[Pic Rapper Nelly who said in 2008 During the day I wear jeans, a vest and Converse trainers, but I’m happy to wear a tie and I’ll do the formal thing when it’s called for – I’ve even got an Armani tux]
The Met Tab Summer School is famed for its negativity and we had it in good measure this time. I didn't hear Peter Master's warnings against contemporary music worship styles on the Wednesday night but I did hear the first of Chris Hand's papers on Hip Hop and Rap and the reading of Dr Ted Williams's papers on the new Calvinism.
- Chris began with a potted history of Hip Hop leading up to the current existence of Christian rap performers. I was interested to learn that break dancing referred to dancing during the instrumental break in a song. I thought most of what he said made sense although I think he tended to see Hip Hop as a much more unified movement than it is. My sons wear their trousers low but they are hardly big rap fans. He also seemed to think there was something semi-sacred about the shirt and tie that rather escaped me. The statement that "different types of music have a moral value - good or bad" is simply incorrect and needs to be nuanced much more carefully. Obviously, the way music is played and presented can have moral content but surely not the notes themselves. I would be surprised if there were more than a handful of people present with any inclination to Hip Hop. I have tried to listen to the Calvinist Hip Hoppers. As Chris himself admitted the content is sound. I just don't like Hip Hop or rap I guess. Why anyone would want to introduce it into worship I cannot really see.
- Ted Williams was present but having had heart surgery recently someone else read the paper itself. This was a very useful hatchet job on the new Calvinists who we are always hearing about but sometimes find it difficult to get the dirt on. Four men were denounced in varying degrees - Tim Keller, John Piper, Mark Driscoll and Al Mohler. There were no big surprises but it was nice to have things documented.
- Keller is a theistic evolutionist who sadly more or less ducked a question on hell by Martin Bashir. See here. He has a rather ecumenical approach.
- John Piper is a Blaise Pascal and C S Lewis fan and friendly toward Rick Warren. His presentation of truths has a distorting effect. He claims that God spoke audibly to him with new revelation in 2007.
- Al Mohler is rather ecumenical too being a big fan of Billy Graham.
- Mark Driscoll I won't bother to pass on as it seems to me very difficult to defend such a man who comes over as rather immature.
The negative note does need to be sounded. Perhaps it should be done with more humility. The experience is rather depressing and enervating, nevertheless. Most people I talk to don't exactly agree with what is said but we are generally sympathetic and so feel rather caught. I have no time for Mark Driscoll but the others seem to me to have some merits despite their glaring inconsistencies. Keeping a balance is not easy.