Monday, December 17, 2007


I've posted nearly two hundred times on my VTM blog. Some have been pretty good and others have been otherwise. Some might be my favorites and I'm going to repost a few for the next couple of weeks. What do you think? Here's the first one.....

I'm not into name dropping...but here I go.

T.W. Hunt. That name is well known in Baptist life. I know that name. I know the man who wears that name. He wears it well. Laverne. That's the woman married to the man who wears the name T.W. Hunt. She's as fine a human being as he is...maybe most husbands in saner moments will confess of their own wife. T.W. does. So do I.

The reason I know T.W. and Laverne is because I was privilaged to be their pastor for several years of his tenure as a Professor at SWBTS when they were members of and I was Pastor of the Southcliff Baptist Church in Ft. Worth. Laverne still calls me "Pastor." She always told me she thought I was the best Preacher she had ever heard. I told her I thought she was the smartest person I had ever met. Just kidding. [She said that..but I think she says it to all her Pastors.]

The purpose of my dropping T.W.'s name today is to give a final small follow-up on the post addressing worship. But before I do, I want to press the envelope personally and tell you of one of the more significant spiritual moments in my life that involves T.W. Hunt. It really is personal and I do not wish to diminish it for fact....I've just changed my mind..... Maybe some other time.

But the follow-up has to do with a morning I sat with T.W. in a Dairy Queen in Ft. Worth. He and I were eating ice-cream and talking. Before long I was writing on a napkin. It usually wound up that way. Something he would be saying was always of the nature that I must not forget it. So....write it down I did.

T.W. said that he was a student of revival. He had, in fact, studied every known revival in history beginning with the Old Testament events and right through Acts and into the Awakenings to the "Charismatic revival, as it was being called, of that day in which we were living and conversing.

T.W. said that every genuine move of God that he had studied had produced it's own music. The new music of those moves of God were new, not just in lyrics, but in meter, rythmn, notations, and a whole bunch of other stuff that didn't then and doesn't now mean much to me. But I kept listening.

He said that those involved in the revival usually wrote and produced this "new music". His example was Charles and John Wesley. He reminded me of the many songs written by the Wesleys during that Great Awakening of which they were such a major part. "The Church's One Foundation" was one of those.

T.W. said there were several odd things about the music being produced during each revival. For one thing, it was not only different, it was rejected by the religious establishment. Wesley sang his songs with the crowds on hillsides but was not permitted to do so in the churches. He was shunned.

Then, he said, after a while, the religious powers that were, gradually accepted the music by now being sung by the masses. Finally, that music was "the music" and was until another revival came along producing it's own music which was rejected as ungodly by those singing "The Church's One Foundation" and not permitted in the churches. So, again, the masses had to sing in isolation from the religious establishment. You see the pattern I'm sure.

That's why, according to T.W. Hunt, the Charismatic movement was, while not agreeing with it's theological excesses at all, a real movement of God, in his opinion. The music evidenced it.

I finished writing. He'd finished talking. We finished our ice-cream. But I've never forgotten it. I wrote it down remember. I think time has shown the validity of that view of the history of revival. Look at the music we're singing now. I wonder where revival will happen next? I know it will have it's own music. I know some won't like it. For a while anyway.

Paul B.


GuyMuse said...

I can't think of a finer name to be dropping than T.W. Hunt! He was one of my favorite SWBTS music professors. One of the books we had to read in class was Donald Hustad's "Jubilate" which is one of the classic church music texts.

Hustad affirms Hunt's thoughts,
From time to time through church history, on a schedule determined by a sovereign Holy Spirit, the normal development of theology, liturgy, and their accompanying artistic expressions has been interrupted by an abrupt visitation of spiritual renewal...Invariably these revival periods have been graced and supported by a flowering of Christian song, which quickly became very poetic styles and images that were borrowed from sources outside the church....taking on the characteristics of secular forms of the day...It should not be surprising that conflict often characterizes these movements. The prevailing religious establishment supports the existing forms and their artistic expressions, while the "prophet" and the followers of the renewal movement espouse the new songs... pgs. 157-158

I have always loved this quote because it says to me that God is always doing something new. "Sing unto the Lord a new song..." He is a creative God. He is always on the move. He is the one who instigates these spiritual movements. These are necessary because we become enamoured with the forms, structures, traditions, and before we know it these become idols that are revered to the point of idolatry. Therefore, God Himself, steps in and overturns the apple cart! Then we rediscover God afresh and anew through the new forms, structures, music, etc.

Paul Burleson said...


What a great quote.

I guess if revival really a fresh blowing of the Wind of His Spirit a lot of things will wind up much different will they not?

To mix may be like the river in Ezekiel that cuts a new channel. Oh for a new..fresh.. work of God in our lives. We need it.

Paul Burleson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul Burleson said...


You know where the "is" goes. Sorry

Anonymous said...

Cutting edge worship continues to happen for the most part out of the established/uptown/formal church. I tend to be more traditional but have learned over the years to listen to the contemporary Christian radio stations, browse new Christian music in book stores and get to know young Christian musicians and hear what they are doing. God has always been fresh, never "day-old" as in cheap bread. How we respond to His fresh appeal through music reveals much about our own understanding of God.
I, too, was a student of T.W. Hunt and value the time in class and when he was formulating "The Mind of Christ" at Southcliff.
Ken Colson

Paul Burleson said...


Good to hear from you again. That Southcliff time holds some great memories doesn't it.

I've never been to Montana in ministry but have burned the highways up [great ones by the way] on my motorcycle. Hope things are going well there. Thanks for stopping by.

By the way, my own preferences include some of the more traditional hymns with fresh arrangements and, as you say, an openness for the new and fresh work of God.

Steve Miller said...

Brother Paul,

I echo your comments on Dr Hunt. My time with him at SWBTS was enriched because of his focus on worship and prayer. The Mind of Christ series at Southcliff was a joy to attend and then later to teach when I was in the Air Force. I was blessed during the prayer session we had with him here in San Antonio at the SBC convention.

When I hear worship described as "all that I am in response to all that He is" I am mindful of the motivation of Dr Hunt and his teachings. I, like you, love the traditional hymns and the new arrangements. I remember how we got the Maranatha Praise songs after the Jesus Movement in the 70s. I am amazed at the beauty of much of the new music today and it is refreshing to hear words today that only be from the creative hand of God. The issue is are we willing to listen and accept His creativity in the formulation of the music; clinging to the beauty and theology of the hymns of the past and being excited knowing that He is always at work and can't wait to see what He is going to create next. Thanks brother Paul for dropping a very familiar and precious brother's name in T W Hunt.

Steve Miller
San Antonio

Paul Burleson said...


Boy did you capture and relate the spirit of those days together. Thanks.

Lee said...

I am also one of those who can count it a privilege to have had Dr. Hunt as a professor at Southwestern.

I think every great revival movement had some theological excesses, and obviously was not perfect. But I agree, the music has definitely had an impact.

My mother's side of the family is Pentecostal. Not Charismatic, mind you, but West Virginia Appalachian Mountain Pentecostal. They were not much on education or theological accuracy, but there were things that happened as a result of their worship that could only be explained as the work of the spirit. And if there was one thing I learned from them, it was not to doubt what God can do.

Music, mainly music that has resulted from the Charismatic movement, has been, for me in my own personal spiritual experience, a true blessing. It has helped me have encounters with the Holy Spirit in both my personal worship and my corporate worship that I would not have had otherwise.

Paul Burleson said...


Your testimony of how the music of the Jesus movement/Charismatic revival days has been used by the Spirit of God in your life is one that I've heard literally hundreds of times before. It is my own.

By the way, you're sure writing some good stuff on your blog. Thanks for stopping in.