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Which hymns do you believe contain bad theology


Bouncing Bill
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I would hope that the bad theology hymns (or songs/music) , any or all,  would simply not be introduced or sung or permitted in churches that are abiding in Jesus,  right ?    The testing all through Scripture ,  of differentiating what is right and what is wrong is fairly straitforward,  and I believe should always be done before something, anything, is permitted.

In churches (people) that don't care,  it won't matter, will it ?

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Well, let's start with what I would surely hope would be the most obvious: The Battle Hymn of the Republic.

This song really has nothing to do with Christianity at all, and if you try to make it fit, it puts us in the  battle of Armageddon, sort of, I think. It's very unclear. Verse 3 says this:

I have read a fiery gospel writ in burnish'd rows of steel
As ye deal with my condemners so with you my grace shall deal
Let the hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel
His truth is marching on

Basically if you want the grace of God, kill the condemners.

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1 hour ago, jeff_student_of_Jesus said:

I would hope that the bad theology hymns (or songs/music) , any or all,  would simply not be introduced or sung or permitted in churches that are abiding in Jesus,  right ?    The testing all through Scripture ,  of differentiating what is right and what is wrong is fairly straitforward,  and I believe should always be done before something, anything, is permitted.

In churches (people) that don't care,  it won't matter, will it ?

What hymns do you believe contains bad theology?

Edited by Bouncing Bill
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14 hours ago, Bouncing Bill said:

What hymns do you believe contains bad theology?

This link provides a good starting list. I've always felt these hymns were off, and for most of the reasons stated in this article. 

https://www.crosswalk.com/slideshows/6-hymns-that-have-been-teaching-you-bad-theology.html

There are many more in the hymnal I grew up with, and in the songs that our youth group sang in Pekin, IL.  Most don't want to correct the bad theology, instead putting their writers "freedom of poetic license" into the picture instead of the Gospel of Christ.

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I'm not necessarily disagreeing with with bad theology in some hymns, but I do think we sometimes take liberty in assuming what the author of the Hymn was thinking. I only got to the first song so far and he/she mentions this for the song He Lives...

Quote

What we really need from our hymns is not a subjective declaration but firm trust that Christ lives because the Bible says he does. This hymn teaches us to ground our faith in subjectivity. You ask me how I know he lives…because the Bible says he does.

Yes, I know the Bible tells me He lives, and the Bible also says He dwells within me.

Eph 3:17 "17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,"

I've always took that as the author of that song was using Scripture to say that He dwells in our hearts. 

I wouldn't say it's theologically wrong as Scripture will back up what the song is saying, but I do think more can be added to the song.  Of course this not Scripture so it pretty much is opinion based.

Shallow yes, bad theology...I'm not so sure

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50 minutes ago, PastorMatt said:

I'm necessarily disagreeing with with bad theology in some hymns, but I do think we sometimes take liberty in assuming what the author of the Hymn was thinking. I only got to the first song so far and he/she mentions this for the song He Lives...

Yes, I know the Bible tells me He lives, and the Bible also says He dwells within me.

Eph 3:17 "17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,"

I've always took that as the author of that song was using Scripture to say that He dwells in our hearts. 

I wouldn't say it's theologically wrong as Scripture will back up what the song is saying, but I do think more can be added to the song.  Of course this not Scripture so it pretty much is opinion based.

Shallow yes, bad theology...I'm not so sure

I agree, PastorMatt. I had read this post in the past and my thoughts were, well I do know that he lives in my heart. I don't even think it's that shallow. I think a lot of Christians discredit this side of the Christian life because it makes them uncomfortable to feel like they are approaching anywhere near to what the Charismatics believe. The things of God are not perceived by logic, therefore it's not really enough to say, "it's this way because I read it". It's all well and good to say, "I know he lives because the Bible tells me so" but that will get you nowhere with someone who doesn't believe the Bible. Do I know he lives because the Bible says so? Yes. Do I know that he lives because he's in my heart and I talked with him this morning? Yes. His Spirit bears witness with our Spirit that we are the son's of God.

 

I had hoped that Bouncing Bill would repost the songs he had listed before with a reason for why he feels they contain bad theology. Bouncing Bill, would you do that?

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Some that come right to mind:

1) Lead on King Eternal 

2) Battle Hymn of the Republic 

3) And Can it Be?

4) Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken 

5) Many of the Christmas hymns seem to be teaching Postmillennialism.

I still like these hymns I just ignore the stanzas that contain bad theology. Also, my three favorite hymn writers are Charles Wesley, Isaac Watts and John Newton. While their hymns contain some of the deepest theology they at times contain the worse. I guess when a writer wads out into deeper theology they also will make some more noticeable mistakes.

 

 

 

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9 hours ago, SureWord said:

Some that come right to mind:

1) Lead on King Eternal 

2) Battle Hymn of the Republic 

3) And Can it Be?

4) Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken 

5) Many of the Christmas hymns seem to be teaching Postmillennialism.

I still like these hymns I just ignore the stanzas that contain bad theology. Also, my three favorite hymn writers are Charles Wesley, Isaac Watts and John Newton. While their hymns contain some of the deepest theology they at times contain the worse. I guess when a writer wads out into deeper theology they also will make some more noticeable mistakes.

 

 

 

Can you substantiate your claims? It isn't going to be much of a discussion if everybody gives a list a songs and says they contain bad theology. It would be like saying, "These are bad. Why? Because I said so." Why do you say they contain bad theology?

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The Church in the Wildwood:

    Promotes the false idea that the 'church' is the building the actual church meets in, rather than just a sanctified building. 

I agree with the Battle hymn of the Republic:

    In all honestly, however, it is called "the battle hymn of the REPUBLIC", meaning in truth, it isn't designed to be a hymn to or of God, but for the State, so in that, it is at least honest in its title, though speaking a lot of false doctrine, (as has been mentioned before, as well as other problems), it ought to be avoided. Another song uses the same tune, called the Circuit-Riding Preacher", which I much prefer.

Brighten the Corner Where You Are:

    Maybe not a lot of bad theology, but overly-simplistic, too repetitive, more allegory, no clear mention of Christ, the gospel, salvation, God, just too vague. 

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6 hours ago, Musician4God1611 said:

Can you substantiate your claims? It isn't going to be much of a discussion if everybody gives a list a songs and says they contain bad theology. It would be like saying, "These are bad. Why? Because I said so." Why do you say they contain bad theology?

1) It mentions God's kingdom being brought to Earth through our deeds of love and mercy.

2) It's talking about the Lord's coming to trample out Southerners via Yankee troops and dying to make men free nonsense. Not a very spiritual hymn but political propaganda.

3) It says Christ "emptied" himself which is heretical. 

4) It speaks of the Church as Mount Zion which smacks of Replacement Theology.

5) Some Christmas hymns contain a Amillennial (not Post as I said before) slant as if the Lord has already returned and he's reigning over the world through his Church, i.e. the Roman Catholic Church of course. A hymn like "Joy to the World" really isn't fulfilled until the Second Coming. Heaven and Nature doesn't presently sing they groan.

"I Love thy Kingdom, O Lord" is another one that confuses the kingdom with the church and can lead to further heretical beliefs and practices. The church is not the kingdom nor the kingdom the church. When you go down that road you always end up with a church/state situation. 

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15 hours ago, SureWord said:

1) It mentions God's kingdom being brought to Earth through our deeds of love and mercy.

2) It's talking about the Lord's coming to trample out Southerners via Yankee troops and dying to make men free nonsense. Not a very spiritual hymn but political propaganda.

3) It says Christ "emptied" himself which is heretical. 

4) It speaks of the Church as Mount Zion which smacks of Replacement Theology.

5) Some Christmas hymns contain a Amillennial (not Post as I said before) slant as if the Lord has already returned and he's reigning over the world through his Church, i.e. the Roman Catholic Church of course. A hymn like "Joy to the World" really isn't fulfilled until the Second Coming. Heaven and Nature doesn't presently sing they groan.

"I Love thy Kingdom, O Lord" is another one that confuses the kingdom with the church and can lead to further heretical beliefs and practices. The church is not the kingdom nor the kingdom the church. When you go down that road you always end up with a church/state situation. 

I'm a bit confused about number 3. Why do you say Christ emptying himself is heretical? Doesn't Philippians say that he humbled himself and became obedient? Isn't that, in essence, emptying himself? Also, the song doesn't say that he merely emptied himself, but rather that he emptied himself of all but love. Now I know some people say that this isn't true, but you have to consider this from a poetical standpoint. Obviously it isn't saying that there was no other attribute but love left, but rather that he removed from him any potential for an attribute that is opposing of love. Some would argue that because he is God that he didn't have to empty himself of anything, because it wasn't already there, but if that logic were to stand then we would have to also say that he couldn't humble himself because he was already meek. When the author says emptied himself of all but love, he isn't saying that he had unloving things deep within that he had to remove, but rather that he humbled himself as the Bible says.

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9 hours ago, Musician4God1611 said:

I'm a bit confused about number 3. Why do you say Christ emptying himself is heretical? Doesn't Philippians say that he humbled himself and became obedient? Isn't that, in essence, emptying himself? Also, the song doesn't say that he merely emptied himself, but rather that he emptied himself of all but love. Now I know some people say that this isn't true, but you have to consider this from a poetical standpoint. Obviously it isn't saying that there was no other attribute but love left, but rather that he removed from him any potential for an attribute that is opposing of love. Some would argue that because he is God that he didn't have to empty himself of anything, because it wasn't already there, but if that logic were to stand then we would have to also say that he couldn't humble himself because he was already meek. When the author says emptied himself of all but love, he isn't saying that he had unloving things deep within that he had to remove, but rather that he humbled himself as the Bible says.

Christ humbled himself he didn't empty himself. He still remained fully God.

The "emptied" heresy is promoted by many new versions such as the RSV, NASB and ESV in Philippians 2:7.

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I still don't get where you are coming from. If the Bible says that God is love, then isn't emptying himself of all but love still remaining God since God is love. It is in essence saying emptied himself of all but God. You can't arbitrarily pronounce something to be a heresy without establishing the premises whereby you came to such a conclusion. I can promise you that Charles Wesley did not negate the deity of Christ.

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10 hours ago, Musician4God1611 said:

I still don't get where you are coming from. If the Bible says that God is love, then isn't emptying himself of all but love still remaining God since God is love. It is in essence saying emptied himself of all but God. You can't arbitrarily pronounce something to be a heresy without establishing the premises whereby you came to such a conclusion. I can promise you that Charles Wesley did not negate the deity of Christ.

No, the "emptying" was that Jesus removed all his divinity but love. The word was altered to support the doctrine of kenosis to satisfy to liberal translators who rejected the deity of Christ. Even the term sounds ridiculous. What does it even mean? Sounds like some Hindu nonsense of obtaining nirvana. Christ humbled himself not emptied himself. We are to be like him in humility not "emptility".

So, I'll stick with the KJV.

Charles got this one wrong just like he got eternal security wrong. He's still one of the greatest hymn writers, though IMO, and I still love this hymn.

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13 hours ago, SureWord said:

No, the "emptying" was that Jesus removed all his divinity but love. The word was altered to support the doctrine of kenosis to satisfy to liberal translators who rejected the deity of Christ. Even the term sounds ridiculous. What does it even mean? Sounds like some Hindu nonsense of obtaining nirvana. Christ humbled himself not emptied himself. We are to be like him in humility not "emptility".

So, I'll stick with the KJV.

Charles got this one wrong just like he got eternal security wrong. He's still one of the greatest hymn writers, though IMO, and I still love this hymn.

The “doctrine” of kenosis was said to be first taught by Gottfried Thomasius, who was born in 1804. Charles Wesley died in 1788. I’m pretty sure that isn’t what he was perpetuating.

Additionally, just because you think a term sounds ridiculous, doesn’t nullify it.

On top of that, I repeat that it doesn’t merely say that Christ emptied himself, but rather that he emptied himself of all but love. If God is love, then he couldn’t possibly empty himself of his deity and retain pure love.

This is not even mentioning the implication that those who disagree with you about this don’t stick with the KJV, which is an ungrounded basis.

 I believe at this point it would be safe to assume we won’t be reaching an agreement on this so we’d best just agree to disagree and go on.

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"The Church's One Foundation" by Samuel J. Stone 

I've always found something sketchy about this hymn. Very papist sounding.

1) "Her charter of salvation, One Lord, one faith, one birth".

Paul said, "one Lord, one faith, one baptism" Eph. 4:5 

This always made me think the verse was being tweaked to teach baptismal regeneration.

2) "Partakes one holy food".

Is this referring to the Eucharist?

3) "And mystic sweet communion With those whose rest is won."

Prayers to the Saints?

Sure enough, Samuel J. Stone was a CoE priest and he based the hymn on The Apostles Creed. He wrote 12 hymns based on the 12 Articles of the Apostles Creed this one being based on the 9th Article:

"The holy Catholic Church; the Communion of Saints".

Now, the hymn can be viewed differently by the singer for example:

"partake one holy food"

could be thought of as "Jesus, the bread of heaven" but understand the author's original intent.

 

 

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