In a recent post, I looked briefly at three songs which the #creampuff wing of Fundamentalism put forth as it's standard fare. I decided to follow this up with the obvious thing to do i.e. give three hymns which I would rather be identified with. The choice was difficult because there is a section of the Christian church which eschews the above and desires to feast on good doctrinal hymns which we feel we can bring in serious worship to God.
The selection below is not necessarily a list of my all time favourite hymns. I pick them out because they fall into three specific categories.
This hymns concentrates on the Person of God and his attributes. Even if God justly left us in our lost estate of sin and misery, we would still (as His creatures) be required to worship and glorify Him simply for who He is. Even the very demons who believe and tremble (without any hope of salvation) brought themselves to acknowledge Christ as the "Holy One of God." I always feel something of the grandeur of God when singing this great hymn, which was written by Scottish Presbyterian Calvinist, Walter C Smith.
O LOVE DIVINE, WHAT HAST THOU DONE?
Struggled between this one and Philip P. Bliss's great "Man of Sorrows, what a name" but at the moment, Charles Wesley's hymn slightly edges it for me. Here the emphasis is on what God did when He sent His Son to the Cross. The wonder of it all is captured brilliantly in the highly charged exclamation of the first line. Very doctrinal indeed. Another hymn in this category I enjoy singing (although, sadly, not in my denomination's hymnbook) is Behold! Behold the Lamb of God, On the Cross! I have only seen it appear in the Believer's Hymnbook of the Plymouth Brethren who attribute it with to "Joseph Hoskins?". I always marvelled at the hymn writing ability of the disputed author, managing to skilfully weave the cry of the Saviour on the Cross into the metre:
O hear His all important Cry// Eli!, Lama Sabbachani
Draw Near and see the Saviour die// On the Cross
Written by another Scottish Presbyerian, Rev. Robert Murray McCheyne, this hymn falls into the testimony category, relating those basic details that often accompany the experience of many in their coming to Christ. It is distinctly Calvinistic with the emphasis on the free grace awakening him by light from on high. Having said that, Charles Wesley's "Thine eye diffused a quickening ray" is pretty much in the same strain, and Wesley was an Arminian. However, I sometimes feel that the great Calvinist George Whitefield was breathing heavily down CW's neck when he wrote some of his hymns :o) John Newton's 'Amazing Grace' is another in this category.
Of course, even the #creampuffers mentioned above sing these hymns too. We welcome them to come and share our rich Protestant heritage. What three hymns would you pick under these three distinct categories?
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