March 23, 2015

The Musician

The fourth and final part of the Guitar Venture series


In the previous three posts I have written much about the guitar and almost nothing about the musician who plays it. A great looking, fine sounding, and wonderfully playable guitar will, despite its considerable attributes, still sound terrible in the hands of an untrained, clumsy and passionless player.

There is a well-known poem by Myra Brooks Welch about an instrument in the hands of a maestro, and I want to play a verbal variation on that theme, but first, here is the poem itself:

The Old Violin

Twas battered and scarred,
And the auctioneer thought it
hardly worth his while
To waste his time on the old violin,
but he held it up with a smile.

“What am I bid, good people”, he cried,
“Who starts the bidding for me?”
“One dollar, one dollar, Do I hear two?”
“Two dollars, who makes it three?”
“Three dollars once, three dollars twice, going for three,”

But, No,
From the room far back a gray bearded man
Came forward and picked up the bow,
Then wiping the dust from the old violin
And tightening up the strings,
He played a melody, pure and sweet
As sweet as the angel sings.

The music ceased and the auctioneer
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said “What now am I bid for this old violin?”
As he held it aloft with its’ bow.

“One thousand, one thousand, Do I hear two?”
“Two thousand, Who makes it three?”
“Three thousand once, three thousand twice,
Going and gone”, said he.

The audience cheered,
But some of them cried,
“We just don’t understand.”
“What changed its’ worth?”
Swift came the reply.
“The Touch of the Masters Hand.”

“And many a man with life out of tune
All battered and bruised with hardship
Is auctioned cheap to a thoughtless crowd
Much like that old violin

A mess of pottage, a glass of wine,
A game and he travels on.
He is going once, he is going twice,
He is going and almost gone.

But the Master comes,
And the foolish crowd never can quite understand,
The worth of a soul and the change that is wrought
By the Touch of the Masters’ Hand.

I have likened the church to a guitar in the previous post and so now I want to extend the analogy to include us as individuals, and replace Myra’s violin with a guitar. My classical guitar is complete now yet I still attend to it almost every day. I tune it and retune it because nylon strings stretch a lot and are also susceptible in changes in humidity. I polish it and deal with any blemishes or scratches I spot. I have even lowered its action and adjusted its intonation twice since getting back from the Guitar Venture. But of course I do more than all this… I play it, and the more I play it the better it sounds and the more of a musician I become.

We are made in the image of God, His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10) to be His representatives and do His work in the world. Like a guitar in the hands of a master musician together we make music that has the potential of changing the tune of the whole world. The church, of which we are part, is like an orchestra of guitar players, and Jesus is the conductor. We collaborate with Him in writing variations on His master script and we strum and pluck the instruments of our talents, time, and resources. And all the while we keep an eye on the conductor and an ear open to the melodies of our fellow musicians.

A fine guitar without a fine guitarist is just an ornament or an exhibit. A fine guitar in the hands of a fine musician is a delight to both see and hear. An orchestra of fine musicians under the direction of a master conductor is a miracle of cooperation, interdependence, and glorious melody.

I suppose, given the theme of these posts, I had better end the series with a fine

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Same Sex Marriage

This article was published in Conspectus, the peer-reviewed journal of the South African Theological Seminary.

The paper deals with same-sex marriage from a Biblical Christian perspective. It is not a treatise on homosexuality from either a Biblical or sociological point of view. The article deals with homosexuality, per se, only in as much as is necessary to examine the question of the Biblical Christian stance concerning same-sex marriage.

The article starts with a brief overview of the South African civil legal history of same-sex ‘marriage’ partnerships leading up to the current ruling by the Constitutional Court. The debate then starts with the Biblical definition of marriage before mining down to the two main arguments in favour of same-sex marriage and the homosexuality that underpins it – the appeal to the concepts of justice and love. Only then does the focus turn to the Biblical prohibitions concerning homosexual activity.

The second part of the article deals briefly with implications for church life, firstly from the perspective of how the church approaches same-sex marriage in general society, and then from the perspective of those within, or seeking to join, the church.


Click here for the full article


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About Me

My name is Christopher Peppler and I was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1947. While working in the financial sector I achieved a number of business qualifications from the Institute of Bankers, Damelin Management School, and The University of the Witwatersrand Business School. After over 20 years as a banker, I followed God’s calling and joined the ministry full time. After becoming a pastor of what is now a quite considerable church, I  earned an undergraduate theological qualification from the Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa and post-graduate degrees from two United States institutions. I was also awarded the Doctor of Theology in Systematic Theology from the University of Zululand in 2000.

Four years before that I established the South African Theological Seminary (SATS), which today is represented in over 70 countries and has more than 2 500 active students enrolled with it. I presently play an role supervising Masters and Doctoral students.

I am a passionate champion of the Christocentric or Christ-centred Principle, an approach to biblical interpretation and theological construction that emphasises the centrality of Jesus

I have been happily married to Patricia since the age of 20, have two children, Lance and Karen, a daughter-in-law Tracey, and granddaughters Jessica and Kirsten. I have now retired from both church and seminary leadership and devote my time to writing, discipling, and the classical guitar.

If you would like to read my testimony to Jesus then click HERE.