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Hymn Bark is a series designed to purify our good hymns from errors, and purge some bad ones. Here is chapter 2:

Not really much wrong with this hymn, though I wish musicians would teach the congregation how to sing it. Routinely the note at the end of line 3 is changed, which hurts the musical diversity and melodic intensity of the hymn.

The only problem is “all the saints adore Thee, casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea.” This is based on a misinterpretation of Revelation 4-5. The Elders in that passage are not saints, for Jesus has not ascended and there are no saints in heaven. They are angels, specifically the 24 Archangels that correspond in heaven to the 24 courses of Temple priests and the 24 courses of Temple musicians. We could change to “angels all adore Thee,” but I recommend just sticking with Biblical language and changing to “elders all adore Thee.”

So, get out those pencils.

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I begin here a series of criticisms of hymns commonly sung in Reformed and Presbyterian circles. I begin with the hymn “I bind myself,” commonly called “The Lorica.

There is only one textual problem with the usual sung version of this, and that is the phrase “eternal rocks.” Obviously that phrase is heretical, and all Patrick wrote was “firmness of rock.” We should cross it out in our hymnals and substitute “enduring rocks.”

Musically, the tune used is St. Patrick (Stanford), also called St. Patrick’s Breastplate. The melody exists in two slightly different forms. The version originally published in Hymns Ancient and Modern is superior to the version in The English Hymnal, though unfortunately it is the latter that was used in the Cantus Christi hymnal. I suggest musicians obtain the 1940 Episcopal Hymnal (available from amazon.com) and play the version found there. It is only the opening line that is different, but the older version is much richer. (more…)

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2. What is the Covenant?

There are many and varied descriptions of what the Bible means by the word “covenant” (Hebrew: berith). We are tempted to write that there are as many definitions of “covenant” as their are covenant theologians. Because this is a short introductory book we shall not take up who said what, and argue for one view of another. Rather, we shall allow systematic and philosophical reflection on the Biblical data to help us rise to a full and broad understanding of covenant.

Clearly, a covenant is some kind of personal relationship that involves a bond and a structure. Such a bond is real — breaking it is painful, and this pain is the pain of death.1 Thus, we shall call it a bond of life or a living bond. At its most basic, then, a covenant is a personal and structural bond between two or more persons. We can see this in the marriage covenant, which involves two people, life-bonded together, in a structured relationship with the husband as head who gives himself sacrificially to the wife who subjects herself to him.

(footnote: Since God’s life is Triune, human beings made in his image experience death when they are isolated from other people and from God. See the book of Job. We too often think of “life” only as individual life, but there is no life apart from community. This means human life, for God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone,” even though God was with him (Genesis 2:18). Old people who live alone, widows and widowers, need cats and dogs to keep them company. Life does not exist in isolation, but only in bondedness with others. That is why those who are “alive” in hell are also “eternally dead,” for they are cut off from God and from all other persons.)
(more…)

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These notes are posted here by request.

We all now live in the age of slob worship thanks to the “sixties.” I never experienced sitting for prayer until 20 years ago. Jesus was unhappy when His disciples could not watch and pray for one hour. Today’s slob Christians complain if they have to stand for five minutes. It’s pretty pathetic when you get right down to it. Our forefathers would be amazed. The only people who sat for prayer in the entire history of the church were the infirm and the elderly. Sitting for prayer is one generation old.

So, for younger readers, here are some basic rules of liturgical etiquette.
 
1. Stand for all prayers, save for communion and if possible confession. Jesus was seated when He gave thanks at the Last Supper, so that is the one instance of seated prayer in worship.
 
2. Stand at “easy attention,” hands at your sides, feet slightly apart. Or with hands raised (palms up at your shoulders, or crossed and resting on your shoulders, or pressed together over your chest).  NEVER with hands in pockets. NEVER slouching on one leg. NEVER.
 
     SHAPE UP, YOU LAZY SLOBS!!!
 
3. The normal alternative to kneeling for confession is standing.
 
4. Those who cannot stand or kneel, if kneeling is employed, should sit on the edge of their seat and lean forward with arms on the pew/chair in front of them, like everyone else, and their legs bent under them.
 
5. Kneeling is NOT crouching. We kneel at attention, back straight, looking forward or at the prayer in the book/bulletin. Crouching is for the prayer closet. In worship we kneel as an army.
 
6. Now, to be sure, all this has to be taught. Once it was, and it lasted for 1900 years. As creationists, we believe the body is supremely important, and hence so is posture. So, give instruction on it.
 
7. Also, we stand at attention for the Creed. We do not pledge attention seated.
 
8. If you’re stuck with a bad tradition in these areas, make it a matter of teaching and upshapingness.
 
So, get going!

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This was a one-day post. The day has passed and the post is removed. Conversation can continue under the previous post, Thoughts on the Death of bin Laden. Questions and concerns placed under this post can be reposted there for continuing discussion.

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1. On September 11, 2001, Jesus brought judgment upon the United States of America. Following His normal procedure, He used an even more evil force to do it (Habakkuk 1-3). The warning Jesus gives throughout the Bible to those He uses to punish others is that they need to repent, or they shall in time also be judged.

2. Certainly the United States has not repented. It burns Bibles sent to Afghanistan. It promotes child murder. It steals from future generations in order to preserve prosperity by increasing debt. It does all but promote homosexual activity in its military. And so forth. The election of The Fool in 2008 shows the willingness of the American people to promote antichrist through one of the most sickeningly degenerate associations of people the United States has ever known: the Democrat Party.

3. Still, as revolting as the present eurosocialist rule is in America, and as sad as are its evangelical running-dogs, Islam is a far greater evil. Islam is arguably the most fully demonized religio-cultural establishment in history, for it was demonized post-Christian, when seven worse devils have come to fill the one original exorcised. (Eurosocialism may prove even more demonic, however.)  It was the goal of Osama bin Laden to (re)-create an Islamic Caliphate in the Islamic lands, and his attack upon the United States was designed to galvanize Islamic youth to his banner; and he has not obeyed Jesus and repented.

4. Bin Laden did not understand how history moves, for that is revealed in the Bible and is under the control of Jesus Christ, who has revealed to His people how He does things. There can never again be a Caliphate because the world of human beings is quite different now from what it was then, and that is because of pervasive Christian and post-Christian influences.

5. This comforting fact does not change the reality that bin Laden was the head of an extremely evil anti-God and anti-human movement. His attack upon the United States enabled Jesus to use the United States to destroy him. Though the United States is no longer specifically committed to Jesus’ rules of warfare, it did operate correctly in this instance. Jesus makes it plain in the Bible that the fundamental principle of war is the assassination of the head of the enemy power. See the books of Judges and Samuel, and James B. Jordan, The Bible and the Nations, published by Biblical Horizons. www.biblicalhorizons.com

6. Should Christians rejoice in the death of this evil man? Of course. True, Proverbs 24:17 says not to rejoice when your (singular; thine) enemy falls, and Jesus says the same kind of thing to us as individuals in Matthew 5:44. But as regards those who rise up against God, Jesus laughs at them when He destroys them (Psalm 2), and so do His people (Exodus 15; Judges 5; many of the Psalms; Revelation 18-19).

7. We shall, of course, read many statements to the effect that we should not rejoice at the death of this evil murderous leader. Some of these people are simply ignorant of the Bible. Revelation 18:20, for instance, commands us to rejoice at the destruction of those who attack the people of God. Others, however, are not so much ignorant of the Bible as they are committed to a pharisaical otherworldly sentimental gnosticism that makes them holier than God. Such thinking was common in the 19th century as known as liberalism. Today it is all over evangelicalism, though happily not everywhere.

8. Yet, as Christians, we need to avoid being Americanists at this time. At present, the United States is spreading the evils of secular humanism, Bible burning, homosexuality, free-love, infanticide, and the myth of democracy. It is not spreading the Bible, Christocracy, servant capitalism, hard work, protection of women, and other historic American values. The Fool and his running dogs are not only anti-Christ, but anti-historical-American. Hence, as Christians we tread a tightrope between being favorable to much of what America used to stand for (because it was Biblical), and against almost everything America stands for today (because it is anti-Christ).

9. So what we stand for is Jesus and His kingship. We draw aside during the Day of the Lord to enter into the heavenlies, there to engage in liturgical warfare against principalities and powers as we chant psalms straight from the text and feed at the warfeast in front of the eyes of our demonic enemies (Psalm 23). When we do this, the King promises to crush Satan under our feet, and to do it shortly. So let us who take the Kingdom seriously continue to do this, setting aside the weights of exclusively metrical psalm paraphases, goofy choruses, and grapejuice gnostic communion, and let us always be sure to let our children dine with Jesus from their earliest years, for it is their voices and participation that the enemy fears the most (Psalm 8:2). Only in this way will the thoroughly demonized forces of both Islam and Eurosocialism (represented by The Fool) be defeated.

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Because of Donald Trump, the “Birther” issue is heating up. It is not going away, and is only part of a larger cluster of issues in regard to the President. Virtually all of the relevant documents concerning who he is and where he has been, have been suppressed, at great expense. It is not only a long form birth certificate that is missing, but a baptismal certificate, all of his student records and papers, from elementary school through Harvard Graduate School. His passport information is suppressed, as are all travel records. And finally, why on earth is this man using a Social Security number that would never have been issued to a resident of Hawaii? Who is this man? Nobody knows. What will happen if things heat up enough that it becomes impossible to suppress the question of the very legitimacy of his entire presidency?

I don’t think anyone knows what will happen. If enough came out, would it Nixon like, lead to resignation? Or Johnson like, decline to stand for re-election? Or have the Democrats simply become lawless enough that …who knows…?? It is a great unknown.

It seems to me that like Europe, 75 years ago, Nietzsche has become the defining figure. Nietzsche understood, as only a handful of people did, that Jesus Christ is the watershed. In his hatred of Jesus, he wanted to re-assert a bald pagan, Grecian, antithesis. However corrupted his vision became, under the rubble of confusion, that became Nazi-ism. I don’t see any appetite for movement in that direction here (or anymore, in Europe). On the other hand, what he saw with such clarity was that Leftism was Christianity (we would say, very confused and completely corrupted Christianity). That is what he hated. We are getting everything he hated. If the devil can’t beat you by moving you to complete and
bald paganism, then he tries to beat you by giving you corrupted Christianity. So, by moving Left in the complete Marxist direction, or by moving Left in the syrupy, caring, effeminate, Euro-socialist direction, you get destruction. Euro-socialism now makes every man (and woman) a parasite, every citizen, a pigmy cipher. This smallness is achieved through pretend Christianity (Christianity reduced to the ideology of the brat, demanding, ungrateful, destructive, adolescent). This goes far enough that we finally get the pretend adolescent Messiah (under it all, Obama on inauguration day could have worn shorts, jogging shoes, a baseball cap backwards, and skateboarded to the White House after grunting out at the end of his oath, “Hey, yeah man, sure,,,whatever). But the pretend goes so far that it reaches all the way down to what amounts to a double life, and double identity.

At this point, Limbaugh is the best illustration. Half the time, he treats Obama as though he is an incompetent fool. The other half, he treats him as though he is an evil genius. Which is he?

Well, its very confusing. The unity under it all that accounts for his looking like both at various times, is he is a double identity. Have you ever known anyone who lived a double life (a homosexual, a bigamist, or a pastor who practices “sexual abuse” on lady counselees)? I have known one person who lived a double life for years. It was eerie. On looking back…there was so much that was so strange, so confusing, for years. Finally, when it all comes out…ahhhh!!! Now I see, now I see. Yes, he kept that business because it allowed him to be out and about all night with no one suspecting…. uhuh, I see now…(for example).

In the providence of God, the Left has finally put up a candidate that is the perfect embodiment of what it is…pretend all the way through. So far through that his whole being is a double identity. Of course, that is exactly what “anti-Christ” is. He is not THE anti-Christ. It is just that in the Christian world if you are one who wants to establish total human autonomy and complete statist power (which is a demonic enterprise),  the only way you can finally do that is to pretend you are a new Jesus.  Obama in his hiddenness is ironically, the unmasking of the Left.

I have no idea how the System will deal with all of this. No one does.

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