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Thursday, November 21, 2019

Examining My Own Song

Test All Things

In my last post I took a critical eye to the hymn "Saved by the Blood." We saw that nothing is above scrutiny. All things must be tested against scripture and sound doctrine. "Test all things; hold fast what is good" (1 Thess 5:21). In that spirit, I will now subject a song of mine to the same scrutiny.

The song below is just one example. I am sure there are errors, subtle and not-so-subtle, in other songs from the early years. Nothing is above scrutiny. Every teaching, every hymn, every song, every work must be measured by scripture, rightly divided. There are posts on this blog which, if I went back over every detail, I would correct or make more clear based on my continued study. In the end, your theology is your own. I will answer for how I handled scripture as will we all. God is a loving, patient God who understands we are but dust. But that is not an excuse to fail to study and rightly divide the Word of truth.

Come On Home

When I discovered and surrendered to the sufficiency of the sacrifice of Christ and faith alone in that sacrifice, his burial without decay, and his resurrection that we might have life, I was playing in a band. I had gone from a devout Roman Catholic (teaching Religious Education in my parish at the time) to being a newborn babe in Christ. This had an immediate effect on my songwriting.

In those early days I penned songs such as "Give Thanks Unto the Lord" and "Don't Worry Anymore" and "No Forgiveness" (based on Hebrews 9:22) among other Christian-themed works. These early works reflected my fresh, yet still growing faith. My faith was still maturing. This is natural process and God is patient with all his children. In the modern age, however, since we have the ability to freeze time via video or sound recording, our less than mature work can get locked in time.

One of the songs I wrote during that era was inspired by looking back at my Catholic students and friends who were still mired in darkness (filtered through Catholic imagery). (There is a subtext based on the creed of my college fraternity with whom I was exchanging letters at the time, but perhaps that story at another time.)

The original draft and recording was written  in a minor key as it was meant to be delivered with a sense of sadness. Later the chorus progression was changed slightly to give it a more hopeful balance. The song is called "Come On Home."

No Love, they give you no love;
No Light, they give you no light;
Sitting in the darkness as they speak their empty lines,
Their minds are cluttered with the thoughts of foolish wine. 
No Truth, they give you no truth;
No Life, they give you no life;
Thinking in their natural minds the thoughts of natural men,
Hoping they'll get saved, they're just not so sure when. 
Come on home, my son,
Come on home, my son,
The work has been done,
Come on home, my son. 
No faith, they give you no faith,
No grace, they give you no grace,
Created righteousness, they trust in flesh and bone,
In filthy rags they'll stand at the Great White Throne 
No hope, they give you no hope,
No peace, they give you no peace,
Slaves of ritual, they tell you what to see,
But the debt's been paid, and Jesus wants you free. 
Come on home, my son,
Come on home, my son,
The work has been done,
Come on home, my son. 
Come on home, we're waiting for you,
Leave the works of flesh behind you,
Fall upon your knees and cry out,
Come on home, my son,  we're waiting here,
We're waiting here.
(This outro was deleted for the final studio version)

OK. Shakespeare I am not. While my intent is good and heartfelt, I cannot deny that the song contains error. As straightforward as it may appear, there is subtle error. In the line, "In filthy rags they'll stand at the Great White Throne," I warn the listener that those who are trusting in their own righteousness to any degree will face judgment at the Great White Throne of Revelation 20:11-15. This is not "rightly dividing the Word of Truth."

This is not a study of the Great White Throne (GWT), but for our purposes here, suffice it to say I have wrongly presented the GWT as some sort of judgment of all unbelievers of all ages. I have taken it from its context and fallen for the false dichotomy of "saved/lost" and "heaven/hell" which we have covered previously.

As we have seen in other studies many times, only those who have professed faith in Christ alone have "life." Only those who have the Son have life. The others will not see life. That is, only those who have been reconciled to God by faith in the death, burial, and resurrection (since Christ finished his ministry on earth) have a hope of resurrection. Those who reject Him or have faith in the works of their hands, will not see life. They will not see resurrection.

In context of my song, it should reflect that those who do not "come on home" to Christ will not, as I wrote, appear at the GWT, rather they will not see resurrection or life at all.

I can say this, as bad as my error here may be, it is not nearly as bad as the errors regarding judgment in the 19th century hymn, “Judgment.” Being a hymn couldn’t rescue it from teaching terrible error.

In regard to the hope of this dispensation and the hopes of other dispensations and the place of the GWT, I leave you with this quick reference chart from Oscar M Baker (source: HERE)

THE HOPE OF ISRAEL was to be resurrected and possess the land promised to their fathers. They had the 10 Commandments, diverse laws and ordinances, and circumcision. There is nothing in the Old Testament about men going to heaven after death.
THE HOPE OF THE CHURCH OF GOD was to be caught up, either dead or alive, into the air to meet and come back with the Lord when He comes to set up His Kingdom on the earth. This church was made up of both Jew and Gentile with the Jew first. There were two faiths, and two gospels. The middle wall of partition was between. They were to observe water baptism and the Passover. They were still subject to the law, (except Gentiles as in article before).  
THE HOPE OF THE CHURCH WHICH IS THE BODY OF CHRIST is to have an earlier resurrection, to be caught up into the super-heavens and manifested with Him in Glory. This is His coronation where He is made King of Kings and Lord of Lords. This happens before either the hope of Israel or that of the church of God.
That leaves the nations which were before Abraham which are not included in the three groups above to appear at the Great White Throne. There are the four future resurrections.  In which will you appear? What is your hope?                                     
                                        Originally Published Oct. 1948