Men suffer not Thy Word to stand...

(by Tim) Have you noticed how the hymns, songs, and spiritual songs being written for Christian worship today exclude words or concepts that are negative? And, performed on "Christian radio," how every piece of music ends in a triumphant crescendo?

Listen to your local Christian radio station and count the number of times Satan, Hell, the narrow path, old age, death, or false doctrine appear in songs' lyrics. Really, we ought to be coming up with new settings for Psalm 137. But hey, it wouldn't get air time. Go over to The Psalms of David from Kings Choir of Kings College, Cambridge, Vol. 1 for an old setting I love. (In fact, I'm very fond of all three volumes in this series and highly recommend them.)

Well here's a tonic for what ails us, from the same spiritual father who gave us, "And though this world, with devils filled, Should threaten to undo us, We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us; The Prince of Darkness grim--we tremble not for him; His rage we can endure, For lo, his doom is sure, One little Word shall fell him." Whether or not your church would sing the following words with gusto might be some indication of whether you've found a good church home...

O Lord, Look Down from Heaven, Behold

O Lord, look down from heaven, behold
And let Thy pity waken:
How few are we within Thy Fold,
Thy saints by men forsaken!
True faith seems quenched on every hand,
Men suffer not Thy Word to stand;
Dark times have us o'ertaken.

With fraud which they themselves invent
Thy truth they have confounded;
Their hearts are not with one consent
On Thy pure doctrine grounded.
While they parade with outward show,
They lead the people to and fro,
In error's maze astounded.

May God root out all heresy
And of false teachers rid us
Who proudly say: Now, where is he
That shall our speech forbid us?
By right or might we shall prevail;
What we determine cannot fail;
We own no lord and master.

Therefore saith God, I must arise,
The poor My help are needing;
To Me ascend My people's cries,
And I have heard their pleading.
For them My saving Word shall fight
And fearlessly and sharply smite,
The poor with might defending.

As silver tried by fire is pure
From all adulteration,
So through God's Word shall men endure
Each trial and temptation.
Its light beams brighter through the cross,
And, purified from human dross,
It shines through every nation.

Thy truth defend, O God, and stay
This evil generation;
And from the error of their way
Keep Thine own congregation.
The wicked everywhere abound
And would Thy little flock confound;
But Thou art our Salvation.



Amen, and amen!

I mentioned Satan and eternal damnation in a recent sermon I did during supply preaching and a person came up to me after the service and subsequently told me that "We do not like to use words like that here. We like Positive worship."

Amen. Our local Christian radio station's catchphrase is "Positive and encouraging K-love!"

Benjamin's comment reminded me of a conversation I had with an Epsicoapl matron 15 years ago, as we walked between the sanctuary and the parish hall after worship one Sunday. We were, at the time, in the middle of a survey of Genesis which I was teaching the adults. I had asked them each week to quickly skim the narrative portions of Genesis in one sitting. Repeated exposure to Genesis in this fashion would, I hoped, help them see its contents in overall perspective.

"I will be so glad when we are finished with Genesis," she said.

"Oh? Why is that?"

"Well, each week, I read Genesis quickly, as you asked."

I waited for further comment, but her lips were pressed firmly together. Taking a gamble, I said, "And, that's a problem?"

"Well," she sniffed. "It's full of many things that are not nice."

I always thought passages like Psalm 137 should sound less like a serene choir and more like O Fortuna, or maybe like this:

Gee, I attended a Baptist church growing up and Satan and Hell were mentioned at least once in the sermon


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