At last, my new song (hymn?) arranged for a group and performed in the worship service at church! All I could provide were the words and the basic melody, but I selected talented musicians at church who could arrange their own piano part, and who could harmonize by ear. Unfortunately, the recording doesn’t begin until we have already moved into the second verse. But that’s okay, you get to hear all the talented people who helped me, to whom I’m very grateful.
There is a saying among theologians (or at least R. C. Sproul refers to it frequently) that the orthodox owe a debt of gratitude to heretics. All of the creeds from the earliest centuries of church history involve an element of correcting the heresy that was most destructive to the faith in that generation. If you think back, even the Bible itself is largely written to correct the errors which afflicted God’s people. Nothing forces us to sharpen our focus and improve our understanding the way “competition” does.
I likewise owe a debt of gratitude to heresy in the writing of my hymn, “Corinthian Creed.” But the correction of heresy inspired my song in a different way. I was reading one of the books defending Christianity against the revisionist Da Vinci Code and noticed in a footnote that the passage in 1 Corinthians 15:3-7 was originally a creed which developed less than a decade after Christ’s crucifixion, resurrection and ascension! That really blew my mind! Growing up an anti-creedal Baptist, you tend to think creeds and Bibles are like apples and oranges. Here’s a creed in the Bible! The apostle Paul was catechized with the help of a creed! And look how well he turned out!
My way of memorizing verses frequently involves putting it to a tune. I do it quite a bit. So I did it to the “creed” in 1 Corinthians 15. This comprises the first verse of my song. Then after a short time I devised the chorus, and desired to write a couple of other verses to make it a genuine song. So it stayed in this form as I thought and prayed. Finally, it dawned on me to simply summarize the entire chapter–Paul’s great teaching on the fact of, and necessity of the resurrection of Christ and the fact of our resurrection in him. First Corinthians 15 is at once an apologetic defense (is that redundant?) of Christ’s resurrection, a thorough proclamation of the gospel, and a sermon exhorting believers to persevere in the faith in the hope of their resurrection in Christ at the last day! What better material could there be for a “modern hymn?”
In my next post, I will audioblog our performance of the song; below are the lyrics. Do any of my readers know anyone who can help me out with a four-part harmony for a choir?