FWOTW: Evaluation of Christmas Selections in the LIVING HYMNS Hymnal

Today’s seasonal selection contains an evaluation of all the problems with various carols in the Living Hymns Hymnal.

Apparently, this guy has never heard of “poetic license” or “hyperbole” or pretty much any other literary device. I really wish he would write a carol of his own so that we can see how it’s done.

Many thanks to Phil for passing this one along

108 thoughts on “FWOTW: Evaluation of Christmas Selections in the LIVING HYMNS Hymnal”

  1. Rats, second. I was soooo close. Anyways, that is absolutely crazy. May as well not celebrate Christmas at all at that point, but then you’re leaving out the HUGE part of it all: that God came to earth as a man. And that is the reason to celebrate!

  2. I mean, really. Who sits at home and writes this stuff?

    Isn’t there SOMETHING more productive to do? Like, clean the sink drain or perhaps read a book on how to create a website that doesn’t make the reader skim through 8 paragraphs to get your point.

    1. Or find a single mom who needs house repairs done. Or an elderly person who would like someone to talk to. Or a lonely person newly moved to your city who needs a friend. Or a local park that needs volunteers to clean it. Or…

      You know, once I could nit-pick with the best of them. As an English major, I love evaluating literature and poetry anyway, and I could apply my exacting lens of “discernment” and pick apart LOTS of stuff (although not necessarily what he’d pick up on, since I DO understand metaphor and hyperbole.) But since we’ve gotten involved in the community, I’m too busy to do this sort of thing. There are foster kids who need homes, struggling former addicts who need accountability and friendship and encouragement in the Lord, young moms who’d enjoy a moms’-morning-out, and so many more needs! Also, when you start looking for something to quibble with, that’s all you’ll see, and that’s a very negative way to live.

  3. Joy to the World is definitely a song about Christ’s future kingdom and not about Christmas, so I guess I agree with one minor point.

    But the rest of that screed is utter nonsense. Was it not appropriate for anyone to worship Christ when He was alive on the earth? Or should they have said, “I’m going to wait to worship you until you die”?

  4. Apparently, this guy has never heard of β€œpoetic license” or β€œhyperbole” or pretty much any other literary device.

    He also is fairly clueless about Advent. Advent is not just remembering that Jesus came, but even more it is a time that we look for Him to return.

  5. Click on the HOME button. There you will find a link called “EXPOSE/S” which very spirtually lists all the things that are wrong with the Christians listed… Each one does say MUCH more about the writer of the articles than about the target.

      1. I just finished reading through his… “discernment” on Lord of the Rings (which is filed under movies, not books, oddly enough, despite the article focusing on the books) and… I gotta agree with you there. In at least that case, I can affirm that he picked and chose his quotations veeeeery carefully for that article (as I’ve read a great deal of Tolkien’s writings/letters).

      2. …and now having skimmed a few other articles, I’ve noticed he likes to talk down on movies because of violence or “cruelty” or general all-around evil on the part of the villains. Because, you know, the Bible doesn’t have violence or show cases of people being cruel or have really evil villains.

        Seriously, what is people’s problems with the bad guys being bad? That’s kinda the point of a bad guy, to show what’s WRONG!

  6. Every year we go through the same thing. Someone picks apart all of the Christmas carols we hold dear looking with a fine tooth comb at every little thing that may be the slightest bit unscriptural. Whoopie fat hairy deal. I love singing Christmas carols. I even like a few of the secular Christmas songs, though not many. I am so sick and tired of Fundy sanctimonious prigism. I agree with all of you, this guy needs to get a life. πŸ‘Ώ

    1. I am going to admit this here, but expect it to go no farther. For years I always wrap my mom’s Christmas present in Santa paper. I don’t know why except there is a perverse little satisfaction to know it bugs her.

      I know. I am so bad.

      1. Yep, Fundamentalism is the fount from whom all passive-agressive behavior flows. (abundantly)

        At some point I finally was able to send religiously themed Christmas cards to THOSE relatives, while sending “Seasons greetings” to everyone else.

        I’m done, I think, (I hope) using every possible ocassion to put in my digs against my abusers.

        If I want to wish someone good tidings it behooves me to use the language that they can understand.

        If I’m still hurt, angry or resentful, Christmas is not the time to continue holding the grudge. It hurts me more than it hurts anyone else.

        Peace on Earth! Please!

      2. I still buy the Christmas cards that are not actually the prettiest because I don’t want to imagine my mother opening the truly gorgeous card that only says “Happy Holidays”. So I settled, once again, for the second best card in the store.

  7. In his introduction is this gem: “…there is no Scriptural basis for using music for evangelism.”

    The choir director at my fundy church years ago said the same thing – I’d never heard anyone else claim that until now. Because, you know, if they didn’t do it in the Bible, it must be WRONG. Just like, I don’t know, driving cars?

    1. My standard response to the whole “well, the Bible doesn’t say Jesus smiled/laughed/etc. etc.” is “Well, it didn’t say he breathed either!”

      Assuming we can ONLY do what is written down in the Bible is nonsense. The Bible gives guidelines that we are to apply to the best of our understanding, praying to God that we actually do understand them. The NT really doesn’t have much in the way of specific rules, for which I thank God!

  8. “Note the strange expression: “born this happy morning” (v. 3). Jesus was born most likely in the evening.” Yeah. Unless Mary and Joseph got there really late at night, and labor took a while, and the baby was born this happy morning. Or 36 hours later, but this guy wouldn’t know anything about labor. :mrgreen:

    1. I just got to that part and laughed out loud. Whoops, they got the time of day wrong, clearly that means the otherwise beautiful carol is EVIL and CATHOLIC (a redundant phrase to this guy).

  9. “Verse 1–No Biblical basis for angels to proclaim the message over all the earth. That’s our job!”
    It still would have been our job if the angels had proclaimed the message over all the earth. Not everybody would have been there to hear the message.
    Duh!

  10. “Unscriptural: Was it a “silent” night (angel proclamation, angels singing, birth of baby, shepherds visiting, shepherds reporting, etc.)?”
    And on and on he goes. Well, where does the scripture say to have pot luck dinners? Where in the Bible, for that matter, is there any preaching other than to those the preacher seeks to win to the faith? There’s Bible study, prayer group, but being yelled at 3 times a week when you’re already a believer???
    But the Christmas songs are unscriptural??? πŸ™„

  11. “But little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes,” undermines Jesus’s manhood. Since Jesus did cry as a man, being fully human, He probably also cried as a baby.
    PROBABLY??? making kind of a weak point there?

    1. maybe, just maybe, the writer of the song listened to too many fundy preachers that claim that when babies cry for “no reason”, that proves they are sinners. (Wanting to be held, be close to people, falls under “no reason”. Never mind that neonatal units are looking for baby cuddlers – that is a volunteer position they seek to fill. Anyhow, that was free.)
      Therefore, had Jesus cried, it might have implied he could be sinning!! So the writer ducked and tried to make the fundies happy – but that has yet to be done. 😈

    2. AND the song doesn’t say He NEVER cried, it only said he wasn’t crying while he was in the manger, AND maybe He did, maybe He didn’t… AGGGHHHH I have too much to do today to even let this guy into my head.

      Laugh it off, Sims, Laugh it off… RRRGGGGHHHH

      1. I like to think that the song is showing a snapshot of a moment after the baby’s birth. The baby’s been fed and is sleeping peacefully, and everything is calm. I have had such moments after the birth of each of my children, and it is a special time when you can just enjoy with wonder the new child that is before you. Mary and Joseph would have enjoyed such a time, no matter how briefly. Jesus did so much through his life, I enjoy the gentle appreciation of his birth itself too.

    1. How about “The Magic of Christmas Day” (lyrics: God bless us everyone, the good and the bad,…)

      Ah, the fundy joys of Christmas – I’m right, you’re wrong, whohoo

    2. Or Tim Minchin’s “White Wine in the Sun”? The Salvation Army pulled a CD they were giving to donors, when they learned of other Tim Minchin songs such as “F*** the Pope”. And only the one song was by Minchin.

  12. This is awesome. The guys point is valid, but let’s be honest, most any song used in worship will have some theological error to it. But in our worship, we’re singling out God, as we do in prayer or conversation, I’m sure he delights in our praise. And let’s take it a step further…Christmas!!!! It’s not even a biblical celebration. It’s just a informal agreement amongst Christians that we’d like to recognize the birth our our God. We happened to chose a pagan holiday, use their tree, and then declare “Jesus is the reason for the Season” No he’s not. He was happily sitting at the right hand of the Father and all of a sudden we’re gonna monopolize 30 days out of the year for his namesake. Don’t you think he would have thought of it first if he cared so much? It’s like when we invented America. Somehow this is God’s country? But what about the scriptures that command us to pay taxes to our rulers? The Boston Tea Party and the Revolutionary war were a direct violation of that! And yet, “In God (Christmas) We Trust”

    1. Hey now, don’t go around telling the truth about stuff! We like our revisionist history! Blah-blah Founding Fathers…Christian nation…Baptists aren’t Protestants…other stuff!!

      Ok, really, I agree with you.

    2. While we did gank a whole bunch of pagan symbols for the party, Christmas is actually calculated based on an old Jewish tradition that prophets died on the same day they were conceived (years later, of course). So since AD 30 or 33 are the only years that Passover fell on a Sabbath, Jesus died on March 25th, and nine months after March 25th is December 25th, of course.

      Which just leads me to believe that the church folks who were wrangling over this in the 4th century needed to get out more often. πŸ˜†

  13. As someone who was saved as an adult, I believe CCM was part of God drawing me nearer to Him. These were the crossover songs that made it on to mainstream pop stations. Now, most CCM makes me want to retch, but tastes change.

    The writer of this article needs to lighten up.

  14. He ought not to bash the Oxford Movement. Were it not for that, the Church of England would have followed Finney-esque Evangelicals off the cliff into oblivion. Thank God there is still some semblance of religion in England.

  15. Grandma go run over by a reindeer coming home from our house christmas eve. You can say there’s no such thing as santa but as for me and grandma we believe.

  16. You know, I’ve got to say: Been there, Done that. Got the scars to prove it.

    There was a time, as a teenager, when I was “on fire for the Lord” I did a lot of finger pointing during that time.

    That was my “I’ve got THE TRUTH and nobody else has it” stage.

    It took longer than I would like to admit, but finally, I grew up. (Sort of.)

    Regarding Hymns, it helped that we were dealing with translations. It is fascinating what happens when an orifigal French or German hymn gets translated to English first and then to Spanish. My hat is off to the translators who not only found great ways to translate the words, but also managed to keep it in rhyme.

    His comments about “Silent night, Holy night” don’t work for me:

    Noche de Paz, Noche de Amor.

  17. “Also, the wording implies that one travels a journey to heaven. This kind of language usually signifies a type of works salvation and acceptance that one might lose salvation along the way.”

    Didn’t Paul say something about running a race? Surely not. That would also imply a “works” salvation.

    All mogs in Fundyland are looking for that One standard to hold higher than everyone else so they can be the source of some new kind of revelation and judge others for not doing the same. It’s the same way with Burqas. Muslim woman didn’t always wear the heat-to-toe blackout burqas in some countries until the men started one-upping each other with their higher standards of holiness. IFB is no different.

  18. Glad your we’re able to use the site Darrell I found it several years ago when I googled GARBC (fundy-lite), and he had some long rambling about how evil it was. Searching the site found this junk.

    I remember laughing at his crappy logic. He did prefer the good Wesleyan carol, Hatk the Herald Angles Sing.

    Lovr the cathlaphobic logic too.

  19. Errors I have noticed:
    1. The Oxford Movement did not want to make the C of E ‘more litugical’, but ‘more catholic’ according to their ideas of catholicity.

    2. Hymns A&M is NOT the primary reason for the end of exclusive psalmody; Wesley and Watts wrote over a century before; I possess over a dozen hymnals published before 1861. Wesleyans, Independents and Baptists were already predominantly hymn-singing groups.

    3. General confusion of Advent and Christmas hymns.

    4. The usual Fundy tendency to seek the worst possible understanding of any text. Montgomery’s ‘saints before the altar bending’ refers to the faithful in Israel, specifically Simeon and Anna.

    5. No-one knows when Jesus was born, so he might have been born on 25th December for all we know.

  20. On the subject of Christmas nitpickiness: I have a fundy friend whose grandma is fighting dementia and some days doesn’t even know her own daughter/family-but bless God as she’s sending out cards this year she tells my friend that she can’t send the one box out b/c they have “the wrong Bible” on them! Amazing how indoctrination trumps Alzheimers! Family sees it as a sign of her faith…. Sweet Mercy – makes me wanna lose my religion! 😑

  21. In his defense, his expose re Hyles was very helpful many years ago when I was in a Hyles worshipping church.

    So, I’m willing to cut him some slack here. Technically, many of the Christmas hymns probably aren’t correct, but they are traditional… and there is a difference between a song contradicting the Bible and just not really being a Christmas song or else containing popular errors (such as the angels singing).

      1. “And the Angels SAID Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth Peace…” But the thing is, this is another example of people getting all wrapped up in the details. I am just not that literal a person I guess, cause I figure the Angels could have said it and then started singing on their way back home or something. I dunno, I find it all remarkably silly.

        1. So do I. But then, I find the two of us remarkably silly, and you will never believe this, but SOMEONE said *I* am naughty! I THINK it is because of that time I thought we were getting the body of a 30 year old as we were raptured, but then was all verklempt when I realized they meant we were just getting a NEW body in exchange for this wrinkle-sack I have now. You know, there for a minute, I thought this poor ol’ widder was getting one more chance, Sims!!!
          Stay on topic!!! What the what!!

        2. Yes – what Sims said; apparently, there are no instances of angels singing in Scripture, but it is (for me) only a fun discussion point, not really worth tearing holes in a friend over.

          As I said, his expose on Jack Hyles was helpful (in fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if Sims or Seen Enough contributed some of the testimonies (kind of sounds like it).

      2. With all the other stuff angels do in the Bible, why would we think they couldn’t sing if they want to?

        Actually my problem with angels as popularly depicted is a different one. Angels in Christmas kitsch are all cute and sweet. Often they are children or beautiful young women, etc.
        But angels in the Bible are terrifying. Almost every time they show up, everybody is scared witless. Biblical angels are there to kick butts and take names.

    1. Well, I’m glad that he was helpful to you (just goes to show that God can use anyone and anything to deliver us from legalism), but I think that this is just a case of a broken clock being right twice a day. If he says “everyone but me is wrong” then it is only natural that he will expose a few people who actually are wrong.

  22. Someone once, long ago, doing the right thing does not excuse his being a totally OTT legalistic jackass today.

    On a separate and different note, tootling our own horns while commenting on this bozo is a real turn-off. There are many erudite post-ers to SFL. I have not come to regard them thus because they had to explain thir erudition in a post. It speaks for itself.

    1. True; but I do think I should do my best to glorify God and worship Him “in truth”, so I’d prefer not to sing songs that are actually wrong.

      I don’t agree with him that one is Catholic-friendly to sing “in excelsis Deo” in Latin – but we should know the meaning of what we are singing.

    1. My wife’s grandpa, a United Methodist pastor, would make his congregations sing Joy to the World when they were singing like they were half dead. At his funeral, all of the pastors present stood around his casket and sang Joy to The World.

        1. Ugly just doesn’t even BEGIN to cover it. And even back in THOSE days when the standard for beauty was much easier to attain. OHHHH that was the reason for the *shudder* I was just picturing her with her stockinged leg up on his desk and…. {sorry, I just passed out}

        2. Sims! SIMS!!! Speak to me! it was a ll just a bad, bad dream. He is dead, she may be for all I know, think happy thoughts. Hey, dead? Those WERE happy thoughts! πŸ˜€

  23. Oh. My. Gosh. YES! I remember this!!! My family went through this list years ago, during the three-or-four-year time span in which we didn’t celebrate Christmas. πŸ˜› Sheesh, nothing like reading into things. If you try to find something bad about something, you definitely will, and these people seem to get a kick out of doing that. It’s just hard to believe they’re actually serious about it, and that my family actually bought into it for a while! 😳

  24. My brief email to the webmaster: “I would very much be interested in seeing the author’s personally-written Christmas carol in order to have an exemplar of excellence in writing and theology.

    Thank you,”

  25. I think someone needs a visit from three spirits during the wee hours of Christmas Eve in order to show him the error of his ways. THEN he’ll learn to love Christmas carols!

  26. I feel the need to bring up the fact that this guy’s criticism of “Silent Night” is completely unscriptural. He brings up the idea that the night was not “silent” because (for one thing) the angels were “singing”. There is no scriptural basis that the angels were singing at all. Luke 2:13-14 clearly states that the angels were “saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Really! The red letter edition of my KJV says so!) I think this guy is trying to perpetuate the evil Catholic tradition that the angels were singing. Either that or he’s let that CCM influence him.

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