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Singing the Songs of Jesus: Revisiting the Psalms Paperback – 19 Nov 2010

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Christian Focus; First Edition edition (19 Nov. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845506006
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845506001
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 19.6 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 892,428 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"In this short book of 160 pages, we have a good summary of the theology (purpose) of the Psalms. The author provides clear principles for interpreting the Psalms in a Christ-centred way and shows us how we can develop a precious intimacy with the King through ongoing usage of the Psalms. Using them in public worship is a God-given way of exalting King Jesus as we see him fulfil his role as Leader of the praise of God's people." (Malcolm MacLean ~ Minister, Greyfriars Free Church of Scotland, Inverness, Scotland)

"This book powerfully reminds us that the church has for too long ignored a vibrant source of devotion-the song book of Jesus...we can't afford to neglect this divinely inspired song book that God has given us." (Donald W. Sweeting ~ President & Professor of Church History, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, Florida)

"This book should admirably fulfil the author's purpose by forcing those who have rejected or neglected the psalms in their praise to think again. Its central theory (that the psalms consist of praise conversations between God, his Messiah and his people) should help to illuminate the status of the psalter as the New Covenant song book it was meant to be and sheds much needed light on such dark areas as the imprecatory (cursing) psalms. If you have never sung the psalms and would like good biblical rather than historical reasons for doing so, and, crucially, if you want the key to understanding what you sing, you should really read this book ." (Kenneth Stewart ~ Minister, Glasgow Reformed Presbyterian Church, Glasgow)

"It has been wisely said that the Psalter is a spiritual cardiograph. The Psalms accurately reflect our spiritual health. The more I am 'at home' in singing the Psalms, the spiritually fitter I am. Uniquely in the Bible, the Psalms both speak to us - Luther derived much of his theology from the Psalter, - and also speak for us. They are the God-given words with which we can address both our Heavenly Father and each other. Michael LeFebvre's book is both scholarly and readable, and provides a wonderful incentive to 'Sing the Psalms, again'." (Jonathan Fletcher ~ Recently retired Minister of Emmanuel Church, Wimbledon, London)

"Speaking to God in words that He has chosen, with the breadth and depth of topics He has revealed, instead of singing about Him, would enrich our worship. Yes, it will prove a learning experience for our congregations, but the dimensional richness the Psalms afford would be well worth the effort." (John D. Hannah ~ Distinguished Professor of Historical Theology, Research Professor of Theological Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary, Dallas, Texas)

"In this volume Michael LeFebvre enriches the church with wisdom regarding the vital role that singing the Psalms has in the worship of the church and the life of the believer. Michael avoids the hard edged heated opinions which often cloud this subject and instead casts refreshing pastoral light on a much neglected topic. All readers of this volume will be edified, educated and blessed!" (Anthony T. Selvaggio ~ preacher, author and Visiting professor of Biblical Studies at the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)

About the Author

Michael LeFebvre is pastor of Christ Church Reformed Presbyterian Church in the western suburbs of Indianapolis. He previously studied Old Testament Law at PhD Level at Aberdeen University. He is married to Heather and they have four children.

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This is an excellent little book which in a somewhat unique and practical way explains how we can best use the psalms in public worship. The author is from a exclusive psalm-singing congregation, yet he does not push that position in the book and so even if you do not hold that position do buy this book. However he does make one very attracted to psalm singing such is his enthusiasm.

The author also deals with a couple of the thorny issues like the use of the imprecatory psalms in possibly the best way I have read.

If you are interested in the incorporation of psalm-singing in your church, and you should be, then this book is a must-buy. If you are a seasoned psalm-singer then this is also a must-buy because some aspects of his approach may be new and refreshing to you.
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What Christian would not want to sing the songs of Jesus? So why does the church of today sing so little of the songs of Jesus and so much of the songs of preference? This book is a guide to putting Jesus at the heart of the Psalms and a challenge to pastors who have deprived their congregations of the one perfect hymnal deposited to the church to put the Psalms back at the heart of worship. Rather than the Psalms being the voice of the believer’s personal angst or joy, they are, according to LeFebvre, chiefly, about Jesus’ person, work and story and, secondly, of his people in him. Whilst short, this little book is scholarly and thorough and offers a fabulous access point to the theology (and Christology) of the Psalter. Throughout, LeFebvre puts our ear to the great conversation of the church of the past to encourage us to faithfully pass on to the church of tomorrow the treasure of her inspired hymnal; and he offers the tools to employ in that process. If I had to choose only one book to assist me in mining the Psalter’s riches and in passing it on, this is it. And it would be my first recommendation to both the mature and young in the faith, Bible student or lay reader, parent or teen, regardless of denominational affiliation.

The opening chapter offers a brief historical explanation for why the book of Psalms is no longer the primary hymnal of the church (which it had been for over 2,500 years) and notes the watershed influence of Isaac Watts and his peers (1700's) who overturned its primacy as the praise book of God’s people. As LeFebvre upholds the Psalms’ qualitative uniqueness above all other praise songs I found myself drawn along by the his use of probing question, lucid illustration and skillful exegesis.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful little book on the importance of the Psalter for Worship 11 Jun. 2013
By Rom - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Michael LeFebvre has created what I estimate to be the most important contemporary work for rediscovering the Psalter. As a new member of the RPCNA (the same denomination as Rev. LeFebvre) - it has been wonderful discovering the Psalter in Corporate and Family Worship. From an experiential standpoint, it is remarkable to sing the Word of Christ.

But as to the contents of the book - I think the biggest benefit of Rev. LeFebvre's approach is that he sees the Psalter as Christocentric. He sees Jesus as our Worship Leader (Heb 2:12) and so the entire book shows us how Christ leads us in worship through His Word.

I have more academic books on the issue of Psalmody (including Songs of Zion which is very comprehensive), but this book is the one I would recommend to anyone studying the issue afresh. It is easy to read, kind, charitable and full of a heart for the People of God and their relationship to Christ.

Highly Recommended.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Introduction to Singing the Psalms 26 Mar. 2011
By Joel Weyrick - Published on Amazon.com
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Ours is a time when the church has forgotten a primary role for which God intended the Psalms. At least in America, the Psalms are not so much sung as read. While reading the Psalms is certainly beneficial, God uniquely gave His people these words to lead us into His praise. Michael Lefebvre has given the church a stirring call to again take up the Psalms in our worship, led in singing by our Mediator, Jesus.

Singing the Songs of Jesus challenges churches of every stripe to consider introducing Psalms back into congregational singing. This is not a polemical book that focuses on internecine debates about how Psalms are used (e.g. the exclusive singing of Psalms), but it is instead a universal plea that God's inspired hymns be allowed to form us and our worship. Lefebvre gives the reader a chance to understand the benefits of singing the Psalms beyond the devotional role to which they are so often relegated. He achieves this by considering the king-led construction of the Psalms, the way in which Jesus led His people in singing the Psalms, their Christ-centered nature, and how they carry us along from even sorrow into praise.

Lefebvre chose not to employ confessional or historical arguments, but he has instead presented a thoroughly biblical case in order to make this book more useful to those outside of his confessional Presbyterian outlook. His strong grasp of the Old Testament narrative helps to shine a light on many questions that surround the creation of the Psalms. He answers the difficult questions that the new Psalm-singer will have about the imprecations in the Psalms and will cause them to gain new insight on this necessary part of the Scripture. At the end of every chapter, he also gives practical resources on how one might begin singing the Psalms in worship.

If you have never considered singing the Psalms or if you desire to understand the Psalms better, you should not miss this immensely helpful book!
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A New Invitation to Sacred Worship. 9 Aug. 2011
By Nathan B. Shaver - Published on Amazon.com
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Singing the Songs of Jesus is an invitation to worship by the Book. I greatly appreciated the humble scholarship and pastoral care Dr. Lefebvre provides. The current generation can learn much from those who have gone before us...way before us in the area of worship. This book shows how the Psalms give us a vocabulary in worship that not only prays and sings according to God's revelation, but joins Jesus in his own use of the Psalms.

As a Pastor coming from a non-psalm singing tradition I am encouraged to join in the singing of these songs and prayers and eager to invite congregations every where to consider the riches of Singing the Songs of Jesus. May the singing of Psalms be heard more often in the fellowship of the beloved to the glory of King Jesus!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great arguments for singing the psalms in worhsip 18 Jan. 2013
By b-dubs - Published on Amazon.com
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The author did a great job in arguing from scripture as well as from history why Christians ought to go back to singing the psalms. The author does not argue that we should only sing psalms, he argues that we should also sing the psalms just like the Church has done throughout all of its history until the 17 and 18 hundreds. The book was convincing in its arguments.

The author doesn't leave it at that. He goes into how we can sing the psalms (the differences between singing psalms and hymns/praise worship songs) and points out resources on how to get started singing more psalms. Importantly, he also deals with the issue of psalms of imprecation and psalms of complaining. Because these two types of psalms do exist the church has left psalm singing in the 17 and 18 hundreds. The author tires to show how such psalms should be approached and sung and why we still should sing those psalms as well.

This book is easy to read and short. As its brevity and the large amount of content indicates, it is not a heavy theological book. It is well worth reading and thinking through.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A different kind of argument for singing the Psalms 22 April 2013
By Tyler Easton - Published on Amazon.com
The approach LeFebvre takes in developing his argument about the Psalms is one of the most unique features of this book. He does not argue either the progressive or traditional side of what we should sing in worship. While adding to the argument from the regulative principle of worship, historical grounds, and the Reformed confessions, this approach is not the one LeFebvre utilizes in this book either. Instead, LeFebvre makes a biblical case that the Psalms are the only Christ-mediated songs that we have been given to sing in worship. For those who are already singing the Psalms, this book will strengthen their reasons for doing so. For those who do not sing the Psalms, this book will provide a convincing argument to start doing so.
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