Friday, February 29, 2008

Harmonia Sacra online

Will Fitzgerald and James N. Gingerich have set up an online publication of the 26th edition of the Harmonia Sacra. Click the link to go to it.

The Harmonia Sacra was first published in 1832 by Joseph Funk under the title A Compilation of Genuine Church Music. The online Harmonia Sacra presents the tunes in both seven-shape notes and four-shape notes. The seven shapes of the Harmonia Sacra are Funk's and not the "standard" Aiken shapes in most seven shape books. You will find various tune indices (by page, tune name, first line, etc.), Joseph Funk's rudiments of music and information about Harmonia Sacra singings.

Well done, guys.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Americans United, Wiley Drake, and imprecatory prayer

Imprecatory Prayer. Imprecatory prayer may be somewhat hard to define, or at least defined in different ways by different people. According to one source, "Imprecatory prayer is an appeal to the court of divine justice (1) for protection and (2) the appropriate punishment for the criminals." To others, imprecatory prayer means to pray for evil or misfortune to befall someone. Some would argue that under the "old testament" it was was appropriate, yet under the "new testament" it is not desirable behavior.

Wiley Drake. Pastor of the First Southern Baptist Church of Buena Park, CA. Wiley Drake is evidently fairly well-known in Southern Baptist circles, and has been or is 2nd Vice-President of the SBC. He is considered an egotist by some and a hero by others -- some just view him an eccentric. Greg Warner wrote of Drake as "the irrepressible Drake -- a Los Angeles-area pastor, radio crusader, SBC gadfly and self-proclaimed 'champion of the little guy'." I probably would agree with Drake on core Bible doctrines and little else.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State. A religious liberty "watchdog" group. I would probably agree with them on a few things (such as no Congressional chaplains paid from public funds), but view them as extreme "freedom from religion" zealots in most cases. For example, they opposed the religious entanglement of a church giving shoes to school children at school, even though the parents of the individual children concerned had given their approval.1

Where these three come together is this:

Americans United for Separation of Church and State asked the Internal Revenue Service to investigate the tax-exempt status of First Southern Baptist Church of Buena Park, CA. In August of 2007 the pastor, Wiley Drake, used a church letterhead and a church-supported radio show to endorse a Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. Barry Lynn, Americans United executive director, said, “Federal tax law is clear, churches and other non-profits may not endorse candidates, if they want to keep their tax exemption. I am confident that the vast majority of Americans do not want to see their houses of worship politicized.”2

Drake responded by asking his supporters to pray imprecatory prayers against Americans United. For example, "In light of the recent attack from the enemies of God I ask the children of God to go into action with Imprecatory Prayer. Especially against Americans United for Separation of Church and State. I made an attempt to go to them via Matt 18:15 but they refused to talk to me. Specifically target Joe Conn or Jeremy Learing. They are those who lead the attack..."3

Americans United has interpreted that Drake has "urged his followers to pray for the deaths of staff members at Americans United for Separation of Church and State." Though Drake's words do not specifically ask for this (as far as I know), AU noted that Drake gave examples of imprecatory prayer such as Psalm 109 (which in verse 9 states, "Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.").

My opinions briefly are these:

I can't imagine wanting to pray an imprecatory prayer against (and especially for the death of) those who held some differing views about separation of church and state. I would nevertheless uphold Drake's right to believe in imprecatory prayer even if he prays it against me. And if God should answer it, who am I to complain about it? If we accept God's Word as inspired and infallible, in our theology we need to sincerely deal with the imprecatory prayers in the Psalms, as well as Rev. 6:10 - And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? I am fairly content with Heb. 10:30 - Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord.

From a scriptural standpoint, I don't believe churches should be political centers. I think Baptists need to start reading more of their Baptist forefathers circa 1776 about religious freedom instead of quoting American fathers who had no problem with union of church and state. But from a political standpoint, I don't think it is AU's business whether or not the vast majority of Americans do or do not want to see their houses of worship politicized. Let them decide for themselves. If Wiley Drake and FSBC of Buena Park (or any other churches) sincerely want to endorse candidates, let them bite the bullet, forfeit the tax exempt status and do it as much as they like. It won't hinder me from going my own way.

1. Americans United Protests South Carolina Ministry's Foot-Washing Ritual At Public Schools “Needy pupils identified with the help of the schools have letters sent by the organization to their parents asking permission to give shoes to them.”

2. ref.

3. Drake's entire statement is here: Pastor Wiley Drake Calls for Imprecatory Prayer against So-Called Religious Liberty Watchdog Group

4. Americans United Deplores California Pastor's Renewed 'Death Prayer' Campaign

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

United Response Search and Rescue

United Response Search and Rescue Team (URSART) will be conducting a missing person's search for Shirley Hunt on Saturday March 1, 2008. The search will begin at 9:00 a.m. at Bobby and Shirley's home located at 8798 County Road 454 South, Henderson, TX. URSART will be bringing cadaver dogs to search the area that has been previously searched. They are also asking for volunteers to help with the search. If you are able to come and help with the search, please arrive before 9:00. The team has paperwork for volunteers to fill out. If you have any questions, e-mail me and I will answer them if I can or give you a number to contact Bobby Hunt at his home. Thanks.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Private religious school vs. private non-profit association

An intriguing article from Sports Illustrated - Kansas HS refuses female official: St. Mary's Acad. says woman cannot ref boys game raises some interesting questions. Perhaps from the religious standpoint: Can a woman not have authority over teenage boys? Or from a legal standpoint:

St. Mary's Academy is a private religious school. It gets its rules/theology from its archbishop or whatever religious authority it recognizes. According to the U. S. first amendment, this school can set its religious beliefs, regardless of what the rest of us think.

Kansas State High School Activities Association is a "private/non-profit association of accredited member schools, whose purpose is to administer a program of interscholastic activities, festivals, clinics and contests among member schools." As a private association, it can establish requirements for its membership.

Private religious school vs. private non-profit association. Who wins? Do the values of one trump the other? If so, which? Or is there some other answer?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Thy all-surrounding sight

In all my vast concerns with Thee,
In vain my soul would try
To shun Thy presence, Lord, or flee
The notice of Thine eye.

Thy all-surrounding sight surveys
My rising and my rest,
My public walks, my private ways,
And secrets of my breast.

My thoughts lie open to the Lord
Before they're formed within;
And ere my lips pronounce the word
He knows the sense I mean.

O wondrous knowledge, deep and high!
Where can a creature hide?
Within Thy circling arms I lie,
Beset on every side.

So let Thy grace surround me still,
And like a bulwark prove,
To guard my soul from every ill,
Secured by sovereign love.

Lord, where shall guilty souls retire,
Forgotten and unknown?
In hell they meet Thy dreadful fire,
In Heav'n Thy glorious throne.

Should I suppress my vital breath
To 'scape the wrath divine,
Thy voice would break the bars of death,
And make the grave resign.

If winged with beams of morning light
I fly beyond the west,
Thy hand, which must support my flight,
Would soon betray my rest.

If o'er my sins I think to draw
The curtains of the night,
Those flaming eyes that guard Thy law
Would turn the shades to light.

The beams of moon, the midnight hour,
Are both alike to Thee:
O may I ne'er provoke that power
From which I cannot flee.

-- Isaac Watts (1674-1748)
The Psalms of David, 1719.
Sun, 7 Oct 2007 Song To The Lamb

Saturday, February 23, 2008

College Station

We had a great singing today at College Station. We had a good turnout -- mostly Texas singers, but a few from out of state. The sound was good; the food was good; the fellowship was good.

Psalm 100:2 - Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Some useful books on Baptist history

Some useful books on Baptist history by Philip Tait, pastor of Hardwick Baptist Church, Stockton-on-Tees, England

- arranged in roughly chronological order
All published in the UK except for those marked *

* Henry C Vedder A Short history of the Baptists (The American Baptist Publication Society, 1907; reprinted Judson Press, no date shown, but must be about 1970)
* Leonard Verduin The Reformers and their Stepchildren (Eerdmans, 1964; first UK publication, Paternoster Press, 1966)
Jack Hoad The Baptist (Grace Publications Trust, 1986)
Stephen Wright The Early English Baptists, 1603-1649 (The Boydell Press, 2006)
Michael A G Haykin Kiffin, Knollys and Keach: Rediscovering our Baptist Heritage (Carey Publications, 1996)
B A Ramsbottom Stranger than Fiction: The Life of William Kiffin (Gospel Standard Trust Publications, 1989)
Peter Naylor Picking up a Pin for the Lord: English Particular Baptists from 1688 to the Early Nineteenth Century (Grace Publications Trust, 1992)
Robert W Oliver History of the English Calvinistic Baptists 1771-1892 (Banner of Truth Trust, 2006)
B A Ramsbottom William Gadsby (Gospel Standard Trust Publications, 2003)
Geoffrey R Breed Particular Baptists in Victorian England (Baptist Historical Society, 2003)
Kenneth Dix Strict and Particular: English Strict and Particular Baptists in the nineteenth century (Baptist Historical Society for the Strict Baptist Historical Society, 2001)
J H Philpot The Seceders (Banner of Truth Trust, no date shown, but must be 1960s)
* Arnold Dallimore Spurgeon: A New Biography (Moody Press, 1984; first UK publication, Banner of Truth, 1985)

Note: some of these titles are available from Gospel Mission books in Choteau, Montana.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

What was He thinking?

If we stick with the John 13 text, it is obvious that Jesus did not have grime on His mind when He washed His disciples' feet. This scene plays out in the shadow of the cross. Before the sovereign Lord of the universe made Himself lower than a servant to stoop at His disciples' feet, what was He thinking?

Something like this: Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him; Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.

Jesus, knowing that He was come from God and went to God, rose from supper and washed His disciples' feet.

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, rose from supper and washed His disciples' feet.

Jesus, knowing that the devil had put into the heart of Judas Iscariot to betray him, rose from supper and washed His disciples' feet.

Jesus, having loved His own, He loved them unto the end, rose from supper and washed His disciples' feet.

Jesus, knowing that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world, rose from supper and washed His disciples' feet.

"The picture of daily Christian sanctification" -- I am of the opinion that there is a correspondence between Jesus washing His disciples' feet and His daily interceding for His people.

A decent argument can be made that feet washing does relate to the humbling of Christ in the form of a servant to become obedient to the death of the cross, Cf. Phil. 2:5-8 and Mark 10:42-45.

Texas State Association

The 16th annual Texas State Sacred Harp Singing Convention will meet in College Station, Texas, Saturday February 23 & Sunday February 24 (d.v.). Click HERE for times, directions and other information.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

To respect

In his Minister's Manual, a prominent Texas Baptist wrote, "The title 'Reverend' is the official title for an ordained minister. It comes from the old English word meaning 'to revere'. It literally means 'worthy of respect'."

I believe one who labors in the word and doctrine is 'worthy of respect', or 'double honor' as Paul put it. But on what planet and by whose authority is "Reverend" the "official title for an ordained minister"? Not on this planet nor in all the scripture that is inspired by God.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Beware of those who are always right

Matthew 7:3: And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

“Beware of those who always claim to be right and get mad when you disagree with them: there is only one LORD and Jesus is His name!”
– D. Paul Tuck, Sr., from his "Sentence Sermon for TODAY" Tue, 18 Dec 2007

Monday, February 18, 2008

Presidentially speaking

Today is "Presidents' Day"

Andrew Jackson was the first President born in a log cabin, and Jimmy Carter was the first President born in a hospital.
James Madison, at 5'4", was the shortest President, a foot shorter than Abraham Lincoln, the tallest at 6'4".
Martin Van Buren was the first President born in the "United States", and Herbert Hoover was the first President born west of the Mississippi River.
Franklin Pierce was the first President to have a Christmas tree in the White House, and Calvin Coolidge lit the first National Christmas tree in 1923.
William McKinley was the first President to ride in a car, and William Taft was the first President to own a car.
John Kennedy was the first Catholic President, the youngest President elected to office and the youngest to die in office.

Ronald Reagan, at 69, was the oldest President to be elected to office. John McCain, at 71, hopes to change that.
George Washington was the first white man to be elected President (followed by 41 more). Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama hope to change that.
The United States has had four Baptist presidents -- Warren G. Harding, Harry S. Truman, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. Mike Huckabee hopes to add a Baptist preacher President to the mix. Ron Paul is also a Baptist, and would become the 5th Baptist president if elected.

The ballot is cast at the polls; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.
The most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will.

* Much of the information came from "Presidential Trivia", in American Profiles Feb 17-23, pp. 10-12

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Advice from Philpot


There was nothing my father mistrusted more than 'childhood piety.' He insisted that children should never be taught or allowed to use the language of 'personal possession' in reference to God. To sing, for instance, "Rock of Ages cleft for ME" or, "MY Jesus". Herein he was most logical. For by early influence and example you can train up a child to be ... a little patriot, a little Catholic, a little Calvinist, or a little Bolshevist. But no power on earth can make him a child of God.

He took great care that we, his children, attended the means of grace, and never missed chapel or family prayers. But he never expected us to be anything but little heathen. We had to be, it is true, well behaved little heathen. If not, we got "the stick", or its equivalent.

"Who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man—but of God." John 1:13

-- J. C. PHILPOT, as posted on Shreveport Grace Church Bulletin, Sunday, February 17, 2008

Saturday, February 16, 2008

East Texas Historical Association

We had an enjoyable time at the East Texas Historical Association spring meeting in Tyler. Session 18 --That Old Time Religion: Music of the Frontier Churches -- included “Shaped Notes and Heartfelt Praises: A History of Sacred Harp Singing,” a presentation by Margaret Rounsavall of Tyler, Texas and “Sounds of The Sacred Harp: Demonstrating an East Texas Tradition,” which was Gaylon Powell making some comments about the notes and music, some of us singing Idumea, The Hill of Zion, The Church's Desolation, Stratfield, Will You Meet Me, Song to the Lamb, Shades of Night and Amazing Grace. The presentation and songs seemed to be well-received. We had some neat comments and questions. Also I discovered that our session's organizer, Linda Cross of Tyler Junior College, is my nephew's wife's aunt. And then when she mentioned how her grandmother's pastor beat time, one of our singers said, "That was my grandfather." After the discussion and questions were ended, we had about 5 minutes left and sang I'm Going Home.

Some who were able to attend other sessions spoke highly of the program. If you're interested in history and East Texas, you might want to check out this association.

Thanks to the Tim McClain family, David Rousseau, Margaret Rounsavall, Joan Smith, Pat Parsons, Peggy Ray, Sonya Kirkham, Sherry Vaughn, Carole Watts, Charity Vaughn and Gaylon Powell for coming and singing.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The first woman President

It's popular in some circles to identify Bill Clinton as "the first black President." Now hear this -- the black man who is running against the Clinton woman could possibly become "the first woman President." Yes, that's right. You heard it here first (unless you read Bonnie Erbe or someone else who said it before I did).

After quoting her friend saying "Barack is a woman," Erbe writes, "...
metrosexual, pro-choice, pro-health care, anti-poverty Obama is, in every political sense at least, more of a woman than [Hillary] Clinton."

The Democrat's nominee and prospective President "will either be a woman with double-X chromosomes, or one with XY chromosomes who votes more like a woman than most with XX."

The Democratic party seems situated to offer the best of both worlds -- a young handsome charismatic male who is also a woman! I'm not sure whether someone is cooking up a winning strategy, or just cooked up something that they got high on.

-- Bonnie Erbe's quotes from her op-ed piece "Who's Wearing the Pants in this Family," found in Tyler Morning Telegraph, 14 Feb. 2008, p 4a (Scripps Howard News Service)

Word for today

Metrosexual -- a new word that was too new for me or my dictionary

According to
Wikipedia, "Metrosexual is a neologism generally applied to heterosexual men with a strong concern for their appearance, and who display many of the lifestyle tendencies of stereotypically homosexual men...The term originated in an article by Mark Simpson ("Here come the mirror men") published on November 15, 1994, in The Independent. Simpson wrote: 'Metrosexual man, the single young man with a high disposable income, living or working in the city (because that's where all the best shops are), is perhaps the most promising consumer market of the decade.'"

Word Spy: "metrosexual (met.roh.SEK.shoo.ul) n. An urban male with a strong aesthetic sense who spends a great deal of time and money on his appearance and lifestyle."

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Don't y'all have anything better to do?

The salacious Senate seems to see it is season to sterilize scandalous televangelists. Now a dirty delegation dares disinfect baseball's drug debacle. Front and center right now before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform are Brian McNamee and Roger Clemens. According to reports I've read and heard, McNamee and Clemens both seem to be lying. But...

Perhaps these congressional crews could use a good dose of Jesus' admontion to get the log out of their own eyes before attempting an operation to remove the sawdust in their neighbor's. Oh, and is there some compelling constitutional case that Congress must somehow set this aright? Don't y'all have anything better to do?

On the consolation side, at least while they're tied up with televangelists and professional baseball players, perhaps us normal folks will get a break. Maybe this will take away from the time they have to dream up more grandiose schemes of wasting our tax dollars.

Right. Like they can't commit more than one crime at at a time. Which committee is investigating these guys?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Competing truths

"Orthodox, Biblical Christianity assumes the existence of truth. Truth implies the existence of error, and mutually exclusive claims of truth cannot both be correct." -- Ergun and Emir Caner in Unveiling Islam

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Televangelist investigation redux

It's been 3 months since I posted an open letter about the televangelist investigation. I also sent that letter to my representatives and ranking leaders on the Senate Finance Committee. I CC'ed it to Ole Anthony, a "watchdog" of scandalous televangelists. The responses I received those I mailed were: a nice e-mail from Anthony, and a form e-letter from Senator John Cornyn. The rest evidently didn't care enough about what I have to say to even acknowledge my correspondence. I've almost become cynical enough to believe that politicians do not care about anything that is not beneficial to them!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Commentary on Proverbs 16:3

Proverbs 16:3 - “Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.”

and thy thoughts shall be established; when a man has, by faith and in prayer, committed himself, his case, his ways and works, to the Lord, his mind is made easy, his thoughts are composed and settled, and he quietly waits the issues of things; he says, the will of the Lord be done; he knows that He causes all things to work together for good; and whatever is for his good and God's glory shall be brought to pass; and this makes him calm, sedate, and easy; and he is in a fair way of having his designs, desires, and endeavours accomplished; see Ps 37:5. -- John Gill's
Exposition of the Entire Bible

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

If life be long, I will be glad

Lord, it belongs not to my care
Whether I die or live;
To love and serve Thee is my share,
And this Thy grace must give.

If life be long, I will be glad,
That I may long obey;
If short, yet why should I be sad
To welcome endless day?

Christ leads me through no darker rooms
Than He went through before;
He that unto God's kingdom comes
Must enter by this door.

Come, Lord, when grace hath made me meet
Thy blessèd face to see;
For if Thy work on earth be sweet
What will Thy glory be!

Then I shall end my sad complaints
And weary sinful days,
And join with the triumphant saints
That sing my Savior's praise.

My knowledge of that life is small,
The eye of faith is dim;
But 'tis enough that Christ knows all,
And I shall be with Him.

Richard Baxter (1615-1691)
Poetical Fragments, 1681.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


When someone you don't think much of passes off the scene, you might remember the epitaph of Jim Murphy:

"Perhaps he's got to heaven,
There's none of us can say:
But if I'm right in my surmise,
He's gone the other way."

-- ballad epitaph (author unknown) for Jim Murphy, a member of Sam Bass' gang. Murphy informed the Texas Rangers of Bass' plans to rob a bank in Round Rock, Texas. The Rangers set a trap for Bass and his gang. Sam Bass was wounded in the ensuing gun battle, and died a few days later on his 27th birthday, July 21, 1878.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Determined to save

John Newton:

"Determin'd to save, He watch'd o'er my path,
When, Satan's blind slave, I sported with death.
And can He have taught me to trust in His name,
And thus far have brought me to put me to shame?"

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Breaking News

By Will Tell, Associated Express writer
February 12, 2045

BEIJING, EURASIAN COMMONWEALTH - This just in. The United States of America has reportedly fallen without a shot. While Americans were worshipping the god of Ball at the week long Suprabolus Festival, two construction workers from Los Angeles overthrew the U.S. government. Homeland Security was apparently oblivious to any problems, as the military, National Guard, peace officers, and the government itself totally gave themselves up to the idolatry. Speaking on conditions of anonymity, President Clinton said Secret Service was able to extract her only minutes before the fall. Chelsea is now exiled in Beijing, where she is working with the Eurasian Commonwealth to adopt the Suprabolus Festival, overthrow the construction workers, and annex the United States.

Asked for comment, one construction worker stated, "Like, wow, we did it, man."

(For Immediate Release)

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Paul said...

"This know also, that in the last shall be lovers of their own selves...lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God." -- the apostle Paul to Timothy

Friday, February 01, 2008

The glory of God in creation and providence

Part of Watts' PSALM 104 (

The glory of God in creation and providence.

My soul, thy great Creator praise:
When clothed in His celestial rays,
He in full majesty appears,
And, like a robe, His glory wears.
Great is the Lord, what tongue can frame
An equal honor to His name?

The heav'ns are for His curtains spread,
The unfathomed deep He makes His bed.
Clouds are his chariot when He flies
On winged storms across the skies.
Great is the Lord, what tongue can frame
An equal honor to His name?

Angels, whom His own breath inspires,
His ministers, are flaming fires;
And swift as thought their armies move
To bear His vengeance or His love.
Great is the Lord, what tongue can frame
An equal honor to His name?

The world's foundations by His hand
Are poised, and shall for ever stand;
He binds the ocean in His chain,
Lest it should drown the earth again.
Great is the Lord, what tongue can frame
An equal honor to Hhis name?

How strange Thy works! how great Thy skill!
And every land Thy riches fill:
Thy wisdom round the world we see;
This spacious earth is full of Thee.
Great is the Lord, what tongue can frame
An equal honor to His name?

His works, the wonders of His might,
Are honored with His own delight;
How awful are His glorious ways!
The Lord is dreadful in His praise.
Great is the Lord, what tongue can frame
An equal honor to His name?

In Thee my hopes and wishes meet,
And make my meditations sweet;
Thy praises shall my breath employ,
Till it expire in endless joy.
Great is the Lord, what tongue can frame
An equal honor to His name?

Isaac Watts (1674-1748)
The Psalms of David, 1719.