Part of my calling is to transcribe select portions of 9marks audio. The following comes from Mark Dever’s interview with Dr. Carl Trueman. I recommend it; it provokes thought, as usual.

The interview covers a whole gamut of topics. Dr. Trueman, it seems, in his article “What Do Miserable Christians Sing?” advocates the use of the psalms in worship as they represent all of the Christian life, not just the “pumped” and “excited” version of Christianity so common in our churches today. When asked how to choose the church’s music, Trueman wants us to consider and incorporate into the tone of our worship, not only the highs of the Christian life, but also the lows. This, he argues, is best represented in the Psalms. Thus he offers this advice for choosing hymns,

“Look very critically . . . at the kinds of things that are being sung. Make sure that everything you’re singing does comport with, not just Scriptural doctrine, but Scriptural emphases. Think about how you conceive of the Christian life; read 1 Corinthians, read 2 Corinthians. . . . Think about the implications of those letters for normal Christian life and Christian service. Reflect upon how what you preach on a Sunday connects with what you say in your pulpit prayer . . . and what your congregation sings in response. My point is not to go back to 1650 psalmody. . . . I’m simply wanting people to think more carefully that the horizons of expectation for normal Christian life that are set by the church service on a Sunday comport with what Scripture teaches. . . .”

Later Dever adds,

“‘Jesus Lover of My Soul’ by Charles Wesley has a good nuanced understanding of the Christian life, I think. There’s victory and there’s brokeness. Contrasted, say, with a popular sentimental favorite in the U.S., “Blessed Assurance.” At our church we don’t sing that because of the words, “Perfect submission all is at rest, I in my Savior am happy and blest.” Well, . . . Prolyptically that’s true, and we understand in poetry you can use imagery like that. But “this is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long,” that doesn’t sound heavenly, that sounds now. . . . Exactly because of the times we go through in our life . . . that seems almost a cruelly unrealistic song to teach people to sing and become sentimental about. I think it makes their Christian life something more in their imagination and actually hurts people following Christ.”

To this Trueman added, “There is a pastoral cruelty involved in creating too triumpalist a view of what Christianity should be.”