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In previous posts we’ve looked at reconsidering the nature of our corporate singing in church. All of these aspects are important in singing, and in this final post in the series we will consider target. Finally, in brief, I would like to just make mention the final aspect of target that you’ll see in the attached Song Selection Rubric. Sadly, over the years, churches have separated and grown apart over things like stylistic preference, racial and cultural expressions in song, and over age. Recently, I found myself sipping beer and carrying on conversation with some good Christian blokes around a table at a local restaurant.
The Spirit filled life of the believer on earth is one that is fraught with all kinds of tension and release.
In my Song Selection Rubric, you’ll see how I work my way through a song canon as I plan singing in a particular church.
We must ask ourselves, are our song choices nourishing us, our families, and our churches with a full and nutritious diet of melody and emotion?
We are fortunate to be able to introduce you to someone you may not yet know – Zach Loomis. In case you haven’t tuned into previous posts, In Post 1, I introduced our series by considering Paul’s exhortation in Colossians as to why and how he thinks we should sing as Christians. Years ago I attended a church that sang “I Give Myself Away” as the opening song in their worship. The heart here is to crave and thirst for good poetry and prose in our singing; using language that adorns God’s truths with beauty, and allows God’s people, in the best way possible, to comprehend God’s majesty. We are fortunate to have great friends like Joe Brookhouse who take advantage of opportunities to do interviews on our behalf. I heard a Professor in college once say that most Christians are struggling deeply with their faith because they believe in a “canon within a Canon.” He made this statement while teaching the history behind how we received the 66 book Canon of The Bible.
A great example of cherry picking Bible knowledge is the everyday bumper sticker that resounds Jeremiah 29:11’s promise to Israel, that God has plans for us and will give us hope and a future.
The bottom line is that God gave to us a complete Canon—not portions—of Scripture that is about HIM, not US, and within its pages it tells the entirety of the Gospel.
This idea of churches forming a “canon within a Canon” has shown up in our singing unfortunately. In the next 4 posts we will try to examine a way to ensure that we sing the story of Scritpure fully.
To do this, my approach over the years has been to steal an outline from Mark Driscoll’s book Doctrine (His outline is reflected in the first portion of the Song Selection Rubric.
As I’m picking songs, for any reason, I categorize them by the truths they emphasize, in order to see if I’m being enriched with ALL of God’s truths. Are we singing songs that are deeply enriching us with all the truths that God wants us to know—mind, body and spirit?
Songs are important to us!  They not only have the power to equip us for a good car ride but they rise to even higher levels of influence. The fact is the world is going to perpetually attempt to define the style, the songs and the artists that are appropriate for the training of the human mind, body and soul. NOTE: Throughout this series, I’ll be examining particularly the church’s corporate singing and will include a document called the Song Selection Rubric.
To introduce this series of posts, I’d like to briefly look at one of the most famous verses in the Bible when it comes to singing.
Songs are for our Mind: Notice that this verse implores us to let the message of Christ dwell among us as we teach through song. Jonathan Edwards in Religions Affections said this, “Since holiness is the main thing that excites, draws, and governs all gracious affections, it is no wonder that all such affections tend to holiness.
Stay tuned to my future posts in this series where we will turn to some practical tools to help us sing better as Christ’s bride. If our previous posts 1-4—detailing Christ’s role as High Priest (Part 1), Christ’s duty as Worship Liturgist (Part 2), and his effect on the Cosmos (Part 3) and the Church (part 4)—are correct, then Christ indeed has something to say about culture.  To deal with this issue, the famous H.
If you’re looking for an idea for a family service or a theme to tie your Christmas service, or kids Christmas services together, you might want to check out ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas Eve! Following the aforementioned, we have begun to discuss the ramifications of Christ’s leadership.  In Part 3 we considered his role in the cosmos, and in our post today we’ll consider his role in the church, and next time we’ll talk about his role in the culture. The Bible says the church is body, many but one, and connected to Christ as our ‘Head.’ Like a temple we are built up.
As a parent is encouraged to “train up” a child in the way they should go (the Hebrew literally meaning to “give the child a palette and taste for beauty), our rhythms as a believing people should be giving us a palette and taste for the kingdom in the moment-by-moments of our lives. In most modern day churches we sing.  Whether your church is modern or traditional, liturgical or free, you probably have singing as some part of your service.  Now the question of “Why do we sing?” is another matter for another time, but do we ever pay attention to what we sing?
Do we want God to lead us where our trust is without borders and go wherever He would call us?
Do we want to be taken deeper than our feet would ever wander so that our faith would be strengthened? If we believed what we sung and believed the words were real, would our churches look different than they do today?  Would we be doing the same things are doing now?  Are we singing these songs because they have catchy melodies and cool hooks or are we singing them because we truly believe the words?  Just food for thought.  If you have any more thoughts on this subject, please comment below. During the reigns of Nero, Galerius, Domitian, and Diocletian there were specific empire-wide persecutions of the Christian Church. Rome was the capitol of the Empire, but it lacked the grandeur of a world-dominating capitol with its narrow streets and wooden buildings. Legend has it that Nero a€?played his fiddle while Rome burned.a€? History does confirm that during the fire Nero appeared on stage and lamented the fire as another major drama, much like the defeat of the ancient Troy. Nero attempted to deflect the focus from himself through acts of civil charity, opening his palace to house the homeless, and supervising food lines for the hungry. To deflect attention from himself he placed the blame on the Christians in Rome, announcing that the fire was part of a greater plot to overthrow the empire. He instigated a persecution of Christians and systematically, under torture, gained the names of Christians and their leaders from those initially interrogated. Some of the Christians were fed to wild beasts in the colosseum, with Nero, himself presiding as the grand master of the games. The people realized that Christians were being put to death not for starting the fire but to cover Nero's crimes and to sate his appetite for cruelty.
They were accused of being atheists, because the God they worshipped could not be seen, there were no statues erected to him by the Christians, and, hence, he probably did not exist. Addressing each other as a€?brothera€? and a€?sistera€? and a€?mothera€? and a€?fathera€? when there were no apparent natural blood ties, and referring to themselves as a€?a familya€? started rumors of incest and crazy relationships. An example of how a civil magistrate responded to Christians is found in a letter by Pliny the Younger (c. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, Syria was eighty years old when he was put to death in December 107 A.D.
As he made his way from Antioch to Smyrna in present-day northern Turkey, Ignatius was greeted by Christians at each stopping point. At the festival of Caesar in Smyrna (near Ephesus in present-day western Turkey) a number of Christians were forced to fight against wild beasts at the local games.
Hearing this, Polycarp decided to remain in the city, but the other Christians urged him to leave and hide at a series of local farms. As he entered the stadium, a voice from heaven said to Polycarp, a€?Be strong, Polycarp, and play the man.a€? The voice was heard by other Christians who were present. The Julian line and their successors attempted at every turn to eliminate the new, radical religion erupting from Jerusalem, with this self-styled a€?King of the Jewsa€? as their fabled leader.
Now with the ascension to the throne of Constantine, the Christian faith had become through the Edict of Milan in AD 313 a legal religion in the empire and by AD 380 was THE religion of Rome. The Christian Faith spread rapidly throughout the Empire after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Setting the example for the missionary enterprise were the Apostles themselves, each having traveled widely for the remainder of their lives. Although the Arian doctrine was rejected at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD, it was the version of the Christian Faith that was carried to the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths and to which they were originally converted from heathenism.
Constantine struggled with the issue of how the State and Church would relate and interact. At the early death of Constantine II, the Empire was speedily divided between Constantius and Constans, who rigorously attacked the remnants of pagan worship in the empire and in 346 AD issued a joint edict ordering all pagan temples to be closed, and forbade sacrifices on the pain of death. Valens and Valentius became emperors of the East and West respectively, Theodocius succeeded them. Leading Christian centers of power and scholarship in the empire were Alexandria, Jerusalem, Damascus, Constantinople, and Rome. Theodocius, to assure orthodoxy, urged all Christians, to especially revere the leadership of the bishops in Alexandria and Constantinople. Describe and identify where each of the original Apostles went in their missionary travels and what impact they made.
List at least five reasons for the strength and growth of the Christian faith enabling it not only to survive, but also to dominate the empire. Analyze how the Council of Nicaea stabilized and unified Christianity in the 4th century A.D. Explain the contributions of Constantine and Theodocius on the emerging growth of Christianity in the Roman Empire. Analyze the rejection by the four other Patriarchies of the Church of the claims of superiority issued by the patriarchy of Rome. Born to a Christian mother, Constantine continued the tolerant approach of his father to the Christians in the West. Constantine had previously gained an alliance with Licinius by offering his half-sister Constantia as his wife. The night before the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, Constantine and his troops reported to have seen signs in the sky of Christ and the cross.
Because Licinius was the husband of Constantia, his half-sister, Constantine allowed Licinius to live. Now the sole ruler in the empire, Constantine was sickened by the filth and corruption in Rome. Constantine built several large churches in the city to signify that the new capitol was capitol of a new Christian Roman Empire.
Should Christians have preference and priority or not in appointments to government offices and leadership positions in the military? Should the old system that released pagan temples and priests from taxation be continued, and if so, should it be extended to church property and to Christian bishops and priests?
Critics of Constantine have coined the term a€?Constantinisma€? for what they interpret to be undue influence by Constantine in the affairs of the Church. Constantine soon discovered that there were as many disputes, controversies, and even assassinations in the Church as there had been in the pagan empire.
The first major problem to be faced was the dispute that had erupted in Alexandria, Egypt between two bishops, Athanasius and Arius. The Council at Ephesus dealt with the question about the relationship between the two natures of Jesus. All three councils affirmed the deity of Jesus and his two natures, and thereby also the doctrine of the Trinity. The image to the left is a symbol devised to explain the decision of Chalcedon concerning the relationship of the three persons who make up the triune Godhead. The Father is not (non est) the Son, the Son is not the Spirit, the Spirit is not the Father, but all three are (est) God. Constantine has been given the title by historians, a€?Constantine the Greata€? for his many important contributions made, not only for the empire, or the Christian Church, but also for western civilization as a whole. He further strengthened the observance of Sunday by conducting Christian worship services every Sunday in his palace.
Freedom of religion was granted, including the legalization of Christianity, through the Edict of Milan in 313 A.D. Churches and clergy were exempted from taxation, as were priests and sacred buildings of other religions in the empire, thus strengthening the separation of Church and State. He produced a new concept of a€?Romantitasa€? -- a new Roman society devoid of its basis built upon blood, gore, sacrifice, military prowess.
Slavery, although not abolished (it was too tightly wound into the economy and culture to be abolished completely all at once) was limited, the treatment of slaves was improved, and the process for freeing slaves was greatly modified and facilitated.
Crispus was Constantinea€™s oldest son, whose mother, Minervina, was never married to Constantine. Both the Catholic and the Orthodox Churches have named Constantine a saint, and therefore they likely have accepted the theory that the report of the illicit affair was true and that Constantine was bound by law to enact the death penalty for both his son and his wife. Upon the death of his wife, Fausta, Constantine designated his mother, Helen, as Empress Imperatix. Diocletian (293 AD) was the first emperor to divide the Empire into Western and Eastern halves, while at the same time maintaining ultimate authority over both. Constantine (324 AD) reunited the empire at Constantinople, but prior to his death divided the empire into three sections, giving his three sons authority over each. In 337 AD his sons Constantine II (Orthodox, West), Constans I (Orthodox, Middle), and Constantius II (Arian, East) fought for control and fought over Christian doctrine.
On one occasion while in Egypt, Theodocius ordered the destruction of the famed bronze statute of the Greek goddess Serapis, who had been worshipped for generations. Born in Spain, Theodosius, son of a famous general, distinguished himself in the military and then retired from public service.
The strength of the Christian Church in the empire by this time can be seen in a sad story that took place during the reign of Theodosius.
Several days prior Theodosius awakened to his error and ordered the reversal of his previous dictum. In horror at his own actions, and with the rapid response of Christian leaders condemning his actions, Theodosius shut himself up in his palace and wept for days.
Because of his personal godly virtue and strong administrative leadership, Theodosius, as with Constantine before him, is known to history as Theodosius the Great.


Earlier invasions of Italy and of Rome occurred on several occasions in the early part of the 5th century. In Europe, meanwhile, successive waves of Germanic invasions swept through virtually every area. The wars fought by Emperor Justinian from Constantinople in the 6th century in an attempt to gain control of Italy back from the Goths, did further damage to Europe. Christians were accused of being traitors to the empire because they refused to worship the emperor.
3.A A  Setting the example for the missionary enterprise were the Apostles themselves, each having traveled widely for the remainder of their lives. 6.A A A  Constantine struggled with the issue of how the State and Church would relate and interact. 8.A A A  At the early death of Constantine II, the Empire was speedily divided between Constantius and Constans, who rigorously attacked the remnants of pagan worship in the empire and in 346 AD issued a joint edict ordering all pagan temples to be closed, and forbade sacrifices on the pain of death.
10.A A  Valens and Valentius became emperors of the East and West respectively, Theodocius succeeded them.
11.A A  Leading Christian centers of power and scholarship in the empire were Alexandria, Jerusalem, Damascus, Constantinople, and Rome. 12.A A  Theodocius, to assure orthodoxy, urged all Christians, to especially revere the leadership of the bishops in Alexandria and Constantinople. But first, let us reintroduce Sustainable Susan as our 21st Century update of Rosie The Riveter. But the true impact of these advocates is how their work is a spark-plug for the millions of small daily changes that add up to the solutions that, in the final analysis, are needed to make Chicagoland a leader again. Susan also symbolizes how little daily changes everywhere add up to millions in our large region. We will start with those groups already acknowledged for their success by having been awarded the prestigious Burnham Award from the Metropolitan Planning Council. Because these recipients are our metropolis’ great innovators, we will learn a lot from them.
With an important new regional plan to be unveiled for discussion in June 2010, we now apply Chicago’s program to the region. We selected Beyond Burnham book because it is the best and most current explanation of today’s juncture in history. Shelley Poticha, Director of the Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities for the U.S. The lyrical texts we use should not only proclaim, praise, exhort, and make petitions to God, but should also consider the whole of the church, and most definitely should sing the truths of the gospel in our lyrics in order to evangelize the lost person in our midst.
We must pay very careful attention to the demographics of those singing in our context—not only relating to whether they are saved or not saved, but according to their cultural and generational background. Some churches have aged to the point where they have grown completely deplete of youth in their midst, and in others one cannot find a gray hair in the congregation.
We were philosophizing over the state of singing in the church, and talking about how the church has grown too “happy.” On a typical Sunday morning, a Western church goer puts on a shine to their shoes and smile, and goes to a amped up church, singing about the peppiness of faith and practice. Good song choices should acknowledge that we are human, and we need to be fully represented in all our depths of feeling. I judge every song in relationship to all the others as to whether I am fully embracing the tonal ethic of the Psalms in the songs choices, as well as balancing what it means biblically to sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. In Post 2 I first explored how a good approach to singing would be to first ensure that we are singing the total scope of God’s story.
She looks at a lyric’s strength and weaknesses in allusion to story, Trinitarian language, references to God, corporate Ethos, sentence structure, diction, coherence, sound, melody, harmony, rhythm, compatibility with music and text, and singability. What he meant in this statement is that most Christians are like flower pickers rather than Gardener’s (my designation) when it comes to the Bible. Those who parade this verse often cling to its promise in hopes that God will one day reveal his plans for them, and give them the dream for which they hope. In the book, Driscoll outlines the core doctrines of Scripture very well in my opinion and his chapter titles have provided me over the years with good headings by which to consider the songs I’m introducing in my church.
Consider what it would be like if someone wrote a crime mystery thriller and left out the ending?  I’m afraid the church and its people are guilty of shortchanging God’s story in leaving aspects of it out, as well as overemphasizing things inappropriately in like fashion!  Note, the Song Selection Rubric, does not teach a science, as many songs will definitely fall into multiple categories, and there are many songs that when strung together may highlight the story better as a unit, but the heart of this approach is what needs to be grappled with. We must realize however, that God created singing, and thus as its grand architect, he knows completely its purpose and appropriate use.
I give this tool to song planners everywhere, and I will refer to it often throughout my posts and give the reasoning behind each section.
This implies centripetal (motion inward) and centrifugal (motion outward) motion to our songs. We are not to heavily rely on the music and lyrics simply indoctrinate and instruct us, but we are to bring robustly trained minds to our singing.
This is why the Scriptures seem to prioritize the human voice in resonating with other voices as the main accompanied sound of heaven. How often does corporate singing in our churches cause people to feel as if they’re like a bunch of floating atoms flying around the room in their own independent little worlds? Richard Niebuhr developed five models for how Christ deals with culture: (1) Christ against culture, (2) the Christ of culture, (3) Christ above culture, (4) Christ and culture in paradox, and (5) Christ the transformer of culture.  The question for us to answer, is which one is most Biblical? Lastly, in Christ the transformer of culture model, he takes the old heap of metal in that car, he obliterates it, reshapes it, makes it new and completely redeems it.  This last model is what I believe to be most consistent with the Christ of the Bible.
You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. And the Christian faith spread rapidly throughout the empire, displacing local and empire-supported paganism. True to his visions of immense self-worth, he envisioned himself as the worlda€™s greatest architect -- in addition to being the self-proclaimed best charioteer, artist, musician, and dramatist. Perhaps the clearest example of the madness of Nero and the evil that consumed him was his evening garden parties which he lit by tying Christians to poles, soaking them with oil, and using them as human torches.
Compassion for the meek followers of Jesus, whose blameless conduct was apparent to many, led to a new wave of conversions. Stories about how the Christians a€?ate and drank the body and blood of Jesusa€? were usually the basis for this misunderstanding. Further, they refused to join in the worship of the gods that could be easily seen in the local temples. He hated everything Constantine and his sons stood for and did much to restore paganism in the empire.
He was committed to the faith of the West, the anti-Arian postion of Nicea, and with co-emperor Gratian, in 380 A.D.
He was not yet a Christian but perhaps in addition to following his fathera€™s lead also wanted to set himself apart from Galerius and his persecution of Christians in the East.
Constantine was told, it was reported, that if he trusted in Christ and became a Christian, as well as his troops, they would win the battle, although greatly outnumbered.
However, after a second occurrence of Liciniusa€™ plotting to overthrow and kill Constantine, Constantine sent men to hunt Licinius down and they killed him in northern Greece. Others, however, look more favorably on his involvement by citing the need for major reforms in the judicial and legal systems of the empire and the difficulty of learning how best and to what degree to maintain a separation between the State and the Church.
These centered around four matters: (1) local and regional rivalries among Christian, (2) disputes concerning leadership in the churches, (3) doctrinal disputes concerning the deity of Christ and the Trinity, and (4) disputes about how to handle Christians who had caved in under Diocletian and local persecutions.
Arius taught that Jesus was a created being and was not divine in the sense that God the Father was divine.
Chalcedon affirmed that in Jesus two natures were united in one manhood, condemned Nestorius and his teachings, condemned another teaching that was circulating affirming that Jesus had only one nature, and affirmed the Nicene Creed. Sexual crimes and sex outside of marriage became crimes against the State because they were viewed as corrupting influences to society and culture. Crispus was raised in Gaul by his father, given an excellent education by a noted Christian teacher, and when reaching maturity proved himself to be an excellent military leader. Was this factual or was Fausta jealous of Crispus, since she bore three younger sons to Constantine: Constantine II, Constantius II, and Constans, in addition to two daughters?
Or, on the other hand, was he duty bound to carry out justice that was prescribed in Roman law, the very law that he helped to write requiring death for adultery and fornication? The Eastern Empire revived under the Byzantine emperors, especially Justinian I, until the capture of Constantinople by the Ottomans in 1453 A.D. From that point forward he used his authority to combat the Churcha€™s long-standing second foe, Arianism. The bishop of Milan, Ambrose, denied Theodosius participation in the Lorda€™s Supper until acts of repentance were carried out. In the West Latin prevailed and the bishop in Rome became the most powerful of Christian spiritual leaders. Goths had made their way to Rome after the defeat of the emperor Valens at Adrianople in 378 A.D.
Under the military leadership of Odoacer the Germanic troops revolted, captured Ravenna, the functional capitol of the Western empire at the time, quickly conquered all of Italy, and captured Rome itself.
For example… if we use cars less, then households save more while government can reduce road maintenance costs and transit subsidies; and the savings can all be invested to make future savings.
Behavior changes -- as simple as using autos less -- often start as the ideas of citizen groups. Our review will reinforce the lessons learned so the entrepreneurial energy of other citizens in multiple communities will have a better chance of repeating the original success. With the benefit of hindsight, we will analyze what they did right and the obstacles they were up against; and perhaps still are. 1 Book, 1 Chicagoland is modeled after Chicago’s annual program in which all residents are invited to read and talk about one book as a community. We ask all staff and citizens to read one book and discuss how the region should work together as a community so it grows best. MPC is more than our region’s leader; in offering these policy lessons, MPC also serves as a national model. I’ve also provided a resource called the Song Selection Rubric, that enables one to plug in their songs and categorize them according to doctrine, emotion, corporate and personal language, and other items in order to evaluate the health of their churches overall singing diet.
Singing and music provides a language or experience founded on universal acoustic laws that are given sonic presence in a myriad of cultural and generational dialects.
Where I live in the deep South, you’ll actually hear people refer to churches not by name, but by whether it’s a white or black church. The heart was to be able to give away this album FREE to the church to help those who are hurting, grieving, lost, and caught in despair, bitterness and even rage—whether their feelings be toward God or even injustice shown to them in their own life. He explains that the good life is “an implicit picture of what human flourishing looks like.” Through our singing, we try and pull a fake heaven down into earth and convince ourselves that life is all positive thinking and emotional joy, when in reality the Bible is very honest about the fact that “real life” in this present evil age, and heavy rich experience is just not like this. I included a document for Corporate Worship Singing called the Song Selection Rubric , that will continue to help us more thoughtfully think through our singing, and I want to explore in Post 3 the next part of this Selection Rubric in hopes of broadening our approach to corporate singing.
These may seem like small things but in a day and age where we’ve lost profound poetry in worship music, we need to learn from those in the body of Christ that have gone before us who have enriched us in how to craft more illustrative prose.
Most people cherry pick verses from the Scriptures in whatever manner they like, and assemble the truths (apart from their context) into beautiful worldview bokehs that fit their taste. Sadly, what they never realize is that this verse has already been fulfilled in the person of Jesus.
Some churches shout for God’s kingdom and yet fall silent when singing of sin and the cross. Classical compositions such as Gioachino Rossini’s Morning Song became powerfully attached to a sunrise through its use in cartoons.
This is why I want to deeply consider singing!  If as Christians we’re to SING, I want to know what songs we’re to sing.  What is the purpose of our singing?  Who do we sing to?  Why do we sing?  Should we think at all about the songs we’re choosing to listen to?
The more we know the Bible, and the more we know the person of Jesus, the more our singing is enriched. Hands are raised, eyes are closed, lights are off, and voices shout, but all in an effort to create an individual encounter with Christ.
So intense was the persecution that soon public sentiment swung behind the Christians and the city realized that Nero was merely attempting to cover up his own guilt. At one point Nero disappeared from Rome for a full year, having traveled to Greece to participate as a€?the worlda€™s greatest athletea€? in the Olympic games. There were empire-wide periods of persecution, however, under the emperors Nero, Domitian in the late first century, and Diocletian in the late second century. Because in some areas they had become so numerous that no one shopped at the local meat market where meat was sold for sacrifice to the pagan idols.
Because of the Christiansa€™ refusal to worship the local gods and the emperor, the gods poured out their wrath on the community. Even the Roman legions refused to go into battle without first having participated in traditional rituals. Male and female prostitutes were everywhere, extra-marital affairs were the norm, unwanted pregnancies ended in either abortion or infant exposure easily presumed incestual relationships were being practiced by the Christians.
If they admit it I repeat the question a second and a third time, threatening capital punishment; if they persist I sentence them to death. He was a bishop or leader in the Christian Church and one way to attack to whole group is to eliminate their leaders. Suffer me to become food for the wild beasts, through whose instrumentality it will be granted me to attain to God.
When the men sent by the the local sheriff, named Herod, arrived at his hiding place, he talked with them and asked for them to be served food and drink, because it was late in the day. He that granted me to endure the fire will grant me also to remain at the pyre unmoved, without being secured with nails.a€? After he prayed, the fire was then lit. Cited in Documents of the Christian Church, Henry Bettenson, Oxford University Press, 1963, pp. That night Constantine embraced the faith of this mother and all the troops entered the battle the next day with Christian crosses painted on their shields.
While there Constantine and Licinius together issued the Edict of Milan, granting freedom of religion throughout the empire and especially making Christianity one of the legal religions in the empire.
He wanted to start with a fresh approach and moved the capitol of the empire from Rome to Byzantium located at the Hellespont.


It was a revolutionary leap from the pagan emperors Nero and Diocletian to the Christian emperor Constantine. While much of his decisions and actions related to these matters were built on solid principles, much had to be learned through trial and error. Arianism became the dominant view of Christianity that was embraced, for instance, by the Goths and Visigoths, and found adherents in Syria, Persia, and Egypt.
It is not one God showing up in three different costumes, as Chalcedon rejected, but three persons, each distinct, yet each sharing in one essence of Godhead. Her loyalty to her husband was proven when she informed Constantine of a plot by her father to kill him. At his death his cousin, Julian the Apostate (last pagan emperor in the empire) became sole emperor. Theodosius, ruling from Constantinople, issued an edict proclaiming Christianity as the only legal religion in the East.
But when the statue fell, rather than the gods responding, a pack of rats ran out from under the base of the statue. He also opposed Arianism in the West and assisted the famed Bishop Ambrose of Milan in crushing Arianism.
In response, Theodosius, instead of hunting down those responsible, took the path of impulsive anger and ordered the death of all people living in the city. After he was restored by the Churcha€™s leaders, Theodosius entered the church in Constantinople and showed his repentance by falling to the floor and crying out to God and to the people for forgiveness.
With the demise of the Roman government in the West the people increasingly fell into a primitive feudalism and military strongmen became the civil leaders. This was the greatest single military loss in Roman history and the Roman legions were left in shambles. Roman culture survived, chiefly through the presence of the churches and priests in the cities and towns, but the political system and the a€?Pax Romanaa€? was finished. She also oversees this activity’s historical reviews of citizen groups who have received awards as regional and sub- regional advocates. We will try to analyze one recipient a month; backing up our research with interviews and synthesizing a short essay of lessons- learned. But no story will be as great as the ones we will have to write over the next two or three decades… if Chicagoland is to become a global leader in the emerging economy. Last year’s book was The Plan of Chicago to coincide with the Centennial of Burnham’s plan of the same name.
If we are to produce a Plan that will serve us as well in the 21st Century as Burnham’s Plan did for the 20th Century, we must understand the last 60 years of regional planning in Chicagoland.
In considering the total scope of God’s story in our singing, we ensure that people mine through all of his truth even in song. The more we become aware and attempt to enter into the worldviews, cultural backgrounds, and generational age viewpoints of our people, the more distinctly we are hearing the voice of God…as the mosaic of the world’s cultures and generations reflect Christ’s face..
Even Jesus, in his perfect, fully God, fully man state here on earth, experienced the full tones of human emotion. God sets us aflame with his training, and brings us to our knees in lament, only that we may feel the weight of our sin and dross fall off our shoulders, and thus stand up to rejoice. I found myself wondering, “how can I give myself away to nothing—what am I responding to?” The Bible clearly shows us that God observes a rhythmic pattern in worship whereas he always reveals himself FIRST, and in our encounter with his holiness, we are then motivated to give our sins up in repentance, and ourselves away in service. This verse is a Messianic promise to the nation of Israel, and by cherry picking it out of its context, a person can absolutely obliterate its original meaning. Some are infatuated with God’s reign, strength, and power and have overlooked his posture of a humble servant in the Incarnation. We will also continue to build on our look at singing by following a simple rhyme of words that can help us stay balanced:  total, text, tone, target. It reveals the things our church tends to love to sing about, and the things we naturally neglect.
Is a big conglomerate like EMI Records going to define what edifies the body of Christ, or is God? In Colossians however, it would seem singing is predominantly grounded in the context of being amongst “one another.” We are to benefit the BODY of Christ first and foremost in our singing! Paul’s view of singing is far more corporate.  Enriching corporate singing is dispensed through the sound of the masses, not in the isolated sound of an ear bud headphone!
We will speak more about how songs emotionally and “soul-ish-ly” form us in our Christian maturity in future posts, but consider for a moment how singing changes when married to thankfulness! Those acts which men delight in, they necessarily incline to do.” Related to singing, this quote implies that singing shapes and forms and shapes our perception of beauty, delight, and desire. In this episode we will be talking about how they have built a relationship and some things you may consider doing as you think about raising up youth worship leaders in your church. In part 2, Joe & Jon talk about some of the struggles they have had at New Life, and more importantly how God has shaped Jon and the church through them. The common complaint was that the Christians were not loyal citizens of the empire because they refused to participate in emperor worship, signified by sacrifices made in the pagan temples.
Groups of street thugs were caught spreading the fire, who claimed that they were operating under orders from a civil authority. He also organized chariot races in Rome and required the public and the Senate to attend, while he raced as a€?the worlda€™s greatest charioteer.a€? There were command performances also featuring Nero as a singer, a harpist, and actor.
The civil authorities did not care what particular religion a person practiced, so long as it included emperor worship.
For I do not doubt that, whatever kind of crime it may be to which they have confessed, their pertinacity and inflexible obstinacy should certainly go punished.
I am the wheat of God, and am ground by the teeth of the wild beasts, that I may be found the pure bread of God.
Maxentius drowned in the Tiber River during the battle and Constantine won the battle of the Milvian Bridge.
Licinius had the support of pagan Goth warriors and represented the old ways of the pagan empire. Arianism is the basic doctrinal basis in the 21st century among Unitarians, Jehovaha€™s Witnesses, and Mormons. Nestorius taught that (1) Mary should not be referred to as a€?god-bearera€? (theotokos) for this emphasized the deity of Jesus at the expense of his humanity; and, (2) Jesus had two distinct natures that were never united -- divine and human. However, her relationship was probably put to the test when Constantine defeated her brother, Maxentius, at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, and then paraded his head around the streets of Rome on a spike in 312 A.D. With imperial funds Helen erected churches at various sacred sites, including the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth, at the cave where Jesus was reportedly born (Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem), and the place of his capture (Church at the Mount of Olives). This was done in part, perhaps, because it was his uncle, Valens, who had been defeated by the Arian Goths at Adrianople in 378 A.D.
Theodosius set out to crush all doctrine that did not a€?conform to the ancient doctrines delivered by the Apostle Peter to Rome.a€? All known Arians were expelled from Constantinople and all Arian churches were closed in the East. Thessaloniki was home to one of the early churches in Greece and to whom the Apostle Paul had written two New Testament letters. He officially ordered before his death that the empire would be permanently divided into East and West under the leadership of his two sons. In the East Greek prevailed, the culture was more prosperous, and the patriarchs in Constantinople, Damascus, Jerusalem, and Alexandria provided the spiritual leadership.
Making their way to Rome, the Goths exacted a cruel and thorough sacking of the city in 410 A.D. Within a short time, however, the Ostrogoths invaded Italy and their leader, Theodoric the Great, was recognized by Zeno. In valuing the total story of God we affirm that the whole Canon of Scripture is important in order to shape God’s family into a healthy organism.
However, popping songs like worship pills of “happy,” seems to stink of unauthentic denial.
This means that we must reconsider what our singing is saying about how we view “the good life.” Is our singing fully capturing, preparing, shaping, forming, and readying our people to express their heart in response to God through all of life’s valleys and mountain tops?
Here, text and function become important because this church I speak of is not just making an illogical choice, but an unbiblical one. The misinterpretation of this verse and many others has set a slew of Christians up for placing hope in their self-conceived dreams, which leads them into making idols of their ambitions.
We cannot just pick out the parts we like and ignore the ones that don’t “speak to us.” The whole of Scripture is there for our training, rebuking, and edification in righteousness (2 Tim. To begin, we will consider the whole or total story of Scripture, and briefly think through how to involve the whole story of God in our song and lyrics. Bach’s Joy of Man’s Desiring is iconic in religious settings as well as Handel’s Messiah.  Even into today on a more popular level, we have songs like Beyonce’s Single Ladies (Put a Ring on it) that defines not only a mantra for a new generation, or a relationship, but promotes a dance craze, much like Chubby Checker’s The Twist. Truth spins out of us in passion and zeal, and as it hits the air, others hear, are edified, and it creates a climate of spinning truth. It’s not just the truths in the songs that matter, nor that we keep our eye on our neighbor as we’re singing. The mind, the Body, and the affections (soul) are deeply connected not only to our well-being, but to our mission.
Well, in this episode of the WMC podcast, we get into some of the reasons why you should consider using Mainstage for playing keys in your worship band. If you’ve ever struggled or gone through the valley at your church or in your ministry, you’ll want to listen and share this interview! Locally there was anger against the Christians because they refused to participate in the local pagan religions and rituals, thus bringing, it was feared, the wrath of the gods on the local community. Peter request was granted to be crucified upside-down, because he was not worth, he said, to die in the same manner as Jesus. There was always room for one more god in the local temple, so long as it took its place among the other gods worshipped locally.
Anything contrary simply rocked the boat and disrupted business as usual and threatened peace and security.
There were others who displayed a like madness and whom I reserved to be sent to Rome, since they were Roman citizens.a€? (Plin.
Rather entice the wild beasts, that they may become my tomb, and may have nothing of my body. Constantine and his legions marched on Rome and defeated Maxentius and the famed Praetorian Guard at the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312 A.D. The God nature expressed itself through the human nature as an artist would his painting, but remained distinct from it. The Council affirmed that this was a divine mystery, unfathomable by the human mind, but taught in Scripture.
In the same year, however, Constantine had Fausta also put to death for an undetermined reason. This was a courageous move, because the vast Gothic armies were primarily Arians in their faith. Seven thousand people were lured into the citya€™s stadium under the pretense of viewing a chariot race. He left behind an empire that had officially declared for the Christian faith and condemned both paganism and heresy.
In considering the text of our songs, we examined how it is beneficial to think through the quality and depth of poetry and prose in our singing. An overall happy approach denies what real life is really like and how deep affections are truly formed.
They are stressing the actions of man first before the actions of God—going against thousands of years of church liturgy and wisdom—and are truly shaping their church toward a man-centered-focus rather than a Godward gaze.
We should see the whole thing as being enriched with nutrients, and seek to harvest every square inch of soil in the hopes that a healthy life will grow. The concern in Paul’s mind is that we also bring our whiny, complaining, sin-bent soul to the altar of God, and lay down our entitlement crowns through our singing. Singing shapes us in an effort that we may leave enflamed with love for our fellow Christian friends, and empowered for witness before a watching world!
But if one refused to participate at all, and further claimed that his or her god was the only true god, that was grounds for execution as a traitor.
Some sources speculate that Constantine found Faustaa€™s original story to be a lie and that Fausta was a willing participant in the illicit affair. We must be excellent in using songs appropriately in their place in our services (consistent with Biblical standard, theological implication and historical wisdom), as well as using shaped language that is beautiful and impactful in its own right.
As seen on the Song Selection Rubric , when I plan songs, I take a look at the number of total songs, and the text of the songs I’m using in order to best determine if I’m including songs of revelation (God’s actions) and our actions (response).
Rather than embracing the attitude of the world, singing is supposed to form us in our mind, body and our attitudes and affections.
The deity of Jesus Christ and the reality of the existence of three persons in the Trinity were affirmed as being those doctrine taught in Scripture as well as embraced by the Church generally since the first century.
They further affirmed that Mary, as the one who bore Jesus, could properly be referred to as Theotokos a€?the bearer or mother of God.a€? By this they did not confer any sense of deity to Mary, but if Jesus was both God and man, and if it is correct to refer to Jesus as God, then she would have been a€?the bearer of God.
Others speculate that Constantine had Crispus put to death believing the word of his wife, Fausta. Thirdly, we looked at a songs tone in Post 4, and considered how we shape people through song in their affections and emotions. Cited in Documents of the Christian Church, Henry Bettenson, Oxford University Press, 1963, p.
Later, when finding out that either she had lied or else was a willing participant in an affair, he had her also put to death.
Then shall I be a true disciple of Jesus Christ, when the world shall not see so much as my body. Entrust the Lord for me, that by these instruments I may be found a sacrifice to God.a€? (Ep.



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