Some of you may have wondered why I wanted to buy and learn to play a guitar. The answer is quite simple: all the cool preachers play guitar. Yep, it makes us more hip and accessible and relevant. We are just following in a long line of “pluckin’ preachers.”
Of course, we all know about David and Asaph, and their musical prowess. But did you know that Spurgeon played flamenco? Never on the Sabbath, obviously, but he got really good at classical guitar.
St. Francis of Assisi used to play for the animals who gathered around him. He would preach a while, then strum awhile. Frank was a big Lucio Battisti fan.
Paul and Barnabas had underlying musical differences, which some scholars think led to their split. N.T. Wright suggests that Paul thought Gibson guitars were the best and Barnabas preferred Martin. William Barclay suggest it wasn’t the instrument, but genre, that separated them. The controversial “folk” document has been used by some to teach that Barnabas was only into folk music while Paul wanted to “rock out” a little too much. It’s as if the early Bob Dylan were in conflict with the later, electric Dylan.
Alexander “Ace” Campbell and Bart Stone actually got together for jam sessions after they discovered that they both loved bluegrass. Campbell played a steel guitar and Stone was as good with a mandolin in his hand as he was with his acoustic Ibanez. They performed together under the name, “The Restorers.” They even co-wrote a little diddy called, “Come, Let’s Restore the New Testament Church.”
N.B. Hardeman was a big Robert Johnson fan. He learned to play all his music. Hardeman was opposed, though, to electric guitars when they were introduced. But when N.B. went down to the crossroads, he made the Devil sell him his soul.
Even the great Foy E. Wallace, Jr. picked up a guitar later in life and wrote many ballads, including a Top 100 hit, “Go to Hell, Bobbie Boll, you pre-millenialist.” He performed under the name, “Esco” and had it carved onto his guitar.
So, there you have it!! (although obviously not in chronological order) That’s my why.
Playing guitar is to preacher as swimming is to fish. I couldn’t help but learn to play. Big footsteps to follow. Now, excuse me while I go practice.