One might wonder why in the heading of my blog there are a collection of hymnals. I am a worship leader and collect hymnals of high caliber on which to draw Christ-centered, cross-focused texts which exhort God’s people to worship on the basis of Christ and Him crucified for their sins. I compose original melodies as well as arrange old ones so that the Church may be edified in singing these timeless truths. William Gadsby (1773-1844) was a pastor and hymnwriter who compiled the first edition of his hymnal on in 1832. I have a copy of the final text-only edition in my possession (recent reprint by Old Paths Gospel Press). #662 gives us the sum and substance of Christian worship.
O the matchless love of Christ!
He has bought our souls with blood!
Jesus, our exalted head
For us sighed, and groaned and bled
He invites us to this feast
Bids our souls His glories taste
And with pleasure keep in view
What he once for us went through
Hear Him speak, ye blood-bought few
For this word is sent to you
You, the objects of His choice
Listen to His saving voice:
“This My body is and blood
Take, receive it as your food”
But, as oft as this you do
Keep your slaughtered Lord in view
View Him in your wretched place
Overwhelmed in deep disgrace
Plunged in horror’s dreadful flood
The vindictive wrath of God
View Him and with wonder tell
He has vanquished death and Hell
Canceled all your sins with blood
And will bring you home to God
As I reflect on these words, I see much that makes the present-day American evangelical shudder. Vindictive wrath of God? Horror’s dreadful flood? Objects of choice?
First, God has bought us with His blood. Romans 5:1-2 tells us that through Christ we obtain access by faith into the grace in which we now stand, which is tied directly to the shedding of blood by Christ in verse 6. Ours is a faith founded on the shedding of blood. It’s one of the truly great paradoxes of our time that blood would be so offensive and war video games so popular. Useless shedding of blood is held up as entertainment and purposeful shedding of blood is denied, ignored or belittled.
Second, the feast: communion. He invites us to be nourished by His body and blood; it is in this way that we receive in part the grace of God. What more important thing do we have to do than to receive the grace of God through the Lord’s Supper? (Answer: nothing.)
Third: the vindictive wrath of God is being poured out on all unrighteousness as per Romans 1:19. The good news for those in Christ is that this wrath is poured out onto Christ, not them. This wonderful assurance is another victim of the purpose-driven model of ‘evangelism’. The wrath of God is not passive…it is active.
Finally, the wonderful assurance of our place eternally with God is given by Christ and His sealing us with the Holy Spirit. This is not pie-in-the-sky, sweet by and by theology, folks. This is the reward for alien obedience.
But I suppose it’s more convenient to sing love songs to ‘my boyfriend Jesus.’ They don’t remind us of His death or of how much we’re truly loved. That would point out our sin…and we don’t want to know about that. It might necessitate repentance or something which would completely defeat Jesus being simply added to my already fulfilling life.
No love I have for Christ could ever match the love He displayed, let alone the love He actually has for His people.
Jay Miklovic said:
Hey, I appreciate reading this blog and this post esp. I do have a few questions regarding ‘gay and evangelical’. Again, I understand your position regarding orientation, as well as sexual sin, and that you make clear that the orientation is not the sin, the act is the sin. I agree whole heartedly.
My question is what defines ‘gay’? Is it action or orientation? I think I know your answer is probably orientation, and I would agree with that. However most of the evangelical community would likely disagree. If the evangelical community is your primary audience do you think you lose them at the title? Or is it the professing gay community that is your primary audience?
I am just wondering… please hear the tone of this comment as gracious and not critical.
@yfmumc on twitter
Excellent question. My intent is certainly to get folks who are either in the ‘gay community’ or ‘evangelical camp’ to read. I realize I’m tweaking both in the process, but it seemed one way to get folks to pay attention. My initial (and primary) thought regarding the title is that it would be geared primarily to evangelicals who think that the ‘gay problem’ is for ‘those folks out there,’ never realizing that there are folks who are attracted to the same gender eating from the same communion table they do. I don’t think this is a realization most have had yet, at least not in my part of the country.
Gay is, definitionally speaking, primary or exclusive attraction to one’s own gender. It doesn’t involve a loose lifestyle, though there are many folks who are gay OR straight for whom that would apply. I know I lose some folks in the title, but my hope is that there are others who would take time as you have to read posts I’ve written, test what I say against that of Scripture and then see if what I proclaim in terms of my sin and Christ’s salvation is biblical, not simply get an emotion ‘read’ on the situation based on some buzzwords they see in my title.
And, of course, ultimately the title was my feeble attempt to be clever.
Thanks for your questions, Jay. I enjoy reading you on Twitter and I hope your ministry continues to grow and see fruition coming from the Gospel.
Jay Miklovic said:
In response to your response. Cool.