Friday, April 30, 2010

Salvation, by Newton


Salvation! what a glorious plan,
How suited to our need!
The grace that raises fallen man,
Is wonderful indeed!

'Twas wisdom formed the vast design,
To ransom us when lost;
And love's unfathomable mine
Provided all the cost.

Strict Justice, with approving look,
The holy cov'nant sealed;
And Truth, and Power, undertook
The whole should be fulfilled.

Truth, Wisdom, Justice, Pow'r and Love,
In all their glory shone;
When JESUS left the courts above,
And died to save his own.

Truth, Wisdom, Justice, Pow'r and Love,
Are equally displayed;
Now JESUS reigns enthroned above,
Our Advocate and Head.

Now sin appears deserving death,
Most hateful and abhorred;
And yet the sinner lives by faith,
And dares approach the LORD.

John Newton (1725-1807)
Olney Hymns, 1779

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Rewriting history

Many people are complaining about the conservatives on the Texas State Board of Education. In doing so they complain of the conservatives having an agenda and pretend the liberals do not. Here is one of the few dissenting voices I've read online:

Who is rewriting history?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Naaman, by Newton

NAAMAN. 2 Kings 5:14
Hallelujah Meter (

Before Elisha's gate
The Syrian leper stood;
But could not brook to wait,
He deemed himself too good:
He thought the prophet would attend,
And not to him a message send.

Have I this journey come,
And will he not be seen?
I were as well at home,
Would washing make me clean:
Why must I wash in Jordan's flood?
Damascus' rivers are as good.

Thus by his foolish pride
He almost missed a cure;
Howe'er at length he tried,
And found the method sure:
Soon as his pride was brought to yield,
The leprosy was quickly healed.

Leprous and proud as he,
To Jesus thus I came,
From sin to set me free,
When first I heard his fame:
Surely, thought I, my pompous train
Of vows and tears will notice gain.

My heart devised the way
Which I supposed he'd take;
And when I found delay,
Was ready to go back:
Had he some painful task enjoined,
I to performance seemed inclined.

When by his word he spake,
That fountain opened see;
'Twas opened for thy sake,
Go wash, and thou art free:"
O! how did my proud heart gainsay,
I feared to trust this simple way.

At length I trial made,
When I had much endured;
The message I obeyed,
I washed, and I was cured:
Sinners this healing fountain try,
Which cleansed a wretch so vile as I.

John Newton (1725-1807)
Olney Hymns, 1779

Monday, April 26, 2010

Army "disinvites" Franklin Graham to Prayer Day

I found the following news bit interesting. I have never been a fan of Billy Graham, and don't know much about his son Franklin. Recently the army removed an invitation to Franklin Graham to pray and speak at the Pentagon on the National Day of Prayer on May 6. Their reason -- some time after 9/11 called Islam "an evil and wicked" religion.

Here's how a military spokesman, Colonel Tom Collins, reportedly explained it: "We're an all-inclusive military. We honor all faiths. ...Our message to our service and civilian work force is about the need for diversity and appreciation of all faiths." Here's the hypocrisy of the "inclusive" crowd -- they include those who agree and speak the "party line" and they exclude those who plainly speak what they believe to be the truth. Inclusive? Not in a million years.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Did you know?

April is Confederate History Month in some states. There is often a lot of misinformation about the Confederacy and the Civil War.

Did you know?

1. That the Civil War was not a "Civil" one, but a war between two independent nations?
2. That the American Indian nations of Oklahoma fought on the side of the Confederacy?
3. That there were free blacks in the South?
4. That there were free blacks in the South who owned slaves?
5. That many slave-holding planters --like Haller Nutt of Mississippi -- opposed secession from the United States and refused to support the Confederacy?
6. That the Emancipation Proclamation freed no one?
7. That slavery existed in the United States while they were at war with the Confederate States?
8. That slavery still existed in the North after it no longer existed in the South?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Folks don't trust our government

Pew Research Center: Nearly 8 in 10 Americans say they don't trust the federal government and have little faith it can solve America's ills, a survey found.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Where's the beef?

Some of it is with two congress folk from Texas. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) and House appropriator Ciro Rodriguez (D-Texas) earmarked $693,000 for beef improvement research in Missouri and Texas.

This information comes from Citizens Against Government Waste, who released its latest edition of the "Pig Book" on Wednesday the 14th. This book is an annual highlighting of various pork-barrel projects (government excess and waste) in the federal budget. Check out the
2010 Pig Book Summary.

Most of the items in the Congressional Pig Book satisfy at least two of group’s seven criteria:
• Requested by only one chamber of Congress;
• Not specifically authorized;
• Not competitively awarded;
• Not requested by the President;
• Greatly exceeds the President’s budget request or the previous year’s funding;
• Not the subject of congressional hearings; or
• Serves only a local or special interest.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

At the polls

Some of you may have gone to the polls on Tuesday, April 13 (at least for Texans). Here are some more polls:

The AP-GfK Poll "found that people who identify themselves as tea party backers — nearly one in five Americans...tend to be Republican, but more conservative than Republicans in general, the poll found. They tend to see Obama as 'very liberal' and are 'angry' rather than merely dissatisfied with Washington."

"Though former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin draws raucous cheers at tea party rallies, a plurality of tea party supporters see her as unqualified to be president, according to the poll."
[The AP-GfK Poll was conducted April 7-12, 2010 by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Media]

Rasmussen: Ron Paul Polls Even With Obama for 2012

"Pit maverick Republican Congressman Ron Paul against President Obama in a hypothetical 2012 election match-up, and the race is – virtually dead even.

"A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of likely voters finds Obama with 42 percent support and Paul with 41 percent of the vote. Eleven percent prefer some other candidate, and 6 percent are undecided.

"35 percent of voters now think Republicans and Democrats are so much alike that an entirely new political party is needed to represent the American people."

Monday, April 19, 2010

Silas Mercer

Lucian Lamar Knight wrote:

"Silas Mercer was of Scotch-Irish lineage—a typical Highlander in his rugged molds, both of speech and of character. He came from North Carolina to Georgia some time before the Revolution, but refugeed with his little family to the mountains of his home State for safety when the tide of war threatened to invade the foot-hills. At the close of hostilities he returned to Georgia, where the remainder of his days were spent, making the rounds of the wilderness on horseback and preaching the Gospel wherever he went. He founded the famous old church at Powelton, a landmark of Baptist history; Sardis and Bethesda were also vines which he planted, and, last but not least, the church at Phillips' Mill, where Jesse Mercer first saw the new light, was another stronghold of faith which he added to the kingdom. Rude temples of worship in numberless places sprang into existence at the call of this good man, blooming like wild flowers along the woodland paths; and, if the notes which he sounded were sometimes harsh and stern, it may also be said of him that he testified for the Master until the whole region of Wilkes breathed of the wayside balms of Galilee.

"He established his home on a plantation seven miles to the south of Washington, where he died in 1796, at the age of fifty-one. The place is today known as the Ficklen plantation, so called after Dr. Fielding Ficklen, a subsequent owner; and here in the Mercer burial ground may still be seen the grave of Silas Mercer—one of the most unique figures in the Baptist annals of America."
-- From Georgia's Landmarks, Memorials, and Legends, Volume II, Lucian Lamar Knight, Atlanta, GA: Byrd Printing Company, 1914, pp. 173-174

The graves of Silas and Dorcas Mercer were moved from the Mercer plantation to the cemetery of the Phillips' Mill church in 1976.

Friday, April 16, 2010


Yesterday I posted a brief writing on Balm in Gilead by Ken Wimer. Variation of the old refrain "balm in Gilead" has been used with several hymns, including the two below.

There's balm in Gilead,
To make the wounded whole.
There's power enough in Jesus—
To save a sin-sick soul.

The Good Physician by John Newton

1. How lost was my condition
Till JESUS made me whole!
There is but one Physician
Can cure a sin-sick soul.
Next door to death he found me,
And snatched me from the grave,
To tell to all around me,
His wondrous pow'r to save.

There is balm in Gilead,
To make the wounded whole.
There's power enough in heaven—
To cure a sin-sick soul.

2. The worst of all diseases
Is light, compared with sin;
On every part it seizes,
But rages most within:
'Tis palsy, plague, and fever,
And madness--all combined;
And none but a believer
The least relief can find.

3. From men great skill professing
I thought a cure to gain;
But this proved more distressing,
And added to my pain:
Some said that nothing ailed me,
Some gave me up for lost;
Thus every refuge failed me,
And all my hopes were crossed.

4. At length this great Physician,
How matchless is his grace!
Accepted my petition,
And undertook my case:
First gave me sight to view him,
For sin my eyes had sealed;
Then bid me look unto him,
I looked, and I was healed.

5. A dying, risen Jesus,
Seen by the eye of faith;
At once from danger frees us,
And saves the soul from death:
Come then to this Physician,
His help he'll freely give;
He makes no hard condition,
'Tis only--look and live.

[Washington Glass attached this refrain to John Newton's hymn with the title "The Sinner's Cure" in his The Revivalist of 1854.]

Father, I stretch my hands to Thee by Charles Wesley

1. Father, I stretch my hands to Thee,
No other help I know;
If Thou withdraw Thyself from me,
Ah! whither shall I go?

There's balm in Gilead,
That cures the sin sick soul;
There's balm in Gilead,
That makes the wounded whole.

2. What did Thine only Son endure
Before I drew my breath?
What pain, what labour, to secure
My soul from endless death!

3. O Jesus, could I this believe,
I now should feel Thy power;
And all my wants Thou wouldst relieve
In this, the accepted hour.

4. Author of faith, to Thee I lift
My weary, longing eyes:
O let me now receive that gift!
My soul without it dies.

5. How would my fainting soul rejoice,
Could I but see Thy face!
Now let me hear Thy quickening voice,
And taste Thy pardoning grace!

(Number 223 in Harp of Ages)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Balm in Gilead, by Wimer

“Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? Why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?” Jeremiah 8:22

The prophet Jeremiah looks on the case of the nation of Israel to be deplorable and past recovery. In reality, such is the case of any whom the LORD turns over to their own reprobate minds. For Israel, the judgment determined by the LORD was being overrun by the Chaldeans, and once determined there is no balm in Gilead that can cure the disease of sin, no physician there that can restore what the LORD has purposed for judgment. People trifle with sin, unbelief, rebellion, and idolatry, without realizing that once the LORD gives them over to their own sin, the desolations made are irreparable, and the advancement of the terminal disease cannot be reversed.

Certainly, the blame must be laid squarely on the sinner. God owes no one His grace. However, if a sinner, taught of the Spirit, made to see their sinfulness and lostness should cry out, ‘Is there no balm in Gilead?’ the answer is, ‘YES!’ Gilead was a place in their own land, not far off from where they would be taken into captivity. They had enjoyed the privileges of the oracles of God, the revelations of Christ in type, picture, promise, and prophecy, and yet none of it meant anything to them in their blindness and corruptness. They had princes and priests, whose business it should have been to continue to point them to Christ, and yet whose own blindness continued to lead them astray, the blind leading the blind. Whether the preacher or the people following them, if sinners die of their wounds, their blood is upon their own heads. The blood of Christ is balm in Gilead, His Spirit is the physician there, for those who are made to know their lostness. Is not the blood of the LORD Jesus that precious balm? It is that blood shed that cleanseth from all sin, I John 1:9. All sin? Yes! Sins before calling, sins after calling, sins of thought, sins of word, sins of deed, sins of omission, sins of commission, sins against light, sins agains the Gospel, sins yet to be committed. Not just some sins, but from ALL sin. That is the only balm for sinners!

By Ken Wimer, from Shreveport Grace Church bulletin, March 28, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

One-woman man

Bart Barber makes a cases for one marriage only for a lifetime for bishops/elders.

For example: "I have begun to lean toward a new understanding of the phrase 'one-woman man'...that the phrase means to indicate a man who is married to no more than one women throughout his entire lifetime, no matter what may happen in that lifetime."

Monday, April 12, 2010

Not even a two-party system??

"I believe we have a one party system in this country, called the big-government party. There is a Republican branch that likes war and deficits and assaulting civil liberties. There is a Democratic branch that likes welfare and taxes and assaulting commercial liberties." -- Andrew P. Napolitano, author and judicial analyst

Friday, April 09, 2010

"Means" Baptists?

I think the observation below shines the light on "means" Baptists, of whatever theology or practice.

"Natural men who 'join' churches forget that the true church is not their’s; that it belongs exclusively to Christ, and He alone governs it according to both His secret and revealed will. These 'joiners' want to help get members, preserve the existence of the church, ordain 'capable' ministers, adorn it in outward grandeur, and vehemently defend it, and all that it does, whether it is Biblical or not. So, in truth, there lies within us all, the natural principle of 'means and measures'. Means Baptists are ever changing in both doctrine and in form, and are exceedingly proud of their progress." – Stanley Phillips, in introduction to "Who are 'Means' Baptists?" by William Middleton Smoot, 1906

Thursday, April 08, 2010

The blessed dead

HYMN 18, C. M.
Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord. Rev. 14:13.

Hear what the voice from heav'n proclaims,
For all the pious dead;
Sweet is the savor of their names,
And soft their sleeping bed.

They die in Jesus, and are blest;
How kind their slumbers are!
From suff'rings and from sins released,
And freed from every snare.

Far from this world of toil and strife,
They're present with the Lord;
The labors of their mortal life
End in a large reward.

Isaac Watts (1674-1748)
Hymns and Spiritual Songs, 1707

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

More 'social engineering'

According to Associated Press writer David Crary, "...the Census Bureau says same-sex couples in any state who consider themselves spouses should feel free to check the 'husband' or 'wife' boxes on the census form, rather than 'unmarried partner'." In defending this cockeyed policy, Tim Olson of the Census Bureau pointed out that they don't ask straight people to produce their marriage licenses. Perhaps not, but they also do not encourage unmarried 'straight people' to lie about their legal marital status.

Besides all that, most people don't seem to know that the constitutional purpose of the census is to determine how many representatives each state gets in Congress (and by extension, how many electors). It is not to find out how many bathrooms your home has, whether you are gay or straight, how many teachers to hire, or how much money a community gets.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

The shortness and misery of life

Hymn 39, Common Meter
The shortness and misery of life.

Our days, alas! our mortal days
Are short and wretched too;
"Evil and few," the patriarch says,
And well the patriarch knew.

'Tis but at best a narrow bound
That Heav'n allows to men,
And pains and sins run through the round
Of threescore years and ten.

Well, if ye must be sad and few,
Run on, my days, in haste;
Moments of sin and months of woe,
Ye cannot fly too fast.

Let heav'nly love prepare my soul,
And call her to the skies,
Where years of long salvation roll,
And glory never dies.

Isaac Watts (1674-1748)
Hymns and Spiritual Songs, Book II, 1707

Monday, April 05, 2010

Around a Table

Back when I first discovered the "Around a Table" hymn, it was in a sermon or something and only contained one stanza and no attribution of authorship. I haven't thought much more about it, but today decided that the internet might clear that up. It is taken from a six-stanza hymn by Londoner Elizabeth Rundle Charles (1828 -- 1896). In its entirety:

Around a Table, not a Tomb,
He willed our gathering place to be:
When going to prepare our home,
Our Saviour said-- "Remember Me."

We kneel around no sculptured stone,
Marking the place where Jesus lay;--
Empty the tomb, the angels gone,
The stone forever rolled away.

Nay, sculptured stones are for the dead!
Thy three dark days of death are o'er;
Thou art the Life, our living Head,
Our living Light forevermore!

Of no fond relics, sadly dear,
O Master, are Thine own possessed;
The crown of thorns, the cross, the spear,
The purple robe, the seamless vest.

Nay, relics are for those who mourn
The memory of an absent friend;
Not absent Thou, nor we forlorn!
"With you each day until the end!"

Thus round Thy Table, not Thy Tomb,
We keep Thy sacred feast with Thee;
Until within the Father's Home
Our endless gathering place shall be.

Easter at the tomb

On the radio this morning I heard a report of Easter celebrations in Jerusalem yesterday (April 4, 2010). One of the events described was a sunrise service at the Garden Tomb. The report played a clip of someone attributing their presence at the tomb in Jerusalem as upbuilding to their faith. I'm not sure of the quote, but online I found this statement by a participant from California: "I definitely got just a reconfirmation of things I already knew in my heart, that Jesus Christ lives and that He is my Savior and Redeemer." Another says, "The Garden Tomb creates an experience for visitors that engages them in the reality of the risen Lord Jesus." Nothing wrong with seeing some of this for geographical and historical reasons, but I cannot fathom the need of this to engage Christians in the reality of the risen Lord or to reconfirm that Jesus lives.

Almost immediately upon hearing the news report came to mind this stanza I have loved and memorized from long ago:

Around a Table, not a Tomb,
He willed our gathering place to be:
When going to prepare our home,
Our Saviour said-- "Remember Me."

Blessed are they which have not seen and yet have believed.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

The Lord is risen

On Easter many Christians and much of the world celebrate the resurrection. Regardless of the date, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is real, a central truth of biblical doctrine, and the hope on which the Christian rests. "But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruit of them that slept."

Angels, roll the stone away.
Death, yield up the mighty prey!
See! He rises from the tomb,
Glowing with immortal bloom.
Hallelujah! Praise the Lord.

Now, ye saints lift up your eyes.

Now to glory see Him rise,
In long triumph up the sky--
Up to waiting worlds on high.
Hallelujah! Praise the Lord.

Praise Him, all ye heavenly choirs,
Praise, and sweep your golden lyres;
Praise Him in the noblest songs,
Praise Him from ten thousand tongues.
Hallelujah! Praise the Lord.

Let Immanuel be adored
Ransom, mediator, Lord;
To creation's utmost bound,
Let the immortal praise resound.
Hallelujah! Praise the Lord.

By Thomas Gibbons

Friday, April 02, 2010

Proverbial, and other, sayings

"We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it -- and stop there -- lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove-lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again, and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one any more." -- Mark Twain/Samuel Langhorn Clemens, author and humorist (1835-1910)

"For want of a nail the shoe was lost; for want of the shoe the horse was lost; and for want of a horse the rider was lost." -- Benjamin Franklin, from Poor Richard's Almanac

"If it is said that the rules of modern composition are frequently violated by the old composers, we will only say that old rules are as often violated by the new - and then appeal to the effect of their music to prove its comparative value. Every one knows how much old tunes have suffered by the modern 'improvements' imposed upon them." -- D. H. Mansfield, author/compiler of The American Vocalist, 1854

"In vain men talk of living faith,
When all their works exhibit death.
When they indulge some sinful view,
In all they say and all they do."

Joseph Hart

Thursday, April 01, 2010

April 1

This seemed like a bad April Fool's joke, but it is not. On the radio this morning I heard that Judge Scott Jenkins in Travis County had ruled against the Attorney General entering a homosexual divorce case in Texas. The attorney general's office argued a homosexual couple couldn't be granted a divorce in Texas because their marriage is not recognized by Texas law. Perhaps the judge only ruled the AG out because he had already made his decision before the AG got involved. Somehow I wonder. Judge Jenkins was quoted as saying that children are what "we are supposed to be concerned about as lawyers and as judges." Actually as a judge I thought he is supposed to be concerned about interpreting the law.

While trying to find info on this, I discovered that Judge Jenkins is not ploughing new ground. I had not heard this previously, but in Dallas County in October State District Judge Tena Callahan said that two men could divorce in Texas. The Attorney General has appealed that ruling. The Texas 5th Court of Appeals is supposed to hear arguments in this case.

I'm no judge or lawyer, but common sense seems to say that two people who aren't married can't get divorced! Oh, the beauties of judicial activism.