My heart goes out to this kid. Once upon a time I was him. So were many of you.
Posted by Darrell
I suck at music (played the trombone for like 10 years, piano for about 6. I haven’t listened to this, but I the stop frame sure looks like he’s as bad and miserable as I was. I hope he’s more talented if miserable. Listening now. First.
BTW, “Born to Die” represents so much of where Fundamentalism gets it depressingly wrong. You’d think everything between Virgin Birth (sans umbillical cord of corse) and atoning death was absolutely a perfunctory nice story, with some good (if unattainable, and pointless) goals/teachings. Not to mention lumping the resurrection either in with death, or simply marginalizing it. Just beautiful. Fundamentalist theology in a song.
The title of that song bothers me for some reason. I prefer to think of it as Jesus was born to save us (yes, he did die on the cross in order to do so, but still…).
I think that His death was very important to Him because while instituting the communion Christ said to do this to remember my death until I come again…. Also didn’t Paul say we asre to preach Christ, crucified???? That is why catholics do not have a bare cross!!
I believe it is BOTH Christ AND Him crucified, not solely crucifixion that is to be preached.
@Dave: I wear a crucifix, and I’m not Catholic. Catholics do not believe that Christ is still on the Cross, they keep them to remind them of what Christ did for us.
@Susan: Really? I’d always been told Catholics wore the crucifix because they believed He hadn’t risen from the dead…Duu-uh on me for not actually asking a Catholic about what the crucifix meant to them. Thank you for enlightening me, though.
The idea of remembering His death is merely, in my view, a way of putting His sacrifice in the forefront on my mind. He gave up a lot- the glory of Heaven, to come here. Then He gave up His life for mine. But I definitely agree that we should focus on the Life of Christ much more than we do sometimes. He was on earth 33 years for a reason. What did he do for 33 years?! Whatever it is, it’s probably pretty important. But to be fair, this kid does look miserable, and who can blame him? It’s a song written by Ron Hamilton… stick to writing piano music Ron, ’cause singing your songs is hard. (I really don’t like his music anyways… boring)
Just Curious, that’s an excellent idea, to ask someone who wears a crucifix what it means to them, instead of just believing a tall tale.
It would certainly be news to just about every Catholic on earth that they don’t believe in the Resurrection.
@Big Gary. Truthiness.
Yeah, I’m just now starting to realize how much I am going to have to sort out in my head–what’s the real deal concerning God and the Bible, and what’s just–what’s that phrase someone used a while back–Bull Gipp.
@just_curious: There have been a lot of lies told about the Catholic Church. A lot of them made their way to Chick Tracts.
@Susan: *sigh* Read those a lot growing up too….
For years, I never understood parts of the song: “…fell a shadow called Andre”; I wasn’t aware that shadows could be named, nor what this had to do with the song.
Of course, it could have been a problem with those singing it… do you think?
HONG KONG FOOEY!
Ron Hamilton looks like a rank amateur next to the song writing talent of our friends here on SFL. Just saying…
I feel sorry for that kid and all the Charles Ignatius Parker III’s out there this season.
[blockquote]I feel sorry for that kid and all the Charles Ignatius Parker IIIâ€™s out there this season.[/blockquote]
Yeah, that’s me.
You can call them “Chip”
arrrrggg *tic* *Shudder* *right eye twitch*
I feel like I should get that joke, but who is Chip? (Know I’m gonna regret the answer based on Don’s tic’ing.
If you have to ask who Chip is, I’m not sure you’re really a fundy!
C’mon RobM! First you don’t see (and still don’t see) the white piano. Now you don’t know who Chip is? Actually, I don’t know who Chip is either.
Charles (CH) Ignatius (I) Parker (P)
the intrepid protagonist of “Born To Die” a modern re-telling of the Prodigal Son… sortof.
Oh. I probably have seen that play. All of those Hamilton plays are long out of my mind, just a few of the songs remain. Thought that was just an ironic title for family trying to make their son act/look a certain way.
Oh, Lord. I and my best friend were in that play. He was “Chip,” I was the good kid. Or the bad kid. I can’t even remember which trope it was.
Flattery will get you everywhere, Don.
Hey, did you ever notice that all his damn songs sounded the same? Somewhere in them they’d have that step down thing.
0:15 – Wreath OFF!
2:43 – Wreath ON!
Just reminds me of some “interesting” patch jobs we did for stage lighting at our fundy church for the Christmas program.
Interesting = fire hazard. Of course Fire Hazard is meaningless. Church full of kids burns down is fine as long as they’ve gotten their week full of guilt and screaming!
Two guys at our church got into a ‘battle of the switch’ last year during the Children’s Christmas program.
The tree would be on…..then off….then on…..then off…. it was quite funny. Ok funny if you are easily amused like I am.
I don’t think the wreath is that high tech to have a switch. I think there’s a guy in the back plugging and unplugging the thing.
I like to think of it as a sparking fusebox/panel.
HA! Before we built our new building the only way to turn the sanctuary lights on and off was a the breaker box! Lighting cues had to be relayed to the “operator” via a guy peeking at the stage through the back window!
I always knew someone out there had to be doing that!
That poor kid! Did he even look up one time during that song?! Seriously, the highlight of that number was the wreath coming on at 2:43!
Somebody needs to remind fundies it is called “special music” for a reason. Getting up and singing a song exactly as written with no emotion or connecting with the audience is less than “special” IMHO!
Fundies do sing with emotion.. the emotion of sadness and melancholy.
If you could find that carved nativity scene pictured on the cover (of the Born to Die book), you could make a mint on Fundy Ebay. Medievals’ fascination with pieces of the true cross pales in comparison to some Fundy’s obsession with icons (anybody remember Hyles giving away John R. Rice relics at Pastor’s School?).
Yes! Steeped as I was in IFB culture, it seemed wrong to me, and was a very early step in separating from the others.
I have a few relics for sale if anyone is interested: one Dr Hyles shirt and a Dr. joe Boyd suit.
Ahhh. . the memories of being forced to do “special music” at church as a kid. I bet I looked just as miserable. I think I sounded even worse. Poor kid.
Okay maybe it’s because I am in the “Christmas spirit” but I am missing the problem here.
A young man singing a gospel song in Church.
This is a BAD thing???????
Has SFL become now a crticism of Christianity?
Sorry , but this time I don’t see the point of making fun of a good thing.
I’m not making fun of him. Far from it, I specifically said my heart goes out to him.
This song may not be familiar to you, but it’s from the cantata Born to Die by Ron Hamilton which is a terrible bit of fundamentalist glurge from start to finish. I say this as someone who sang in the choir for it one year.
The point of this series of posts is to show snapshots of life in fundyland at Christmas. This type of performance is one such memory that is obviously shared by many here. That’s all there is to it, no more or less.
Oh, Theo, really. Most of us have been there. Singing in church. The first time I sang a solo in church, I was 3 and the last time was at my Grandma’s funeral last year. It’s something a lot of us can relate to. It’s not a criticism of Christianity. Not even that deep. IMO, it’s a “I’ve been there and I know how he feels”, ESPECIALLY when we were teens.
As a professional organist, and former IFB, another thing that I abhor is the goshawful piano accompaniments for these cantatas, and for the soloists….The quick bits are like Broadway pit piano music, and the slow consist of doubling the melody in the piano (a HUGE no-no) and arpeggiated chords….
That is, if the piano is actually in tune.
. . . And of course, with most of these anthems, there’s the obligatory half-step modulation before the final refrain, which is designed to make the piece sound DRAMATIC. How cheesy can you get?
The most useful thing I learned in my years in Fundyland was how to 1. Transpose on the fly 2. Play hymns at sight 3. Create complex accompaniments from a lead sheet, or a melody, or chords and words, or just words, or NOTHING….
It rather amazes my fellow organists who grew up as BCP Episcopalians and had plenty of time to perfect their printed accompaniments…
Are you sure this is a fundy church? I can’t hear the bellowing amens every few seconds.
Certain IFB churches in the south or even the midwest enjoy vociferous outbursts from the congregation, but I’ve seen many IFB churches which are formal and reserved. I’m guessing this is one of the latter.
Yes, southern fundy churches are all about amening. Well, as long as it’s the men.
Hee hee, I got called down by one of my parents for loudly “amening” an evangelist when I was 5 (and I’m a girl, btw)… I was just trying to be an encouraging audience member.
I grew up in an IFB church in NE and “amens” were rare. We’d always get chewed out by visiting preachers because we didn’t “amen” enough.
I wondered the same, since they clapped at the end. They were obviously giving the glory to the singer, not to the Lord.
That poor kid looks so uncomfortable up there.
He’s suffering for Christ.
and now after listening we are too…
Damn you, Darrell! Now I have that song running through my mind.
I’ve had a long running theory (since at least Fundy U week) that Darrell at least gets a little pleasure out of passing off the pain to the rest of us!
Oh yeah he is… I can just see him smiling when it happens.
Admit it, Darrell.
I have no idea what you people are talking about. None whatsoever.
*he said with a Muttley snicker*
Schadenfreude. Look it up.
This is why people sleep in church.
Or make grocery lists like I do.
Or text message people like I do.
I check emails on my Blackberry.
Hm, that gives me an idea…
Yeah, I used to catch myself laughing during a sermon…I suppose I should have had a list to keep me busy or something. After a while, Fundy sermons become a hoot because the tone of the scream is the same, just the words or topic changes.
Or from the movie Dogma “At least it gives a chance to balance my check book”.
Do only constipated people sing in BJ churches?
so you don’t wake the ones sleeping…
What’s wrong with the song? I think the message of the song is good….
I think it speaks loudly to the typical hopeless Fundy theology that always omits anything to do w/ resurrection by focusing solely on substitutionary death. You focus on death that much you’ll end up with a lot of hell fire & brimstone.
I agree with your points about this song focusing on Christ’s death and not on His resurrection and our new life in Him. “Born to Die” ends with reference to our death to ambition and giving up our will, and even though the song is ostensibly about Christ, it’s really man-centered.
Here’s a good antidote–a song with similar themes, but a very different perspective:
Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris’n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”
Yes I love that one about Harold’s Angel — Hark!
Great post, Jane. Free coffee for you at the flea market.
Those lyrics are so rich. Thanks Jane.
What’s with Ron and killing self? Many of his songs have to do with death to ambition, desires, dreams, etc.. I don’t think that’s what Jesus meant.
My little theory, Tony, is that fundamentalists emphasize death of ambition and submission of the will because they don’t want us to think for ourselves and use a little Christ-focused ambition to accomplish things for Him. When everyone is conforming to the mog’s standards and submitting their dreams and plans to him, they’re not able to think outside the box and accomplish ambitious things for God. I understand that we need to “die daily” and submit to Christ, but the fundy version is really false humility and false submission.
Bravo, Jane. I love that song, either with Mendelssohn’s bouncy tune or Wesley’s preferred one from Lyrica Davidica. And it is a refreshingly Christ-centered and festive take on the Incarnation.
Chafer said this (of the covenant position – keep in mind Chafer was a calvinist, but dispensational). I think it applies to Baptists too.
“The death of Christ is given a place of large significance but His resurrection is accounted as little more than something for His own personal convenience, His necessary return from the sphere of death back to the place which He occupied before. In other words, as viewed by Covenant theologians, there is practically no doctrinal significance to Christ’s resurrection [and me identified with Him!]
I don’t really know what Covenant theologians are like today, but this certainly applies to Fundmental Baptists.
WOW. I can’t believe Lewis Sperry Chafer wrote this. It exactly reflects the gist of a conversation I had with my pastor when I was in high school. I asked him one Sunday why he never preached messages on the Sermon on the Mount. He looked at me as though I were from another planet. His response was that the Beatitudes and all that stuff had to with the ideal future life in the dispensation of the millennial Kingdom, when Christians would actually have the capacity to live it out. It had no relevance for this present life.
I was stunned. It was yet another of the turning points in my journey away from fundamentalism/evangelicalism.
My husband started buying into that for a while then he realized that ignoring a lot of what Jesus said by saying it applied to another time is HORRIBLE!!!! How dare I ignore what Christ’s very words? We now desire to live like kingdom citizens today.
The Kingdom of Heaven is here. That was what Christ announced to the people, and that was why they were so excited– that Kingdom you’ve been waiting for? Here it is. He never said to wait until later before acting on the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount and the other teachings.
WearyPilgrim – I’m not sure I understand what you mean. Are you surprised in a good or bad way at the quote.
Personally, I find the Sermon on the Mount to be a perfect expression of the Holiness of the Law of God – so holy and perfect that it is unobtainable and striving to attain a life that matches it will only result in despair. However, when we see that Christ has attained already what we cannot, we can rest in His accomplishment. That’s got nothing to do with the quote..
I’m confused by what you mean
exIFB, please refrain from misrepresenting Covenant theology. The following is question 45 of the Heidelberg Catechism which shows the importance of the Resurrection.
45. Q. How does Christâ€™s resurrection benefit us?
A. First, by His resurrection He has overcome death, so that He could make us share in the righteousness which He had obtained for us by His death. Second, by His power we too are raised up to a new life. Third, Christâ€™s resurrection is to us a sure pledge of our glorious resurrection.
 Rom. 4:25; I Cor. 15:16-20; I Pet. 1:3-5.  Rom. 6:5-11; Eph. 2:4-6; Col. 3:1-4.  Rom. 8:11; I Cor. 15:12-23; Phil. 3:20, 21.
oh calm down. I don’t cry when anyone “misrepresents” dispensationalism. I quoted what someone else said (Lewis Sperry Chafer – a calvinist) about Covenant Theology in his day, and the practical aspects of their preaching, and said that I have no idea what Covenant Theologians preaching is like today, but that quote applies to Fundies now.
I don’t even care about Covenant theology – I quoted the quote because it was relevant to what the person above me said. But since I didn’t want to change the quote, I figured I ought to explain it – if I just posted it without explaining why, it would have been a bit odd.
Chafer is very wrong here. I didn’t learn the profound scope of the power of the resurrection of Christ until I started learning Scripture from a Covenant Theology POV.
But on topic – regardless of whether you think it applies to the covenant preachers that Chafer was familar with in 1925, do you think it applies to the fundamental baptist denomination of 2010.
I don’t think it applies to Covenant Theology of 1925, though I think it applies to Fundamentalism. But well known Covenant Theologians include John Bunyan and Charles Haddon Spurgeon. Do *they* seem to minimize the resurrection?
I don’t care. I didn’t post it as an attack on Covenant theology (why would I?)- I prefaced my post and explained my reason as best I could.
You just like arguing I think
Look, if you post an accusation against Covenant Theology, whatever your motivation (and I never questioned that), it’s pretty unreasonable to think that people who have benefited from the POV of Covenant Theology are going to ignore it, even if you want them to focus on your particular point. I didn’t say you were wrong; I said Chafer is wrong about Covenant Theology, because he is wrong about Covenant Theology.
I used to hate being in front of people, but I knew how to play a couple instruments, so I invariable ended up at the front of the church, even after much begging. Bad memories, though I like the song.
George visited. Invariably.
Ah. I remember this song! I sung a solo in the program, too. “I had the nicest Christmas list, the longest one in town, till daddy took a look and said you’ll have to cut it dow-owow-owowown!” As a professional musician who truly enjoys singing and playing for God’s glory, and people’s enjoyment, as well as my own, I must ask the question, why sing a song if you’re gonna sound so bored doing it? Seriously, does God get any pleasure in that? Where’s the passion, the emotion, the love of Christ in that performance? Oh yeah, if you put passion in, you’re singing sentually, and that is a sin unto death!
“Whereâ€™s the passion, the emotion, the love of Christ in that performance?” Exactly! It was always so disappointing to me that we were expected to sing like robots. That kind of worship is not only boring, it’s also unScriptural! Just read the Psalms!
Jesse, you have no idea how well you’ve described my soon-to-be-ex-IFB church. The majority of the time when someone sings, it sounds listless and boring, as though the singer isn’t putting much effort into it. But oh… if someone actually does put effort into it and uses their emotions to highlight and emphasize the song… woe be to that worldy heathen.
The most emotion I’ve ever seen during a song at a fundy church was a large, older man singing “Ship Ahoy!” His operatic “Ship, Ahoy!!!!” three times in each chorus had my husband and I shaking with stifled laughter in our seats.
To me, one of the most beautiful accounts of worship in the Bible is the story found in John 12, and Matthew 26 about Mary and the breaking of the alabaster box. If I read it correctly, she was in tears, overcome with gratitude for what Jesus had done for her as she did something just a little over the top, as far as everyone else was concerned. She demonstrated her love for Christ, and everyone else criticized her. True worship is generally criticized, so I suppose if he were to really mean what he sang, the fundies would’ve criticized him? It really is too bad, too, as music is arguably the highest form of worship. I wouldn’t sing if I couldn’t feel it. I’d go back and pursue a career in Rock ‘n roll music.
Good point! You’re right — she was criticized, but Jesus defended what she did. He accepted her emotional outpouring of worship. I also think of David’s exuberant dancing before the Lord as the Ark of the Covenant was returned. His wife Michal despised his dancing, and SHE was the one judged by God. David wasn’t. I grow daily more amazed at how the IFB (and me until a very short time ago) thought it more God-honoring to sing stiffly and very formally. That type of worship is NOT what I see in the Bible.
The other extreme is the Running the aisle, shouting and walking on the pews… all good Fundie outpourings of a spirit that is on them.
Watch the choreographed running of the aisles… ready…set… go!
Some people (myself included) just aren’t comfortable showing “emotion and passion” when they sing in front of others. It’s not a matter of lacking love for Christ or something; it’s just that not everyone is a performer, and not everyone feels comfortable in front of an audience.
CL, that’s fine, but whether you do it on purpose or unintentional, if you’re worshipping the Lord, something will show, whether it’s a look on your face, a tear in your eye, or something! It’s hard to remain stoic while worshipping a Saviour who expressed such passion for us.
@CL, I won’t judge you! But the problem for me is that most IFB churches I’ve been in pretty much demand YOUR type of response from everyone. Some of us are emotional and are comfortable in front of people and see no Scriptural justification for being told that we must sing stoically or with a plastic smile frozen in place.
The youth pastor at my parents’ fundie church was on record as saying, “If you don’t smile when you sing, you don’t love Jesus,” to his youth group during song time in 9AM Sunday School. Real classy.
I’m sorry, but he sounds like a calf dying in a hail storm.
Not much “Make a joyful noise…” in that performance, is there? The poor kid looks as though he wouldn’t recognize joy if it bit him on the backside.
Someone in the US Commonwealth just laughed very heard.
This couldn’t possibly be a Fundie church. People were clapping at the end. Don’t they know that this gives all the glory to that young man and none to God?
at my church they always clapped for kids or for someone who sang really bad. (sympathy clapping)
I know when I went to a fundy school, they would sometimes do this for a general school chapel with this one junior-high girl that would occasionally sing the solo there; and at least once the pastor of affiliated church emphasized that this was not what they would normally do in service.
I believe this wasn’t a church performance but rather a Fine Arts contest performance, fwiw.
I’ve been in lots of fundy churches that clap for special music, so it’s not an automatic disqualifier.
Only in Fundyville would this performance be considered “fine art.” I’m thankful my home Fundy church was far enough out of BJ’s orbit not to be caught up in their obsession with what they call fine art.
Why would they be doing a fine arts competition at Christmas?
While my IFB church originally would never have clapped for a singer, sometimes if it was a special program instead of Sunday morning, people might clap or they might clap for a young person’s performance. Also I noticed some IFB churches starting to clap more as I grew older.
video notes say “HPS, Fine Arts Christmas Recital,
Tabernacle Baptist Church, Orlando, FL, “
It looks like a pretty sanctuary.
Some IFBs have pretty sanctuaries? (Excuse me — “auditoriums”?)
The pastor of my first fundy church depised the word “sanctuaries”…he said that sanctuaries are for birds! That was 30+ years ago and I still think of that anytime someone call an auditorium a sanctuary!
Yeah. I know this church. In fact, I’m pretty sure that this kid goes to their high school, Heritage Prep.
On a slightly related note, my former high school just beat their basketball team.
Heritage Prep? Tampa, FL?
Absolutely loved the special lighting effect at the end when the Christmas Wreathe was lit. POWERFUL!
I know, I cried.
I think I’ve heard this song only once before. Can’t say that I missed anything.
We weren’t brought up on Ron Hamilton. Our Christmas and Easter music was inevitably and invariably written by (drum roll, please . . . ) John W. Peterson. The two styles of lyric and composition are so similar, though, I don’t think most people could tell the difference.
This brings up SO MANY bad memories of bad Christian music. Bad all around: bad poetry, bad melodies and harmonization, bad theology badly expressed. I wasn’t even out of high school before I wanted to escape from it all.
My “home” church transitioned from John W. Peterson to the Hamilton-Garlock stuff. The choir did “Born to Die” the first Christmas it was out. I remember, the more moderate reprobates in the congregation saying the “play” didn’t “go” with the music. They were right. The whole premise is so damn depressing. Born to die indeed.
Okay, kid, you’re gonna have to sing louder. Project it from the diaphragm… the diaphragm.. that thing above your stomach that… nevermind, just sing louder.. Stop sticking your chin out, it doesn’t make you sing louder… and the people in the audience aren’t going to bite so you can look at them… They’re supposed to look at you, you’re the feature… Yeah, I know, Mrs. Johnson is looking at you like she’s judging you. It’s not you, honey, she looks that way at everyone.
He looks like he is singing with a gun to his head! Poor kid!
“Itâ€™s not you, honey, she looks that way at everyone.” HAHA!!! There was a woman like that in my dad’s fundy congregation that I remember from every solo I ever sang there. Even then, I remember thinking, “Geez, did your husband just fart or something?? You look positively miserable.”
I would just tell him to fix his tie and sing with joy that his sins are forgiven.
This is a fundy church, Tony, I think you’re asking too much.
Fundies don’t straighten ties, and they do retain sins, not forgive!
These fundy music gigs are painful to watch, especially the kids. None of them, almost without exception, look like they are even remotely enjoying the music. For the adults with a little more stage comfort, they generally look like they’re nailed to the floor and lashed to a beam. Only their head moves back and forth like some kind of animatronic talking head at an amusement park. Guess they aren’t permitted to move to the music because that would be like, dancing, right?
I worded that poorly.. I should have said, “The adults with a little more stage comfort….”
Dang! I didn’t know Harry Potter could sing!
well… I guess…I still don’t….
I for one am quite happy with this song. It presents the heart of Christmas by directing attention to the heart of the gospel, the death of Jesus Christ in my place to rescue me from death. If we cannot rejoice in this reality as believers, then we do not really grasp the gospel of Jesus Christ.
It is absolute foolishness to expect every single song to present a balance of broad systematic theology.
I’m quite happy to criticise the theology of mush of the IBF music, but theologically, this song is spot on.
And yet it misses the best part of the story: the resurrection of Jesus. Any religious leader can die, but only Jesus can rise again.
Jenni, The resurrection is crucial to the gospel, but it is not the heart of the gospel. The heart of the gospel is the atonement. A risen Christ saves no one without the vicarious atonement. Those who view a driving focus on the cross as morbid or somehow unbalanced have not understood the desperation of their situation without the cross. Yes, Christians find joy in the resurrection, but they find greater joy in the cross. It is the death of Jesus Christ that atones for our sin, not the resurrection.
I find it ironic that a place like this, where Fundamentalists are rightly pounded for their shallow theology, the gospel itself is being derided.
“In the cross of Christ I glory!
Towering o’er the wrecks of time
all the light of sacred story
gathers round its head sublime!”
Paul gave the synopsis of the Gospel in 1 Cor 15:3-4. If Christ did not raise from the dead then we of all men are most miserable, and without hope for anything beyond this life. Without the Resurrection then all there is for us, is to live a moral life and die. The Gospel is a sum total that is greater than it’s individual parts and must be seen as a whole in order to be Good News at all.
If Christ lived a perfect sinless life and died for our sin… that may be important but it is left without ultimate purpose without the resurrection. Without the Deatho of Christ as the Sin bearer then the Resurrection is for naught except for Jesus Christ.
Okay, Rob, its time to step on my foot, please.
This one’s gonna hurt. I got my big boots on today!
If it were an isolated incident I could agree with you, but fundamentalist across the spectrum go for this isolate the cross, and focus on God’s wrath both for the Proxy (Christ), and then for each and every individual in the church personal behaviour and character; and Ron Hamilton over and over espouses the same fundamentalist message, and this is just part of it. Not to mention any of the racist stuff he does mocking Asian accents that has no place in church.
@Don, It is true that no element of the gospel can function independently of the rest. Still, the heart of the gospel is the atonement. Look at your key non-Fundamentalist contemporary gospel preachers (eg. Piper, MacArthur, Sproul, etc.) and you’ll find that this is not an anomalous statement. It is a theological verity that the gospel of Jesus Christ centres around the atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross.
@RobM, You’re entitled to your views on Ron Hamilton, and while I don’t agree with some of the theology in his works, I do think you’re wrong to try to paint him as a racist. It is a longstanding tradition in literature and especially in comedy, to parody a stereotype. I don’t think Hamilton differs from Shakespeare or a range of modern shows like Scrubs, etc. in this regard.
To argue about which part of the Gospel is more important is a moot point for without any one of the three there can be none at all.
Jesus must have came in the flesh and lived a perfect sinless life as a fully human man (and fully God man as well.) Jesus must have given his life as the propitiation and atonement for sin. And Jesus had to rise again the third day according to Scripture. It is an all or nothing principle. To focus on any individual part over the whole is “another” Gospel. We may study the individual parts for their merit but for it to be the Gospel at all then all the individual elements must be in their place of the whole, in Christ they are. So any argument about an individual part being greater or of more importance is non sequitur. It is the same as discussing what part of God is greater…
Hi Jason –
The gospel is not just the death, it is the resurrection as well. It is not just sins forgiven, it is life given.
If all we have is sins forgiven, well, what’s the point. We have received no power to be free from sin, we have not received life. All we have is forgiveness from what we have done wrong and who we are, with no power to be free from it. The Resurrection life of Christ, in us, frees us from the law, the power of sin, self, and to God, love, righteousness. The cross didn’t do that – His life did. His blood shed on the cross enabled God to be just in justifying us – Sin had been totally righteously punished in His body, and that is good news, but it is also good news that we now have the life of Christ in us and have been recreated in Him and are part of His body – identified with Him.
It all works together.
There is no forgiveness without blood shed, but if there is no life, then forgiveness is purposeless. We cannot be given life on the basis of our own merits, and thus, the propitiation of Jesus is neccesary in ensuring God’s is satisfied and God is righteous in declaring us righteous.
Whom God hath set forth to b] a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
I’m not as book smart as you, but discovering grace has really helped me understand a few things. Maybe I put too much emphasis on the new life in Christ, and don’t focus enough on His death. But his death was a one off event that made it possible for me to experience and live in His life, which is ongoing…
was meant to say (in second paragraph) ” ensuring God’s law is satisified”
@Don and exIFB,
You both seem to demonstrate an a weak understanding of the mechanics of the gospel. Yes, all of the gospel is necessary and important, but the atonement is the heart of the gospel. If we were to illustrate Christianity as a car, the fundamentals would be all of those parts of the car that are essential to it’s operation. The gospel would be the engine. But the atonement would be the combustion chamber. The atonement is what makes the resurrection give life. The atonement is what makes reconciliation possible. The atonement is what propitiates God’s wrath. The atonement is what makes it possible for a just God to regenerate us and give us eternal life. The atonement is what justifies us and brings us into Christ and into full fellowship with him in his life. The atonement is the power that sanctifies us every single day.
The atonement drives the whole thing. It is the heart of the gospel.
To write a song relating Jesus’ birth to his death in a direct purposive relationship is to relate Jesus’ birth to the heart of his redeeming work. It is cause for great joy and thankfulness on the part of all believers, Fundamentalist or not.
I guess what I am asking Jason is, as a Christian, should I constantly be thinking about the death of Jesus, and how sinful I was and what I did that He died for, or should I focus on the results of His death – Yes, He died, but now He lives and His life, forgiveness, grace etc has abounded to me.
I’ve found many IFB’s get into a “woe is me, I am a poor sinner a man undone” whenever they think of the cross (and I know that was the attitude of certain OT prophets when they saw the glory of God), and they think they have to come to God with pretense – ie, always aware of how sinful they were and how worthless etc, and that God won’t listen to them if they come as they are any moment of the day.
And it’s this “I am so sinful, I don’t appreciate the cross enough” mentality that drives men to the altar constantly.
In case you are wondering, I often speak of being a sinner in the past tense because we have been made righteous by God now in heavenly places, and I tend to think more positionally than practically. I don’t mean to say I do not sin.
If our sin is not a constant part of our daily awareness, then God’s grace will not be either. It is our sin which makes grace so amazing!
I am not amazed by God’s grace merely because of my past sin and the grace he has shown in the past. I am amazed daily by the grace he continues to pour out on me through his son Jesus Christ in spite of my rebellion against him.
I totally agree with you that we should not come to God with pretense or feel like we have to get worked up about our sin first. On the other hand, I think a solid understanding of our own bent toward rebellion against God (whether that be the “active rebel” or the “passive rebel”) is essential for those who intend to live the gospel of grace out every day.
This kind of life is not the morbid introspection that some display. It cannot be so because the gospel never leaves us discouraged. It always leaves us amazed by grace and rejoicing in God!
I’m not sure what you are referring to specifically when you say “altar.” If that’s an allusion to an “invitation,” I couldn’t agree more. Our church offers “invitations” only rarely.
Christianity is about living the gospel every day. It is the gospel that saved me. It is the gospel that is saving me. And it is the gospel that will save me some day. And living the gospel means living in a constant cycles of acknowledgment of my sin, admitting my sin to God, receiving scandalous mercy, and rejoicing in God’s overflowing grace.
Thanks Jason, I think we are on the same page.
You both seem to demonstrate an a weak understanding of the mechanics of the gospel.
Whew, I’m so glad you straightened me out on that.
“…the mechanics of the Gospel”…Hmm, it would seem to be that they have a firm grasp of the Gospel simply because all the crap they’ve been through in the name of the Gospel by Fundamentalist Godfathers, the simple fact that they are still interested in Jesus Christ demonstrates they understand the Gospel and its “mechanics”.
It’s easy to recognise and criticise what’s wrong. It’s hard to learn and live what’s right.
@Jason- good stuff … chesterton wrote similar ideas in a little book called “orthodoxy.” the following quotes are representative. “when one came to think of one’s self, there was vista and void enough for any amount of bleak abnegation and bitter truth. … There was an open playground for the happy pessimist. let him say anything against himself short of blaspheming the original aim of his being; let him call himself a fool and even a damned fool (though that is calvinistic); but he must not say that fools are not worth saving.”
I really love the phrase “Scandalous Grace”.
Fundy grace is not scandalous. It merely produces conformity to don’t-drink-don’t-smoke-but-eat-all-you-can, white supremacy & classical music-only standards.
Thank God they did not have youtube when I was growing up in church and doing humiliating things like this.
I still go to an IFB church but it is not anything like the typical IFB church. We use pre recorded music for specials and cantatas. At the cantata today the music used drums with a heavy beat. I just know Jack Hyles and John R Rice had to be having a meeting about those liberal Baptist in Kentucky
Amy, his message today sounded amazing.
It was! The best one I have heard by him though is the day he nailed sins to the cross. He told us to quit wearing the labels of our sin because Jesus nailed them to the cross. If I told you who his dad is you’d be shocked
WAY too cheery for me..
I only made it :44 seconds.
Ron Hamilton’s songs have a way of conveying the Fundy worldview, detail by detail.
After awhile, all Ron Hamilton songs sound alike to me. And those cantata’s… Its the same plot with different settings – someone dies and someone gets “saved” at the end because of the death.
Several Vespers plays at BJU were like that, as well as numerous sermon illustrations. I think a few Chick tracts have that plot as well.
The Vespers at BJU have not changed from at least the 70′s…..the outfits too.
I was there in the late 80s, early 90s, and SOME of the Vespers’ dresses were really strange! I remember one that seemed to have a horizontal ruffle from the neckline down to the floor-length hem – sort of like a skunk in reverse. I’m pretty sure it was from the 70s!
My nine year old son sang in our church’s program tonight, but he loved it, we’re not IFB anymore, and it wasn’t Ron Hamilton. (He sang “Welcome to Our World” by Chris Rice.)
Ahhh I love that song, thanks for reminding me of it!
I guess I feel too sorry for myself and others like this young man who are/were the victims of the fundie cult. I especially feel sorry for him if he’s taking it all seriously. That’s when the damage is done.
And I think he has a nice voice. I’m hoping he starts to see thru it all sooner rather than later and saves himself.
Whenever I see “Born to Die” I think of Bebo Norman’s song. It’s written from the angels’ viewpoint.
“And the angels filled the sky
All of heaven wondered why
Why their King would choose to be
Be a baby born to die”
Except anything by Bebo Norman is guaranteed to be at least 3 times better written and 4 times better sounding than anything Ron Hamilton came up with on his most inspired day.
His self-titled album is a real gem.
I feel sorry for this kid too. It looks like he was forced to do it. I had a similar experience. Inspired by the lovely kind church organist at my first church, at that age of seven, I began to take organ lessons. About a year and a different church later, I was told by my mother I was going to play the offertory next Sunday. I was only eight years old and I had never performed or spoken in front of any large group. I was scared. But if I didnâ€™t perform, my mother would no longer pay for my music lessons. (And I loved my music teacher; he had escape Nazi Germany, lived in London and South Africa and always had interesting stories to tell)
I played â€œAmazing Graceâ€ Besides being scared shitless; I also had to keep an eye on the ushers, making sure to stop playing at the right moment.
After church most adults congratulated me. But some adults had informed me I had played some wrong notes, played too fast and forgot to use the petals. My mother was upset that my performance was less than perfect. But my dad stood up for me and reminded my mother I was eight year old kid.
I would play more offertories, but from now I was asked first, given a few years to prepare.
I believe it is an important skill for children to speak or perform in public. But the way I was introduced to public performing was not right.
I learned two more things fundies like, drafting children to perform without their consent and perfectionism.
During one December service my last year at fundy church, the guy leading “congregational singing” got up and announced, “It’s time to sing everyone’s favorite Christmas carol, ‘Born to Die.’” I looked at my mom, who had never heard the song before in her many years in fundy-land, and just shrugged.
So it’s only fair for Jesus to be “born to die,” but not the reprobate.
Fundy predestination is only limited to what you see on the Dispensational charts. And I guess there is a cross in the middle, so there..
Hm, this must have been a very liberal church because applause was a VERY big no-no where I grew up.
Yeah, that’s what I said.
Gasp…they clapped at the end. Don’t they know that praises man performance not God! This church is slipping down a the treacherous slope into worldliness.
Same night but this performer scoops her voice and holds the mic! *gasp*
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