Old Hymns and Old Bibles

I came across this tweet before I came across the one from yesterday’s post. Let me give the tweet and then we’ll makes come comments.

So of course we have a kind of retweet here. Elisabeth Elliot, wife of martyred missionary Jim Elliot, is being quoted by Pastor Castleberry. And is my want to do perhaps we could phrase Elliot’s quote like this,

Unfortunately, most churches today are not teaching from the old KJV and I want to put in a little word here: please learn the old KJV. You have no idea what you’re missing theologically.

Things your are missing are teachings like the long ending in Mark, the story of the woman caught in adultery, and the only explicit reference to the Trinity in 1 John 5:7. Then of course there are all the theological implications of abandoning the the old KJV for a Multiple Versions Only position or abandoning the Bible altogether as in the case of Barth Ehrman.

But for us the more striking thing is the obvious plea to return to the old hymns or at least retain them in public worship. And seeing that Pastor Castleberry has “retweeted” Elisabeth Elliot it seems he is in agreement with this conclusion in the 21st century. I love the old hymns especially those of the Psalmody sort, but my how we promote the old songs and the old liturgy and the old confession and the old theology but we no longer promote the old King James Bible.

We love the songs from the Reformation, the theology from the Reformation, and the confessions from the Reformation even with all their several and respective archaic words and “False Friends” falsely so called, but we do not love the Bible of the Reformation. Again, as I have said many times by now, we love to advocate for old songs, regulative principle of worship, Reformed theology, and Reformed confessions, but these things are all ruled by the Rule of Scripture. And the Rule we leave up to preference, “Read the version that sounds best to you. I mean, the best version is/are the version or versions you understand. Amiright?”

The Bible as the Rule tells us what the sovereignty of God is and how we are to relate to it. Imagine telling a cage-stage Calvinist that Molinism is the appropriate interpretation of the phenomena of Scripture. The experience to follow is akin to putting a lid on an active volcano. Take that same cage-stage Calvinist and tell him that there is one standard sacred text and he will most likely be that same unhinged eruption and will argue that there are many Rules that are sufficiently reliable Rules. So for his theology there is only one defensible position but for the Rule that governs his theology he will accept any sufficiently reliable Rule. So why doesn’t he accept any sufficiently reliable accounting of God’s sovereignty? Because of course that which is ruled now governs the Rule.

Theology and old hymns have become the Rule and the Scripture is simply there to support our theology and use of old hymns. We have convictions about our theology but preferences about what Bible we read, and then sit around scratching our heads, asking why the Church in America is dying. It is dying because the Rule is a mere predicate of our theology rather than our theology being predicated upon the Rule that is Scripture, not a Rule or Multiple Rules Only.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: