Gunner’s Review of Wenham’s Psalms as Torah

Someone said: Only a Philistine could fail to love the Psalms.

David “Gunner” Gunderson doesn’t just make last second shots, he thinks and writes well, and I’d encourage you to check out his important review of an important book, Gordon Wenham’s Psalms as Torah. Here’s a snippet:

The Burden of the Book: The Shaping Power of Praying the Psalms

Christians often talk about “the power of prayer,” and rightfully so. But what’s usually meant is the power of prayer to change things by summoning the sovereign power of God. This book is all about the power of prayer, but Wenham is taking a different angle. He wants us to see that prayer not only reshapes the landscape of our lives by moving mountains but reshapes the landscape of our hearts by recrafting and renewing our attitudes and commitments.

[P]rayer has an impact on ethical thought . . . If we praise a certain type of behavior in our prayers, we are telling God that this is how we intend to behave. On the other hand, if in prayer we denounce certain acts and pray for God to punish them, we are in effect inviting God to judge us if we do the same. This makes the ethics of liturgy uniquely powerful. It makes a stronger claim on the believer than either law, wisdom, or story, which are simply subject to passive reception: one can listen to a proverb or a story and then take it or leave it, but if you pray ethically, you commit yourself to a path of action (57).

Therefore, it’s not enough for the church to retell the narratives, preach the gospels, and exposit the epistles. We must also pray the Psalms, individually and corporately. [the whole thing]

We love the Psalms. Often in family devos around here we will be reading a Psalm nightly until the whole family can recite it. Right now we’re reading Psalm 29.

I’m hoping and praying for the creatives among us to come up with more and more tunes for singing the Psalms in ways that resonate today. May the Lord bless us with his word.

6 Responses to Gunner’s Review of Wenham’s Psalms as Torah

  1. Jeff Downs November 29, 2013 at 10:58 am #

    Mr. Hamilton,

    Check out Sons of Korah: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Sons+of+Korah&sm=3

    Blessings,
    Jeff Downs

  2. Aaron Richmond November 29, 2013 at 11:43 am #

    Thanks for the link. Was heading to the library today already–will check it out.

    I think you got the wrong Wenham, though. Gordon Wenham is the OT Wenham, David Wenham the NT Wenham (or, depending on context, the actor-who-played-Faramir Wenham).

    • JMH November 29, 2013 at 11:49 am #

      Doh! Correct on Gordon. Fixed!

  3. David Perlmutter December 6, 2013 at 7:12 pm #

    A very very narrowminded way of viewing the breathed out Scripture. Friends, God’s word is inspirational,not our praying. If you think you are going to develop a style of correctness or rightness or spirituality in your praying the psalms, or any other part of Scripture you will get an A for effort, but what good is that when the Bible is the only perfect, uninfected by pride, absolute pure Word? Who are you to develop and expect others to follow your formula for spirituality? You are cheapening grace and in effect, living under law..In fact, you are pharisaical and trying to convert others who are weakminded to follow your folly and end up paying heavily be living under your own law, not God’s grace….May I suggest another way: study Bounds on prayer, study the prayers of the Bible, both in the OT and the NT….Get on you knees and confess your utter self-righteousness and pride to Jesus Christ, and continue to do this untile God breaks your haughty spirit of pharisaism…Yes, with a humility that God brings about, then pray your own words…You will be delighted with a new dose of welcomed cheer and a less bossy spiriti of telling others what to do..

    Sincerely,
    David Perlmutter

  4. David Perlmutter December 6, 2013 at 7:14 pm #

    A very very narrowminded way of viewing the breathed out Scripture. Friends, God’s word is inspirational,not our praying. If you think you are going to develop a style of correctness or rightness or spirituality in your praying the psalms, or any other part of Scripture you will get an A for effort, but what good is that when the Bible is the only perfect, uninfected by pride, absolute pure Word? Who are you to develop and expect others to follow your formula for spirituality? You are cheapening grace and in effect, living under law..In fact, you are pharisaical and trying to convert others who are weakminded to follow your folly and end up paying heavily be living under your own law, not God’s grace….May I suggest another way: study Bounds on prayer, study the prayers of the Bible, both in the OT and the NT….Get on you knees and confess your utter self-righteousness and pride to Jesus Christ, and continue to do this untile God breaks your haughty spirit of pharisaism…Yes, with a humility that God brings about, then pray your own words…You will be delighted with a new dose of welcomed cheer and a less bossy spiriti of telling others what to do..

    Sincerely,
    David

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