Great Hymn, Great or Not So Great Tune?: The Law of God is Good and Wise

I have given my opinion on what I think a “Great Hymn, Not So Great Tune” looks like and what a “Great Hymn, Great Tune” looks like.  I thought from here on out I will just post the great hymns that I have discovered in using the Trinity Hymnal this past year, and let you decide if you think the tune is appropriate to and reinforces the words that are written (I’ll join the conversation if and when it get’s going). I like this hymn because of it’s balance between the first use of the law (to drive us to Christ alone for salvation) and the third use of the law (as a rule of love and gratitude for the Christian life). Here is the tune in the Trinity Hymnal (let me know if there are any other tunes floating around on the web). So what do you think, is this a “great tune” or a “not so great tune”?

The Law of God is Good and Wise

By Matthias Loy

The law of God is good and wise,
And sets His will before our eyes,
Shows us the way of righteousness,
And dooms to death when we transgress.

Its light of holiness imparts
The knowledge of our sinful hearts,
That we may see our lost estate
And seek deliverance ere too late.

To those who help in Christ have found
And would in works of love abound
It shows what deeds are His delight
And should be done as good and right.

When men the offered help disdain
And willfully in sin remain,
Its terror in their ear resounds
And keeps their wickedness in bounds.

The law is good, but since the fall
Its holiness condemns us all;
It dooms us for our sin to die
And has no power to justify.

To Jesus we for refuge flee,
Who from the curse has set us free,
And humbly worship at His throne,
Saved by His grace through faith alone.

Machen on the Spirituality of the Church

As I was listening to the lectures of the Westminster Seminary California conference on the relevance of J. Gresham Machen and his book Christianity and Liberalism for today, which took place last weekend, I was reminded of this beautiful ending to Machen’s classic book:

“But whatever solution there may be, one thing is clear. There must be somewhere groups of redeemed men and women who can gather together humbly in the name of Christ, to give thanks to Him for His unspeakable gift and to worship the Father through Him. Such groups alone can satisfy the needs of the soul. At the present time, there is one longing of the human heart which is often forgotten–it is the deep, pathetic longing of the Christian for fellowship with his brethren. One hears much, it is true, about Christian union and harmony and co-operation. But the union that is meant is often a union with the world against the Lord, or at best a forced union of machinery and tyrannical committees.  How different is the true unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace! Sometimes, it is true, the longing for Christian fellowship is satisfied. There are congregations, even in the present age of conflict, that are really gathered around the table of the crucified Lord; there are pastors that are pastors indeed. But such congregations, in many cities, are difficult to find. Weary with the conflicts of the world, one goes into the Church to seek refreshment for the soul. And what does one find? Alas, too often, one finds only the turmoil of the world. The preacher comes forward, not out of a secret place of meditation and power, not with the authority of God’s Word permeating his message, not with human wisdom pushed far into the background by the glory of the Cross, but with human opinions about the social problems of the hour or easy solutions of the vast problem of sin. Such is the sermon. And then perhaps the service is closed by one of those hymns breathing out the angry passions of 1861, which are to be found in the back part of hymnals. Thus the warfare of the world has entered even into the house of God, And sad indeed is the heart of the man who has come seeking peace.

Is there no refuge from strife? Is there no place of refreshing where a man can prepare for the battle of life? Is there no place where two or three can gather in Jesus’ name, to forget for the moment all those things that divide nation from nation and race from race, to forget humand pride, to forget the passions of war, to forget the puzzling problems of industrial strife, and to unite in overflowing gratitude at the foot of the Cross? If there be such a place, then that is the house of God and that the gate of heaven. And from under the threshold of that house will go forth a river that will revive the weary world” (Christianity and Liberalism, pp. 179-80).

The Spirituality of Emerging Adults

This White Horse Inn episode describes my generation to a tee.  We are a generation that takes a lot longer to grow up compared to our parents and grandparents in their days of entering adulthood.  I just turned thirty and I still have friends that aren’t quite settled as adults.  It used to be the case that people would become adults in their early twenties.  They would begin to settle down with a spouse, children, a house and a career.  But for the past two or three generations things have shifted in the culture.  Now cultural factors work against this and most people become adults in their early thirties, leaving a gap roughly between ages 18-29 where youth are emerging slowly into adulthood.  During this 10 year gap people aren’t really sure who they are.  They will switch majors several times, try various jobs, move to different places, date several people, and overall it will be a period characterized by much change as they seek to discover who they are and who they will be as adults once they reach their thirties.  How then does this cultural environment affect their spirituality and view of religion?  This is the question being answered in this edition of the White Horse Inn featuring special guest Dr. Christian Smith.  Dr. Christian Smith is a professor at the University of Notre Dame and author of the book Souls in Transition: The Spirituality of Emerging Adults.  This episode is a must listen for anyone who wants to better understand and engage people in their twenties with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.