A “worship” favourite. – “Now is the time to give your heart.” Better: Still! Cork up.

Here is another “worship” favourite.

“Come, Now Is The Time To Worship”

1.
Come, now is the time to worship.
Come, now is the time to give your heart.
Come, just as you are, to worship.
Come, just as you are, before your God.
Come.

2.
One day every tongue will confess
You are God.
One day every knee will bow.
Still the greatest treasure remains for those
Who gladly choose you now.

Repeat 1 and 2.

Repeat 1.

End with:

Oh, come. Oh, come. Oh, come.
Worship the Lord. Oh, come.

Come, come, come…

(Philips, Craig and Dean)

Comment on “Now is the time to give your heart.”

How is a dead ossified heart able or desirous to open itself, circumcise itself, give itself to Christ, huh? Only God can and does do it:

Deuteronomy 30:6

And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.

Ezekiel 30
26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

Acts 16:14
Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul.

(See The Jewish heart….)

Comment on “One day every knee will bow.
Still the greatest treasure remains for those
Who gladly choose you now.”

Every knee will indeed bow to their Lord; the knee of the saved and the knee of the damned. If the greatest treasure remains for the saved (whose hearts God chooses to open before they die), what treasure remains for the majority of mankind who are forced to their knees on judgment day?

Another silly song with a nice tune.

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Another song – No, you never poured out your life, and definitely not again and again: A discordant note

Once again, one more discordant note,  to sow discord. The song in question is called, prophetically, “Once again.” Here are the lyrics:

Once Again

Jesus Christ, I think upon Your sacrifice
You became nothing, poured out to death.
Many times I’ve wondered at Your gift of life
and I’m in that place once again.
Yes, I’m in that place once again.

And once again I look upon the cross where You died
I’m humbled by Your mercy and I’m broken inside.
Once again I thank You, Once again I pour out my life.
 

Now You are exalted to the highest place,
King of the heavens where one day I’ll bow.
But for now, I marvel at Your saving grace
and I’m full of praise once again.
Yes, I’m full of praise once again.
 

And once again I look upon the cross where You died
I’m humbled by Your mercy and I’m broken inside.
Once again I thank You, Once again I pour out my life.
 

Thank You for the cross; Thank You for the cross
Thank You for the cross, my Friend.
Thank You for the cross; Thank You for the cross
Thank You for the cross, my Friend.

And once again I look upon the cross where You died
I’m humbled by Your mercy and I’m broken inside.
Once again I thank You, Once again I pour out my life.
 

Much in this song is faithful to the Bible. There are even a few words from the Bible. I wonder whether the song writer was aware of the context of these few words ‘I pour out my life.” Is there a verse that says something about the Christian pouring out his life, and, pouring it out “once again,” as in this song? No, nothing on both counts. There is, though, in the Bible a pouring out of life, but not your life. When did you, and how many times do you, pour out your soul to death and bear the sin of many,
 and make intercession for them? 

Here is somebody who did do that, and once for all (time), and which was enough to pay the price for those Jesus died for, which may also include you. 

Isaiah 53 

10  Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
 he has put him to grief; when his soul makes[h] an offering for guilt,
 he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. 11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
    make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities. 12  Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, becausehe poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
 and makes intercession for the transgressors. 

That doesn’t mean that you cannot, with the psalmist, pour out your soul, your heart to God. 

When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude of the festive throng” (Psalm 42:4). 

Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah” (Psalm 62:8). 

The Apostle Paul, not long before his execution, does say “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near” (2 Timothy 4:6). 

Firstly, there might exist a few Christians who suffered as much as Paul. Examine yourself to establish whether you are in this league. If not, church leaders don’t bring such songs to church. Secondly, Paul would not say “I pour out myself,” and certainly not, “I pour out my life” because he would know that he was tearing scripture out of context – a unique unrepeatable event: the Suffering Servant, who poured out his soul unto death, once for all time.

If Jesus poured out his blood for you, don’t sing these songs; silly, at best, blasphemous, at worst. They deceive mixed with truth. Examine whether you are truly in the faith once for all (time) delivered to the “saints,” (Jude 1:3), God’s holy people. Who are God’s holy people? Those the Father gave the Son (John 17) before the world began, and, as a result, “received him, who believed in his name, (whom) he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12b-13).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did the Father turn his face away in sorrow from the Cross?

This is another in the series, “The Songs we shouldn’t sing in church.”

Thomas Aquinas is purported to have said, “Love takes up where knowledge leaves off.” I describe what can happen when love, or anything, takes off, and knowledge takes a holiday.

Mother Teresa said the following in the ”Decree of Erection” for her congregation:

To quench the thirst of Our Lord Jesus Christ for the salvation of souls by the observance of the three Vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience …” (Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light, the Private Writings of the “Saint of Calcutta”, edited and with commentary by Brian Kolodiejchuk, M. C. (USA: Doubleday, 2007, p. 20). Where does Mother Teresa get the idea that Jesus is constantly “thirsting for souls?” I think the constant sacrifice of the Mass has much to do with it. In Roman Catholic theology the sacrifice is never over. This constant thirst idea is an aberration, because there is nothing in the Bible says that Jesus is thirsting in heaven. (See ”The constant thirst and constant sacrifice of Jesus Christ: The Charism of Mother Teresa”).

What about God from a Unitarian (non-Trinitarian) view. According to the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, “ Whenever God faced with anyone who appealed and prayed to Him with such a grieving heart, He related to that person with a sorrow welling up in His heart.” (Let Us Become the Ones Who Can Understand God’s Sorrow”).There is nothing about this in the Bible.

What about God the Father (from a Trinitarian point of view). Did the Father turn his face away in sorrow from the crucifixion of His Son? I examine this question here. There is a very moving song called “How deep the father’s love for us.”

How deep the Father’s love for us,

How vast beyond all measure

That He should give His only Son

To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,

The Father turns His face away

As wounds which mar the chosen One,

Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,

My sin upon His shoulders

Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,

Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that left Him there

Until it was accomplished

His dying breath has brought me life

I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything

No gifts, no power, no wisdom

But I will boast in Jesus Christ

His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?

I cannot give an answer

But this I know with all my heart

His wounds have paid my ransom

(REPEAT)

There are about two dozen comments on this song to be found here. The following two are representative:

1. What great inspiration!what a deep song on the love of God. again and again,i listen to this piece and i get broken in my spirit. this is one of the best xtian [sic] songs ever written in history to reveal the great love of a sinless Christ for a sinful human race.

2. The song is really amazing! It makes me feel as if we’ve just entered heaven and the song is played as we approach the face of God, getting to meet Jesus face to face. I love it!

The words are moving, but more important, mostly biblically on the button, except for this verse, (and perhaps “Why should I gain from His reward”) about the Father turning his face away in sorrow.

How great the pain of searing loss,

The Father turns His face away

As wounds which mar the chosen One,

Bring many sons to glory.

Before I speak of sorrow, I need to begin with wrath. Ben Trigg (“Did the Father turn His face away”) presents a good case that the Bible never talks of God turning his face away in wrath, or for any reason. “No doubt, says Trigg, the wrath of God is visible at the cross.” However, in spite of “My God my God why have you forsaken me” (Jesus voicing Psalm 22:1, this does not mean that the Father turned his face away, for we read in Psalm 22:24 : “He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; nor has He hidden His face from him; but when he cried to Him for help, He heard.” Jesus’s cry in Psalm 22:1 should not be truncated from the rest of Psalm 22.

The problem I have with this verse of the song is not, as in Trigg, that the Father turns His face from the Son as a sign of his wrath against sinners. This is the problem: there is a strong allusion, I would say assertion, that the reason why the Father turned his face away was because of the great pain he felt at crucifying his son. But who knows that other than the Father?

(In Christian theology, patripassianism is the view that God the Father suffers (from Latin patri– “father” and passio “suffering”). Its adherents believe that God the Father was incarnate and suffered on the cross and that whatever happened to the Son happened to the Father and so the Father co-suffered with the human Jesus on the cross. This view is opposed to the classical theological doctrine of divine apathy. According to classical theology it is possible for Christ to suffer only in virtue of his human nature. The divine nature is incapable of suffering. There is no consensus that the early church considered this a heresy or not – Wikipedia).

What we do know – which we get from the Bible; that’s all we’ve got, and it’s sufficient – is that at the cross, the Father’s full wrath that should have fallen on sinners, He unleashed on His Son. But then, who wants to sing songs, or preach, on the wrath of God in church “worship” (the songs part of church). It makes a person feel bad, and makes God look really bad.

Except for the contentious patripassianism bit,  the song “How deep the Father’s love for us,” is, as someone said, “One of my favourite songs… Fantastic song, it truly speaks to me how truly deep our heavenly Father loves us, even when our voices are among the scoffers.” Here are the words put to music.

More songs in church – Won’t you reign me in again

Here are the titles of songs sung at the same service:

Lord reign in me.
I lift my hands.
Blessed Assurance.

So far, very nice titles. Here is a verse from each:

Lord reign in me – Last verse: “Lord reign in me, Reign in your power, Over all my dreams, In my darkest hour, you are the Lord of all I am, So won’t you reign in me again.

Comment: If “you are the Lord of all I am,” why do you – in the next breath – warble, “So, won’t you reign in me again?” Say no more.

There was less than a minute interval between the above verse and the first verse of the next song.
I lift my hands – First verse: “I lift my hands to the coming king, To the great I am to You I sing, For you’re the One who reigns within my heart.”

Comment: So which is it? “For you’re the one who reigns within my heart” or the plea in the last verse of the previous song you sang a moment before: “So won’t you reign in me again.” Shouldn’t you be singing, “So won’t you feign in me again.”

The next song was Blessed Assurance. Last verse – “Perfect submission, all is at rest, I in my saviour am happy and blessed, Watching and waiting, looking above, Filled with his goodness, lost in his love.”

Put it all together, it spells smother: Blessed assurance reigning in me, reign me in again.

But who cares! They’re nice songs. Anyhow it’s too late to do anything about it one minute before proceedings begin.

Our worship often smells nothing of God

There are so many songs sung in church that shouldn’t be. Lines such as “I’ll lay it all down again” (what’s this “it,” YOUR life!) and “I wanna be with you-hoo-hoo” are plain silly. (See Songs we should not sing in church).

Hugh Binning lived and died in the first half of the 17th century (1637 – 53). What he said about worship applies to all times and climes – whether it be of the formal or informal (no form?) kind”

“For the most part, our worship savours and smells nothing of God, neither his power, nor his mercy and grace, nor his holiness and justice, nor his majesty and glory; a secure, faint, formal way, void of reverence, of humility, of fervency, and of faith. I beseech you let us consider, as before the Lord, how much pains and time we lose, and please none but ourselves, and profit none at all. Stir up yourselves as in his sight for it is the keeping of our souls continually as in his sight which will stamp our service with his likeness. The fixed and constant meditation on God and his glorious properties, this will beget the resemblance between our worship and the God whom we worship and it will imprint his image upon it, and then it should please him, and then it should profit thee, and then it should edify others.”

(The works of Hugh Binning).

In Christ and with Christ: I wanna be with you-hoo-hoo. But, not yet

In Worship Music in Antioch – Cranking Up the Worship Band,” Pastor Scott Brown discusses with interviewer Kevin Swanson the relationship between music and worship. Brown says:

I’ve experienced a situation a number of times where someone is in the congregation and they’re not singing.  I ask them, ‘how come you’re not singing. They say,’I don’t like that song,’,or ‘I’m not going to sing a chorus,’ or ‘it (the song) has to be out of a certain century.’ My instructing is always the same: you have to prioritize your own actions. You have to ask yourself “is the song doctrinally accurate?” or “is the song true.” If the song is not true you shouldn’t be singing it.” 

Here is a song I heard in a church Sunday last, where the words do not, indeed definitely cannot, match the singer’s aspiration. Here are two verses of the song “How deep is the father’s love for us.”

Verse 1

I just want to be where You are,

dwelling daily in Your presence

I don’t want to worship from afar,

draw me near to where You are

Verse 2

I just want to be where You are,

in Your dwelling place forever

Take me to the place where You are,

I just want to be with You

Hip hop ending

I just want to (wanna) be

I just want to (wanna) be with You

Here is the Youtube link to the song. I quote a few of the 93 comments posted there: 1. Lord take me to your home, I receive the anointing of the holy ghost. in Jesus name amen.  2.  Anointed 3. Thank you very much for this beautiful song very touching (touching  = anointed?).

What does the “worshiper” think these words mean: “Take me to the place where you are, I just want to be with you?” I try to answer that question here.

The Bible says (many times in the letters of Paul) that to be a Christian is to be “in Christ” and “Christ in you.” Christians are born of God (born again), which entails that Christ lives – through the Holy Spirit – in them. So far, we are dealing with the notion to be “in Christ.” Once regenerated (quickened, raised to spiritual life), believers are enabled and therefore can choose the good things of God. If, though, believers don’t only want to be in Christ but also with Christ, that I would call radical radical Christianity. Radical Christianity is be consumed with living in and for Christ.; radical radical Christianity is “I want to be with Christ – and I want it now. Here is the Apostle Paul: Philippians 1:21-23 – “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.” 

Jeremy Walker, in his Life in Christ: Becoming and Being a Disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ,” explains the difference between being in Christ and with Christ, where “the anticipation of the dying saint” is to be with the Lord:

To lack food is terrible; to lack money is distressing; to lack health is miserable; to lack friends is tragic; but to lack Christ is to lack the greatest and most necessary good-it is the most awful situation imaginable. If we had Christ, all else could be borne, but to live and die without Christ makes any number of other blessings little better than dust and ashes in our mouths. Second, someone might be with Christ. If to be without Christ is the height of woe, then to be with Christ is the pinnacle of bliss, for this is the very joy and blessing of glory. To be “present with the Lord” (2 Cor. 528) is the heaven of heaven. There is no greater joy, no happier prospect, no sweeter moment than to have the eye actually rest upon the Lord Christ, the glorified Savior of sinners. This is the anticipation of the dying saint, the prospect for the resurrection that makes every other hint of the glory to come shine with golden light. However, if we are to be with Christ when we die or taken to be with Him when He returns, we need to bear in mind that no one will ever be with Christ unless they are first in Christ.”

In Christ is the very opposite of being “in Adam” (Rom. 5:12-21), which we are by nature. It is very different from being “in the World,” which we are by sinful inclination. It is not the same as being “in church”-there are many people who imagine that being in a church building from time to time, in regular attendance at church services, or even a member of some church, even one where the truth is preached, will somehow of itself guarantee their salvation. You can be in church and without Christ.”

In sum, when one is “without” Christ, Christ is not indwelling that person. “Without Christ” in our context, is not the opposite of “with Christ.” “Without Christ” means “not in Christ,” which is a spiritual state in this life. “With Christ,” on the other hand, means to join Christ where he is in his glorified state – on the right hand of the Father in heaven, and, as the song is written, this means now – during the church service. 

So, do you still want to be with Christ (now)? Of course you don’t. So, stop being adolescent and singing those silly boyfriend-girlfriend songs. Don’t you really mean, ““Lord grant me to be with you but not yet?” And perhaps also “Lord grant me chastity and continence but not yet?” (St Augustine’s adolescent prayer). Wazzat. 

Songs in church: Cerebrate before you celebrate

There is milk and there is meat. Salvation does not depend on the depth of scriptural understanding; “let the little children come unto me.” The letters of Paul are full of admonitions to “strengthen the inner man” and “renew the mind,” yet many Christians grow very little in their Christian knowledge; they’re happy with skinny dips and paltry sips. Got my ticket punched, done deal. I’m heavenbound.

A very important skill is knowing how to read (or listen) properly. Nowhere is this skill more important than in reading (listening to) the Bible; one’s salvation ultimately depends on it. To celebrate your faith, you first need to understand what you’re celebrating. That’s where your noggin, your meatloaf, your cerebrum (and cerebellum) comes in. Here is one example. All Christians acknowledge that Jesus is God come in the flesh (the incarnation). What does the “incarnation”mean? The answer to that question impacts on the “resurrection” and on Jesus as “Lord.”

There are several wrong theories about the “incarnation.” For example, the Second Person of the Trinity, the Son of God did not merely take on a body; he took on a complete human nature: body, soul and spirit (I wont say anything about the distinction between soul and spirit here). Another wrong understanding: the Father made a special human nature for his Son, This is incorrect, the Son took on the same kind of human nature as human beings. That is why Jesus is called the son of Mary, of David, of Abraham. Another misconception is that in taking on human nature, the Son became a new person. No, he has been a person from eternity.

Here is a popular song: Celebrate Jesus celebrate.

Celebrate Jesus celebrate
Celebrate Jesus celebrate
Celebrate Jesus celebrate
He is risen He is risen
And He lives forevermore
He is risen He is risen
Come on and celebrate
Come on and celebrate
Come on and celebrate
The resurrection of our Lord

As I said earlier, we should think about what we sing. How about also singing about what we think.

Cerebrate Jesus cerebrate
Cerebrate Jesus cerebrate
Cerebrate Jesus cerebrate
He is risen He is risen
And He lives forevermore
He is risen He is risen

Come on and celebrate
Come on and celebrate
Come on and celebrate
The resurrection of our Lord