Category Archives: Music for Mind and Heart

“Extent”

John Owen (1616-1683), thanks to ReformationArt.com

Time for our first break from Brown’s Self-Interpreting Bible. How about if we dabble in the doctrine of particular redemption?

I ran across, once again, the famous quote by Puritan theologian par excellence, John Owen (1616-1683), from his book,  The Death of Death in the Death of Christ. Among statements in defense of the Reformed doctrine of particular redemption, this one is literally viral in the Reformed blogosphere. This quote is Owen’s logical critique of general redemption, and is worth thinking through and searching the Scriptures about if you’ve never taken the time.

 Anyway, here’s a breakdown of his complex argument from Reformed.org:

 The Father imposed His wrath due unto, and the Son underwent punishment for, either:

  1. All the sins of all men.
  2. All the sins of some men, or
  3. Some of the sins of all men.

In which case it may be said:

  1. That if the last be true, all men have some sins to answer for, and so, none are saved.
  2. That if the second be true, then Christ, in their stead suffered for all the sins of all the elect in the whole world, and this is the truth.
  3. But if the first be the case, why are not all men free from the punishment due unto their sins?

You answer, “Because of unbelief.”

 I ask, Is this unbelief a sin, or is it not? If it be, then Christ suffered the punishment due unto it, or He did not. If He did, why must that hinder them more than their other sins for which He died? If He did not, He did not die for all their sins!”

 I’ve looked at this many times and have until now always had trouble keeping the whole train of thought on the rails in my head, if you know what I mean. Finally, the other day, I decided I’m going to have to do with this what I do with Scripture verses and catechism questions that I want to memorize–put it to music!

 The following is the result. It’s roughly based on the tune to the children’s song “I’m in the Lord’s Army,” although there are some divergences. Do what you will with it. So, without further ado, I give you . . .

Extent

by John D. Chitty

 Did Christ die for
all sins of all men
or all sins of some men
or some sins of all men?

If Christ died for
some sins of all men,
then all die
for those he did not.

But if Christ died for
all sins of some men,
that’s what we believe,
all th’elect of all the nations!

But if Christ died for
all sins of all men,
why are not
all men saved?

You will answer
“Because of unbelief”–
Is unbelief a sin or not?

If not, why then,
for it give account?
Either for it
Christ was punished, or not!

If he was, then,
why does unbelief
prevent salvation
more than other sins he died for?

But if he did not
die for unbelief,
then for all sins of all men
Christ did not die!

So Christ died for
all sins of some men,
those the Father
gave to His Son!

I’m from Geneva, and I’m here to help!

WHI on the Effects of eDistraction

This week’s episode of the White Horse Inn radio show featured an interview with Grove City College Media Ecology professor T. David Gordon. Gordon is the author of two books that are of special interest to this blogger and will be hopefully to his readers also. The books are Why Johnny Can’t Preach (2009) and Why Johnny Can’t Sing Hymns (2010).

Why Johnny Can’t Preach is “an analysis of shifts in dominant media forms and their effects on the sensibilities of the culture as a whole. Many of those shifts have profound, and unfortunate, effects on preaching.” About Gordon’s newer book, Why Johnny Can’t Sing Hymns, the publisher’s website has this to say:

Changes in music have affected the way we think, the way we worship—even the way we are able to worship. We are steeped in a culture of pop music that makes other genres seem strangely foreign and unhelpful. Worship has become a conflict area, rather than a source of unity.

T. David Gordon looks at these changes in worship and not only examines the problems, but also provides solutions. They are solutions of great importance to us all—because how we sing affects how we live. Dr. Gordon not only shows the problems, he also provides solutions – it’s important, because how we sing affects how we live.

The White Horse Inn blog has also posted additional resources on the current phenomenon of media distraction and its effect on our minds, as Christians or otherwise, let alone culture at large (see blogpost here).

“For All The Saints”

And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them” (Revelation 14:13)

Since January 10th, at my local non-Reformed Southern Baptist church, I’ve been teaching on Sunday evenings a class summarizing church history from the days of the apostles through the Reformation. To assist my presentation, I selected a PowerPoint presentation by Rose Publishing called “Christian History Made Easy,” by Dr. Timothy Paul Jones  (see also Dr. Jones’ own site) of the Calvinistic Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

My preparation for this survey of church history has enhanced my understanding of, and appreciation for first and second century life in the pagan Roman Empire. Although the Pax Romana largely enabled most to live in relative peace as long as they pluralistically accepted and paid homage to the Roman pantheon, such an existence forced the Christian church to practice its faith underground. The moral implications of following Christ also made Christians a nuisance to Roman society because of their biblically-based respect for women, children and even slaves. Although persecution was not an everyday occurence for Christians in pagan Rome, there were occaisional periods during which persecution would break out. This is the source of the infamous act of throwing Christians to the lions in the Coliseum, where many Christian martyrs were made.

This morning, one of my Facebook friends, Henry Christoph, Jr. directed my attention to a Lutheran YouTube page which apparently commits many classic hymns to video paired with either still art or live action selections to illustrate the spiritual truths featured in each hymn. One such video dovetailes nicely with my current focus on ancient church history. Below, you can view the video of the hymn “For All the Saints,” a processional hymn featured in Anglican and Lutheran observance of All Saints Day and other similar occaisions on the church calendar.

Part of the scriptural basis of this hymn is the text I featured at the beginning of this post. This text, as applied in “For All The Saints” highlights one of the practical applications of the otherwise mysterious book of Revelation: a message of comfort and hope for Christians who are suffering persecution even in the present day. Many dispensational premillennialists view these as applying only to future martyrs, and so at times shy away from preaching from the book of Revelation because their eschatology causes them to miss how the book of Revelation applies to Christians today. Christian martyrdom is a daily fact of life for more believers around the world today than at any time in church history. Is there no valid word from the Lord in the book of Revelation to strengthen the faith and resolve of these suffering believers?

I’ll provide the text of the hymn first, and below you will find the YouTube video. May the Lord grant to each of us the courage to so let our lights shine as it so effectively did in the earliest centuries of church history, and may he continue to be praised for the gift of religious liberty in his common grace. Let us not take it for granted, nor allow it to enable us to forego the taking up of our crosses.

For All The Saints

William Walsham How, 1864, 1875

SINE NOMINE 10.10.10.al.

Ralph Vaughn Williams, 1906

For all the saints who from their labors rest,

Who thee by faith before the world confessed,

Thy name, O Jesus, be forever blest.

Alleluia! Alleluia!

Thou was their rock, their fortress and their might;

Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well-fought fight;

Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true light.

Alleluia! Alleluia!

O may thy soldiers faithful, true and bold,

Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old,

And win with them the victor’s crown of gold.

Alleluia! Alleluia!

The golden evening brightens in the west;

Soon, soon to faithful warriors comes their rest;

Sweet is the calm of paradise the blest.

Alleluia! Alleluia!

But lo! There breaks a yet more glorious day;

The saints triumphant rise in bright array;

The King of glory passes on his way.

Alleluia! Alleluia!

From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast,

Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,

Singing to Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

Alleluia! Alleluia!

 

 

When “Whosoever” Misseth the Point

Some of us think the chorus in "Whosoever Meaneth Me" sounds like the theme to Hogan's Heroes. Visit http://free-loops.com/download-free-loop-3481.html to listen and compare to the hymn's midi below!

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16 KJV)

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life (ESV)

 For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. (HCSB)

The first citation of John 3:16 is from the King James Version, which contains—and established—the traditional wording of this verse, no less in the case of the highlighted phrase in question, “whosoever believeth.” The second updates, but carries this traditional translation forward, while the third, from the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB), seems to have come a little closer to the literal meaning of the verse.

 This can be seen by examining the original Greek, from which all three versions are translated: pas o pisteuo. Pas means “all,” “any,” “each,” “everyone,” “all things,” etc., in individual contexts like this one, but it is usually found in collective contexts, where it means “some of all sorts.” This is the word that is translated “whosoever” in the King James Version, “whoever” in many modern translations like the ESV, and “everyone” in the HCSB. The NET Bible has some helpful notes in this regard, which may be accessed here.

In the great debate between Calvinists and Arminians about the extent of Christ’s atonement, the latter camp has, in an effort to emphasize the fact that Jesus died for everyone without distinction, turned the KJV’s “whosoever” into three words: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that Who …  So … Ever (!). With often little regard for the context of this verse, Arminians will focus on this one little three letter Greek word, and seemingly make it the point of the passage, which it is not.

 Pas is not the only word in this phrase. “Everyone” in this context does not stand alone. It is modified by the action taken by each member in the group of people so identified. The action they take is pisteuo: “believing.” So, the first thing we must clarify is that this verse is not intended to state or imply the number of people for whom Christ died; it merely expresses the purpose behind the Father’s giving of the Son to the world: to grant eternal life to pas (everyone) o (who, or that) pisteuo (believes).

 On the Nov. 17 episode of The Dividing Line, Dr. James White explained why “whosoever,” “whoever,” and “everyone” are used to translate pas. He said that when pas is used with a singular participle (in this case, “believes”), what is being communicated is a group that is defined by the action in that participle. Since the emphasis of the verse is on the mutual activity of the group, rather than the indistinct universality of the group itself, perhaps it may help direct our attention to “believes” if translators rendered pas o pisteuo as “all those who believe,” or just “those who believe.” But I’m no scholar.

 Therefore, pas o piteuo makes neither of the following Arminian emphases:

  1. It does not mean that God sent Jesus to propitiate the Father in his death for everyone indiscriminately;
  2. It does not mean that everyone indiscriminately has the inherent moral ability to believe.

 What this phrase does mean, though, is that God loved the world by sending his only Son in order to grant eternal life to those, and only those, who actually come to faith. If God sent his only Son to die for everyone indiscriminately, then everyone indiscriminately would come to faith, for he would have, with the atonement, granted faith to everyone indiscriminately. If everyone indiscriminately had the inherent moral ability to obey the command to believe, then God’s Word would be untrue (Romans 8:7; Ephesians 2:8,9).

 Let us not read things into the Word of God which are not there. John 3:16 is not a proof text for general redemption (the doctrine that Christ died for everyone indiscriminately), nor a view of human sinfulness that leaves room for some amount of inherent righteousness that enables the self-determining sinner (which creature does not exist) the ability “of his own free will” to “decide to follow Jesus” without the prior work of the Holy Spirit’s effectual calling (Romans 8:30).

 Are you one of those who’ve come to believe in the one and only Son of God? Then you have received the Father’s saving love in the gift of his Son who became incarnate for you, obeyed God’s Law perfectly for you, died suffering the consequences of your sin, and rose on the third day that you also might be raised up to eternal life spiritually now (regeneration), and physically upon his return (resurrection). I urge you to do what you can to reciprocate his love by Spirit-empowered love for him and your neighbor. We love because he first loved us.

 “Whosoever Meaneth Me?” (audio) “Whosoever” means all those, and only those, who believe.

The Agony of the Deceit of the Word of Faith Movement

Just found this great video presentation of Steve Camp’s song “The Agony of Deceit” from his album “Consider the Cost.” Camp’s song applies 2 Peter 2 to today’s Word of Faith movement, and draws it’s title from the book, The Agony of Deceit, edited by Dr. Michael Horton of The White Horse Inn radio show and Modern Reformation Magazine. If you don’t know what the Word of Faith movement is, they’re the guys preaching the health and wealth, name-it-and-claim-it gospel that tends to make Christians more interested in what’s on the Master’s table rather than the Master himself (get a basic intro here). I’ve also included the great testimony by the Pentecostal minister who posted this video to his YouTube page. But best of all is the passage of Scripture on which the song is largely based. It’s simply astounding how well prosperity preachers fulfill the Holy Spirit’s revealed and revealing description of false teachers. This post concludes with Peter’s words inspired by the Holy Spirit.

In my teen years I kept TBN on almost 24/7.  Although I was an Independent Baptist, I was fascinated by the claims of the personalities on that network. Maybe it was just that it was “good TV”–to me, anyway. I don’t know, but whatever it was about it, it moved me to search the Scriptures and discuss the pros and cons of the charismatic movement and the Word of Faith emphasis with whoever had an interest in or knowledge of it. This in large measure is what drove me to seek the truth about the tradition in which I was raised, as well as the many alternatives.

While feeling called to study to be a missionary at Baptist Bible College back in the early 90’s, my mind was still somewhat confused about what to do with the claims of the Word of Faith and charismatic movements. It wasn’t until 1994, when I discovered a voice on my AM radio that was actually speaking critically of Kenneth Copeland and the others, and heard the speaker mention the release of his new book, Christianity in Crisis, that I was able to see clearly how in error this movement is, and to finally break free from the false notion that God may actually be using this movement. The radio show was The Bible Answer Man,  and the host/author was Hank Hanegraaff.

from aflame4God:

“You MUST hear this song! A powerful song and teaching that gives you a serious warning concerning false teachers and their ungodly dangerous doctrines. You should listen to holy men of God who preach the truth from a sincere heart. THIS SONG IS FROM THE CD “CONSIDER THE COST” BY STEVE CAMP.I CONSIDER IT ONE OF HIS BEST. The following book is a very good book to read on the subject it is called “The Agony of Deceit” by Michael Horton. The song is based on this book and 2 Peter 2. You can order this book on Amazon.com or ebay.
If you are a serious Christian and want to know the truth about this Movement consider buying these books.

“You can find these books on amazon.com

1. “A Different Gospel” by D.R. McConnell
2. “The New Charismatics” by Michael Moriarty
3. “Christianity in Crisis” by Hank Hanegraaff
4. “The Seduction of Christianity” by Dave Hunt
5.” The Word-Faith Controversy” by Robert Bowman
6. “The Born Again Jesus of the Word-Faith Teaching” by Judith Matta
7. “The Strange World of Benny Hinn
8. The Disease of the Wealth and Health Gospel” Gorden Fee (A renown godly Pentecostal Bible scholar).

“If fact there is no church historian or Bible Scholar that would agree with these false teachings. I know this movement well. I graduated from Rhema Bible Training Center in 1979 and spent 12 long years as a part of this movement. I preached in many WOF Churches. I was a devout reader of E.W. Kenyon. I read one of his books over 40 times! I met and heard many of the key figures of this movement in the ’70s and 80s. So I’m not a novice on the subject. God by His grace set me free from these false doctrines in 1988. At the time I was a pastor of a growing church. I recanted before my congregation. The Bible became like a new book to me, so precious, pure and powerful. Since then I’ve been on the narrow road that leads to life. I now preach the Gospel as according to Jesus and the Apostles as inspired by the Holy Spirit. Finally, let it be said that not all pentecostals agree with the Word of Faith Movement. God bless you. . . “

False Prophets and Teachers–2 Peter 2 ESV

2:1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell [1] and committed them to chains [2] of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; [3] and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, [4] and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.

Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones, 11 whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against them before the Lord. 12 But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, 13 suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, [5] while they feast with you. 14 They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! 15 Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, 16 but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.

17 These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved. 18 For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves [6] of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. 20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21 For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”

Mission Accomplished

Now, this is what I call music…!

In case you can’t keep up, here’s the lyrics. Read along, then consult your Bible and read and pray and think!

Verse 1

Here’s a controversial subject that tends to divide
For years it’s had Christians lining up on both sides
By God’s grace, I’ll address this without pride
The question concerns those for whom Christ died
Was He trying to save everybody worldwide?
Was He trying to make the entire world His Bride?
Does man’s unbelief keep the Savior’s hands tied?
Biblically, each of these must be denied
It’s true, Jesus gave up His life for His Bride
But His Bride is the elect, to whom His death is applied
If on judgment day, you see that you can’t hide
And because of your sin, God’s wrath on you abides
And hell is the place you eternally reside
That means your wrath from God hasn’t been satisfied
But we believe His mission was accomplished when He died
But how the cross relates to those in hell?
Well, they be saying:

Lord knows He tried (8x)

Verse 2

Father, Son and Spirit: three and yet one
Working as a unit to get things done
Our salvation began in eternity past
God certainly has to bring all His purpose to pass
A triune, eternal bond no one could ever sever
When it comes to the church, peep how they work together
The Father foreknew first, the Son came to earth
To die- the Holy Spirit gives the new birth
The Father elects them, the Son pays their debt and protects them
The Spirit is the One who resurrects them
The Father chooses them, the Son gets bruised for them
The Spirit renews them and produces fruit in them
Everybody’s not elect, the Father decides
And it’s only the elect in whom the Spirit resides
The Father and the Spirit- completely unified
But when it comes to Christ and those in hell?
Well, they be saying:

Lord knows He tried (8x)

Verse 3

My third and final verse- here’s the situation
Just a couple more things for your consideration
If saving everybody was why Christ came in history
With so many in hell, we’d have to say He failed miserably
So many think He only came to make it possible
Let’s follow this solution to a conclusion that’s logical
What about those who were already in the grave?
The Old Testament wicked- condemned as depraved
Did He die for them? C’mon, behave
But worst of all, you’re saying the cross by itself doesn’t save
That we must do something to give the cross its power
That means, at the end of the day, the glory’s ours
That man-centered thinking is not recommended
The cross will save all for whom it was intended
Because for the elect, God’s wrath was satisfied
But still, when it comes to those in hell
Well, they be saying:

Lord knows He tried (8x)

Thank you, Shai Linne, whoever you are.

Christ is Risen! Happy Easter!

Cut away of a tomb like the one our risen Lord vacated! from the ESV Study Bible

Cut away of a tomb like the one our risen Lord vacated! from the ESV Study Bible

John 20:1-10

 

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” 

So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. 

Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. 

Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples went back to their homes

1 Corinthians 15:1-8

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you,

which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved,

if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received:

that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 

that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 

and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 

Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time,

most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.

Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 

Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.

Listen to “Corinthian Creed” in the audio Box toward the bottom of the sidebar. “Corinthian Creed” is a paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 15, the great apologetic of the resurrection, sermon on its implications for the Christian life, and source of hope of our own resurrection in Christ. The lyrics may be viewed here. Praise and glorify the risen Savior with me!

Changing of the Guard at Coral Ridge

kennedy-funeralThe news has just reached me that the search for a new pastor has come to an end at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Last year’s loss of Dr. D. James Kennedy has certainly brought much change and transition to the local congregation. It certainly came immediately to the Coral Ridge Hour television show. The formerly hour-long program was immediately reduced to a half hour, cutting out my favorite part of the program, the music. From the exhilerating one verse processional, during which the choir and pastor enter the sanctuary and take their places to open the service, to the choir specials and classical solo features, it was part of my weekly preparation for worship at my own church. As a concession, I noticed that they began to squeeze in the song that is sung after the sermon, for which I was grateful, but it certainly was not the same.

tullian1But I digress. The Session (or, board of Ruling Elders) of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, whose concern is to shepherd a large, influential church without a Teaching Elder (Pastor), has recently called a young minister of some noteriety who is building a church which has yet to obtain its own building. In this way, its quite an interesting match–a church without a pastor offers its building to a church with a pastor but not a building. That’s right, they’re not just calling the pastor, they’re negotiating a merger. The name of said minister of note, who has received a call to pastor Coral Ridge, is Tullian Tchividjian (the last name rhymes with “religion”). Rev. Tchividjian is an up-and-coming pastor in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, (Coral Ridge is in the Presbyterian Church in America) who happens to be the grandson of “America’s Pastor,” Evangelist Billy Graham. But many Reformed believers may know him better as the guy featured in the promotional videos that recently introduced the Bible reading public to the new ESV Study Bible (which study Bible I highly recommend).

You can read the SunSentinel.com report on Rev. Tchividjian’s call and the subsequent merger negotiations here, and you can also keep up with the ongoing process at his New City Presbyterian Church blog (here, here, here, for starters). While this is an interesting event, I must say that in the inevitable changes that will come to the church, especially grievous to me personally will be any metamorphosis of Coral Ridge’s amazing music ministry, which, while it was technically “blended” (combining the singing of traditional hymns with contemporary music), it was effectively presented in a manner that majored on the classical, “traditional,” even the liturgical. One Reformed blog, Green Baggins, expresses concerns (read it here) similar to mine. I share some of this blogger’s concerns, especially about the implications of contemporary worship music, and the possibility of a “seeker sensitive” approach to the church’s ministry, although some of the comments on his post help alleviate my concerns.

Be that as it may, I’m glad to see that a changing of the guard is in the works, and I wish both churches (Coral Ridge and Tchividjian’s New City Pres.) the reformation and revival for which both are praying and working. May the Lord grant it to the advancement of his Kingdom throughout Florida, and, through their various TV and radio ministries, America and the world.

Bach’s Bible

As a bibliophile, I can only wish (short of praying) to be this lucky:

And, of course, for you inquiring minds, here’s Bach’s Wikipedia entry.

The Denomination Blues

In case you don’t know, I’m a music lover. And although I decidedly come down on the “traditional” side in the worship wars (in fact, I just got my “Organ Music Rocks” t-shirt from Old Lutheran dot com!), I happen to enjoy some of the music produced by some of those who may differ with me on that issue, I just happen to reserve it “for entertainment purposes only”. Not that I don’t find it edifying as well, at times.

For instance, when it comes to Southern Gospel music, there is very little that I can stand for very long. One or two songs and I’m pretty well done. Any more than that, and I start getting visibly uncomfortable. But not so in the case of Reformed Presbyterian harmonica player extraordinaire, Buddy Greene (visit his official site). I could listen to him all day. I just added a few YouTube videos of Greene excercising his gift to my personal YouTube page (you can visit it here). The first song is “Denomination Blues” (no harmonica in this one) and he pokes fun at a few select denominations, starting with his own (even false churches like Roman Catholicism and Unitarianism). But I was surprised that he didn’t have a verse on the Baptist denomination. If you can write a good one in the vein of  Buddy Greene’s song, post it in the comments. I’ll add mine when I come up with one, too.

Here’s one where he pulls out his harmonica. It’s one of my all-time favorite songs, “God Is With Us.” This has more of a black gospel feel to it:

Theological & Doxological Meditation #47

The First Prohibitiontheological-doxological-meditations-logo

 

Q.    What is forbidden in the first commandment?

 

A.    The first commandment forbids the denying (Psalm 14:1), or not worshiping and glorifying the true God as God (Romans 1:21), and our God (Psalm 81:10-11); and the giving of that worship and glory to any other, which is due to him alone (Romans 1:25-26).

 

As With Gladness, Men Of Old

#226, Trinity Hymnal (© 1990)

William C. Dix, 1860

DIX

As with gladness, men of old
Did the guiding star behold
As with joy they hailed its light
Leading onward, beaming bright
So, most glorious Lord, may we
Evermore be led to Thee.

As with joyful steps they sped
To that lowly manger bed
There to bend the knee before
Him Whom Heaven and earth adore;
So may we with willing feet
Ever seek Thy mercy seat.

As they offered gifts most rare
At that manger rude and bare;
So may we with holy joy,
Pure and free from sin’s alloy,
All our costliest treasures bring,
Christ, to Thee, our heavenly King.

Holy Jesus, every day
Keep us in the narrow way;
And, when earthly things are past,
Bring our ransomed souls at last
Where they need no star to guide,
Where no clouds Thy glory hide.

In the heavenly country bright,
Need they no created light;
Thou its Light, its Joy, its Crown,
Thou its Sun which goes not down;
There forever may we sing
Alleluias to our King!

 

God In His Glory

Here’s another lively one I wrote more recently. I had been thinking about how the Reformed regularly comment that what makes for a well rounded presentation of the gospel is to start with “God and his glory,” instead of “man and his need,” which seems too often to be the case in evangelical evangelism. The following little outline developed, focusing on the triune God and the part each plays in the creation and redemption of the sinner:

  • God and his glory
  • Man and his shame
  • Christ and his cross
  • The Spirit and his grace

Then I tried to summarize what they do for us in justification, sanctification and glorification:

  • Justify by faith
  • Sanctify by truth
  • Perseverance to the end
  • Glorification

After mulling these things over for a while, a tune began to develop in my head. The finished product has the potential to be a kind of “Song That Never Ends”

God in his glory

made man who fell in shame,

needing Christ and his cross,

by the Spirit and his grace

to justify through faith

and sanctify by truth

for persevering to the end,

till we join

God in his glory

who made man who fell in shame

needing Christ and his cross

by the Spirit and his grace

to justify through faith

and sanctify by truth

for persevering to the end!

(to repeat as many times as desired, simply keeping adding “till we join” and start over again.)

Salvation Full and Free

A couple of years ago, I tried to put Ephesians 1:3-14 to music. But nothing ever came that enabled me to carry the ESV translation of this great passage on the joint sovereign work of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit over into a singable tune. But I did come up with the following little ditty that is more inspired by the passage than it is based on it’s text. I don’t have a recording of this song, even though I did sing it at church once.

I don’t know how it reads without knowing the tune, but, believe me, it may not read well as a simple poem, but it does work as a song. It’s short enough, and the tune is lively enough, that I actually kind of consider this my one praise chorus. Hope it doesn’t ruin it for you, but it’s kind of got that feel when you sing it, only it’s a little more raw and doesn’t sound quite like a commercial jingle like so much “P & W music.”

Salvation Full and Free

Slaves to sin/no good within/to merit our Father’s electing love

Redeemed in Christ/our sin debt paid/forgiven freely by God’s grace

Called to new life (by grace)/By the Spirit’s power (through faith)/Sealed to guarantee our inheritance in Christ

Salvation full and free!

If I ever get a recording of it, I’ll post it. Tomorrow I’ll post another song which I’ve never sung in worship yet, and as of yet have no prospects of doing so.

Theological & Doxological Meditation #45

The First Commandment

Q.  Which is the first commandment?

A.  The first commandment is, “You shall have no other gods before [1] me.” (Exodus 20:3 ESV).

As Pants the Hart for Cooling Streams

#661, The Trinity Hymnal; From Psalm 42; Tate and Brady’s New Version, 1696, 1698; SPOHR C.M.; Louis Spohr, 1835; arr.

As pants the hart for cooling streams when heated in the chase, so longs my soul, O God, for thee, and thy refreshing grace.

For thee, my God, the living God, my thirsty soul doth pine; O when shall I behold thy face, thou Majesty divine!

Why restless, why cast down, my soul? Trust God, and he’ll employ his aid for thee, and change these sighs to thankful hymns of joy.

Why restless, why cast down, my soul? Hope still; and thou shalt sing the praise of him who is thy God, thy health’s eternal spring.

Theological & Doxological Meditation #45

Q.    Which is the first commandment?

 A.    The first commandment is, You shall have no other gods before me (Exodus 20:3).

Holy, Holy, Holy!

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!

Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee.

Holy, Holy, holy! Merciful and mighty

God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!

 

Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore thee,

casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;

cherubim and seraphim falling down before thee,

who wert, and art, and evermore shalt be.

 

Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide thee,

though the eye of sinful man thy glory may not see,

only thou art holy; there is none beside thee

perfect in pow’r, in love, and purity.

 

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!

All thy works shall praise thy name in earth and sky and sea.

Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty!

God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!

#100 Trinity Hymnal; Reginald Heber, 1783-1826; NICEA 11.12.12.10.; John B. Dykes, 1861

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