Reggie Kidd was one of my professors at RTS Orlando. He, like Dr. Nicole, is a first-class procrastinator when it comes to writing books. Both men have so much the church needs to hear, but other duties and/or pleasures keep their writing to amounts far less than people like me would like to see.
Reggie is not one to overwhelm you with his charisma or sheer brilliance. He is one who gently calls you to deeper places with the Savior. He’s the professor you fondly remember because he exudes humility and character. With One Voice is a welcome addition to my library which I’ve put off reading for far too long.
This book was a long time in being birthed, and one friend from another class recalls it originally being titled The Singing Savior. This was a nod to his beloved professor, Edmund Clowney, whose idea he takes up for most of this book. It is a worship book about Jesus. In typical Reggie fashion, he takes his time to get to the point. He works his way through Psalms to help us get a big picture view of its movement theologically. In parallels David’s life in many ways. He gets to the point when he gets to Psalm 22. This Psalm is about David’s struggles, but also in a way that points to Messiah’s suffering and eventual exaltation.
Reggie wants us to see that Jesus is the Last & Greatest Lead Worshipper. He is not only the object of our worship, but He sings over us and with us. Those who listen find themselves transformed. But Jesus is also building a new temple of singing stones (1 Peter 2), those who believe. We sing because He sings. He leads us in redemptions songs.
It is within this biblical concept that Reggie introduces us to Bach, Bubba and the Blues Brothers. Building on Psalm 22, Reggie notes that though we sing with one voice, we sing differently. The rich and the poor are welcome in His presence, and they sing different songs. This section of the book is born from teaching Worship for years and being dissatisfied with thinking of culture simply in terms of classical culture & pop culture. Reggie argued for the existence of folk culture as well.
Bach is for the rich & refined. It is high culture. There is nothing wrong with high culture. It has its place at the table. It has a rich heritage. This music reflects Jesus’ “grandeur and royalty and urbanity” and gives “expression to Christ’s loftiness and majesty.”
Bubba is Reggie’s shorthand for folk music, the culturally less refined. It emerges from the the NT vision of the Family of God. It reflects Jesus’ humility in taking on flesh and bone, coming in the form of a slave. It captures His suffering, and our longing. We sing about our Brother who has come to deliver us.
The Blues Brothers reflect our voice as the Friends of God. We enlist the dialect of our greater surrounding culture to serve redemptive ends. Jesus is not averse to the hoi polloi- the masses. He sings so they may hear as well.
The Worship Wars pit these 3 styles of music against one another. Jesus has other ideas. He longs to put all 3 at His service and reveal His redemptive purposes. Each has a place in the living temple. We mustn’t exalt our preferences in such a way that divides the City of God, the Family of God or the Friends of God. While we may appreciate one more than the others, we are to affirm that Christ can transform all 3 to His glory- and does. We need each of these, in my opinion, to keep us balanced in our focus lest we suffer from an over-realized or under-realized eschatology.
This is another gentle, humble call from my professor. He points us beyond our preferences to Jesus, the One who sings and calls us to sing. He is able to weave the various songs we sing into a beautiful symphony of redemptive sound. Yes, Reggie takes the scenic route but it is a journey worth taking with him.