Monday, December 31, 2018

Most popular posts in 2018

The following are the most popular (most viewed) posts for the year 2018 on the Ministry and Music web log.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

December 2018 has been celebrated as the 70th Anniversary of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The declaration was drafted by representatives from all regions of the world and adopted as General Assembly Resolution 217 in Paris on December 10, 1948.

A desire for the New Year

My desire is to exalt the grace of God; to proclaim salvation alone through Jesus Christ; to declare the sinfulness, helplessness and  hopelessness of man in a state of nature; to describe the living experience of the children of God in their trials, temptations, sorrows, consolations and blessings.
J. C. Philpot (1802–1869)

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Just as I am, Thine own to be

The following hymn appears to be patterned on the 1834-35 hymn by Charlotte Elliott, which begins with the same words. Nevertheless the repetition of the words “I come” makes Elliott’s hymn long meter, while the following is

1. Just as I am, Thine own to be,
Friend of the young, who lovest me,
To consecrate myself to Thee,
O Jesus Christ, I come.

2. In the glad morning of my day,
My life to give, my vows to pay,
With no reserve and no delay,
With all my heart I come.

3. I would live ever in the light,
I would work ever for the right;
I would serve Thee with all my might;
Therefore, to Thee I come.

4. Just as I am, young, strong and free,
To be the best that I can be
For truth, and righteousness, and Thee,
Lord of my life, I come.

Marianne Hearn
Marianne Hearn wrote this hymn, which appeared in The Voice of Praise for Sunday School and Home, with Tunes old notation and Tonic Sol-fa (London: Sunday School Union, 1887). Marianne was born December 17, 1834, in Farningham, Kent, England, the daughter of Joseph Hearn and Rebecca Bowers. She was a Baptist, and lived in Farningham, Northampton, and Gravesend. She often wrote under the pseudonym Marianne Farningham. Hearn was a staff member of the Christian World newspaper and much of her work appeared there.  She also edited the Sunday School Times. Marianne Hearn died March 16, 1909, Barmouth, Wales, and is buried at the Billing Road Cemetery, Northampton, England.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

A persecuted pastor in China, and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Three dramatic demonstrations

“And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: and after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.”

In 1 Kings 19:11-12 the text tells us of three dramatic demonstrations to Elijah – a wind breaking rocks, an earthquake, and a fire – but each time tells us God was not in the wind, the earthquake, or the fire.

These three things were in some manner demonstrations of the power of God, so what does the text mean by saying God was not in them?

Pure Gold

New Acquisition
Pure Gold for the Sunday School: a New Collection of Songs, prepared and adapted for Sunday School Exercises
By Robert Wadsworth Lowry and William Howard Doane, editors 
(Biglow & Main, 1871)

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Patterns of Evidence, and other reviews

The posting of book or film reviews does not constitute endorsement of the books or book reviews that are linked.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

A Christian Nation?

It is interesting to me that some of those who are first to say the United States of America is not a Christian nation are also some of the first to expect it to act like one! Andrew Daugherty provides one example in No, Pastor Jeffress (and others), America is not a Christian nation. And here’s why it matters.

Daugherty points out that “The message that ‘America is a Christian nation’ is flat-out false factually, legally and practically” and that “It is the latest sideshow in the endless culture war built on the fiction that the Framers in Philadelphia in 1787 intended to constitute a Christian nation.”[i] He quotes Baptist forefather John Leland: “The notion of a Christian commonwealth should be exploded forever.”[ii] He might also have quoted National forefather John Adams: “The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.”

But then, to make his case, he exhibits a clear bias toward believing in some instances the United States ought to operate in a manner that fits his view of Christian policy (and condemns when it does not). “Contrary to Jeffress’ claim, we can’t put kids in cages and call ourselves a Christian nation. We can’t deny healthcare to people who can’t afford it and call ourselves a Christian nation.” Now, I ask, Mr. Daugherty, if you argue that the United States is not (and never has been) a Christian nation, why are you expecting the nation to operate according to your own view of Christian principles? Consistency, thou art a jewel.

Speaking in principle, ethical behavior is right for everyone, but the ethical behavior of each one will be based on his or her standards of right and wrong. Acting in ways consistent with one’s view of right and wrong will (or should) for the Jew be based on the understanding of the Old Testament, on the Bible (OT & NT) for the Christian, the Qur’an for the Muslim, the Bhagavad Gita for the Hindu, and so on. Since the United States of America is neither Jewish, Christian, Muslim, nor Hindu, the ethics of the U. S. as a nation must be based on its Constitution and laws, proceeding in ways consistent with those.

People have hearts. Nations have laws. The laws of all the other nations of the world are not the laws of the United States. If we as a nation are not following our own laws, we should hope to correct those. If we as a nation have laws that are not good, we should try to change those. If we as a nation have laws that are good, we should try to follow those. We who are Christians have a right to propose and promote laws in keeping with our Christian worldview, without expecting the United States of America to be a Christian nation.

[i] While on the one hand it is clear that the framers did not intend to constitute a Christian nation constitutionally and politically, on the other hand it is obvious historically that the primary heritage of our nation is from a Judeo-Christian worldview.
[ii] Leland also wrote, in A Chronicle of His Time in Virginia: “Government should protect every man in thinking and speaking freely, and see that one does not abuse another. The liberty I contend for is more than toleration. The very idea of toleration is despicable; it supposes that some have a pre-eminence above the rest to grant indulgence, whereas all should be equally free, Jews, Turks, Pagans and Christians.”

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

If you wait, and other quotes

The posting of quotes by human authors does not constitute agreement with either the quotes or their sources. (I try to confirm the sources that I give, but may miss on occasion; please verify when possible.)

"If you wait to make the perfect decision, you’ll never make a decision." -- Heard

"The devil ain’t afraid of the church no more! The devil done got ahold on the church!" -- DeClois Johnson

"Success has a thousand fathers. Failure is an orphan." or "Victory has a thousand fathers. Defeat is an orphan." -- John F. Kennedy, and others

"The feebleness of the churches is being criticized today, and the criticism is justified." -- Oswald Chambers

"The temperature of our spiritual health is measured on the thermometer of our thanksgiving." -- Church sign

"Western society in principle is based on a legal level that is far lower than the true moral yardstick, and besides, this legal way of thinking has a tendency to ossify. In principle, moral imperatives are not adhered to in politics, and often not in public life either." -- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

"There are some of you, who have never made a name as I have, who will be given a higher place in the Kingdom than I; but, I shall not mind, I shall be content to take the lowest place." -- Marianne Hearn

"Christ is not merely a summer sun of the prosperous but a winter fire for the unfortunate." -- G. K. Chesterton

"What begins being inclusive of liberal views ends by being exclusive of conservative views." -- Ken Hamrick

"Uunbaptized Christians are decidedly out of order, and it should not be the case that our practice encourages us to accept the profession of faith of the unbaptized." -- Michael Riley

"The goal of disobedience is not to change the world but to testify about another world." -- Pastor Wang Yi

José y Maria

José y Maria by Everett Patterson is an unique drawing imagining Joseph and Mary in a modern setting, “inspired by a number of evocative ‘imagine what it would have been like’-type sermons” he had heard. Patterson writes, “The main goal of this illustration was to pack as many clever biblical references into the scene as possible.” Some of you may find it clever, while others may find it distasteful.

What are some of the ‘hidden’ biblical references you see? Cf. also HERE for some of Patterson’s explanations.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Not Abandoned

Strictly material meaning?

"Something that really bothers me in Bible translation is conversion of units of measurement (shekels to kilograms, for example). Not only does it go beyond the obvious definition of translation, but it boldly assumes that the numerical values in the original text had no meaning, or rather, a strictly material meaning. That strikes me as a peculiarly modern assumption." 
-- Matt Bell

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Always Rejoicing, in Endless Song

How Can I Keep from Singing?

These words to a Christian hymn about singing were published in The New York Observer (Friday, August 7, 1868) with the title “Always Rejoicing” and attributed to “Pauline T.” This author is otherwise unknown. It is a possibility that “Pauline T.” is the person who submitted the hymn to the Observer, rather than its author.[i] Some reference Anna B. Warner (1820-1915, author of “Jesus Loves Me”) as having written this hymn, but without supporting evidence.[ii]

The Lesser Hymnal: A Collection of Hymns, Selected Chiefly from the Standard Hymn-Book of the Methodist Episcopal Church (Henry White Warren, New York, NY: Nelson & Phillips, 1875)[iii] credits this hymn to F. J. Hartley, as does Winnowed Hymns (C. C. McCabe, D. T. MacFarlan, New York, NY: Biglow & Main, 1873), Songs Of Joy And Gladness (W. McDonald, Joshua Gill, J. R. Sweney, W. J. Kirkpatrick, Boston, MA: McDonald & Gill, 1885), and Beulah Songs (W. McDonald, L. Hartsough, Philadelphia, PA: National Publishing Association for Promotion of Holiness, 1879). McDonald and Hartsough list it as copyrighted 1869 by Biglow & Main, with F. J. Hartley as the author of the words. It appears in Lowry’s 1869 Bright Jewels for the Sunday School (published by Biglow & Main) but the words are not credited to anyone. The references to Hartley apparently (though not beyond question) intend Fountain John Hartley (1817-1890), one-time secretary of the London Sunday School Union.[iv]

The tune (Endless Song or Sicilia) was composed by Robert Wadsworth Lowry (1826-1899) and published in Bright Jewels for the Sunday School. It is the tune to which the hymn seems most commonly sung – but it is also set to Wrocław by Ira David Sankey,[v] and sometimes with Materna by Samuel A. Ward.

The hymn has been credited to various authors, including:

  • F. J. Hartley – credited with the hymn at least as early as 1873.
  • Robert Lowry – though sometimes the words are credited to Lowry (e.g. Celebrating Grace Hymnal, 2010; Glory to God: the Presbyterian Hymnal, 2013; Hymns of Promise, 2015; Lift Up Your Hearts: Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs, 2013), it is clear that he never claimed them.[vi]
  • Doris Plenn – author of the added stanza[vii]
  • Ira Sankey – sometimes the hymn is incorrectly attributed to Sankey, but he merely supplied a tune for the words.
  • Pauline T. – the earliest known attribution at this time belongs to the elusive “Pauline T.” in The New York Observer in 1868.[viii]
  • Anna Warner – credited with the hymn at least as early as 1875.
The hymn/song has been published under various titles, some of which are:

  • Always Rejoicing (The New York Observer, 1868; The Cottage Visitor, 1869)
  • Endless Song (Joy to the World: or, Sacred Songs for Gospel Meetings, 1879; Poems and Hymns of Dawn, 1890)
  • How Can I Keep from Singing (Beulah Songs, 1879; Bright Jewels for the Sunday School, 1869; Christ in Song, 1908; The Song Evangel, 1875; Winnowed Hymns, 1873)
  • My Life Flows On (Glory to God, 2013; Psalms and Hymns and Spiritual Songs, 1875; The Evangelical Hymnal, 1921)
  • My Life Flows On in Endless Song (Songs of Joy and Gladness, 1886; With One Voice, 1995)
The words:

1. My life flows on in endless song,
Above earth’s lamentation:—
I hear the sweet though far-off hymn
That hails a new creation.
Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear the music ringing;
It finds an echo in my soul—
How can I keep from singing?

2. What though my joys and comforts die?
The Lord, my Saviour, liveth;
What though the darkness gather round?
Songs in the night he giveth.
No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that refuge clinging;
Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth,
How can I keep from singing?

3. I lift my eyes—the cloud grows thin—
I see the blue above it;
And day by day this pathway smooths,
Since first I learned to love it,
The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart,
A fountain ever springing;
All things are mine since I am his—
How can I keep from singing?

Doris Plenn (1909-1994) wrote an extra stanza circa 1950, which was popularized by Pete Seeger and is sometimes added:

When tyrants tremble, sick with fear,
And hear their death-knell ringing,
When friends rejoice both far and near,
How can I keep from singing?
In prison cell and dungeon vile,
Our thoughts to them go winging;
When friends by shame are undefiled,
How can I keep from singing?

For the present time, the author of these words must remain unknown. God knows. Perhaps through some future discovery he will reveal the answer. The hymn bears a wonderful message, grounded in the idea that Jesus Christ is Lord of heaven and earth, and despite the lamentation, tumult, and strife of this world, the life stayed on him has reason to be “always rejoicing” (cf. Philippians 4:4).

Some examples of the song found on YouTube:

[i] It is not uncommon to see a poem or hymn printed in a newspaper with the name of the person who sent it to the paper.
[ii] These are imprecise references to Anna Warner writing the hymn in 1864, while giving no foundation for the statement. I found, though, that Edward Payson Hammond credits these words to “Miss Anna Warner, 1864” in The Song Evangel (New York, NY: Biglow & Main, 1875). For it he recommends the tune on page 51 of The Song Evangel (1873, with hymns and tunes). It can also be seen attributed to Warner in The Highway Hymnal (Isaiah Reid, George L. Brown, Nevada, IA: Highway Office, 1886).
[iii] This book recommends the tune on page 271 in The Tribute of Praise – which is Lowrys tune.
[iv] This hymn was published in a British periodical, The Christian Pioneer, in 1869, but with no author indicated.  This British connection might yield minor support for Hartley’s authorship. On the other hand, Hartley is sometimes credited with the words to “Waiting and Watching for Me,” which P. P. Bliss set to music in 1876. The words are actually by Marianne Hearn, and a letter by Bliss mentioning it seems to only mean that F. J. Hartley gave him a copy of the hymn (Memoirs of Philip P. Bliss, Daniel W. Whittle, New York, NY: A. S. Barnes & Co., 1877). That might also be an explanation of how Hartley’s name became attached to the “How can I keep from singing” hymn.
[v] It can be found in Gospel Hymns Consolidated: Embracing Volumes No. 1, 2, 3, Without Duplicates (New York, NY: Biglow & Main, 1883).
[vi] Henry Sweetser Burrage listed “How can I keep from singing” as “besides his own hymns” one for which Lowry had added the music to the “productions of other writers” (Baptist Hymn Writers and Their Hymns, Portland, ME: Brown, Thurston & Company, 1888, p. 433).
[vii] Sometimes this morphs into Plenn and Pete Seeger being solely credited with the song/hymn.
[viii] The Observer (but not Pauline T.) is credited as the source when this is reprinted in The Cottage Visitor (Hendersonville, NC) Friday, October 29, 1869, p. 4.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Always Rejoicing

Christmas quotes

The posting of quotes by human authors does not constitute agreement with either the quotes or their sources. (I try to confirm the sources that I give, but may miss on occasion; please verify when possible.)

"Every year, the busyness of Christmas is always lamented. But nothing ever changes  somehow folks seem trapped into doing things they appear to take little joy in...a Merry Christmas is not dependent on any of that. You know this deep down." -- Jennifer Holberg

"Once in our world, a stable had something in it that was bigger than our whole world." -- C. S. Lewis

"What if Christmas, [the Grinch] thought, doesn’t come from a store." -- Dr. Seuss

"I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year." -- Ebeneezer Scrooge

"Christmas is a bridge. We need bridges as the river of time flows past." -- Gladys Taber

"Christ was born in the first century, yet he belongs to all centuries. He was born a Jew, yet He belongs to all races. He was born in Bethlehem, yet He belongs to all countries." -- George W. Truett

"Jesus was God and man in one person, that God and man might be happy together again." -- George Whitefield

The first Adam is the man that God made (Genesis 2:7; 1 Corinthians 15:44-46). The last Adam is the God that woman made (1 Corinthians 15:44-46; Galatians 4:4).

Believing the Unbelievable, and other "Christmas" links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Will and way

Matthew 1:
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. 20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. 22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. 24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: 25 and knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

In Mary’s case: how shall this happen? Be it unto me (Luke 1:38).

Should Christians celebrate Christmas?

Q. Should Christians celebrate Christmas?

A. Christmas is an annual celebration commemorating the birth of Jesus, usually on December 25th, and a legal holiday in many countries. As celebrated, it contains elements from the Christian tradition that endorse biblical events, as well as other elements that are secular at best.[i] Following the spirit of Romans 14:5, I believe Christians and Christian families are free to celebrate Christmas, but that we need to deliberately and decisively keep it out of the gathered fellowship of the church. We can acknowledge the biblical elements in church at this or any time of the year,[ii] while the non-biblical elements (of which there are many) have no place in the worshiping church.

[i] The Scriptures seem to allow Christian individuals to celebrate other cultural holidays as well – such as Independence Day – as long as the celebrations remain within biblical constraints (i.e., not in rioting and drunkenness, etc.). (Cf. e.g. John 10:22-23, Jesus attending the feast of the dedication, a Jewish festival originating circa 165 BC; also 1 Maccabees 4:59. Wedding celebration.)
[ii] The biblical elements include acknowledging, preaching or singing about the facts that Jesus was born of a virgin, in Bethlehem, and so on, regardless of what day of the year it occurred. Following a Regulative Principle of Worship means we should not worship in any manner not prescribed by Scripture, neither add elements that are not biblical.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

An Unexpected Surprise, and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Just words

I get a “daily dose” of words sent straight to my e-mail from Oxford English Dictionary Word of the Day email. I find the words very interesting. Here are some samples of what I get, though not all definitions below are from OED.
  • acquihire, noun. An act or instance of buying out a company primarily for the skills and expertise of its staff, rather than for the products or services it supplies. (Also, “acqhire”; formed by compounding “acquire” and “hire”.)
  • afflatus, noun. The communication of supernatural or spiritual knowledge; divine inspiration; often used of poetic inspiration.
  • badmash, noun (and adj.). A hooligan, scoundrel, rogue, miscreant, ruffian (as an adjective, naughty or bad).
  • Dunstable, noun and adjective. (British) In Dunstable highway, Dunstable road, Dunstable way, the way to Dunstable, etc., as the type of something simple, straightforward, or direct.
  • embiggen, verb. To make bigger or greater, to enlarge.
  • falderal, noun. Mere nonsense, foolish talk or ideas, a trifle, a useless ornament or accessory (also, a nonsensical refrain in old songs).
  • Honi soit qui mal y pense, phrase. Shamed be he who thinks evil of it (French maxim; motto of the British chivalric Order of the Garter).
  • Nimby, noun. Objection or opposition to the siting of something they regard as undesirable in their own neighborhood (and may have an implication raising no such objections to similar developments elsewhere). Nimby is an acronym of “not in my back yard.”
  • palinode, noun. An ode or song in which the author retracts something expressed in a former poem; a formal recantation or retraction.
  • pleroma, noun. Plentitude; a state or condition of absolute fullness; originally that of God’s being or identity, esp. as believed to have been incarnated in Christ (cf. Colossians 2:9, where “fulness” is “πληρωμα”). Chiefly used in Theology.
  • poetaster, noun. An inferior or second-rate poet; a writer of indifferent verse; one who partially resembles a poet.
  • precariat, noun. With singular or plural concord. People whose employment, income, and living standards are insecure or precarious; such people considered collectively as a social class.
  • puredee, adjective (and adv.), Thoroughgoing, out-and-out, complete, unmitigated (as an adverb: very, totally, completely).
  • quagswagging, noun. The action of shaking to and fro.
  • quot homines tot sententiae, phrase. There are as many opinions as there are men; used to express that there is considerable diversity of opinion, and the difficulty of bringing about agreement (from the Latin).
  • raisonneur, noun. A thinker; a person who thinks or reasons; or, a character in a play or novel who voices the central theme, philosophy, or point of view of the work.
  • scrimshaw, noun. Any of various carved or engraved articles made originally by American whalers usually from baleen or whale ivory; the art or practice of making these small articles.