of blessing and, and, and that kind of thing.
And so there's kind of some corniness that, uh, is attached to that.
Uh, it's early 20th, mid, mid 20th century church music. Yeah. A lot of that obviously depends on what hymnal you're using because that's right.
That's right. The Trinity hymnals for instance, are usually containing hymns, uh, dating to the 19th century and prior, although they may have some more modern hymns that I'm, I'm not thinking.
That's right. Yeah. And so, so both of my, both of my parents, musicians, uh, sang in a gospel group going up, um, in the late sixties and early seventies, my mom gave me some advice back when we planted this church in oh five.
And, and I was in charge of the music. She said, now remember that oftentimes, uh, most of the hymnals are put together by committee.
The people on that committee are going to be a little older, but the people on the committee will also be hearkening back to the
Halcyon days of their youth. So oftentimes what gets put in the hymnal by committee is the stuff that would have been popular even 50 or 60 years prior to that.
Maybe I'm just, I'm using round figures here, maybe 50. And, uh, isn't it, isn't it interesting in the, in the
Trinity hymnal, uh, towards the back, there's that section called hymns for informal occasions.
Well, those are, those are the songs I grew up singing. It's those informal occasion hymns, right?
Are they, would they be reminiscent of barbershop quartets? Oh yeah.
That's a, that's a pretty good analogy, brother. Um, some of the harmonies, uh, we have a joke with our, with our church pianist,
Judy Smith. She's, uh, she's older. In fact, uh, she said, well, this'll date me when, when
I was in junior high, I had a crush on your dad. I thought, oh man, we're going way back here.
But anyway, um, I'll look at her and say, now, now where's my six?
Well, a six is kind of a, uh, it's an extra note added onto a major chord that it's kind of corny in some, like you say, it would be like the barbershop quartet, um, harmony.
And you know, a lot of that stuff is again, back to grandma's church. It's a little bit maudlin.
Um, it's, it's supposed to tug on the, uh, the, the heart strings of the emotion.
Um, you know, oh, oh mother, I promise I will never touch another drop of gin again, you know, that kind of, uh, uh, emotive music.
And so, so that's okay. Let's, let's take that scenario and say, okay, there are churches that probably used to be like that, but that's not the norm anymore.
What, what has absolutely taken over, uh, church music is the mid to late sixties style of singing maybe,
I don't know, 20, 15 to 20 minutes worth of music all at the same time, where you begin with more upbeat songs, you kind of level it out towards the middle.
And then at the end, you're, you're singing those a little more slower paced, um, kind of, you know, come
Holy spirit songs and in the charismatic church, of course, then that would be followed by, um, uh, singing in the spirit or whatever, you know, but even, even your mainstream evangelical churches do it like that.
Whereas a traditional worship service would be paced where you've got an opening, an opening hymn called a worship response to the congregation, confession of the faith, confession of the sin, another response by the congregation.
Uh, maybe the, the sermon at that point, then another response, then you'd have the
Lord's supper. And then the congregation responds in the minister pronounces the benediction.
That's, that's really been more of the history of the church across the world than the 20 to 25 minutes of praise and worship.
And isn't it interesting that, you know, you talk to people and let's say they're from a more of a modern church sense, uh, uh, sensibility.
They'll say, well, our church really emphasizes worship. What they mean by that is our church really puts a lot of time and effort into the music because they're not thinking the proclamation of God's word from the
Holy desk as worship. That's more like teaching. Oh yeah. In fact, I can recall
James White being with him at conferences, many conferences, some of which
I arranged at all different kinds of churches. Yeah. I can remember him getting, uh, upset a couple of times.
And, um, when, uh, wait, James White, get up.
Who are we talking about here? But one, one thing, one thing
I know gets his craw is when a praise band, uh, will finish performing.
And sometimes I literally mean performing because it's more, more entertaining than anything else.
And, uh, the worship leader or the pastor will say, uh, and now that the time of worship has concluded, we will hear a sermon by Dr.
James R. White as if the sermon is not a part of worship. And in fact, it's really the most important part of worship.
But anyway, I interrupted you. No, no, no. And that's a, that's a good point. See, I was, these are, these are ecclesial issues.
These are issues of what is the church about? In fact, if you want to break the question down, what is happening when the church meets together for corporate worship, not what are you doing, but what is happening?
Those are, those are related, but different. And I think as you, as you begin to study and think through some of these issues, you realize, okay, my view of God has gone from, uh, you know,
Jesus knocking at the noblest door, uh, painting to sovereign
Lord, king of the universe, not one square inch does he not point to and say, that's mine.
There's not one rogue molecule as Dr. Sproul used to say. And so that, that, that should then affect these other areas.
Uh, well, just like, just like our Dr. White says, uh, reformed isn't just five points.
Um, it has implications for apologetics, for family, for corporate worship.
Absolutely. Now I'm not, again, I'm not saying that unless a church has it down, just like we do, that I couldn't go there and, and worship
God with them, maybe, you know, fill the pulpit. I've done that. Um, but at the same time, there has to be a place where you land eventually.
And, uh, you know, as they say, as, as for me and my house to quote Joshua, uh, we're going to try to, to mine the depths of the good hymnody and the
Psalter and come up with the, with the songs that best reflect what we believe, how
God has revealed himself in his Bible. Amen. And, uh, right now we are going to play another one of your songs.
And is there anything you care to say to set up? I know that my redeemer lives. Ooh, yeah.
Yeah. So, uh, this song has just recently, uh, last couple of years,
I think, uh, become very popular. Um, the guys out at Canon Press in Moscow, they did a version that was released about the same time that we released the video on, on YouTube, by the way,
Psalm 110, if anyone wants to see the, the official video for that is go to YouTube, look up Syracuse Baptist church is there.
Um, but we, we originally heard it from the, uh, the old sacred harp singers in Ireland singing at acapella with all the parts.
Now, uh, the, uh, the harp singing is also, uh, uh, the key form of, of musical worship amongst the primitive
Baptists, which are very tiny, tiny minority of churches today, mainly in the deep
South, but other places. Uh, and when you, when I was listening to the song,
I said to myself, I wonder if Tim Bushong, uh, loves, uh, primitive
Baptist harp singing as much as I do. And by the way, folks, even though they call it harp singing, it's acapella. Uh, which is kind of interesting because, uh, the, uh, the
Psalms, uh, that word means song, sung to the harp. And yet there are many churches that sing exclusives, exclusively the
Psalms and they sing them acapella exclusively. But, but as soon as, as soon as that, as soon as your version was over of, uh,
I know that my redeemer lives a primitive Baptist, uh, video came on of them singing the same song.
Yeah. Yeah. That's, um, there were, there were two hymn books that were, that were published in the,
I believe the early 19th century Walker's Southern Harmony and Sacred Harp.
And, uh, boy, you, you want to talk about a, a deep rabbit hole of, of musicology.
There are a lot of songs in the, uh, the Sacred Harp, uh, collection. And, you know,
I'll be honest when I, when I heard that, the version that probably popped on after ours, um,
I, in my, in my head, I was hearing the big drum hits, the heavier guitars, the organ swells, all that stuff.
And I'm like, this is good. This is going to be a good one. I just, you know, once in a while you'll, you know, lightning in a bottle and you're like, yeah, this is going to kick pretty hard at the same time, very congregationally friendly too.
And we'll talk about congregational singing, um, after the break, but yeah, this was a lot of fun to put together.
And, um, the folks that we shot the video out in my woods, very hot summer day, and everyone was just great troopers about it and, uh, really, really loved the call and response style too.
So, well, here is, I know that my redeemer lives. And we're going to our midway break right now.
So if, uh, you have any questions that you'd like to send in during this break, uh, send them, uh, to chrisorenzen at gmail .com,
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Last but not least, if you are not a member of a Christ -honoring, biblically faithful, theologically sound, doctrinally solid church like Syracuse Baptist Church in Syracuse, Indiana, I have extensive lists of biblically faithful churches spanning the entire globe, and I've helped many people all over the world find churches, sometimes even within just a couple of minutes from where they live, and that may be you too, no matter where in the world you live, if you are without a biblically sound church home, send me an email to chrisarnson at gmail .com,
chrisarnson at gmail .com, and put I need a church in the subject line. That's also the email address where you can send in a question for Tim Bushong, a pastor of Syracuse Baptist Church of Syracuse, Indiana, as we discuss the theme that is our central focus of the day, bringing reformation to music.
And before I go to any listener questions, Pastor Tim, why don't you tell us something about this new podcast,
Reforming Grandma's Church? Tim Bushong I'm glad you find the title amusing,
Chris. It's kind of on purpose. I mean, you know, we wanted to have something snappy.
No, it was really long, long in the making. First had the idea in early 2018.
My co -conspirator, Pastor Jason Gingrich of Maple Grove Church in Topeka, Indiana, he had approached me in was the autumn of 2016.
And he said, I got something I could talk to you about. I had met him through doing music, by the way, first.
And so anyway, we met lunch. He said, you know, I had this opportunity. You know, I've been at this church out here forever, helped to establish it.
I've been one of the pastors there forever. But a little church in my hometown right across the street from my house wants me to come there and be their pastor.
And we talked about some details. And at the end of the lunch, I said, absolutely, you do it, you know.
Well, come to find out not nine months later, I was going through the same thing. And so we both left established churches that we had helped to plant to come and pastor little country churches.
And so we ended up meeting so many and, you know, getting to know so many other pastors that were really struggling with the same concept.
You know, sometimes in the Southern Baptist Convention, they'll call it church revitalization, where a church is just kind of burned out of its own inertia.
They'll close down, rename it, do some interior decorating, and then reopen as a new church.
And I thought, we're not going to do that. We're just going to start from day one.
And I got a lot of good advice from a lot of different pastors. Tom Askell, who we talked about earlier.
Dan Phillips from the old Pyromaniacs gave me great advice. Doug Wilson from Moscow, Idaho gave me some great advice.
It was basically just, you know, take your time, be steady, be like an ox and just plod along, preach good sermons and start making some adjustments.
And so we started at Syracuse, we started with 11 people. Now we're up to about 130 and just a great group.
So anyway, the podcast is Pastor Jason and myself just talking between the two of us.
We also have a kind of a funny feature in the middle of each one. Each episode will be about 25 minutes.
Right now we've got 12 in the can. When we're done with the next 12 filming, we're going to start doing interviews with pastors that have also had experiences trying to bring
Reformation to a little old church somewhere in the sticks. So, yep.
Next, let me see, Thursday, I think it drops. Yep. Great.
And let me share some thoughts, perhaps I'll bounce them off of you and you could respond.
One of the things that does concern me about the modern evangelical church is the worship of youth.
And we have got to pattern every single thing that we do in order to keep the interest of the young people and and silver haired saints are viewed not only as unnecessary in the congregation, not we don't even need to be concerned about anything that they desire or what have you.
They're actually we're actually a burden. We wish they would go to some other church or perhaps just go home to glory.
It would solve everyone's problem. Yeah. Isn't that a danger to have that mindset, which
I think is prevalent? Oh, absolutely. And the thing is, when you try to tailor the style of a worship service, again, back to my question, what is happening when the saints meet together?
When you try to tailor that to a demographic group or to to someone's sensibilities, you're by definition going to be excluding someone who doesn't have the exact same sensibilities.
I mean, think of it. Can you imagine somebody a hundred years ago, let's say, and they had to move from Baltimore, Maryland to Cincinnati, Ohio, and they're looking for a church.
And they go to the pastor and they say, you know, we really love your doctrinal stance, your statement of faith.
We're kind of looking for a church that reflects more of a Dixieland jazz music motif.
Are you guys planning on doing that anytime soon? Well, you're right to laugh because it sounds stupid, but that's what people do.
They're looking for something that's going to push their buttons and trip whatever triggers they have in the positive way.
And the thing is, I've visited lots of churches, again, with my Christian rock band and stuff, know a lot of different Christians.
And again, I'm not trying to throw anyone under the bus, but there is a certain style of approaching the worship of God, and it's definitely tailored to a certain sensibility.
Do you know who I think it is? It's the same sensibility that Christian radio is geared toward, which is housewives between the ages of 25 and 40.
Well, how did you know that? Because I was on the advertising team at WMCA radio, a
Salem affiliate for 15 years. And that was definitely a bedrock source of information for selling advertising, knowing who our listeners were, married women, 25.
And in fact, after I had left that station and started my own show, my first boss who hired me, he said,
I spoke to the program director at the station and he'd like to meet with you because he's interested in getting
Iron Sharpens Iron radio on the station. So I said, oh, that's great.
I went out to all the way from Long Island where I was living at the time to New Jersey. And the program director said, you know, you've put in enough years hosting your own show, so you've proven that you can do this.
But I've got to be honest, I hate your show. Uh, in fact, you interview pastors and theologians for at that time, it was only an hour for an entire hour.
Boring. He said, you've got to do what the best of the talk show hosts do, like Jay Leno and David Letterman at that time.
That's what they were. Right. And he said, you've got to have a guest on no more than four minutes.
And if they are really fascinating, when you come back from the commercial break, you have them on for another four minutes.
And I said, so you want me to pattern a show that's intended to instruct people about the
Bible and Christian faith and convey to them eternal truths by imitating
Christ hating secular talk show hosts. Right. You got to grab them.
And he said, and he said, I don't even want you to interview people if you could do that.
What I'd rather you do is just field questions from our listeners who are predominantly married women with children, 25 to 54 years of age.
And I would like you to field questions from them about their everyday lives and problems that they may run into.
And please don't use the Bible too much. And I said, well, first of all, my wife was still living at the time.
And I said, if my wife knew that I was giving women advice about anything, you could hear her laughing here in New Jersey, all the way from Long Island.
I said, I'm not I said, I'm not a biblical counselor and I'm not a pastor. Why would I be doing that?
And and I said, it sounds like you want me to do a one man version of the view.
Oh, boom. So I passed them up on his absolutely ridiculous.
Yeah, yeah. And I didn't get get my show on there because I wouldn't change it.
Right. But that's that is the emotional sensibility.
It's reason number 482 why women cannot be pastors. They're not they're not designed for it.
And somebody who is probably just jumping out of their chair right now going, hey, just a minute. How does music and singing have to do with that?
I'll tell you what, right now, the truth is that if you can if you can get the men of your church on board, everyone else will follow wives, single women, kids, teenagers.
I don't care what the scenario is. If you can get the guys to be with you as a man, as a leader, as an elder in a local church.
The rest of it will follow. I'm not I'm not saying everything's going to be, you know, Tim, the tool man,
Taylor, more power, that kind of thing. But I do mean there is definitely a focus in the local assembly that sadly, the complementarians don't want to grant outside the outside the church.
But that is God designed men to lead and to protect and provide and even fight off the enemies when the time comes.
And I'm sorry, but you're not going to get that kind of mentality singing the majority of what passes for modern
Christian worship music. It doesn't enter into it, which is another reason.
Sing the Psalms, work up some either work up versions or start doing it.
I don't know why more churches don't, you know, I told you, I tune piano.
So I'm in a lot of different church situations. And oftentimes, it's the worship leader that lets me in the building or whatever.
And I just kind of sidle up and go, you know, I have question. I see some of your set list. Now, as an old rock and roll guy, bands have set lists.
Churches have the hymns on the wall on that board, you know, hymn number 278.
That's not a set list. That's the hymn. Anyway, squirrel. So I'll say, so how many
Psalms are you singing as part of your repertoire? And they look at you like you've got lobsters crawling out of your ear.
What? What? Well, we just don't. And there's some reasons for that, too.
But again, back to my main point on saying that, do not structure the style of music in a local church in the same way that whatever
Christian radio station structures their playlist, don't do it. You're going to end up with a feminized version of something that I don't think pleases the
Lord. And frankly, most guys aren't into that anyway. Have you ever seen a group of men who are visibly uncomfortable in one of those service?
They don't know what to do with their hands. You know what I mean? It's like, no, give them something to chew on, you know, give them some words, some lyrics that really count for eternity.
Rise up, oh, men of God have done with lesser things, you know, some of that stuff. Now, another of my pet peeves, and I hope
I don't step on your toes. I know that you have a Christian rock band, but I, I, I believe one now.
Now, first of all, obviously, if people listen to my show, they'll see that even my opening theme music is, is heavy rock music instrumentality in the background.
But I am a strong believer in congregational worship.
And I believe that entertainment has become far more the focus and intent of churches with church growth in mind, typically, where they really want more than anything to draw in people because they want the word to spread that they've got such a great praise band or great music.
And it's not just the modern churches with their modern music, because you could easily have a confessional
Reformed church, that especially one that is of a larger size, which is typically doesn't go hand in hand with Reformed.
But within the PCA, though, they have very large churches, you could, you could be one of doing the same thing, providing entertainment with a symphony orchestra that you have, or, you know, and even the choirs.
So what, what is your response to my, my apprehension about entertainment and worship services?
I think you just veered into heresy and you're on your way to hell. And by the way, the key word there, or key phrase is worship services.
I have no problem even going to secular music concerts, as long as the, the music is not, you know, especially the lyrical content is not offensive to God.
And, you know, women singing who are practically buck naked and all that kind of thing.
But, but, but, but I'm speaking about the worship service, the corporate worship service, not even, not even, not even a concert that the church will host or anything like that.
I have nothing wrong with that, but I'm talking about a worship service. Yeah, I used to, I used to tour in the band
Love War, and then later the Channel Surfers, we had a very specific thing that we did, definitely preached a leather -lunged gospel, you've broken
God's law, you absolutely need a savior, turn from your wickedness and serve the
King of Kings. However, that's not corporate worship.
Corporate worship was all the people of God to get together, ages, you know, two to 200. And you want everyone to, to, to be involved in the structure, in what's happening, in, in the worship of God.
In fact, you did that with your congregation in the two songs that I played. I, you know what, that's, that's the goal, exactly the goal.
When, when people can, when the song is in a reasonable key, usually for a guy, for a man like me,
I can sing some D notes, but anything higher than that's gonna,
I can't do it. I've been in worship services before where the lead singer, the guy leading the music is singing an
A and even a B, that's way out of the range of most men.
I mean, the vast majority of men can't, can't even get above E for crying out loud. Sometimes you notice in the old
Trinity hymnal, there'll be songs in E flat, and then they'll sing that top note, and boy, that's, that's asking a lot, you know.
And you can hear my vocal range is, I'm, my voice is probably pretty hashed over the years, but I know where people can sit, you know, as far as the vocal, vocal ranges go.
And the other thing is, let's, let's sing the songs in, in a way that's not boring, that doesn't just, you know, drive everyone into the, you know, some, the, the
Z's, you know, just falling asleep out there. Like a funeral dirge, like a lot of. Exactly, right, right.
A lot of, a lot of reformed churches sing funeral dirges nonstop. Yeah, yeah.
So, you know, it's like, you, you have to be able to think in terms of, okay, this is not about me, this is about Christ and God and his people as we meet together.
So when, when you, when you come to a song like, oh, and you know what my pet peeve is, these guys that'll add a refrain or chorus to an already existing song that was perfectly fine all by itself, you know, amazing grace,
Chris Tomlin's thing. I don't like it, man. I just don't think it helped there.
Somebody did that with, when I surveyed the wondrous cross and in order to make their chorus work, they had to slow down the verses.
So instead of when I survey the wondrous cross, right, that's the normal rhythm, a little slower than what we would speak it.
It's when I survey the one.
So that by the time you get to the chorus, it goes, oh, the wonderful cross.
I do not think that helped at all. In fact, I think it takes away from the original
Watts vocabulary, but you know, there's the old man in me get off my lawn, you know, but I'll tell you,
I'll tell you what, if you visit Syracuse Baptist on a Sunday morning, you're going to get blown out of the room, not by the instrumentation, even though we've got, you know,
I lead on an acoustic guitar, we've got a bass guitar, we got a Hammond organ, a piano, and my friend
Caleb Marshall plays a flute and dulcimer. So it's a, you've got a lot of instruments.
It's the voices. The voices will blow you out because people are singing very loudly.
Now that's what I want to encourage, you know. We do have a listener named
Caleb in Warsaw, Indiana. How close is that to Syracuse? Caleb stands next to me every
Lord's day when we're doing the music. I know this man. Okay. And he also spells it with a
K. That's right. He is, he's asking a question that is assuming something to be true that I don't agree with, but he says, why does the devil have all the good music?
And his second question is why is music with a backbeat the devil's music?
I just, I don't know if I agree with that one either, but go ahead. Yeah. Those are, those are two presuppositional questions that you do not answer a fool according to his folly.
You're not a fool, Caleb. You know that, you know where I'm coming from. It's okay.
First of all, no, the devil doesn't have the good music. Uh, we can, we can demonstrate that beyond any question, the backbeat.
Now this is one of those Gothardite, um, sphere, you know, their, their, their universe would, would teach that the backbeat has effects on lab rats and causes them to go into heart palpitations.
What a bunch of nonsense, you know, in the, in the Psalter, uh, Psalm 150, especially praise him with tambourine and loud claim symbols.
Well, that the, the word for tambourine is actually TOEF and it means any, uh, skin or membrane stretched over a, uh, a frame.
Well, that sounds like a drum to me now. I don't know what the exact style of the drumming was, you know, and, and, and, and old,
I am an old rocker. I mean, I started playing rock and roll, uh, when I was in the sixth grade, basically in the early seventies.
Um, the backbeat is what it is. And of course, congregationally, you don't need to emphasize a backbeat.
You know, we're not trying to get people to dance in the aisles. We are reformed Baptist after all.
Um, but no, the, the backbeat that's been the subject of a lot of controversy.
And, um, no, there's, there's literally nothing that you can say scripturally.
Now you might want to talk about teleology, uh, which would be the design of something. In other words, if you're trying to put your baby to sleep, you don't play
John Phillips Sousa. And if you're going into, you know, tank battle attacking the enemy, you don't play
Christopher cross, you play Metallica or battle hymns music. You want to get all fired up and go in there and do some damage, you know?
So yeah, there's a teleology and there are associations. A lot of studies have been done on that. I've done a lot myself, but no, there's nothing intrinsically wrong about a backbeat.
Not at all. And we're going to our final break and we are going to be led into the break by the song.
What wondrous is this? Don't go away. What wondrous love.
Wondrous love. For my soul, for my soul to bear the dreadful curse for my soul.
I will sing, I will sing to God and to the
Lamb. I will sing to God and to the
Lamb. Who is the great I am? Join the theme.
I will sing, I will sing while millions join the theme.
I will sing. Puritan Reformed is a
Bible believing kingdom building devil fighting church. We're devoted to upholding the apostolic doctrine and practice preserved in scripture alone.
Puritan Reformed teaches men to rule and lead as image bearing prophets, priests and Kings.
We teach families to worship together as families. Puritan is committed to teaching the whole council of God so that the earth will be filled with the knowledge of God as the waters cover the sea.
We sing the Psalms, teach the law, proclaim the gospel, make disciples, maintain discipline and exalt
Christ. This is Pastor David Reese of Puritan Reformed in Phoenix, Arizona.
Join us in the glorious cause of advancing Christ's crown and covenant over the kings of the earth.
Puritan Reformed Church, believe, build, fight. PuritanPHX .com.
I'm Dr. Joseph Piper, President Emeritus and Professor of Systematic and Applied Theology at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.
Every Christian who's serious about the deformed faith and the Westminster standards should have and use the eight volume commentary on the theology and ethics of the
Westminster Larger Catechism titled Authentic Christianity by Dr. Joseph Moorcraft.
It is much more than an exposition of the Larger Catechism. It is a thoroughly researched work that utilizes biblical exegesis as well as historical and systematic theology.
Dr. Moorcraft is pastor of Heritage Presbyterian Church of Cumming, Georgia, and I urge everyone looking for a biblically faithful church in that area to visit that fine congregation.
For details on the eight volume commentary, go to westminstercommentary .com, westminstercommentary .com.
For details on Heritage Presbyterian Church of Cumming, Georgia, visit heritagepresbyterianchurch .com,
heritagepresbyterianchurch .com. Please tell Dr. Moorcraft and the
Saints at Heritage Presbyterian Church of Cumming, Georgia that Dr. Joseph Piper of Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary sent you.
Hi, this is John Sampson, pastor of King's Church in Peoria, Arizona, taking a moment of your day to talk about Chris Arnson and the
Iron Sharpens Iron podcast. I consider Chris a true friend and a man of high integrity. He's a skilled interviewer who's not afraid to ask the big penetrating questions.
While always defending the key doctrines of the Christian faith, I've always been happy to point people to this podcast knowing it's one of the very few safe places on the internet where folk won't be led astray.
I believe this podcast needs to be heard far and wide. This is a day of great spiritual compromise, and yet God has raised
Chris up for just such a time, and knowing this, it's up to us as members of the body of Christ to stand with such a ministry in prayer and in finances.
I'm pleased to do so, and would like to ask you to prayerfully consider joining me in supporting
Iron Sharpens Iron financially. Would you consider sending either a one -time gift or even becoming a regular monthly partner with this ministry?
I know it would be a huge encouragement to Chris if you would. All the details can be found at ironsharpensironradio .com
where you can click support. That's ironsharpensironradio .com. I'm Dr.
Tony Costa, Professor of Apologetics and Islam at Toronto Baptist Seminary. I'm thrilled to introduce to you a church where I've been invited to speak and have grown to love,
Hope Reform Baptist Church in Corham, Long Island, New York, pastored by Rich Jensen and Christopher McDowell.
It's such a joy to witness and experience fellowship with people of God like the dear saints at Hope Reform Baptist Church in Corham, who have an intensely passionate desire to continue digging deeper and deeper into the unfathomable riches of Christ in His Holy Word, and to enthusiastically proclaim
Christ Jesus, the King, and His doctrines of sovereign grace in Suffolk County, Long Island, and beyond.
I hope you also have the privilege of discovering this precious congregation and receive the blessing of being showered by their love as I have.
For more information on Hope Reform Baptist Church, go to hopereformli .net.
That's hopereformedli .net. Or call 631 -696 -5711.
That's 631 -696 -5711. Tell the folks at Hope Reform Baptist Church of Corham, Long Island, New York, that you heard about them from Tony Costa on Iron Sharpens Iron.
James White of Alpha Omega Ministries here. If you've watched my Dividing Line webcast often enough, you know
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But today, I want to introduce you to my senior pastor, Doug McMasters of New High Park Baptist Church on Long Island.
Doug McMasters here, former director of pastoral correspondence at Grace to You, the radio ministry of John MacArthur.
In the film, Chariots of Fire, the Olympic gold medalist runner Eric Liddell remarked that he felt
God's pleasure when he ran. He knew his efforts sprang from the gifts and calling of God.
I sensed that same God -given pleasure when ministering the word and helping others gain a deeper knowledge and love for God.
That love starts with the wonderful news that the Lord Jesus Christ is a savior who died for sinners, and that God forgives all who come to him in repentance, trusting solely in Christ to deliver them.
I would be delighted to have the honor and privilege of ministering to you if you live in the Long Island area or Queens or Brooklyn or the
Bronx in New York City. For details on New High Park Baptist Church, visit nhpbc .com.
That's nhpbc .com. You can also call us at 516 -352 -9672.
That's 516 -352 -9672. That's New High Park Baptist Church, a congregation in love with each other, passionate for Christ, committed to learning and being shaped by God's word, and delighting in the gospel of God's sovereign grace.
God bless you. Chris Arnzen here.
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Now shipping worldwide. Welcome back, and folks,
I never want you to forget that this program exists largely because of the financial support of the law firm of Buttafuoco &
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Always mention that you heard about them from Chris Arntzen of Iron Sharpens Iron Radio. Also, if you're a man in ministry leadership, don't forget that we are having our next free
Iron Sharpens Iron Radio Pastor's Luncheon, featuring Dr. Joel Beeke as our keynote speaker, who is the founder and president of Puritan Reform Theological Seminary.
And not only is admission free and lunch free, but everybody attending is going to receive a free heavy sack of brand new books personally selected by me and donated by Christian publishers all over the
United States and United Kingdom. If you'd like to register for this event on June 6th, 11 a .m.
to 2 p .m. — that's a Thursday, by the way — at the Church of the Living Christ in Loisville, Pennsylvania, send me an email to chrisarntzen at gmail .com
and put Pastor's Luncheon in the subject line. We are now back, and Tim, we do have a question for you from Joy in Calvin Township, Michigan.
Wow, sounds like a place I want to move, Calvin Township. He'd be surprised. The question from Joy, and it's going to require a brief answer because I need to play your final song of the day.
The question is, what is your opinion of Christian musicians, singers, and groups that will record famous Christian songs to new melodies that might be the melodies of famous secular songs that are somewhat off -color, if you know what
I mean? And I'll give you an example. House of the Rising Sun's melody, which was recorded by the
Animals originally, is now the background music for the
Five Blind Boys of Alabama's version of Amazing Grace. Any opinion? Okay, first of all, that example might not be the best because that melody is originally not with the
Animals, but way before that. Yeah, they didn't write that, and really, that original song was not in praise of the lifestyle.
It's a dire warning. I'm just a miserable poor guy because I spent my money on whores.
Right. There's no vulgarity or anything in that song. Yeah, that's right.
My issue would be, and somebody even said, hey, we could do such and such psalm and use this same melody.
I'm like, look, when a song has its deep in the saddle seat, let's let it be that song.
Why don't you write something else? Come up with something better, something original, something that's not already taken, if you get my drift.
Well, I'll tell you one time that I was angered, and I was actually disgusted, to tell you the truth.
A church where I was invited to give my testimony, actually, they had a youth group leader leading the worship, and he actually had everybody sing
Amazing Grace to the tune of Gilligan's Island. And the reason why that infuriated me is because you are making fun of something deeply important in the
Christian life, and it's boring on blasphemy when you're doing something in a comical vein like that.
Yeah, I don't know. I think there might have been some rotten tomatoes flung at the front of the auditorium if I'd have been there.
Well, we've got to go now because we've got to play your final song, but I just want to make sure that our listeners have your website syracusebaptistchurch .com,
syracusebaptistchurch .com, and we are now going to go out of our program for today.
We hope everybody has a blessed Good Friday. Amen. And now you're going to hear the song
The Son of God Goes Forth to War by Tim Beauchamp.
And God bless everyone. I hope you always remember for the rest of your lives Jesus Christ is a far greater Savior than you are a sinner.