If We Sang Only God’s Word This Could Not Happen

If God’s Word is sufficient for anything, it is sufficient for public worship. If we sang only God’s Word then we would never sing a hymn about climate change.

HT: Jeffrey Karel.

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  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

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15 comments

  1. Mao Tse Tung? Kim? Xi? SovEra. Etc. ad nauseam.
    Music is uniquely powerful in embedding a world view. I would think that is especially true of children. Consider the influence of We Are The Eorld, Imagine, Give Peace A Chance, and much of popular music during the Vietnam era.

  2. Conversely, if we obeyed the teachings of God’s Word, we wouldn’t compose hymns contrary to its teaching but would rather compose and sing songs that honor God in addition to the songs in Scripture He’s already given us for corporate worship (may the hymn above serve as a word of caution causing discernment for those of us who aren’t convinced we must only sing the songs of Scripture—greater scrutiny needs to be given to the songs we sings outside of the inspirited songs given to us in Scripture).

  3. Actually, I think “Immortal, invisible …” is worse (I don’t think it’s even a close shave – whether by Gillette or Shavekit or whatever):
    The One Who rested on the seventh day is not unresting (the not-so-charming hymn’s author is on record as having preached against sabbath observance);
    the One Who hastens His word to perform it is not unhasting;
    the One Who speaks through His word is not silent;
    the Creator does not live as part of His creation, even if He IS the true life of all;
    and it’s more our sin than the splendour of light that hides God from us.

    However, I have nothing against “How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord” and the faithful reflection in its last line of the five negatives of Hebrews 13:5!

  4. I realize that this is serious stuff, but part of me can’t help laughing. “Listen to science”…..if only! I can’t wait to hear Greta Thunberg singing it.

    But to add some context for us all….Ms. Gillette seems like a genuinely nice person and is a prolific hymn writer (perhaps Christian poet and song writer would be more accurate). She appears to be a woman of faith, is aligned with the PCUSA, and we should at the very least give her the benefit of doubt that we will one day share Glory with her. On top of that, her mother, Jane, went to be with the Lord this past Tuesday. I would ask for prayer for her and her family.

    • May God give comfort to her and her family. As for her Christian faith, we can only leave such matters with God. Sadly, I cannot to find anything encouraging on her website that would cause me to conclude that she has a true understanding of the Christ of scripture. It is, however, an interesting look at what has become of the PCUSA.

    • This is more to Mike’s comment, but I started saying for a while now. There are two PCUSAs. Because of the trust clause, there is the faithful remnant, who can be akin to the seven thousand God reserved unto himself in the ancient northern kingdom. The there’s the rest that’s embarrassed to say the kinGdom of God (they remove the “g”) and have given over to syncretism like ancient Israel and at times Judah.

      I have been back and forth over the past 18 months with my pastor and the national leadership. Finally, enough was enough, over the objections of my wife, I have been removed from membership. When I am having heart palpitations triggered in outrage at the genuine toxic, spiritual poison being dispense by those have twisted the conscience clauses to mean that any thing, including genuine heresy is okay (checkout what’s permitted on Matt 15), stay silent on the excesses of Democrats even as they criticize the former President, and cannot even bring themselves to say we should mourn when any woman should feel compelled to have an abortion for any reason (with very minimal exceptions), then they have been given over to Satan. Once I was told that the request was done, I promptly sent an email to the current Stated Clerk, the current PMA Executive Director, and the local counterparts at the presbytery and point out that usually Satan comes as an angel of light and not as the Medieval and Renaissance painters portrayed him, and said that the leadership was being exactly that. I said that I depart, handing them over to Satan and pray that they would repent of their evil ways.

  5. I read, that when Lutheranism was infected by “Enlightenment” in the late 1790’s, they become revised and rewrote their old hymns. Looks the same. Clearly, this is not a thing church must sing about!

  6. Can we keep on singing this until the day when there is a daring airlift rescue mission of the Obamas off Martha’s Vineyard before they’re all washed into the sea?

  7. I’m sorry, but this is flat out idolatry. “We pray for the mountains”? It’s certainly not a hymn, other than the borrowing of the chords and notes already supplied. Many will see this as a heartfelt plea to save the planet, but from whom? Us? Science? The weather? To heist a quote from one of my favorites: “Look, this is rubbish.”
    Instead of prayers for our planet, how about some heartfelt prayers for our self-absorbed plea’s.
    Lord help us.

  8. I really appreciate hymnary.org but occasionally a(n unfortunate) selection from the “Secular Hymnal” appears because it matches the tune of a hymn you’re viewing. I’ve often wondered why someone felt the need to create such a songbook in the first place. At least the Secular Hymnal makes no pretense of being suitable for Christian worship…

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