"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

Better to Get Theology from Scripture, not Songs

Yesterday I presided over a funeral of a man who died at the age of fifty nine from pancreatic cancer. The family picked out some great songs to have sung at the funeral including Chris Tomlin's Amazing Grace: My Chains Are Gone. We have sung this song often in our corporate worship at Emmanuel, and though I enjoy it immensely, the last verse has always bothered me because of its poor, though popular, theology. To me, this song is an illustration of how we should be careful that the theology we believe comes from the inspired text of Scripture and not necessarily the songs we sing. The words of the last verse of Chris Tomlin's version of Amazing Grace are as follows:

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow;
the sun forbear to shine.
But God who called me here below,
will be forever mine.

The Scripture, however, tells us the earth doesn't dissolve; it is redeemed by God and endures forever. "A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever" (Ecclesiastes 1:4). “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5). “The righteous themselves will inherit the earth, and they will reside upon it forever” (Psalm 37:29).

“The redeemed earth will last, not just for a thousand years, but forever” writes Anthony Hoekema. The grandeur of the Grand Canyon, the pearl green waters of the Caribbean, the white sand beaches of the Pacific, and the lush green forests will all be a part of our heaven, without sin and corruption according to Randy Alcorn in his book aptly entitled "Heaven."

“The whole creation groans and travails awaiting the redemption” (Romans 8:22). When Jesus ushers in eternity, the earth will be renewed, and our God will inhabit it with His people. “Christians often talk about living with God ‘in heaven’ forever,” writes theologian Wayne Gruden. “But in fact the biblical teaching is richer than that; it tells us that there will be new heavens and a new earth – an entirely renewed creation – and we will live with God there…There will also be a new kind of unification of heaven and earth… There will be a joining of heaven and earth in this new creation.”

But someone might object that Jesus “left earth” to prepare a place to which we will go (John 14) What is this place? “I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Revelation 21:2).

Heaven and a renewed earth will unite for our eternal home when the curse is reversed, and we will enjoy all of God's created universe. The resurrection is nothing more, nothing less, than God's redeemed people being raised from the dead to inherit a redeemed and restored earth.

So, the last verse of Chris Tomlin's version of Newton's original might could better be sung like this:

The earth shall be redeemed by God;
the sun will forever shine.
And God who called me here below,
will be forever mine.



In His Grace,


Wade

110 comments:

Elizabeth Prata said...

I understand the Lord renews the earth but I thought it melts/burns first (see 2 Peter 3:10, 13) ...in which case the use of "dissolve" in the lyric would be applicable.

I agree that theology should come from scripture instead of song but perhaps there is a better example of doctrinally incorrect praise music to use than this one? I don't see the issue here.

2 Peter 3:10

10But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

13Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

Tom Kelley said...

I once heard a wise older preacher tell a group of young preachers that, although preachers would like to think their congregations get their theology from the preacher's sermons, the truth is most get their theology from the songs they regularly sing. The remember the words of the songs, and songs touch their hearts. That's one of the reasons it is important for the songs we sing in church (regardless of the style of music) to be true to the teachings of Scripture.

Wade Burleson said...

Elizabeth,

The apocalyptic language of 2 Peter 3 is used by by prophets throughout the Old Testament to predict the fall of nations and governments. In fact, the language is very precise. The two greatest Hebraists of all time, John Gill and John Owen, both agreed that 2 Peter 3 is a vivid description of the fall of Judaism and Jerusalem and the establishment of the gospel kingdom.

Whether you agree with their interpretation of Hebrews 3 is irrelevant. I would like to know your interpretation of just the few of many verses I used in the post that speaks of the earth enduring forever.

In His Grace,

Wade

Wade Burleson said...

Jeff,

Amazing Grace: My Chains Are Gone is Chris Tomlin's version of Newton's orginal "Amazing Grace."

Tomlin changed both the tune and the lyrics (see your comment) above. Tomlin could have changed Newton's original wording, as he did when he added his own words.

Both Newton and Tomlin are incorrect - but no big deal. The point of the post is that men are fallible in song writing.

Blessings,

Wade

Wade Burleson said...

Well, it seems like our friend Jeff has deleted all his comments. Not sure why, but so be it.

Those of you who have read this far will probably be confused.

Sorry.

Elizabeth Prata said...

Wade:

Thank you for the information about the interpretation of 2Peter and Hebrews3 etc. I do not agree with that interpretation but I am open to others' interpretations and will mull.

I think I said in my original comment that I do agree the earth is renewed and endures forever. That seems pretty firm in the widely held understanding through bible study and is clear in the scriptures you provided.

Wade Burleson said...

Thanks Elizabeth.

I agree.

Have a good evening.

Elisabeth said...

Maybe Jeff decided he felt silly??? :-/

Tom Kelley said...

Ok, now that we are past that diversion, everyone can go back to noticing and commenting on my previous, insightful comment.

:)

Wade Burleson said...

Alan Paul and others,

Our friend Jeff Brooks made several comments. We all responded to him graciously and he went back and deleted all his comments. Unfortunately, his deletions threw the comment section completely off. I've gone back and deleted all comments (15) where we responded to Jeff's multiple comments because it is too difficult to read our comments after he deleted his numerous comments comments.

Jeff, just some friendly advice. I post very intentionally. I do not delete what I write. I would encourage you next time you comment reptively to leave your comments up -

Even if you are proven wrong or feel bad about what you wrote.

Wade Burleson said...

Tom Kelly,

A wise quote given by a wise man!

:)

How's that?

Tom Kelley said...

Wade
Not bad, except my last name looks funny without the second e. Kinda like Burlson; just feels wrong. :) But thanks anyway!

Wade Burleson said...

Tom Kelley,

Oops.

If it makes you feel better my name is often spelled Burlson and Burlison.

:)

Tom Kelley said...

Wade,
Yes, that makes me feel better -- now I know I have something in common with one of my heroes in the faith.

Be blessed!

Jeff Brooks / TwoTwenty Ministries said...

He now wishes he hadn't. It is ironic that it is pointless to try to reason with you about such a simple thing. My apologies to Alan and his wife.

Perhaps you should research the development of the song. Tomlin's version was originally for the movie Amazing Grace. In this context, there is a big difference between adding a chorus (which the original lacks) and changing Newton's verses. Perhaps you could argue that Tomlin was incorrect for not leaving that verse out but don't attribute THIS to fallibiliy in his songwriting. I'm sure you can find fallibility elsewhere in something that Chris actually WROTE, but attribute this one to Newton.
Every WORD of the song is Newton's except the chorus:
My chains are gone, I've been set free. My God, My Savior has ransomed me. And like a flood His mercy reigns. Unending love. Amazing grace.

If there is any "fallibility with the songwriting" of the chorus, attribute it to Tomlin. The rest of the song is Newton's. PERIOD.

Again, if you want to illustrate poor theology in songs, I think you should pick a better example than this - unless you are more interested in debating eschatology with Left Behind fans than making your stated point. Also, since none of the actual words in question were WRITTEN by Chris, why do you keep repeatedly mentioning him? Focus on the substance of Newton's words (if that is the issue) and don't wrongly drag Chris in the "song fallibility" mud for something he did not WRITE.

Honestly, if the intent has to do with the theology of the song, simply talk about Newton's Amazing Grace. It's that simple. Your insistence on keeping Tomlin in the picture disappoints me. I'm beginning to understand the frustrations of your critics.

Jeff Brooks / TwoTwenty Ministries said...

I did not see your response before I posted my last comment. I did not delete my comments because I believed I had been proven wrong nor did I feel bad about anything I wrote. The mountain that this molehill has become is why I have refrained from commenting on here except once or twice. I really don't have time to get wrapped up in this and I certainly don't have time to deal with all the people who will now comment on my blog because I posted here. That's why i deleted the comments. Then you insisted on keeping Chris in the "songwriting" picture.
I felt I had made a very simple point that could have been easily corrected.

davidbmclaughlin.com said...

I decided i want to videotape myself so i could preach my own funeral. (yeah-a little narcissistic)

i also decided the topic would be Top Ten Dumb Things Heard At Funerals. i would try to correct all the bad theology i hear at funerals.

I did come up with a good opener:

"If you are watching this I must be dead. The following people can kiss..."

If you want the list you have to come to my funeral. But you can hear bits and pieces of it by hanging around with me.

David Simpson said...

Wow. I guess that guy really likes Chris Tomlin.
Wade, thanks for this post. My question to you tonight- do you still sing that song "as is" at your church, or have you asked your Worship Leader to modify it to the new lyrics you posted?

Christiane said...

Chief Seattle's Letter

"The President in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy our land. But how can you buy or sell the sky? the land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them?

Every part of the earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every meadow, every humming insect. All are holy in the memory and experience of my people.

We know the sap which courses through the trees as we know the blood that courses through our veins. We are part of the earth and it is part of us. The perfumed flowers are our sisters. The bear, the deer, the great eagle, these are our brothers. The rocky crests, the dew in the meadow, the body heat of the pony, and man all belong to the same family.

The shining water that moves in the streams and rivers is not just water, but the blood of our ancestors. If we sell you our land, you must remember that it is sacred. Each glossy reflection in the clear waters of the lakes tells of events and memories in the life of my people. The water's murmur is the voice of my father's father.

The rivers are our brothers. They quench our thirst. They carry our canoes and feed our children. So you must give the rivers the kindness that you would give any brother.

If we sell you our land, remember that the air is precious to us, that the air shares its spirit with all the life that it supports. The wind that gave our grandfather his first breath also received his last sigh. The wind also gives our children the spirit of life. So if we sell our land, you must keep it apart and sacred, as a place where man can go to taste the wind that is sweetened by the meadow flowers.

Will you teach your children what we have taught our children? That the earth is our mother? What befalls the earth befalls all the sons of the earth.

This we know: the earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.

One thing we know: our God is also your God. The earth is precious to him and to harm the earth is to heap contempt on its creator.

Your destiny is a mystery to us. What will happen when the buffalo are all slaughtered? The wild horses tamed? What will happen when the secret corners of the forest are heavy with the scent of many men and the view of the ripe hills is blotted with talking wires? Where will the thicket be? Gone! Where will the eagle be? Gone! And what is to say goodbye to the swift pony and then hunt? The end of living and the beginning of survival.

When the last red man has vanished with this wilderness, and his memory is only the shadow of a cloud moving across the prairie, will these shores and forests still be here? Will there be any of the spirit of my people left?

We love this earth as a newborn loves its mother's heartbeat. So, if we sell you our land, love it as we have loved it. Care for it, as we have cared for it. Hold in your mind the memory of the land as it is when you receive it. Preserve the land for all children, and love it, as God loves us.

As we are part of the land, you too are part of the land. This earth is precious to us. It is also precious to you.

One thing we know - there is only one God. No man, be he Red man or White man, can be apart. We ARE all brothers after all."

John Daly said...

One verse in a song is bad but hey let's all go out and buy the Shack!

Philip Miller said...

Pastor Wade,
I've been taught, although I don't remember exactly by whom or when, that when the "new" earth comes, it is a "re-creation" of the current one. The Bible talks about sun being turned to darkness and the moon into blood in number of places. Why could that not literally be a part what happens on earth during or before the "re-creation". Or do you also not believe in a literal coming apocalypse/tribulation on this current earth as a part of the coming "Day of the Lord"? Also, is it necessary to believe that current conditions/landmarks remain? Such as the Grand Canyon that you cited? What if it went back to the original creation condition? What if there were no mountian ranges or canyons. Would that veiw violate any scriptural conditions?

Tim Marsh said...

Phillip Miller,

The passages you allude to are used in the New Testament to indicate a time of calamity at the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. They may refer to the day of the Lord in the OT, but that is not how Jesus used them in scripture.

When people read Jesus' teaching on the "times" he is always answering the disciples question regarding the Temple. These events were fulfilled in 70 AD.

Though you referred your question to Pastor Wade, if it is Dipensational Premillenialism, then I would suggest another reading.

Pastor Wade, thanks for this post. This song has always bothered me.

I love your suggestion for an alternative ending.

Jeff Brooks,

When I read the post I did not see it as a criticism of Tomlin, but as you indicate, it is a criticism of "Left Behind" theology. And it is a criticism of the popular notion of "heaven."

SAB said...

It is not about this one song, newer versions are like scripture in that the song writers feel the need to interpet in their own way even if it is not scriptural. I have noticed in the past years that church members do not know what they are singing. Just look around on a given Sunday and watch. They are now singing for entertainment only. Also notice that the wording of most songs in today's church are sung to each other about God not TO God to worship who He is. It is as if He is not present (maybe He is not) and they can only sing about Him not to Him.
SAB

Jon L. Estes said...

Responding to the title of your post:

The same thing could be said about many sermons I, probably all of us, have heard.

You, Wade, made a comment recently about your preaching where some like it and some don't but in the end you answer to only One for your words you use to proclaim. I think CT probably thinks the same about anyone who does not like his sermon in song.

Isaiah 65:17 (KJV)
For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.

Isaiah 66:22 (KJV)
For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain.

2 Peter 3:13 (KJV)
Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

Rev. 21:1 (KJV)
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

Stephen said...

Speaking of unscriptural songs, how about Battle Hymn of the Republic? The Minister of Music at our church goes to great lengths to avoid ever singing / playing that song in our services.

Wade Burleson said...

Jeff Brooks,

If it is any comfort,

Chris Tomlin is my favorite contemporary song writer.

:)

Wade Burleson said...

Phillip,

Tim Marsh did a great job answering your questions the way I would. Thanks!

Wade Burleson said...

David Simpson,

There are just a few songs with which I do not agree theologically that we sing. Others in our church may interpret the Scriptures differently than I, so I never tell our worship pastor what we can or cannot sing. I leave that up to him. I LOVE Chris Tomlin's version of Amazing Grace and sing it with gusto - until we come to the last verse, and then I simply don't sing - but enjoy others who do!

Wade

SAB said...

Stephen, We too sang "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" on Sunday, Memorial Day. Funny (and sad) to be singing that in the Deep, Confederate South. In fact everyone (except myself) stood to sing it. I wonder how they would have felt had I played "DIXIE" for them. Also, check out the author of that song to see her background. Why would we glory over beating up and killing the CSA costing us 600,000 lives.
SAB

chadwick said...

Wade,

Are you turning into a . . . (gasp!) . . . Fundamnentalist? :)

Are you telling us that 'your interpretation' is the only & infallible one?

Doesn't Elizabeth's insightful comments prove that Tomlin's 'last line' is an interpretation issue rather than an 'error' in Tomlin's Theology?

Is Tomlin's 'last line' a primary issue? or is it a secondary issue?

It seems that you, of all people, would give Tomlin the freedom to differ from you in your interpretation? ;)

Shouldn't the title of your post really be: "I disagree with Chris Tomlin's interpretation of what will happen to the earth. However, I will change his 'last line' on this secondary issue and keep singing the song!"? :D

Cordially,
chadwick

Jon L. Estes said...

SAB,

Also notice that the wording of most songs in today's church are sung to each other about God not TO God to worship who He is.
I see this differently. Many of the songs of old are songs about God.

Holy, Holy, Holy
Amazing Grace
Blessed Assurance
...

Whereas many of the contemporary songs are to God.

Lord, I Lift Your Name on High
When it's all been Said and Done
...

On both end of the preferred spectrum we can find people who are not singing to God. The church I pastor there are some very sweet members who do not like the blended music we do, and they gently let us know. The irony, these same people don't sing the old songs either.

I can't change another persons heart concerning the style of music they prefer but I do believe if we have come to worship God, it matters not what style is being presented, it is a matter of the heart.

Would you be willing to support music you do not prefer in your church if it could reach a group of people not yet being reached, for Christ?

or...

Would you prefer they come and do church your way?

If you owned a store (business), would you work to find ways to bring in more customers, as long as it is not unethical and immoral? I think I would. for one reason, if I were in such a position, i would want to leave my children something strong and sure to build upon after I am gone.

Not a bad principle to use in the church, also.

Wade Burleson said...

Chadwick,

If I were a Fundamentalist pastor:

I'd fire the worship pastor for leading us in singing the song . . .

I'd remove the women from the platform who participate in the ensemble that sings it . . .

I'd demand that I, the Senior Pastor, pick the songs we sing . . .

And I would condemn Chris Tomlin as a liberal, no good commie song writer.

:)

As it stands, I've never said anything to our worship pastor about the song, which we sing regularly. I've already said I've enjoyed people who sing it in our worship service, and I would never demand they not sing it in order to conform to my interpretation of Scripture that the earth will not dissolve. We, kind sir, understand what it means to love one another in the midst of disagreement and cooperate in spite of our differences in interpretation, and never - ever - demand others agree with the Senior Pastor.

(Smile).

Your irony backfires. Grin.

chadwick said...

Wade,

According to the title of your post, Tomlin is WRONG in his theological interpretation.

You, kind sir, have failed to answer my simple question:

Is Tomlin's 'last line' a primary Theological issue? or is it a secondary Theological issue?

Cordially,
chadwick

Wade Burleson said...

Chadwick,

It, kind sir, is MOST definitely a SECONDARY theological issue.

As is every theological disgreement in the SBC. We all agree on the essentials.

Blessings. On my way to staff meeting and cannot engage you further.

chadwick said...

Wade,

You are now in a dilemma. Your last statement contradicts the title of your post.

Your title implies that Tomlin is WRONG in his Theology; while your last statement implies that Tomlin is not wrong in his Theology, but rather he has a different interpretation than you on a SECONDARY issue.

You now have only two options:
1) Change the title of your post.
2) Or leave it like it is and continue to be contradicting by talking out of both sides of your mouth.

Cordially,
chadwick

Darby Livingston said...

I was also at a funeral this week, and we were all invited to sing a song together. Unfortunately for me it was the one about coming to a garden alone and walking and talking with Jesus in a way that no other has ever known. I just don't like that song, no matter how popular it is.

jasonk said...

I'm the first one to stand up and say that there is a lot of theological garbage contained in catchy contemporary songs. I still get bent out of shape when the song comes on the radio which says, "and the more I trust in Him, the more He is faithful." Please! What a gross mischaracterization of our Lord. But, it has good rhythmic qualities, so what the heck.

If you want theological garbage, just open the Baptist Hymnal. There is plenty contained there, for sure.

But I disagree with you on Amazing Grace. Lyrics are highly interpretive. The challenge of interpreting lyrics comes because we are dealing with songwriters whose hearts are dark and tinged with a sinful nature, even Christian songwriters.
So let me offer a different take on the issue of the earth dissolving like snow, if you don't mind.
I picture it much more literally than maybe you do. Snow falls, covering the earth. When the snow dissolves, the earth appears fresh and clean (I don't think Newton had to deal with streets covered in sand and salt after a snow storm, like we do). Snow is a great blessing to crops, because it provides a blanket of warmth, allowing the plants underneath to growth, while slowly sending water into the soil, as the earth melts the snow. Once the snow completely dissolves, it reveals a "new" earth, cleaner, greener, and in many places ushering in the Spring.
Perhaps Newton was referring to a new heaven and a new earth, and nothing more.

Gary said...

Wade, and all,

I am a Minister of Music. I've been in middle-sized churches of 400+ on a full-time basis, at least two county-seat-First-Baptist-Churches, done interims at more places than I can count, plus revivals, youth rallys (shows how old I am), have been bi-vo music minister for 15 years now at Alameda in Norman, and have even been a session music leader at one Arizona Southern Baptist Convention. In the past,I have been, and will continue to be in the future I expect, ridiculed for not using some of the latest and greatest choruses and popular songs of the day.

Let me explain.

I was mentored by a wonderful man who went on to start a seminary music department. I learned a lot from him, all of which was reinforced by great, Godly men at Southwestern seminary after college. One of the MOST important things which I learned from my mentor(s) is this - if the text is bad, if the text is not scriptural, if the text is trite, it does not matter how nice the music sounds nor how popular it may be.

This has stood me well through my life as a music leader. It didn't make me popular with some folks, but I never had a pastor who asked me "hey, why don't you do more music which has junk lyrics?"

Don't get me wrong. There are some great Praise and Worship songs out there which glorify God, edify the Master and His Church, and bring the Spirit down on us. They are doctrinally, scripturally, and muscially sound. But then there are others which should never ever be used in a fellowship of believers.

But you've got to be able to know the difference before you can, er, know the difference.

Now, to this Post's title.

I was grounded in my 'theology' from Sunday School, listening to my Pastors, numerous professors, and doing my own Bible reading. Once I got that "grounding", then I was ready to discern what is good and bad music.

The music should re-inforce what we have learned through teaching, preaching, and studying.

But I won't depend on my Pastor, or Wade, to pick my music for me. I'll make certain that everything done during worship time is theologically sound before he ever gets in the pulpit.

And that is the way it ought to be.

Yeah, I'm old-fashioned that way.

Gary Skaggs
Norman

Steve said...

Perhaps our songwriter had recently been studying his astrophysics about the projected lifecycles of stars - instead of His apocalyptics about the promised lifecycle of this planet.

Of course, a God who can make a Heaven that Carl Sagan couldn't find can surely allow both eventualities to happen.

Chris Johnson said...

Brother Wade,

I love music…and Tomlin’s rendition of Amazing Grace is well done. I think I see your point for the post….no doubt theology realized from the Truth should expose more than a song can do.

Tomlin may have been giving us a glimpse of his view of the creation being renewed. It appears that his theology rests on the assumption that the old earth, in the form of snow, must be renewed. The substance (water) does not disappear, but is turned into something more beautiful and eternal without any trace of the form seen in the effects of sin on the initial snow.

So possibly his theology is much like yours after all.

Just some thoughts,
Blessings,
Chris

Robert Hutchinson said...

john also said, "And I saw a beast coming up out of the sea. He had 10 horns and seven heads." Rev 13:1 HCSB

brother wade and everyone,

two sincere questions:

1. would you make a literal interpretation of that text as well?

2. how do you identify which portions of revelation should be interpreted literally and which are symbolism?

Steve Young said...

I would find it harder to square Wade's version than Newton's with Revelation 21 and 22 that states the New Jerusalem after the judgment did not need the sun, for God's glory shines there.

Ray said...

Chadwick,

Where do you get in the title that Wade said Chris was "WRONG?" All he said was it is better to get your theology from scripture, not from songs.

chadwick said...

Ray,

Please read all of my comments in my dialogue with Wade; they should answer your question.

chadwick

reagan said...

"You are now in a dilemma. Your last statement contradicts the title of your post."

Chadwick, it is simply hard for you to understand. Wade has an opinion, he is voicing it here on HIS blog. He is not demanding that everyone conform to his interpretation or views. He is not playing the "I am in charge' card and forcing the adults on his staff or in his congregation to his RULE. That is hard for you to understand as a typical SBC fundie that demands everyone tow your party line.

chadwick said...

reagan,

You stated:
"That is hard for you to understand as a typical SBC fundie that demands everyone tow your party line."

Your charge rings hollow. :D

non-fundie,
chadwick

Shane "George" Lambert said...

Wade,

Not to be an instigator here, but I really believe Jeff is correct in pointing out that the lyrics in question were written by Newton, not Tomlin. I think you would do well to amend your post to reflect this truth.

That being said, however, I wholeheartedly agree with you that we should get our theology from scripture, not from songs.

reagan said...

"Your charge rings hollow. :D"

Same type of non response you gave Ray. Very typical arrogant
fundie response. "I am right. You are wrong. I do not listen to other viewpoints nor do I admit I may have misunderstood the post and Wade".

You guys are way too intent to go after Wade and it shows.

It is what you guys do not understand. We can have opinions on secondary issues but we do not force them on others in order to have fellowship. That is why Wade does not ban the song at his church. He just does not sing that verse.

The very thread of your comments here prove this. You sure picked a strange post to be so vehement about. Better luck next time.

It scares me that arrogant guys like you are SBC pastors.

Wade Burleson said...

Chadwick,

I have no clue what you are saying.

I think you are having a hard time comprehending how . . .

I can believe somebody's theology is wrong, but at the same time say kind things about my brother in Christ who believes differently than I, never seek to prevent others from believing differently than I, and worshipping and cooperating with people who see and do things differently than I.

In other words, you seem to have a hard time with knowing how one can believe other people are wrong in their theology and not giving a rip (as do I) if those wrong in their theology ever believe as I.

And, by the way, I freely admit that I could be wrong in MY theology about the earth continuing forever.

It is simply what I see Scripture to teach at this time - and nobody has convinced me of anything different.

Blessings,

Wade

Wade Burleson said...

Reagan,

Well said above. The only thing I don't know about is whether or not Chadwick is arrogant.

I do know he is young.

Blessings,


wade

Paulo said...

Wade,

What about this song that has become quite popular in our churches:

"I am a friend of God ... He calls me friend."

Is this Biblically correct?

Paulo

Gary said...

Paulo,

I'm not Wade, but see James 2:23.

Gary

Alan Paul said...

John 15:14
You are my friends if you do what I command.

John 15:15
I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

missshunary said...

We are a friend of God, if we have been redeemed.

The problem is that many congregations are rockin' and rollin' to that song every Sunday morning and many people singing it are no more a friend of God than anyone who is an enemy of God can be.

It's possible to sing songs that allow the believer to offer praise and worship to God while also pointing the sinner to Christ.

But those kind of hymns, er uh, songs don't bring in the crowds.

Wade Burleson said...

Paulo,

The two men above this comment answered your question well.

Wade Burleson said...

Make that "three men" above me.

Alan Paul said...

I agree missshunary... but even as redeemed friends of God, we must be careful to render proper respect due to one so filled with Glory. His friendship is not to be taken lightly - but still it is true - maybe even the most true - friendship we can experience.

linda said...

Thank you for raising this issue, Pastor Wade. (Even if I tend to "left behind" theology.)

And thank you especially, Bro. Skaggs.

We really do need to STOP and make sure the lyrics we sing match the theology we hold.

I have reached the point I just stand or sit silently during songs that are unscriptural.

We would not tolerate a preacher preaching what we believe to be lies--why sing them?

Of course, whenever this discussion comes up, someone always seems to imply that unless you embrace contemporary Christian music you do not care if the lost remain lost, are part of killing off the church, and have a heart problem because you insist on having things your way.

To those thinking that way, all I can say is that can be turned around. Perhaps you have those traits and are just projecting?

I believe we are charged to preach, teach, pray, sing, and witness to the truth. Nowhere do I believe we are allowed to spread lies because the music is popular or any certain generation likes it. (This goes for old, new, and in between music.)

This can be done lovingly--just don't sing what you believe to be false. Eventually, if enough people do this, silence will gently weed out the trash to a large extent.

Christiane said...

Hi EVERYONE,

It's me, L's

Wade, you wrote this title:
'Better to Get Theology from Scripture, not Songs'

Well, after thinking about it, it occured to me that you could have BOTH in ONE. Here's how:

All of the Psalms are songs, and somewhere in Judeo-Christian traditions, there are melodies for many. If you have heard the traditional music of Judaic worship, it is very, very beautiful and reverent, although strange to our ears.

Also, in the Scriptures, are the portions called the 'Canticles' or songs such as the 'Magnificat' prayer of Mary, Jesus' mother.

There are many melodies for the 'Canticles' in Christian tradition. Some of these melodies might seem strange to Baptists, but they are profoundly beautiful and spiritual in nature, as is fitting of any song sung before the Lord.

So, it IS possible, with a little research, to have the best of both worlds: psalms and canticles from the Holy Writings that can be sung.

What could be better? And no one (excuse me) 'freaks out'. :)

Then the focus is on the act of honoring God completely, joined in community, without worries that some among you are not joining in the celebration because of reservations about the hymns.

I hope this helps a little.
Much love, L's

Alan Paul said...

I am a Psalms guy... the church needs to go back to singing Psalms. Forget hymns. Forget contemporary worship music. We need to sing the Psalms and then we'll be okay. And only those instruments may be played that are mentioned in the Psalms.

;)

Paul Burleson said...

I think the text of songs can vary in purpose therefore in content.

Psalm 95 says.."Oh come let us shout unto the Lord..let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation" This is testimonial. Words spoken to one another as seen in "let us.." These songs, hymns, choruses which could be a bit more light, fun and rythmic, expressing this personal testimonial nature of praise.[Even loud] This could be called CELEBRATION.

Psalm 95:3-5 says "For the Lord is a great God and a king above all gods.." and shows lyrics of songs, choruses and the like that speak of God's character, nature, actions, and grace and could be called CONTEMPLATION.

Then there are hymns, choruses whose lyrics and verses would show us bowing in quiet worship at His feet as shown in Psalm 95:6-7 and could be called ADORATION.

The very next verse speaks of hearing His voice.


So I agree that the lyrics of songs, choruses, etc. need to reflect good theology as Wade says in his post knowing that singing or praising the Lord CAN reflect a relational expression of joy or even emotions shared together corporately BECAUSE of our real relationship to Him.

All would go together in an corporate experience and convey truth but with differing emotions, rythmn, lyrics, and purpose.

Not original with me but haven't a clue where I first heard it. I've also taught and experienced it many times through the years.

All this said, I DO agree with Linda's comment just above.

M said...

Wade
I have noticed that since you have come to be my pastor that we no longer sing "I Have Decided to Follow Jesus." Is this a coincidence or is it theological?
Mona Loewen

linda said...

In a well planned worship service there is certainly a place for praise and worship music, whether written last month or last century or a thousand years ago.

I say well planned for this reason: if ALL we sing is praise and worship music, we may imply there is no need for conversion as long as an individual comes and "worships" with us. We may fail to teach Who and why we worship.

I also support breaking up the song service rather than the popular form of "worship time" which is an extended time of praise music, then the rest of the service. It seems to me to be aimed at manipulating the congregation into a specific mental or emotional state.

Breaking up--the old sit stand sit stand or sing-pray-sing-announcements-sing-sermon lets us come to the sermon with both our hearts prepared AND our minds in gear, prepared to be like the Bereans.

And for what it is worth, I agree we can ditch "In the Garden" and agree many of the old songs are also vacuous at best and bad theology at worst. I am not talking age of music or music genre. I AM talking lyrical integrity.

Only By His Grace said...

Wade,

Thank you for the post and I whole heartedly agree with you. I noticed the following song the first time I sang it as a twenty-two year old pastor.

"Jesus loves me this I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong;
They are weak but He is strong.

"Yes, Jesus loves me,
Yes, Jesus loves me,
Yes Jesus loves me,
For the Bible tells me so.

Then comes this that no one seems to notice.

"Jesus, He will stay,
Close beside me all the way,
IF I LOVE HIM WHEN I DIE,
HE WILL TAKE ME HOME ON HIGH."

When I have the kids to sing the song, I simply change the verse to,
"I will love Him when I die.
He will take me home on high."

Am I saved by grace or am I not saved by grace. What if I am in a prodigal period of my life as King David was in his when he committed adultery with Bathsheba then murdering her husband, Uriah the Hittite; or like Abraham who was willing to sell Sarah into fornication twice, first to Pharaoh and to King Abimelech.

When I was called to my first pastorate, I was taught what we called the Youth and Juniors Class, and I had to lead music as well as preach. Our mission used the old Broadman Hymnal. One of my favorite songs was and still is "Beneath the Cross of Jesus." Being saved and rooted and grounded at a big fancy church we had used the Baptist Hymnal. When I led music out of the Broadman, I noticed the terrible redactors had taken the words Elizbeth Clephane and changed them much to my dismay and surprise. Her words were much superior theologically than the way we sing it today. The second verse was changed evidently because it was offensive to our uptown ears:

The Baptist Hymnal of Beneath the Cross of Jesus, verse two.
"Upon that cross of Jesus
Mine eye at times can see,
The very dying form of One
Who suffered there for me;
And from my smitten heart with tears
Two wonders I confess,
The wonders of His glorious,
And my unworthiness."

The old Broadman Hymnal with the original words:
"Upon that cross of Jesus
Mine eye at times can see,
The very dying form of One
Who suffered there for me;
And from my STRICKEN heart with tears,
Two wonders I confess,
The wonder of REDEEMING love,
And my own WORTHLESSNESS.

Gods glorious is wonderful, but if it is useless to me if it does not save me. I must have His Redeeming love. There seems to be easy for us to talk about how unworthy we are but many refuse to admit that we are absolutely worthless without with out Jesus Christ.

Phil in Norman.

Christiane said...

When I was a very small child, my Baptist grandmother played her hymns on her piano and sang the lyrics to me.
The hymns were beautiful, I remember that.
And I thought Grandmother was the most beautiful person I had ever seen, sitting at her piano, with her voice like an angel.

I don't think Grandmother was worried about 'good' or 'bad' theology. She sang from her heart.
And I am sure the Good Lord knew that, because, even at my very young age, I knew it.

In these times when there is so much division among Baptists, can you not take another look at the old hymns once again: just to see what gave your grandparents and great-grandparents so much comfort?

In 'simpler' times, life was very difficult for people and their faith was not an 'exercise in theology', but a lifeline that kept them going.

Why not touch base with their songs again?
You know the ones I refer to:
the beautiful old hymns that must be sung 'from the heart', never just 'from the head'. Love, L's

chadwick said...

reagan,

If I have come across as being arrogant, I apologize; that was not my intent.

You calling my comments arrogant & vehement is the classical pot calling the kettle 'black.'

Your comments towards me have been vehement & arrogant:

1)"Very typical arrogant fundie response . . ."

2)"It is what you guys do not understand . . . "

3)"It scares me that arrogant guys like you are SBC pastors."

Your charge of labeling me a 'fundie' demands proof.

Are you labeling me a 'fundie' just because I am disagreeing (gasp!!) with Wade?

If you cannot conjure up any solid evidence of labeling me a 'fundie',
I suggest you recant of your statement.

Three reasons among many that chadwick is not a 'fundie' . . . nay, four:

1) Read his blog:
2) He refuses to believe that Jesus turned the water into grape juice:
3)He burnt all of his 'Left-Behind' books about 10 years ago.
4)He actually agrees with Wade on some issues . . . just not this one. :D

Cordially,
chadwick

TheWayofCain said...

Gen 8:21 And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.

The Church is the New Jerusalem which is found in the New Covenant aka New Heavens and New Earth,

John Owen

'It is evident, then, that in the prophetical idiom and manner of speech, by heavens and earth, the civil and religious state and combination of men in the world, and the men of them, were often understood. So were the heavens and earth that world which then was destroyed by the flood.
' 4. On this foundation I affirm that the heavens and earth here intended in this prophecy of Peter, the coming of the Lord, the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men, mentioned in the destruction of that heaven and earth, do all of them relate, not to the last and final judgment of the world, but to that utter desolation and destruction that was to be made of the Judaical church and state
'First, There is the foundation of the apostle's inference and exhortation, seeing that all these things, however precious they seem, or what value soever any put upon them, shall be dissolved, that is, destroyed; and that in that dreadful and fearful manner before mentioned, in a day of judgment, wrath, and vengeance, by fire and sword; let others mock at the threats of Christ's coming: He will come- He will not tarry; and then the heavens and earth that God Himself planted, -the sun, moon, and stars of the Judaical polity and church, -the whole old world of worship and worshippers, that stand out in their obstinancy against the Lord Christ, shall be sensibly dissolved and destroyed: this we know shall be the end of these things, and that shortly." (Sermon on 2 Peter iii. 11, Works, folio, 1721.).

John Lightfoot also holds to this view.

http://www.preterism-eschatology.com/Heaven%20and%20Earth%20Passed%20Away.htm

http://www.preterism-eschatology.com/Heaven%20and%20Earth%20Must%20First%20Pass%20Away.htm

TheWayofCain said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TheWayofCain said...

john also said, "And I saw a beast coming up out of the sea. He had 10 horns and seven heads." Rev 13:1 HCSB

brother wade and everyone,

two sincere questions:

1. would you make a literal interpretation of that text as well?

2. how do you identify which portions of revelation should be interpreted literally and which are symbolism?


Answers:

1. No.

2. Go to the OT, much of the symbolism found in Revelation is found in the OT.

Rev 1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and SIGNIFIED it by his angel unto his servant John:

chadwick said...

Wade,

Since you don't understand where I'm coming from, I will try to explain.

The title of your post (and the post itself) insinuates that Tomlin did not derive his 'last line' from the Scriptures.

You stated:
"To me, this song is an illustration of how we should be careful that the theology we believe comes from the inspired text of Scripture and not necessarily the songs we sing."

From what I can tell, Tomlin's 'last line' is derived from HIS INTERPRETATION OF THE SCRIPTURES (concerning a secondary issue).

Your title may be compatible with a line or two from the song: 'I WOULDN'T TAKE NOTHING FOR MY JOURNEY NOW.' However, it just does not jive with Tomlin's song.

You say that Tomlin's last line is not derived from the Holy Writ.

I say that it is derived from the Holy Writ

Cordially,
chadwick

Only By His Grace said...

Please excuse all the grammatical errors I wrote iin the above comment. I was in a great hurry to leave and I mishit the "publish your comment" instead of "Preview" and had no time to retract the error.

I should have had about three Q marks at the end of three sentences, and should have said "God's glorious love is wonderful, but I need His redeeming love." Again, it should have read,
"It seems to be easy for us to speak or sing of His wonderous love while in some circles it is considered impolite to talk of His redeeming love. We don't mine having our hearts smitten, but when the Lord redeems us our hearts our stricken (killed) as we are crucified with Him.

Sorry, for the gross errors.

Phil.

reagan said...

Wade,

Since you don't understand where I'm coming from, I will try to explain.

The title of your post (and the post itself) insinuates that Tomlin did not derive his 'last line' from the Scriptures.

You stated:
"To me, this song is an illustration of how we should be careful that the theology we believe comes from the inspired text of Scripture and not necessarily the songs we sing."

From what I can tell, Tomlin's 'last line' is derived from HIS INTERPRETATION OF THE SCRIPTURES (concerning a secondary issue).

Your title may be compatible with a line or two from the song: 'I WOULDN'T TAKE NOTHING FOR MY JOURNEY NOW.' However, it just does not jive with Tomlin's song.

You say that Tomlin's last line is not derived from the Holy Writ.

I say that it is derived from the Holy Writ

Cordially,
chadwick

Tue Jun 02, 10:51:00 PM 2009

Thanks! That is SOOOOO much better than 'you are talking out of both sides of your mouth' and 'Are you telling us that 'your interpretation' is the only & infallible one?' or 'You are now in a dilemma. Your last statement contradicts the title of your post.'

Good show, old man!

Jeff said...

Wade, A very good conclusion concerning God's plan for the earth. He did indeed establish it for ever. As he did his throne...the psalmist makes that comparison.

And 2 Peter is most definitely apocalyptic language and we must do a word study on the Greek word from which is translated the English word "Elements". The Greek word is "Stoichea"...it used five times in the NT, and every single time it is used prior to 2 Peter 3 it is a reference to the law, and the old covenant arrangement. With what hermeneutic do preachers take the use in 2 Peter and make a brand new use and application of that word?

Jeff Rogers

Wade Burleson said...

Mona,

:)

Methinks you know the answer.

We don't like the emphasis on human activity in the hymn "I have decided to follow Jesus" and prefer more those hymns that emphasize God's work for us.

Byroniac said...

It's funny that Mona would mention "I have decided to follow Jesus" because it's a hymn I love music-wise even though I cringe at the words. I'd rather sing, "God granted me repentance from my rebellion against Him and also gave me grace to love Him supremely" but I am no musician.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Chadwick, Chris: I would not put end time doctrine in a primary tier. I would however say that it is important in that it is a doctrine that affects how one lives and reads the rest of scripture. Does the meaning of the passages used as in this hymn reflect the true interpretation in light of other passages of scripture that tell us the world will not be destroyed but will be transformed? How does this change the way we read the rest of the scriptures or even how we look at life now?

Stephen said...

There is a problem with "I Have Decided to Follow Jesus?" Did not Jesus tell us to take up our cross and follow him? I don't get it.

Nathanael said...

Jeff,
Your answer regarding "elements" is very helpful.

Thanks for your contribution.

Shalom

Byroniac said...

Stephen, it's a great hymn (in some ways), but it makes it sound like salvation and following Christ is all up to man's will (at least to me it does). The human will is certainly involved, but God is always the initiator in salvation (and my belief shared by many others takes this idea further, that salvation is entirely a work of God from start to finish, redeeming not only the soul of a person but his or her will as well so now he or she "wills" to follow Christ).

RRR said...

2 Peter 3:5-10, Matthew 24:35Revelation 21:1 and other passages too consistently and directly say that the existing world will be destroyed after the thousand year reign of Jesus Christ on earth and that a new realm will be created for all of eternity. I believe the song's theology is more correct than Wade's.

John Fariss said...

There is a story that quite a few years ago, a professor from NOBTS (I've heard that it was Dr. Ray Frank Robbins, but no guarantees there) went to preach at a church. And when he arrived, two people came up to him and asked him to settle a question about the second coming of Jesus Christ. I am unsure exactly what the question was, but arguments over it had developed quite a bit of heat and smoke in this particular church. So the professor listened intently to both sides, then looked off into the distance, with his fingertips just touching, as if in deep thought. Finally, he said, "I don't know. You see: God hasn't asked me to be part of the Planning Committee for the Second Coming. I have made arrangements to be part of the Welcoming Committee, at least if it takes place in my lifetime. But I'm not on the Planning Committee, so I'll have to leave that question for someone who is."

Situation disfused. Church split avoided. Tempers cooled.

It is as easy to get passionate about our theologies as it is about our favorite football teams. And no matter how well informed an opinion (or interpretation) may be, they may have unexpected consequences. It is incredibly easy for one of those differences of opinion to become a polarizing event within a church (or an association or convention for that matter), and once that happens, it is difficult to reverse; as an old saying goes, "You can't put the genie back in the bottle." It has already happened over the word "inerrancy."

Did Dr. Robbins (or whoever it was) compromise his beliefs? Did he betray Jesus Christ, the faith "once delivered," or the church? I don't think so. With one confession of truth, he made a convincing case that not even someone as learned as he was, knew everything from God's perspective, and that some things just are not worth fighting over--or risking division over. It is something I wish our generation of Baptists could learn.

John

Denn said...

John,
Thank you very much!

Christiane said...

Yes, JOHN FARISS,

Thank you.

Blessed are the 'peace-makers'.

Your story is about such a man, who, in his humility, understood that we are not made to know the mysteries of the Eternal One completely. His 'I do not know' is a sign of his great wisdom.
Thanks for sharing. I love it when people here share stories that contribute insight into the discussion. :) Love, L's

Kevin M. Crowder said...

As a pastor I requested that 2 songs never be sung during the Lord's Day worship services due to their theologies which would have in essence undermined my teaching.

1. I'll Fly Away
2. Give me that Old Time Religion

I am sure there are many more, but these 2 have always made me cringe. Worship pastors are a mixed bag when it comes to picking songs. I honestly prefer to choose the music and for a year and a half did so as part of my sermon prep. I incorporated songs from the 91BH which complemented either the message I was delivering or that augmented an attribute of God which was relevant to the passage.

Songs sung in a service dedicated to the God of the universe can be exalting to God, edifying to the saints (teaching precious truths), or evangelistic with the message of the Gospel. All three types of lyrics can be biblically justified and fall within the scope of the regulative principle.

As to the specific verse of AG in question by Wade, a couple things: First, the verse is NOT attributed to Newton by most hymnologists. That being said, Tomlin's use of the verse makes him directly responsible for its theological content. I would call this a tertiary issue and probably would have never mentioned it. The music alone to the popular AG is enough to minister to thousands. It insights a prayerful attitude and instantly brings one's mind to the thought of the grace of God.

We must also realize that old hymns must be exegeted with at much care as the Bible itself. What did the author of this verse intend to convey? Was his language as symbolic as Scripture itself? Are we to make a literal assumption or can we make some parallels and sing the song in light of the hope of His future glory?

The earth= sin, carnal affairs

will soon= the hope of His imminent return

dissolve= pass away

like snow= systematically and with certainty

the sun=the old creation

forbear to shine= will pass away

BUT GOD=Eph 2:4

who called me here below=Eph 2:5-6

shall be forever mine!= Eph 2:7




Lastly, I do not like changing the wording of old hymns. We either sing them authentically, or we do not sing them. (my opinion of course)



K

Stephen said...

Byroniac,

I appreciate your remarks. The following question is not meant to be a display of arrogance. I would never mean to offend a brother in Christ.

Did Levi have a choice about whether or not to follow Jesus?

greg.w.h said...

Christiane/L's wrote:

Your story is about such a man, who, in his humility, understood that we are not made to know the mysteries of the Eternal One completely.

And there is a reason, etymologically, that "pretend" and "pretense" sound alike. We simply must not make up the part that makes Scripture more precise or more clear or more comprehensive than it actually is.

The room for poetic license is actually quite small when it comes to the Bible. I feel that God fully expects us to speak from our hearts in praise and worship and without having direct biblical proof of this, I surmise He enjoys artistic innovation that we--as his children--express about Him, but he also is a God of exactness and precision (see Noah's Ark and the Tabernacle, not to mention the specifics of the priestly regalia for the OT priesthood.) We honor him by being exact and precise where we can be and nowhere else. In songs for public consumption, artists will always be artists and be expressive. We should not censor but rather discuss.

I think it's worth noting that in this comment stream we see solid theological arguments both for and against Tomlin's phrasing. And it isn't easy to say one position is entirely right or entirely wrong without some attempt to harmonize dissimilar biblical comments on the subject.

That said, I enjoy the results of the efforts that produced the many schools of art ranging from midieval to romantic to impressionistic to abstract to photorealistic. The broad range of art is a reminder that art is about how people relate to the universe. Songs are art and they perform a similar function in a worship service since God is the underlying reality behind "the universe." I agree we should not build theology from songs, but there is room to exegete from the combination of primary sources that reveal God--both nature and direct revelation--when we create art. The precision of the exegesis is a function of the style of art and we should be as satisfied with minimalist, impressionistic and abstract expressions about God as we are with ones we might call "photo-realistic".

Greg Harvey

Byroniac said...

Stephen, I am not sure which Levi you are referring to---OT (which I am not certain Levi was even saved) or NT? In either case, my personal belief is probably no, in the sense I think you mean. Yes, Levi exercised a choice, which was his own personal decision, but I believe it was due to the faith granted him to believe and obey in the first place. Others would disagree with me.

Chris Johnson said...

Sister Debbie,

I think you are right...and I agree with Wade in the theme of the title. Yet, I am not really sure what Tomlin is or is not saying with his description. It is vague enough for misinterpreting. Again, that may be part of Wade's thought as well.

We tend to change hymn lyrics at times....there's nothing wrong with changing it to reflect a clearer picture of what scripture reveals as truth. I would encourage changing what is obviously vague or misleading.

Blessings,
Chris

Shane "George" Lambert said...

Once again, many of you are attributing these lyrics to Tomlin when they are, in actuality, the original last verse of "Amazing Grace" as penned by John Newton. The verse we commonly sing (When we've been there ten thousand years...) was actually not written by Newton, but was added sometime after Newton wrote Amazing Grace.

This website has some helpful information: http://www.anointedlinks.com/amazing_grace.html

None of this changes the intent of Wade's original post, that we should get our theology from scripture, not from songs. Still, I think the truth about the origin of the lyrics should be known.

Although I don't necessarily agree with Wade's eschatology, and I think he could have picked a better (or worse, so to speak) hymn to make his point, I am still in agreement with the basic premise of the post.

B Nettles said...

Kevin,
First, the verse is NOT attributed to Newton by most hymnologists.

I'd be interested in your sources for this. The John Newton Project says differently, i.e., the verse is original. Also, the Olney Hymns indicates that it's original.

I also don't think Newton erred. Jon Estes built a pretty good case above for a NEW heaven and earth, not "renewed." Peter also specifically, not symbolically, refers to the destruction of the current heavens and earth, unless one wants to also take the Flood as being symbolic, not specific.

Thankfully, at the church I attend we don't sing that dreadful "ten thousand years" add-on that Harriet-Beecher Stowe slipped in there. Talk about adding something that wasn't needed. Plus, we're not the ones "bright shining as the sun." That would be Jesus (no need for the sun according to Rev.)

All the Best,
Bill

PS - Do y'all still sing "Sweet Sweet Spirit" with all those angel's wings brushing around?

B Nettles said...

Wade, (or Kevin or Byroniac),
What about the theology of The Savior is Waiting?

We don't sing that one at my church either.

BN

chadwick said...

reagan (Wade's ambiguous attack-dog),

Your ambiguous profile:

"Profile Not Available

The Blogger Profile you requested cannot be displayed. Many Blogger users have not yet elected to publicly share their Profile.

If you're a Blogger user, we encourage you to enable access to your Profile."

It is too easy for ambiguous attack-dogs like yourself to bark loudly by 'correcting,''rebuking,' & 'scolding' anyone who disagrees with Wade.

If you ever want to be taken serious on the bloggosphere, I encourage you to 'man-up' with a 'clear' identity behind your ambiguous attack-dog persona. ;)

chadwick

missshunary said...

But Mr. Nettles it had to be "bright shining as the sun".

For you see, there was nothing else to rhyme with "than when we first begun".

Ms. Stowe probably racked her brain all night to come up with that line, so lay off pal! :)

On a side note, it is weird how no matter the topic someone always ends up talking about Calvinism.

It's kind of like that Kevin Bacon, six degrees thing.

Scary and weird.

And since I am now doing it as well, I might as well say that I agree with what the bible says. Salvation is of the Lord. Faith is not something that we grunt over until we finally spit it out. If we have faith, it is because it is a gift given to us from God.

Now, I predict this comment stream goes from 93 to 193 by morning. :)

By the way, Thy Peace. How does this word verification thing work? It seems it always knows the topic. Mine is "hyms"!

I am not kidding and I am getting more scared.

Thy Peace said...

"By the way, Thy Peace. How does this word verification thing work? It seems it always knows the topic. Mine is "hyms"!".

I could not locate the origin for the source of words/letters for google blogger captcha or word verification. At some point in the past they were using slavic characters, but lately I have noticed some correlation between blog post contents and the word verification. I will research this further down the road and let you know, when I find something.

A possibility is this:

Google Webmaster Central Blog > Keeping comment spam off your site and away from users.
Add a CAPTCHA. CAPTCHAs require users to read a bit of obfuscated text and type it back in to prove they're a human being and not an automated script. If your blog or forum system doesn't have CAPTCHAs built in you may be able to find a plugin like Recaptcha, a project which also helps digitize old books. CAPTCHAs are not foolproof but they make life a little more difficult for spammers. You can read more about the many different types of CAPTCHAS, but keep in mind that just adding a simple one can be fairly effective.

Is it possible Google Blogger is drafting us in helping in the redigitization [of books] effort?

Thy Peace said...

A more likely scenario is our brains/minds are interpreting the words selectively ... that is ignoring non-words, but giving credence to words that match partially to real words.

I opened 10 Post a comment pages and these are the captcha words I found:

ratiz, dehyd, simog, sheighor, cortang, renushom, crospun, milfee, ophor, lergia, loill.

I have seen some of these words being reused.

missshunary said...

As I guessed, good info.

Interesting enough to look into a little. Thanks.

By the way, to prove my point, my verification this time is "thypeaceisthebomb"

Weird.

:)

Byroniac said...

B Nettles, no my church does not sing that hymn, though I have seen it in the hymnal and boggled at it.

Rex Ray said...

John Fariss,
Good story on the “God hasn’t asked me to be on the planning committee.”

It’s too bad a lot of folks haven’t learned that in telling God what he can or cannot do in the affairs of doctrine or even ‘inerrancy.’

Kevin,
I like you’re saying the music should go hand in hand with the sermon if possible. I agree with you in singing the old hymns authentically.

This ‘adding on’ and changing the tune of old songs does not raise my ‘worship level’.

Maybe I’m getting to be an old gripe, but to me it’s like telling the old song ‘you’re not good enough unless I give some improvement’. I hate it when I’m on the second verse and the leader is still on the first verse.

Seems like most of the new songs praise God. They could be sung by Jews. Does God enjoy hearing songs about him or about his Son?

I believe some study concluded more people switched churches because of the music than any other item.

Do you preachers think the congregation should be asked what type of music they want to hear or have you been ‘trained’ to know ‘what’s best’ for them?

I’ve been hearing ‘you gotta change’ for forty years. Well, if it took 19 Baptists to win one convert in 1950 and 41 Baptists to win one convert in 2008, maybe we should change back to the music of 1950.

This month the deacons of our church are to pray for guidance to decide if the congregation should be asked what type songs or mixture of songs they’d like to hear.

Kevin M. Crowder said...

Rex,

I have no problem with old hymns being arranged in a modern format such as David Crowder's "O for a Thousand Tongues"

My problem is changing one word like blood to love. Arrangements are acceptable. Altering the lyricist’s words is like painting a bigger smile on the Mona Lisa.


Bro. Nettles,

I do not have time this morning but I will look up the source for my comment about the verse. I too, at a later time than my posting went to the JNP site and was unable to confirm or deny the claim. I would like to get confirmation that the verse is in fact not in the first ed. of Olney Hymns. Anyway, I typed off the cuff and may have given bad information. Whether he wrote it or not is ultimately not important. Tomlin likes it and I think (hope) there will be a totally new earth.


4 Days 'till the start of seminary!!!


K

Stephen said...

BNettles and Byroniac,

Revelation 3:20

Byroniac said...

Stephen, I love Revelation 3:20. I always took it in an Arminian invitational way, though, even after becoming a Calvinist (I have no idea what your position is, so I am simply going to state what mine was and is now in contrast). Then one day someone pointed out to me the context of the surrounding verses, and that changed everything for me. You can see a different context than what is traditional in churches just in the two verses surrounding that verse on either side. The context is those who already believe, some of whom need to repent, and some of whom will do so, and true Christian fellowship.

B Nettles said...

Stephen & Byroniac,
To increase the context, read Luke 12:31-40.

misshunary,
Ms. Stowe probably borrowed the verse from another hymn about Jerusalem. And I guess one could interpret the bright shining as referring to "there" rather than "we".

Enjoy!
BN

Rich said...

If our songs reflect bad theology then that bad theology should be edited or the song should not be sung ever in a worship service!

This is a great passion of mine.

This is what my blog Sound Doxology is all about. In fact, the most recent post (Martin Luther's Warning) deals directly with this subject.

sounddoxology.blogspot.com

Stephen said...

Byroniac and BNettles,

Full disclosure - I am an eternal security Arminian. I read the verses and I do see your point, but I take the words "any one" to mean even those outside the faith.

I enjoy the debate among brothers.....thank you.

Byroniac said...

Stephen, Christ is the only One who matters. I'm way out on the other end of the spectrum, in supralapsarian land, I suppose. Ultimately, if He is pleased with us, that matters more than our own opinions. Blessings.

Stephen said...

Byroniac, you wrote

"Ultimately, if He is pleased with us, that matters more than our own opinions."

That, my friend, is the truth.

Joy said...

Hello Wade,
I just ran across your blog on the web. Wish I could have joined this discussion when it was originated.
Did I miss something? Did you ever clarify that Chris Tomlin only added a chorus to the original authors,John Newton's,lyrics? Given that Chris is a well known, well respected artist, I would ask that you make it clear,even now, that it indeed WAS NOT his theology you found incorrect in the song but rather John Newton's. John penned the verse in 1772. It was originally the last verse of the song until an unknown added "When we've been there..."
And who knows, maybe John Newton was a prophet! Seems the arctic glaciers are dissolving at an unprecedented rate. Check out National Geographic's Chasing Ice. Maybe he wasn't talking about the earth's complete destruction. Maybe it was a poetic thought that somehow was actually happening when your post began. = O

Andrew said...

I have to say that I have really enjoyed the "rediscovery" of Newton's original last verse over recent years, and Chris Tomlin's version (which has robbed us of other verses) has been responsible for this, at least at the popular level. he "When we've been there ten thousand years" verse really IS weak - it doesn't really say anything at all.

The phrase "dissolve like snow" is poetic, was popular in the ear of Newton, and although not Biblical in itself, is a pretty close parallel to terms in Isa 51, 2 Peter 3 and Revelation. I am an enthusiast for hymns which have a robust New Creation doctrine, but have never felt any tension with this verse from Newton.

Unknown said...

(1) There is clear indication that the earth will melt, although whether completely or not is not spelled out which would presumably ease your pain on the "issue"

(2) This is a minor and pretty insignificant issue and your approach is very Pharisaic in pressing your view onto others for a legalistic, pretty useless and "vain" controversy vis a vis, this particular work -- "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness."
There may be an argument to be made, but it isn't over this one.

(3) If some whom you deem "weaker brothers" (like me) are not offended by Newton's last verse, your condemnation is very like the situation where Paul objected to grafting the chains of laws onto Christians and in the spirit of 1 Cor 8 you are creating a situation that might cause problems for the weaker brother by creating either an issue of conscience or a useless argument.

(4) I'm not a C.T. fan, but it wasn't his verse and identifying it as such is at least incomplete, although maybe fair since he brought the original back out of the dark.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing about this verse. I don't know why, but this verse has always bothered me, we sang it in church today. I simply change the words so my heart sings to God. Today I replaced the last words with, - The earth belongs to Christ my King, Forever He shall Reign, and I will bow before His Throne, Worthy is my King. (never liked ending with the word mine either) So, just sing from your heart.