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Persecuted Christians and the Psalms: Lessons We Can Learn

Posted on May 15, 2015 in Featured, Grace, Hope, Music, Persecution | 1 comment

by Arnfield Cudal   – (Kamran is a Pakistani pastor who I met in Thailand. This is his story.)   I am Kamran from Kasur, Pakistan. I was born into a Christian family and at age fifteen I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. Pakistan is an Islamic country and ever since childhood, I felt a vast difference between Islam and Christianity. Here the Muslim majority frequently harasses Christians, but we’ve learned to live under this oppression and accept that religious discrimination and intimidation is a normal part of our life. About eight years ago, I finished my Bachelor’s degree in Theology and began a small church on the street where our family and four other Christian families lived. According to the Pakistan Act of 1973, (religious) minorities are permitted to live their lives and practice their beliefs....

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The Word, Missions, and Ethnomusicology: The Thai Psalms Project

Posted on May 2, 2014 in Church and Ministry, Communication, Culture, Evangelism, Missions, Music | 1 comment

by Arnfield Cudal – I write this letter on the day after Easter Sunday, sitting on row 57 of the seemingly endless flight to Bangkok, Thailand. The cumulative 40-hour flight time indicates to me that from Palm Beach, Florida, we are on opposites sides of the globe. The purpose of my travel is to conduct the musical presentation at the 50th Anniversary of PABWE’s (Philippine Association of Baptists for World Evangelism) missionary work in Thailand, and in addition, to debut another album: Psalms and Hymns of the Bible in Thai which have been set to Thai folk and classical music. To commemorate a fiftieth year celebration with music is indeed momentous. But this isn’t a normal Sunday morning musical event.  As I face the daunting task of coordinating members of the Bangkok Philharmonic orchestra, a Thai classical orchestra, an intra-regional...

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A Message to Millennials: Don’t Miss the Point of Liturgy

Posted on Feb 3, 2014 in Church and Ministry, Music | 2 comments

by Arnfield P. Cudal – Recent religious trends among Millennials — today’s youth who have come of age at the turn of the century — highlight yet another self-perpetuating cycle in the quest for spirituality. A Pew Research Center survey reports that only 18% of Millennials attend church weekly compared to 26% of Baby Boomers when they were their age. The number of young Americans attending church today is much less than any previous groups, and those who haven’t stopped going to church are switching denominations.[1] Recent articles, such as, “Why Millennials Long for Liturgy,”[2] “Why Millennials are Leaving the Church,”[3] “Young Evangelicals are Getting High,”[4] and “Change Wisely, Dude,”[5] chronicle why many are leaving mainline Protestant and evangelical churches for liturgical, high worship services in Anglican, Orthodox, and Roman Catholic churches. Consider what some are saying:   1)    ...

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Confessions of a Music and Worship Arts Director: Is Music a Gift to the Church?

Posted on Dec 6, 2013 in Music | 3 comments

by Arnfield P Cudal – I was recently at a pastor’s conference speaking on the topic of music and worship. The Scripture passages were Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16, and by way of introduction and as a refresher on the context of the passage, teasingly, I opened with Ephesians 4:11, So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers…to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up… Except, I added “music and worship directors” after “pastors and teachers.” Feigning authority, I asked inquisitively, “Amen?!” A unanimous and resounding “Amen!” came from the room. I read it again, this time emphasizing “…and music and worship directors. Amen?!”  About half caught on, shaking their heads. The rest, thinking I was emphasizing something important, shouted “AMEN!” amidst the...

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The Case for Inclusive Psalmody

Posted on Nov 11, 2013 in Church and Ministry, Music | 1 comment

by Arnfield P. Cudal – Because psalm-singing was not a tradition in the evangelical church I grew up in, my encounter with singing the Psalms seemed like a novelty at first, but as appreciation and familiarity in singing the Psalms grew, it has come to be one of the more anticipated and endearing moments in our gatherings. Churches of various denominations and traditions read the Psalms, or sing portions in hymns and choir anthems, but what I am referring to is singing of the Psalms in its entirety, by whole verse and chapter. If you haven’t participated in whole verse singing or attend a church where psalm-singing is not normally practiced, it is hoped that this article will at least stoke a renewed interest in the Psalms, and to introduce the joys of whole-psalm singing to your congregation. The...

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What Are the Spiritual Songs of the Bible?

Posted on Nov 4, 2013 in Bible, Church and Ministry, Music | 0 comments

by Arnfield P. Cudal – Having read Rob Slane’s article, “Why the church needs to sing the Psalms,” and the article, “The Hymns of the Bible,” the answer to the next question, “What are spiritual songs?” becomes more needful. The question now is not about whether these spiritual songs are from the Bible, since it has been determined that they are Scripture, but like the psalms and the hymns, we want to know what and where they are and what purpose they serve? The Apostle Paul refers to the “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” collectively, yet as three different song-types, placing “hymns and spiritual songs” together on equal parlance to the Psalms. By their inclusion in the Canon of Scripture, we know that the Psalms are inspired (God-breathed). Other songs of the Bible such as the inspired doxologies of...

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