Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Hymned Out

The exclusion of the popular hymn "In Christ Alone" from publication in the new hymnal being assembled by the Presbyterian Church (USA) is explained  here by some of the Presbyterian entities involved and elaborated on  here by the co-chair of the Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Song, Mary Louise Bringle. It appears the committee had originally decided to include the Gospel hymn, written by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend, but then excluded it because the authors would not agree to a change in the wording on one of the lines.

The committee wanted the words, "Til on that cross when Jesus died/The wrath of God was satisfied" changed to "Til on that cross as Jesus died/The love of God was magnified." In her discussion of the rationale for excluding the hymn, Bringle makes it clear that committee members did not accept the original words in this line of the song because they disagreed with the "view" of those words. As she describes the deliberation about whether or not to include the hymn unedited, the argument was between those who disagreed with the original words of the line they wanted to revise, but who still thought the hymn should be included--even if unrevised--and those who disagreed with the original words and were willing to make the issue of changing them a deal-breaker. Apparently the deal-breaker faction won by a 9-6 vote.

The irony is the cross demonstrates God's love precisely because it is through the cross that Christ satisfies God's wrath. In insisting on the revised words the committee unwittingly advocated for a truth based on the very words they wanted to replace.

Sunday, March 31, 2013


And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.

                                                              --1 Corinthians 15: 17 (NASB)
In his famous discourse on the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15: 12-58, the apostle Paul debunks any platitudes about the value of faith being merely intrinsic without regard to its object. Faith, to have value, must be in the truth. The literal resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave is a central truth so vital to Christianity that the believer's faith would be worthless if the Lord's resurrection had not taken place. If Christ was not raised, the believers would not be raised, in which case "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die (v. 32b)." Without the resurrection, there is no point in doing church, in preaching, in evangelism.

But the good news is that Christ is risen...literally, physically, bodily from the grave. His resurrection is so certain that the apostle Peter, in Acts 2: 24 asserts that there was no other possible outcome, because death did not have the power to hold Jesus in its clutches.

He is risen indeed. And that is why our faith is so valuable.

Saturday, March 30, 2013


"And they entered in, and found NOT the body of the Lord Jesus."                   
                                                                                      --Luke 24:3

Sunday, January 27, 2013


Thom Rainer has a blogpost on some recent data he has received concerning church attendance size at SBC churches with 1000 or more in attendance. There are 603 on the list, but Thom points out the numbers are self-reported by churches that chose to respond.

Still, it is an interesting list. The state of Texas is well-represented, as is pretty much all of the Southeast. California churches appear a number of times and there are a small number of locations outside the Texas, California, or the Southeast that also appear on the roster. A church in New Mexico claims the 23rd spot, and a church in Pago Pago, American Samoa shows up at number 34. The rest of the top 50 are from Texas, California, or the Southeast, with a church from Kansas at number 51.

Some have said everything's bigger in Texas and this list does not appear to dispel that notion. The top two places are claimed by Houston-area churches, 4th and 5th place by Dallas/Fort Worth- area churches, with Houston-area fellowships assigned to nine of the top 50 spots and DFW-area assemblies garnering 5 places out of the top 50. Texas churches hold 16 of the top 50 positions.

I knew there were a lot of Baptists in this state, but there are a LOT of Baptists in this state!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Woo-hoo. Really.

This fellow  says "Woo-hoo."

This fellow says "too much goo." Well, in so many words.

And while the right amount of excitement at the right time for the right reason can be fun, I tend to agree with this fellow. After a certain amount of time repetitious hype just sounds like...repetitious hype.

And the truth does not need hype.