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In the video below Dr. William Edgar, Professor of Apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary, gives a combination of piano concert and historical-theological lecture on the African-American musical heritage of pain and joy expressed through spirituals, jazz, ragtime, gospel, and blues. It was delivered at the Gordon College Convocation on February 20, 2009.

You can listen to an audio version of the same lecture delivered at the Chesterton House in 2007. In that version he plays with his quartet.

For a CD of the full concert, go here.

For related materials, see also Edgar’s essay “The Deep Joy of Jazz” and Stephen Nichols’s Getting the Blues: What Blues Music Teaches Us about Suffering and Salvation.

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3 thoughts on “Heaven in a Nightclub: The Roots and Theology of Jazz”

  1. This is a great find, Justin! I’ve enjoyed watching this lecture. The timing is perfect because I’m starting post-production now on a documentary about jazz and the spirituals, called “A Note of Hope” ( The cultural legacy this music has left our nation is a rich one and it’s been a privilege to learn more about it as I’ve produced this film. Thanks for posting this today!

  2. Thabiti says:

    Ditto Carolyn! Thanks for posting this, brother. Enjoyed listening on this rainy summer day of vacation in Cayman!

  3. taco says:

    “Heaven in a Nightclub” don’t tell Dr. MacArthur.

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Justin Taylor, PhD

Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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