Home > Feminism, Mallinak, Music, Questions > If I Come to the Garden Alone, Will the Dew Be Still on the Roses?

If I Come to the Garden Alone, Will the Dew Be Still on the Roses?

No doubt many view the hymn In the Garden fondly, and therefore it is with care that we approach this subject.  Perhaps in a time of intense devotion, you have felt the presence of Christ in a very real way, and perhaps at that moment this song began to play in your head.  The idea of a close and very real personal relationship with God certainly deserves merit, and it is not the intention of this article to mock the walk which many have or long for.

However, we would do well to think seriously about the value of the song itself.  In the Garden sounds pretty, and certainly stirs the emotions.  If that were the standard, In the Garden would stand as one of our greatest hymns of the faith.  But sounding pretty and stirring emotions is not the goal, nor is it the standard.

Consider the theological value of In the Garden.

I come to the garden alone,
While the dew is still on the roses;
And the voice I hear,
Falling on my ear,
My lovely wife discloses.

And she walks with me, and she talks with me,
And she tells me I am her own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

In the GardenInteresting.  Note that we need not change more than three to four words along with the masculine pronouns to make this a simple love song.  A smarmy, gooey love song at that, the kind Kinkyadites would swoon over.  Though I doubt it would top the charts, unless of course the Young Fundamentalists did the voting.

I once offended a good friend of mine.  He happened also to be a pastor.  The offense?  I called In the Garden effeminate, and made some off-handed remark about the harp being too manly an instrument to accompany the words.  Big mistake.  He happened to love that song.  He happened to think that song was highly spiritual and moving.  I replied that it moves alright! it flits, it floats, it flies.  It moves like ballet dancers in pink tights and teeny-tiny slippers.  It moves like smoke wafting from scented candles.  It moves like swans on a pond, like Love Comes Softly, like Ron Hamilton in a coffee shop.  It moves like syrup running down pancakes.  And it creates a sticky mess.

She speaks, and the sound of her voice
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody
That she gave to me
Within my heart is ringing.

And she walks with me, and she talks with me,
And she tells me I am her own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

You can almost hear the crooner crooning, his voice husky, his lips almost touching the microphone, his hot breath in your ear.  Now he sings, now he breathes, now he speaks the words.  Yeah, it moves alright.  It sways back and forth like the guy singing it.  It swoons the women and single young men.

It moves me too.  It moves me to sing A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, or something equally manly.  It moves me to hit the skip button, or simply to stop it already.

I’d stay in the garden with her
Tho’ the night around me be falling,
But she bids me go;
Thru the voice of woe,
Her voice to me is calling.

And she walks with me, and she talks with me,
And she tells me I am her own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

In the Garden, Christ found thorns and dragons.  It was bloody there, in that garden alone.  In the heat of battle, Christ sweat as it were great drops of blood.  In the Garden, Christ met temptation; faced it head on, without sin.  In the Garden, the disciples slept, while our Lord the King wept and sorrowed and suffered and begged.  Was The Garden a sentimental place?  But we want it to be sentimental.  We’d rather not take up our cross and follow Christ.  No, we prefer to sit on our couch and swoon over him.

In the Garden is nothing more than CCM without the beat.  It uses a lot of words to say absolutely nothing.  It speaks of The Garden as if it were a light thing.  In the Garden treats the vicarious suffering of Christ as if it were a thing to sniff at.

I’d stay in my garden with her,
But the weeds around me are growing;
And the Weed-Be-Gone
That I’ve used so long,
Somehow, has stopped its working.

And…
She still walks with me, and she talks with me,
And she tells me I am her own,
While I sing my song and the weeds grow long,
Longer than they’ve  ever grown.

Wow!  What content!  What depth!  Why, it must be at least fifty miles wide, though it amazingly never gets more than a half inch deep!

No wonder we decorate our auditoriums in lace.  No wonder our bookstores double as Kinkaid galleries.  No wonder we have so many palm trees on our platforms.  No wonder the women flock to our churches, while the men mysteriously get sick every Sunday morning.

I prefer my garden to work,
I’m so lazy the ants try to eat me.
And I’m sweet you know,
So whene’er it snows,
The birds all think I’m ice cream.

And she walks on me, and she talks o’er me,
And she tells me I am her own,
And if ever I give her a little too much lip,
She smacks me upside the head.

Who is the hero of In the Garden?  Do we sing that song to God?  Do we really?  Because I get this vague feeling that we sound sorta like this: God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.  I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess…

Whatever happened to the manly hymns of our faith?  Whatever happened to the warrior harpist?  Whatever happened to Psalm-singing?  I understand that it is hard to sing Psalm 109 to a Ron Hamilton tune, or Psalm 18 to a tune from The Wilds. But once upon a time, churches sang of crushing heads and of Og.  That was back when we were like a mighty army.  That was before they got out those powder blue berets.

If you come to the garden alone, the dew will be still.  Just don’t touch anything.  Besides, who wants that dew jiggling?

Roses

Categories: Feminism, Mallinak, Music, Questions
  1. January 5, 2007 at 1:53 pm

    Who would of thought music was gender specfic?

    Since I prefer alternative, does that make me a guy?

  2. January 5, 2007 at 9:02 pm

    I tend to agree with the article, but does the garden in the song speak of Gethsemane or about the garden outside the tomb on Resurrection day? I tend to think it is speaking of the latter and therefore would not have to refer to the suffering that took place at Gethsemane. It is definitely not my favorite song and in choosing the hymns for the morning service I never pick it, but if someone else likes it and it is not theologically incorrect, I am not going to bash it. If it is someone’s favorite, so be it. I am not for the mushy Christianity, but there is that aspect of our relationship with Christ too.

  3. January 5, 2007 at 9:03 pm

    Have you ever heard this?

  4. January 6, 2007 at 9:18 am

    You are right, Derek. The Garden referred to is the garden in which Mary saw the Lord when He said, “Touch me not . . .” It has nothing to do with the suffering in Gethsemane.

    The story behind the song involves a “vision” the author had of this event. It is pretty sketchy and is, in my opinion, not a good basis for writing a hymn.

    The song makes sense to me as far as describing devotional fellowship with the Lord through reading the Scriptures and praying–Him talking to me and me talking to Him. If that is the testimony of it, then I don’t have a problem with it. If it is describing some type of new revalation, or Charismatic experience, that is, of course, another story.

    It can be sung in a good, manly way or in a crooning, sissified sound. I’ve heard this done with just about every hymn I can imagine. I’ve even heard Willie Nelson sing “Revive Us Again” in a honkey-tonk, bluesy style.

    The dew “still on the roses” seems to refer to the fact that the author would rise up early to spend time in fellowship with the Lord. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone besides Dave refer to it as the roses not being “jiggled.”

    Like you, I agree that it is not “theologically incorrect.” Gary Webb uses it as an example of a song that is not as strong as some others, but it does not promote false teaching.

    I rarely disagree with what Dave writes, but I really don’t see the point in this article. It seems to be just an attempt to make fun of something that he doesn’t like. It is quite a stretch to try to make the song some sort of anthem of effeminate Christianity. If anything, I see it promoting rising up early to walk with the Lord in prayer and Bible study. The men I know that do that are anything but sissies.

    I know that when I read the Word it is absolutlely true that “He walks with me and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own, and the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.” It is a personal, joyous, life-changing fellowship that we have, and I thank God for it.

  5. January 6, 2007 at 1:11 pm

    I’m going to put in a brief two cents now that I can put in any sense. I like the give and take and that may sound squishy that I am agreeing strongly with everything said, but I mean it in this case. I like it when we are focused in on something like evaluating whether hymns are Scriptural or not, or what is most appropriate to offer God in worship. I believe this song tends too much toward existential experientialism, more in fitting with modern pop Christianity, almost a forerunner for the syrupy Charismatic, CCM type of songs. What this says is: we need to prove all of our worship, including what is our tradition or is in the hymn book. We have plenty of great songs to offer God, ones we know He will enjoy. I liked hearing what everyone had to say, yes, because that helps me in my testing process. That doesn’t mean that I think we ought to have ‘rap’ sessions or group therapy to get our theology, so no one go there. I appreciated what Dave, Derek, Bobby, and others had to say.

  6. January 6, 2007 at 1:58 pm

    Since we are talking about music, I’m sure you all will be interested in knowing that our three cases of Psalters just arrived yesterday. We are looking forward to singing through the Psalms here at Mid-Coast Baptist Church.

    I will particularly sing with force when we get to the slaying of Og and I will have a mental picture of Dave Mallinak shooting a Kincade painting with a sawed-off double barrel 12 gauge.

  7. January 6, 2007 at 3:03 pm

    “It seems to be just an attempt to make fun of something that he doesn’t like.”

    Not so. With such a garden variety of mockable items, I don’t need to come up with one on my own. The song is man-centered, experience-centered, and ego-centered. I think I said at the beginning of my post that I understand that some find the song intensely devotional, and that we can go along with that… if I wasn’t clear enough, that is what I think.

    I must confess that nobody ever explained to me which garden was being referred to, and so for 30-some odd years, I mistakenly thought the song was referring to Gethsemene. Thank you for correcting me on that.

    But yes, there are effeminite songs in worship. And this is one of them. It is a song that begs to be crooned. I’m sure you can croon “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” as well, but you’d be stretching.

  8. January 6, 2007 at 3:04 pm

    If I had just done a little research, I would have known which garden…

    It was in 1912 that music publisher Dr. Adam Geibel asked author and composer C. Austin Miles to write a hymn text that would be “sympathetic in tone, breathing tenderness in every line; one that would bring hope to the hopeless, rest for the weary, and downy pillows to dying beds.” Mr. Miles has left the following account of the writing of this hymn:
    One day in April, 1912, I was seated in the dark room, where I kept my photographic equipment and organ. I drew my Bible toward me; it opened at my favorite chapter, John 20—whether by chance or inspiration let each reader decide. That meeting of Jesus and Mary had lost none of its power and charm.
    As I read it that day, I seemed to be part of the scene. I became a silent witness to that dramatic moment in Mary’s life, when she knelt before her Lord, and cried, “Rabboni!”
    My hands were resting on the Bible while I stared at the light blue wall. As the light faded, I seemed to be standing at the entrance of a garden, looking down a gently winding path, shaded by olive branches. A woman in white, with head bowed, hand clasping her throat, as if to choke back her sobs, walked slowly into the shadows. It was Mary. As she came to the tomb, upon which she placed her hand, she bent over to look in, and hurried away.
    John, in flowing robe, appeared, looking at the tomb; then came Peter, who entered the tomb, followed slowly by John.
    As they departed, Mary reappeared; leaning her head upon her arm at the tomb, she wept. Turning herself, she saw Jesus standing, so did I. I knew it was He. She knelt before Him, with arms outstretched and looking into His face cried, “Rabboni!” I awakened in sun light, gripping the Bible, with muscles tense and nerves vibrating. Under the inspiration of this vision I wrote as quickly as the words could be formed the poem exactly as it has since appeared. That same evening I wrote the music.

    Osbeck, K. W. 1990. Amazing grace : 366 inspiring hymn stories for daily devotions. Includes indexes. Kregel Publications: Grand Rapids, Mich. (emphasis mine)

  9. January 6, 2007 at 4:48 pm

    Dave,

    I see where you are coming from. I honestly don’t get the ego-centered.

    When you say “experience-centered” I have to wonder if several of David’s Psalms are not also “experience-centered.” Is there room for telling of what the Lord has done for us in our experience.

    You have mentioned my favorite hymn twice–A Mighty Fortress. There is definitely a lot of experience there. A lot of “our” and “we.” A lot of “look what God has done for us.”

    I am not an apologist for “In The Garden,” and I’m already on record as saying the whole “vision” for the song is “sketchy.” Just asking “questions.”

  10. January 6, 2007 at 5:17 pm

    Bobby said, “Just asking “questions.'”

    Hey, you can’t do that! It’s not allowed on Jack Hammer. At least not this month!

    We’re the ones asking the questions.

  11. January 6, 2007 at 5:24 pm

    We can axe questions though, can’t we? I like to axe questions.

  12. January 6, 2007 at 5:28 pm

    I thought that when he said ego-centered that he was contrasting with God-centered. There are the lamentation psalms that might come across as ego-centered and yet, we know, are not, so the point of expressing personal feelings to God is quite fine, very OK, even called for. It might seem wimpy to cry to God, but God acts like He likes that, ya know. I had dew on my cheek, but later understood it to be drool, as I contemplated this. I’m going out to lift weights. I will also cry as I do that, groan at least.

  13. January 6, 2007 at 6:01 pm

    While I do not disagree with you concerning In the Garden, I do question your “manly adoration” of A Mighty Fortress is Our God.” This song was written by Martin Luther in 1529. Yes, Martin Luther is the one who posted the 95 theses in 1517, but…..in 1519 in his commentary on the book of Galatians, he vigorously defended the Roman Catholic church as “the bride of Christ, the mother of churches, the daughter of God, the terror of hell, and absolutely pure.” While Luther promoted justification by faith, he came to promote antinomianism. He repeatedly taught that a Christian was not under any moral law except that imposed by secular authority. In order to promote this thought, Luther’s life became filled with obscene language and periodic heavy drinking. He condoned concubines and bigamy. Luther condemned the Baptists for their efforts to imitate Christ and actively persecuted and even martyred them. By 1620, Lutheranism was the state church in Germany and Luther himself advocated the use of state force to eliminate the “heretics” such as baptists. Luther always held to his baptismal regeneration stand, stating, “(putting off the old man) is not done by any law or works but by a new birth, and by renewing of the inward man, which is done in baptism…” (see ‘A Manual for Church History’ vol 2, by Albert Newman). Again, while I do not disagree with your comments on In the Garden, I do question the promoting of a song written by such a doctrinally incorrect and church persecuting man.

  14. January 6, 2007 at 6:06 pm

    OUCH guys. OUCH on your Mighty Fortress comments. Brother Burke came with the industrial sized hammer with the special grip. BANG! Of course, I said nothing about A Mighty Fortress, so he wasn’t talking about me, but OUCH!!! :)

  15. January 6, 2007 at 6:57 pm

    That is the one thing I hate about that hymn. Every time we sing it I tell the church that I like the song in spite of the author.

    Hammer away, Pastor Burke

  16. Chris Stieg
    January 7, 2007 at 4:20 am

    I am not a Martin Luther fan either, but keep him in historical context. The context doesn’t excuse what he taught, but does give some light as to why he did.

    In any case, does who the author of a song is make that much difference to us today? I suppose if Elvis (for instance) wrote a Christian song, we would be distracted from the content enough that we wouldn’t necessarily want to sing that song. But in most cases, the authorship doesn’t really make that much difference as long as the content is good.

    In another example, I assume most people here sing Faith of Our Fathers. But did you know that was written by a Catholic, as a Catholic hymn?

    Faith of our fathers, Mary’s prayers
    Shall win our country back to thee;
    And through the truth that comes from God,
    England shall then indeed be free.

    You probably never sang THAT verse….

    Yet, if you can sing a song such as this (the “normal” verses, of course), and still have sound words, then what is the problem?

    Faith of our fathers, living still
    In spite of dungeons, fire and sword
    O how our hearts beat high with joy
    Whene’er we hear that glorious word!
    Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
    We would be true to Thee till death.

    When I sing this, I don’t think of Catholic martyrs in England in the 1600’s, rather I think of martyrs of the early church. Nothing in the words we sing would imply otherwise.

    Yet that’s not what the author intended. Should we throw out this one too?

    I can think of other songs that we SHOULD throw out, that have post-millennial content, etc.

    “The darkness shall turn to the dawning
    And the dawning to noonday bright
    And Christ’s great kingdom shall come to earth
    The kingdom of love and light.”

    But does who the author was really make that much of a difference, if what he wrote was good, or at least has been adapted into something good?

    If we only sang the hymns that were written by Independent Baptists (Christ’s true churches), we would have a short hymnal indeed.

  17. Chris Stieg
    January 7, 2007 at 4:28 am

    “I Come to the Garden Alone” is not one of my favorite songs. No, its content is not all that deep, is it?

    But neither do I think ALL hymns have to be “deep”. I think most of them should be deep spiritually. However, I wouldn’t condemn the use of an “experience-based” song once in a while.

    How about “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?”? If you only sing songs like this, your song service is pretty shallow. But a well-rounded diet of good Christian hymns could include this.

  18. January 7, 2007 at 4:55 am

    Alright, I’m not going to tell the name of the song that Kirk Brandenburg played here for an offertory. Nope. Don’t even ask!!!

  19. January 7, 2007 at 6:10 am

    “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” is based on Psalm 46, which, I believe, explains the “first person” perspective.

    Nice word, Dave.

  20. January 7, 2007 at 7:15 am

    First, have you guys ever noticed the number of hymns in our hymnal written by unitarians? How about Isaac Watts (my favorite hymn writer)? How about Charles Wesley – hardly an Independent Baptist.

    Second, I say ego-centric because the song is not about what God does, it is about what man does. And as for theology, in the post I demonstrated the sum total of theology found in the song… I erased it with three words.

    The song is theologically incorrect, for it misrepresents God. It presents God as “waiting patiently in line”, pacing back and forth, wishing and hoping I’d come so he could “walk with me and talk with me and tell me I am his own. It makes God dependent on me coming to the garden. It presents a “He was there all the time” view of God. God is not sitting back in heaven wishing we would all come spend time with him. God is on His throne, and is to be worshipped as such.

    There are times when (in my experience) I go to meet God, and though I know He is there, and that his ear is open to my prayer, yet it seems that he isn’t. There are times, as one preacher put it, that we travel without the star. There are times when it seems that our prayers bounce off the ceilings.

    And I can’t imagine that God is sitting around waiting for us in a garden. When the guy finally gets around to prayer time, after a lengthy and unexcused absence, when he finally comes to say “I need you now, God… I need you to be there”, does God say “I’ve been here all the time”, or does he laugh at their calamity and mock when their fear cometh?

  21. January 7, 2007 at 7:23 am

    By the way, Pastor Burke, it is nice to see you over here. Somehow, I’m always surprised (usually in a pleasant way) to discover who all is reading this. I hope things are going well for you. God bless!

  22. January 7, 2007 at 12:45 pm

    God laughing and mocking at their calamity is a reference to the unrepentant lost man being damned by God. Proverbs 1. What does this have to do with believers who are commanded “Draw nigh to God”???

  23. January 7, 2007 at 1:32 pm

    Pastor Mallinak, just heard of the website and I love it. Keep up the good work, I have read the archives and found them very interesting. The Lord is blessing here in Goshen, Ohio and To God Be The Glory! (Hope that song is O.K.) :-)

  24. January 7, 2007 at 7:15 pm

    The text says, Because I have called and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof. Since God never stops calling, men who neglect God will find that when they really need him, he will be mocking. The text says that when their calamity comes, and then they come, God will be laughing.

    Not everyone who says “Lord, Lord” will enter into the kingdom of heaven. What can we say of those believers who neglect God until the crisis?

    Now, regular and faithful devotions are an entirely different matter. I say the song is ego-centric because (as I said previously) the song is praising the singer’s coming to the garden.

  25. Anvil
    January 8, 2007 at 7:16 pm

    Pastor Burke, your denunciation of Martin Luther is a bit harsh, and it leaves out some pertinent facts about his views of antinomianism.

    In fact, Martin Luther himself made the accusation of antinomianism against another Lutheran, Johannes Agricola. One of Luther’s early treatises, “On the Freedom of a Christian,” from 1520 begins with two seemingly opposing points (1. That the Christian is free, subject to no one, and 2. The Christian is a servant, subject to all), but goes on to discuss his views on grace and freedom and what that freedom really means.

    His main treatise dealing with this topic is “Against the Antinomians,” written in 1539, where he makes clear his view of the topic while admitting he might have said things on the subject that were taken the wrong way, especially given all of his writings and commentaries on the value and meaning of the 10 commandments.

    It is true that he dealt harshly with Anabaptists (not all of whom were doctrinally pure or correct either), and that he had some obvious sin problems at certain times in his life (which of us doesn’t?). As Pastor Mallinak has written, we use hymns from writers with many different beliefs. This is not much different from David and Solomon being used to write truth, regardless of their many and obvious faults. It is also true that Luther condoned multiple wives/concubines because in his view the scripture did not explicitly forbid this. Certainly the examples of polygamy in the Bible (especially I Sam 12:8 where God through Nathan says he gave David his master’s wives) have caused no small confusion over what the Bible has to say on that subject.

    At first, Luther did view the pope and RC church as an organism that needed reform, not as something to be completely separated from, but that also changed over the course of his life. His views near the end of his life were significantly different from those he held in 1519.

    Martin Luther may not be a hero to many fundamentalists, but he was a product of his time and his background, as well as a fallible man, and must be viewed in that light. However it seems a bit disingenuous to rewrite history to make Luther out to be interested in pleasing himself more than in pleasing God.

  26. Mike Hontz
    September 26, 2007 at 6:01 am

    Possibly nobody is reading this post anymore, but I have to point out that Proverbs 1 is not written from the perspective of God, but rather it is wisdom personified. It is not God who laughs at man’s calamity or who refuses to listen, it is wisdom. Notice how the passage begins – Proverbs 1:20 – “Out in the open ‘WISDOM’ calls aloud, ‘SHE’ raises her voice in the public square . . .” The point of the passage is not a theological statement about God’s response to men. Rather, it is a comment on those who neglect wisdom throughout life only to call out for wisdom and to seek for right answers in their moments of trials. At that point it is too late to attain wisdom. Such pursuits need to begin at an early age. Hence, Solomon admonishes his son throughout to accept his words of wisdom to him even as a child.

    As far as music goes, I think we need to be careful about trying to over-scrutinize the words of a song to the point that we begin to read into them things that the author didn’t intend to convey. If we did this with the Psalms, we could assert that David believed that God hates and detests all evil people (Ps. 5:5-6; 11:5), or that in order for us to worship God, we too should hate and despise wicked people (15:1-5), or that God deserts believers during times of distress when they need him the most (Ps. 10:1; 13:1; 22:1-2), or that it is alright to harbor evil thoughts and feelings toward our enemies or toward those who wronged us (Ps. 17:14; all imprecatory Psalms). These words were not written by the Psalmist to ‘teach doctrine’ in the purest sense. Rather, David was expressing his emotions before God with utmost honesty. David didn’t believe or intend to teach that God actually deserted him when he was in trouble, yet he wrote, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer.” The Psalms read much more like a personal diary and much less like a theology text book than most conservative Christians are willing to acknowledge. And as such, I believe that we over scrutinize hymns and praise choruses in order to make them fit into the genre of theology textbooks rather than that of biblical psalms and hymns. There is a place for theology textbooks (I own several of them), but let’s not forget that there is a place for crying out to God in our most emotional moments where we are not overly concerned with dotting all of our theological i’s or crossing all of our theological t’s. Such seems to be the example from the Psalms.

  27. September 26, 2007 at 6:32 am

    Mike, all Scripture is given to us to teach us doctrine (see 2 Timothy 3:16-17). Explaining away passages will not help any believer – what we need to do is take each passage in context – and if we do, some of those problems you mention above will be gone. Others you will simply need to adjust your theology or understanding of them.

  28. Mike Hontz
    September 26, 2007 at 10:00 am

    Jerry – I certainly agree that all Scripture is profitable for doctrine. The word ‘doctrine’ simply means teaching. Certainly Psalm 22 and all the Psalms are meant to ‘teach’ us something. The question is, what is it trying to teach? I don’t know of any Christian who accuses Psalm 22 of trying to teach that God forsakes believers in their times of trouble or that he is actually far off when they pray. We know David’s heart, and so we know not to read those words as if David was actually saying these things. Instead, many would agree that David was expressing his EMOTIONS in light of the enemies that were surrounding him (22:12). At times he felt as though God had deserted him, and so he cried out to God honestly expressing these emotions to God. However, later in the Psalm, David again asks God not to be far from him (22:11, 19). David eventually calls on all believers to look to God for strength because he DOES NOT desert them in their time of trouble. Rather, David says that God has not despised the suffering of the afflicted in the past, nor has he hidden his face from him, but rather God has listened to his cry (22:23-24). He ends the Psalm by acknowledging a belief that God will in fact ‘do it’ – that which he has asked him to do, to deliver him in his moment of difficulty.

    My point in bringing this Psalm up was to show two things.

    1) This Psalm and others are very emotional. David’s words in 22:1-3 seem to be nothing more than David expressing emotions about God. They are not meant to teach that God deserts us in our time of need, as David discredits this idea later in the same Psalm. What doctrine are we to learn from Ps. 22:1-3? Certainly it is not a literal understanding of the words spoken regarding God deserting his people. Rather, I believe that we are to learn that it is completely legitimate to express our emotions to God, and that emotions are a part of worship. However, our emotions must be checked up against right doctrine. This seems to be one of the great points of this Psalm. David felt free to express his emotions, however he allowed right doctrine to prevail in his thinking so as not to actually accuse God of deserting him.

    2. We need to judge a song (Psalm) on the basis of the entire presentation and not take one line of the song and read into it a meaning that was probably not intended by its composer. An example is the hymn ‘And Can It Be’ which some have accused of being doctrinally incorrect because it says that Christ ‘emptied himself of all but love’. Literally speaking, this is certainly incorrect. God did not give up his hatred of sin, his justice, or any other attribute of God when he came. However, this is not the author’s point. He is not trying to say that Christ literally emptied himself of everything but love. Rather, this is a hyperbole (an exaggeration) or a poetic way of saying that God’s love was so great that nothing could keep his love from dying for sinners. It is unfair then to accuse this song as being doctrinally incorrect since the overall song is pretty clear in its meaning just as it would be wrong to accuse David of false doctrine in Psalm 22:1-3 when the overall Psalm helps us understand how to read those first three verses.

  29. October 8, 2007 at 8:59 am

    Mike,

    I just came across your comments on “In the Garden” and I wanted to answer a couple of things.

    First, if you think I’ve overly scrutinized this “hymn,” I don’t really have an answer for you. But it seems to me that you’ve argued that we’re overly scrutinized, and then brought up songs that we have not scrutinized. When it comes to the “hymn” “In the Garden,” I would love to know exactly what you think was overly scrutinized. As I pointed out earlier, the sum total of content in this song that gives it the appearance of being a “spiritual song” is contained in three words. With slight modifications to those three words, the song turns into a love song.

    How about if you tell me how I over-scrutinized THIS song. Rather than telling me how other songs might also be over-scrutinized.

    Secondly, your argument that Proverbs 1 is not talking about God, but rather about wisdom is an argument that does not hold water. First, God IS Wisdom. God did not create wisdom. Wisdom rests in God, and is a part of His being. Wisdom cannot exist apart from God. Consider Colossians 2:3 on this, and along with that, consider Prov 8:22-31. All the attributes of wisdom listed in Proverbs 8 are also attributes of God.

    So, yes. It IS God who laughs at our calamity.

  30. Mike Hontz
    October 8, 2007 at 12:42 pm

    Dave,

    Concerning the hymn – I feel you have tried to scrutinize whether or not it is legitimate to write a song that pictures poetically a person’s time with the Lord as coming to a garden to commune with him. You say that the whole song reads like a love song.

    1) First of all, some of the lines in the Psalms communicate this idea of a love relationship between God and his people. In Psalm 18:1 David says, “I love you, Lord, my strength.” In Psalm 91:14, God is pictured as saying, “Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore I will deliver him.” Psalm 116:1, it reads “I love the Lord . . .” A really good example is Psalm 45. The inscription at the begging which was part of verse one in the Massoretic Hebrew text says that this is a love song or a wedding song. In fairness, the song seems to be written by a wife of David about him. However, like other Psalms, it seems to have a double reference to God or to Messiah. Verses 6-7 address the recipient as ‘God’ where it says, “Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever . . . therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.” Obviously this Psalm was sung in some fashion in worship, and so I think it adds some legitimacy to the notion that it it okay to poetically refer to our relationship with God as a love song. In addition to this are all of the references where God likened OT Israel as his wife and the church as the bride of Christ.

    2. You allege that this reads shallowly like a love song. I don’t even agree with this. Since when was communing with God and listening to his voice and not wanting to part from his presence overly romantic in tone. It speaks about how sweet the words of God were to the one who has come into his presence that even the birds stop to listen. It goes on to speak about the joy that is experienced by the one who has come to fellowship with the Lord. There is nothing in this song that doesn’t make sense in light of a worshiper coming into God’s presence to listen to him speak to them from the word and to speak to Him through prayer. Just because you can fit the lyrics into a human to human love relationship doesn’t prove that the song itself is romantic in tone. A wife could write of her husband, “A mighty fortress is [my husband], a bulwark never failing; (He never lets me down) [my] helper he amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing (He protects me from danger). This doesn’t prove that these two lines are romantic in nature simply because they COULD be sung by a wife to her husband.

    3. You accuse the song of being too effeminate and not manly enough. This is where I say you are over scrutinizing the song. Since when did ‘MANLINESS’ become a standard of whether a song should be sung or not. It is bad enough when people push the DOCTRINE card so far as to read into songs doctrinal errors that obviously were not meant by the author such as the example I listed. In addition to that one, I have heard people who refused to sing ‘The Old Rugged Cross’ and ‘Nothing but the Blood’ because they are promoting the worship of the cross or the blood rather than Christ. I have heard of a pastor who will not sing ‘Grace Greater than Our Sin’ because the song says, “There where the blood of the Lamb was spilt.” He takes issue with the word ‘spilt’ since he says that this implies the shedding was an accident. I know another pastor who feels that the music to ‘Love Lifted Me’ is not sad enough during the verse where it speaks of sinking deep in sin. There is no end to people who are critical of both choruses and hymns because they hold them up to their own standards of what is acceptable. It is bad enough when a song is scrutinized unfairly because of its doctrinal content. But you are going further and scrutinizing whether the song is manly enough. This is absurd!!! And so this is what I mean by over scrutinizing the song. Take it for what it is. It is not meant to be a deep doctrinal song about all of the attributes of God or about deep theological truths. It is a simple song the poetically describes the joy of living in a close, daily relationship with God.

    Later in your posts, you said that it was doctrinally incorrect because it implied that God was waiting for the sinner to come to him. In defense of this, you listed Proverbs 1 to prove that God is not waiting for him.

    1) This song is not saying that God is waiting for the sinner to come and commune with God, but rather that God is waiting for his children to come to him.

    2) The Bible does teach that God is waiting for the sinner to come to him as he gives numerous invitations of that sort. One example is Matthew 11:28 – “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Another example is Luke 13:34 – O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! Here Christ makes an appeal to Israel and says that he was standing ready to gather her to himself, but she refused.

    3) As I stated, your use of Proverbs 1 was taking it out of context. It is not speaking from the perspective of God at all, but rather ‘wisdom personified.’ You say that God is wisdom, therefore it is valid. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that God IS wisdom. True, God is wise and wisdom proceeds from Him, but God is not equal to wisdom. Can we take all of the references to wisdom in Proverbs and read God into them? This wouldn’t make any sense in many of the passages (5:1, 7:4, 14:6).

    Furthermore, if ‘wisdom personified’ is meant to be equated with God in some way, then why is wisdom always personified as a woman?

    You referenced Col. 2:3 which says that in God are hidden all of the treasures of wisdom. All that this proves is that God contains all wisdom. There is no piece of wisdom that he doesn’t possess. However, this doesn’t prove that God is equal to wisdom or that we are to read God into every passage that speaks of wisdom, especially one that is as poetic in nature as Proverbs 1.

    You also reference Proverbs 8:22-31 as proof that wisdom personified is also a reference to God. Yet here too, the context goes all the way back to the beginning of the chapter where it refers to wisdom in feminine terms crying out to passerbys to come in and partake of what she has to offer – her wisdom. The fact that wisdom is also poetically referred to as dwelling with God from the beginning of time doesn’t prove that wisdom is = to God (verses 22-31). It merely proves that God has always possessed all wisdom, even from the beginning.

    If wisdom personified must be a reference to God, than is ‘folly personified’ in Proverbs 9:13-18 a reference to Satan?

    When the context clearly reads that wisdom is the one calling out, then the burden of proof is clearly on you to prove that there is a double reference there to God. Yet nothing from the context of Proverbs 1, and any of Proverbs demands or argues strongly for such a conclusion. On the contrary, the feminine descriptions of wisdom seems to be an unlikely fit for that which is meant to double as a reference both to wisdom and to God.

  31. October 9, 2007 at 1:59 pm

    Mike,

    I’m sorry not to have time to point out every fallacy in this response. I will answer a sampling, for your sake, and then I’ll let you get in the last word.

    First, the examples you gave from the Psalms are examples of how we should express our love to God. And from those examples, we should be able to see very clearly that “In the Garden” falls woefully short of the MANLY way the Psalms express their love.

    Secondly, songs about God should be MANLY because God is not feminine, nor is he effeminate. And effeminate songs are bad theology.

    Thirdly, (and I’m quoting you on this), you said,

    You say that God is wisdom, therefore it is valid. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that God IS wisdom. True, God is wise and wisdom proceeds from Him, but God is not equal to wisdom.

    I would point out that you used what is commonly referred to as “equivocation” to make this point. I said that God IS wisdom, and you changed the meaning of IS to “equals.” When the Bible says that God is love, does that mean that God equals love? You might benefit from a helpful little example of how one might mistakenly use the word is…

    God is love; love is blind; Ray Charles is blind; therefore, Ray Charles is God.

    Hopefully you see the problem.

    Mike, you’re really argumentative. You’ve scrolled through all our stuff looking for reasons to, well, I don’t know. Maybe you need to convince yourself that we’re not good. I don’t know.

    If it is important to you not to agree, then don’t. A little overscrutiny, I suppose, won’t hurt anybody (unless we touch YOUR favorite ‘hymn’). But in all that you wrote about God and wisdom, you missed my basic point… God did not create wisdom. God does not merely possess wisdom. Wisdom is an attribute of God. It began when He did.

    And your question needs to be addressed (quoting you again)… “Furthermore, if ‘wisdom personified’ is meant to be equated with God in some way, then why is wisdom always personified as a woman?” and “the feminine descriptions of wisdom seems to be an unlikely fit for that which is meant to double as a reference both to wisdom and to God.”

    Had you thought this question through before asking it, you might have noted that the Church, which Ephesians 1 refers to as “the fullness of him that filleth all in all” is also a woman.

    Finally, “In the Garden” puts the weight of the relationship on the individual, giving him the glory. You can only make the Psalms do this if you quote a smattering of individual verses.

  32. Mike Hontz
    October 10, 2007 at 12:00 pm

    Dave,

    I thought that the point of this post was for people with different opinions to weigh in on the discussion. If it is just a forum to preach to the choir of people within the same camp who basically feel the same way, then it seems to be a waste of time. I enjoy interacting with other fellow believers who come from different perspectives than I and interacting my own thoughts and opinions so that I am sharpened concerning what I believe. Rather than assuming that I know how the ‘other side’ thinks, I want to hear how they respond to my ideas. Particularly, I have challenged issues on this website regarding the KJVO movement and the issue of music. I particularly am passionate about rightly interpreting the Bible, and so when I see something that seems to me to be a misuse of Scripture, that is where I want to weigh in particularly. I am still not the least convinced that Proverbs 1’s personification of wisdom is intending to convey a double reference to God. This is what motivated me to weigh in on the issue in the first place. You can call this argumentative if you like. However it has been my experience that those within your camp who take issue with things such as the ‘manliness’ of a hymn and any English version of the Bible other than the KJV tend to be the group who have earned the title “Fighting Fundamentalists” for good reason. I am not arguing that you HAVE TO or even SHOULD use the song ‘In the Garden’ for your worship if you aren’t comfortable with it. What I am arguing over is the right of others who are comfortable with it to use it if it is meaningful to them. Frankly, I don’t personally like the hymn that much. I have not chosen it for our worship services in our church since I have been here as a pastor. But as a music pastor, I have heard so many (usually from within your camp of fundamentalism) that want to be critical of anything and everything that they can find fault with, and in the process they tend to paint those who don’t agree with them as being less spiritual and less discerning. My studies of the Psalms over the past several years have convinced me that if we were actually to sing many of them in our worship service, not knowing that they were scriptural Psalms, many Christians would make the same accusations against them that they are not doctrinally correct, or that some of them are too shallow in that they say more about David problems and the actual people who are chasing him then they do about God (too anthropocentric), or that they are too emotional or that they are too personal and not corporate enough, etc, etc. etc. And so if you think I am argumentative, you might want to question the sorts of things that those within your camp are posting on this sight for the very sake of raising arguments with professing believers who don’t fall into the same camp as you.

    Concerning this hymn, I simply disagree that it is effeminate. Simply because it describes the GARDEN as having roses with dew on them and birds that sing does not make the hymn effeminate. Even if the hymn were effeminate, it is a very different thing to say that a HYMN is wrong because it is effeminate than to say that GOD HIMSELF can be described in an effeminate manner. You are arguing that the woman who is wisdom is also God because they share the same attributes. This is describing GOD in a feminine way. That is not the same as singing a hymn in the context of a GARDEN that is described in ways that you think are more feminine. The hymn ‘In the Garden’ DOESN’T make any reference to GOD that would make one think of HIM as effeminate. However, to say that wisdom personified as a woman is also a reference to God DOES seem to describe HIM as effeminate. That is a huge difference.

    (By the way, for clarification sake, I am not saying that Lady Wisdom COULDN’T be a double reference to God simply because it is described as a woman. I am simply saying that the fact that wisdom is described as a woman doesn’t help the argument from the context. The verse that I listed in my previous post likens Christ to a hen gathering her chicks under her wings. This is a feminine description. And so it is not impossible that God or Christ be likened to a female for illustrative purposes. However, for something like wisdom that is not gender specific, it seems unlikely to me that the author would personify wisdom as a woman to make that comparison when he could just as easily have likened wisdom to a man.)

    Concerning the example of the church, the Bible describes it at times as the bride of Christ which is a picture of its relationship to him. At other times, it refers to the church as a body with Christ as its head. It also describes the church as a flock with Christ as the shepherd, a building with Christ as the cornerstone, etc. In none of these descriptions, though, is Christ pictured as a woman. You can’t take two distinct analogies (the church as a bride and the church as a body) and combine them to say that since Christ is the head of the body, than he is the head of the bride, and therefore that equates him as the feminine concept in the analogy. When the church is described as a bride for sake of analogy, Christ is described as the HUSBAND. When the church is described as the body (non-gender related), Christ is described as the head to show his authority and sovereignty. In neither of these analogies is Christ pictured in some way as a feminine figure. You seem to be the one arguing out of both sides of your mouth when you argue in favor of Christ being “Lady Wisdom” but then insisting that songs which are too effeminate are inappropriate because God is a man and must be worshiped as such.

    Finally, to argue as you did that “In the Garden puts the weight of the relationship on the individual, giving him glory” is simply not true. While the song pictures the individual coming to the garden, it is God who is speaking and the human that listens. It is God who gives the melody that rings within the heart of the human. It is God who walks along with the human coming in joint fellowship. Finally, it is God who bids the human to return back to his life. There is nothing explicit about this hymn that denies God’s sovereignty or that pictures him as helplessly sitting and waiting for man to do everything. That is something YOU MUST READ INTO it. Hence, I made the claim of OVER-SCRUTINY on your part. Would it be less anthropocentric in your mind to sing Luke 13:34 which pictures Jesus as crying over Jerusalem (too effeminate) because even though he often longed to gather them to himself, they were not willing? Jesus seems to be putting the emphasis here on the human element. He was standing ready to save them, but they refused, and hence he didn’t act because they were unwilling. Does this verse put too much glory on man? The whole argument of whether a song puts too much focus on man and not enough on God is not a moot point, but it is extremely subjective in my mind, and I have seen some Psalms that say a lot more about the human’s problems than they do about God as the solution.

    For example, Psalm 10 begins with an accusation against God for standing far off and not intervening in David’s times of trouble (That wouldn’t be acceptable as a line in most people’s hymnals). The next 10 verses describe the wickedness of the wicked. God is only mentioned as someone who is absent from the wicked men’s thoughts, but not as an active agent in the situation. Finally in verse 12, David asks God to rise up and do something. Verse 13 goes back to describing the wickedness of man. Finally, the last five verses acknowledge that God does see the troubles and afflictions of the helpless. He is here called to action by the Psalmist to intervene and acknowledged to be sovereign over the wicked and concerned about the afflicted. In looking at the whole Psalm, almost 3/4 of it describes what wicked men do or the fact that God appears to be doing nothing. Only a little over 1/4 of it is actually about God acting and intervening. If someone were to write a hymn today and the first three verses were about wicked men and the fourth alone was about God intervening, you and I both know that most Christians, both in your camp and in my camp of fundamentalism, would accuse this hymn of being too anthropocentric and would even take offense at singing it in church. Yet this is the example from the Psalms. And so I simply disagree with your assessment that this hymn (and with most other assessments by others about other hymns) is too anthropocentric and hence doesn’t give glory to God.

  33. October 10, 2007 at 2:35 pm

    You are arguing that the woman who is wisdom is also God because they share the same attributes.

    you argue in favor of Christ being “Lady Wisdom”

    If someone were to write a hymn today and the first three verses were about wicked men and the fourth alone was about God intervening, you and I both know that most Christians, both in your camp and in my camp of fundamentalism, would accuse this hymn of being too anthropocentric and would even take offense at singing it in church.

    All three quoted above from you… and on all three, I must answer in the negative. On the first, “no, I’m not.” On the second, “no, I don’t.” On the third, “no, I wouldn’t.”

    I don’t mind an argument. I do mind when people don’t take the time to read what I’ve said.

    By the way, we sing the Psalms in our church. The entire thing. We’re learning Psalm 2 and Psalm 8 this month. And, we will gladly sing Psalm 10. And I can promise you that it won’t sound even remotely like “In the Garden.”

    I’ll look forward to more from you Mike.

  34. October 10, 2007 at 3:28 pm

    I think if someone says someone is argumentative, he means that he is not seeking to establish additional facts or check the reliability of existing facts; instead, attempting only to argue. This is what it means when a lawyer says, “Objection your honor, argumentative.” That’s when someone is argumentative. All of us are arguing everywhere since we are persuading men to believe. I argue in every sermon. Paul argued. Jesus argued. This is different than being argumentative.

  35. Mike Hontz
    October 10, 2007 at 6:13 pm

    Well I’m not sure what I have done that is any different from what any of you have done by way of arguing my point. I am listening and reflecting on what you have said, and while it is hard for all of us, I am trying to be open minded that I could be wrong on something that I have said. But so far, I have not been persuaded by those who have responded to me any more than any of you seem to have been persuaded by anything that I have said. I’m not sure how that makes me more argumentative than then next person contributing to this post, but criticism is well taken.

    As to what Dave said about about the first two quotes, I guess we will just agree to disagree as to whether or not this is the logical conclusions of the points you are trying to make. Concerning the third point, I realize that there are some churches that sing the Psalms, and I am sure that as long as the ones singing them realize that they are Scriptural Psalms, they will not take any offense to them whatsoever. What I am saying is that if I put a song in my own words that said similar things to what the Psalms say, and people in our camps observed it through the critical lens of most fundamentalists, most would likely find some of those songs to be offensive or shallow. This too is a subjective statement that is almost impossible to prove unless I would simply take a Psalm and paraphrase it in my own words and pawn it off as my own work or the work of a famous contemporary praise chorus writer and see what the response is. I am pretty convinced that the response from several of them, especially the imprecatory Psalms, would be negative.

  36. October 11, 2007 at 9:19 am

    Mike,

    Saying that God is love is not equivalent to saying that love is God. This is not simply a matter of “agree to disagree.” This is faulty logic. I said that God is wisdom, and to you, that means that wisdom is God. These are two different things, and I am trying to help you see that.

    On a different “note” (pun intended!), most of Isaac Watts hymns were written from or based off of Psalms. I would have to say that so long as the “paraphrase” was faithful to the general tenor of the Psalm, I would be fine with it.

    But again, I don’t think “In the Garden” can even be compared to anything that we find in the Psalms. Again (and in conclusion), the sum total of meaningful content is contained in THREE words.

    P.S. Funny how it works. You think I’m overscrutinizing the song, and I think you’re overscrutinizing me.

    Well, let’s don’t overscrutinize the scrutiny given to scrutiny on this overly-scrutinizing overscrutiny of an over-scrutinized song.

    Scrutinize that, if you will!

    Grace and Peace, friend!

  37. Mike Hontz
    October 12, 2007 at 8:57 am

    Dave,

    Without going back over each of the posts to see exactly what you or I said to clarify myself, I will simply say that I agree whole-heartedly that simply because the Bible says ‘God is love’ that this doesn’t mean that love is God. I almost brought this up in my first response to your statement that ‘God is wisdom’ to say that even when the Bible does say the actual words, ‘God is love’, it still does not prove that every passage that spoke about love could likewise be seen as a reference to God. But I didn’t.

    I do realize that there are plenty of scholars throughout history who have made a similar argument that saw in some way or another a reference to God or to the pre-incarnate Christ in many of the references to wisdom in Proverbs. I believe that it goes at least as far back as the Jewish Qumran community prior to Jesus’ day. You are not alone in seeing this connection. I have even assumed that Proverbs 1 was being spoken from the perspective of God in my younger years. In recent years though, I think it is less problematic for me to simply understand this as wisdom personified without looking at it more deeply through a more ‘theological’ perspective. If this is referring to God, then am I to assume that there are people out there who have mocked God in their past, but who through trials in their lives come to the point where they actually call out to God for him to save them, only to hear God laugh at their trouble and refuse to save them? This seems to raise some pretty big cans of worms if you know what I mean concerning whether or not God really will save all who call on him for salvation as so many other verses of Scripture seem to make clear. It is one thing to say that there are some that God gives over to a reprobate mind to pursue their own wicked devices as Romans 1 teaches. The implication from Romans 1 is that these people will never come to the point of calling out to God to acknowledge their need of him because possibly the Holy Spirit will leave them alone. However, Proverbs 1 would seem to say that these people actually call out to God for help, and he refuses because of their past rejection. That seems pretty hard to reconcile with Romans 10:14 which says that “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

    At least to me, when I see Proverbs one simply as a reference to wisdom, it makes sense at why wisdom is not able to be found by those who wait until they are old and in trouble to seek for her. The same doesn’t make sense to me when considered about God.

  38. October 12, 2007 at 9:58 am

    Mike, Proverbs 1 (which you are referring to) is dealing with PHYSICAL deliverance, not spiritual. If someone rejects God’s counsel long enough, when the catatrophe comes due to their rebellion, God will not deliver them from it or the consequences of their rebellion – sure, they might still get saved, but the consequences are still there. For example, someone who ignored God’s commands to be morally/sexually pure, and then catches aids. Their fear of dying with this disease may lead them to turn to the Lord, but they are still dying of the disease!

  39. Mike Hontz
    October 12, 2007 at 11:27 am

    Jerry,

    That is an excellent point, and one that would seem to be fair to the text and the rest of the Bible if one were to understand God to be linked to this passage. I would not even challenge that interpretation since I too agree that the wisdom that Proverbs is urging people to accept is the wisdom that comes from God and from his word, not the wisdom that the world offers.

    However, as Proverbs 1 relates to the arguments that were posted in relationship to the deficiency of “In the Garden”, it was used to disqualify the song as doctrinally incorrect since the song pictured God as waiting around in the garden for people to come to him. Dave seemed to have been arguing for a more soteriological understanding. Here is what he said,

    “The text says, Because I have called and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof. Since God never stops calling, men who neglect God will find that when they really need him, he will be mocking. The text says that when their calamity comes, and then they come, God will be laughing.

    Not everyone who says “Lord, Lord” will enter into the kingdom of heaven. What can we say of those believers who neglect God until the crisis?”

    (by the way, I’m not sure how to put things in quotes like the rest of you do with the phrase being indented and the big quotation marks)

    His reference to Matthew 7:22 seems to be a reference to those who called on the Lord for salvation, but never really got it. However, maybe this isn’t what he meant since his last sentence referred to BELIEVERS who neglect God until crisis. I’m not really sure, but the totality of this quote led me to understand his argument soteriological.

  40. Level Headed
    October 12, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    Hopefully you guys are joking. The original blog ans subsequent entries are stupid.

  41. October 12, 2007 at 6:53 pm

    This is the most hilarious piece of nit-picking I have ever seen! I’ve met some great people in these IFB circles but a common thread I’ve seen with most of the men is that hyper-critical hairsplitting is taken to an art form and seems to be valued as evidence of true godliness.

  42. October 12, 2007 at 7:08 pm

    Nerak, let’s say that I heard that you either really hated brussel sprouts or that you were allergic to them. You could barely stand them in your presence. Knowing that, I served heaping portions of them to you when you came over. That wouldn’t be too much of a problem, because it’s only you. On the other hand, God has shown that He has a taste in what He wants to hear in the way of praise. We’re being picky about what He wants to hear from us. Of course that would be God, and are you saying that being picky about what we give to God in praise isn’t worth thinking about? Just wondering. I just popped over to your blog and noticed you nit-picking about Amway. That is an important topic, you know. Just compare: what we offer God in praise and the type of job we have. One you think is hilarious and the other is considered important to evaluation in your opinion.

    In the way of praise, we like singing the Psalms because God wrote them and wants to hear them from us. I especially like Psalm 2:4, “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.” I was reminded of that when you said this was hilarious. Laughing is a theme in the Psalms.

    Come over and visit more. Hope we see you in the future! :-)

  43. Michael Marshall
    October 31, 2007 at 3:57 pm

    Where in the world (pun intended) did you get the words to “In the Garden”? I have the music, and the words you posted are not the words I have, not even close.

    Written by C Austin Miles, 1912, renewed 1940.

    Verse One
    I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses, and the voice I hear falling on my ear, the son of God discloses.

    Verse Two:

    He speaks and the sound of his voice is so sweet the birds hush their singing, and the melody that He gave to me, within my heart is ringing

    Verse Three:

    I’d stay in the garden with Him, Tho’ the night around me be falling, But He bids me go, Thro’ the voice of woe His voice to me is calling

    CHORUS:

    And He walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own; And the joy we share as we tarry there, None other has ever known.

  44. Dave Mallinak
    October 31, 2007 at 5:42 pm

    They were floating around inside my head like those little balls in Pong.

  45. Michael Marshall
    October 31, 2007 at 6:13 pm

    Pong??? Do you think you can get a Jackhammer logo on ‘em?

  46. Paul Washing
    November 21, 2007 at 10:11 am

    What about this sermon by Paul Washer:

    You are dearly loved by God:

    http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=62706235611

    Perhaps that could explain why songs are written like this; when one has communion with God?

  47. Kathy
    December 6, 2007 at 9:22 pm

    I agreed with Mike’s Oct 8th posting referencing Luke 13:34. Perhaps you could overcome your fear that this beautiful song is not manly enough for you or our Lord. This particular song brought me back to my walk with my Lord and Savior. May God bless you and all that further his work.

  48. Judy Macleod
    February 21, 2008 at 4:46 am

    This is a favourite hymn of mine. Once you have experienced what this song expresses and that is intimate moments with Father God, then and only then will this song have a deep meaning to you.

    For those who think this is not ‘manly’ then I guess we better tear out the Song of Solomen from the bible!

    If a marriage doesn’t have emotional feelings to go with the commitment, then it’s not much of a marriage, and a relationship with our Father that doesn’t have moments of expressions of love, then is really only ‘religion’

  49. Dave Mallinak
    February 21, 2008 at 11:13 am

    *Sigh*

  50. Wayne
    October 7, 2010 at 12:41 am

    Not “egocentric”? Really? “and he walks with ME, and he talks with ME, and he tells ME, I am his own; and the joy WE share as WE tarry there, NONE OTHER HAS EVER KNOWN.” and that’s just a snippet……

  51. Frank Goss
    November 15, 2011 at 9:22 am

    Hey, Got a story for ya…

    Once, I come here to this particular garden…naturally, I was a lone….it was early, the sun had yet to come up and the flowers were all wet and stuff…it was still a bit dark. But while I was there I hear this voice…man, what a voice. Dunno…it was an unusual voice…smooth, even, encouraging, inspiring, can’t really describe it complete…but it was directed to me.

    Now, don’t get me wrong, I ain’t preaching – just tellin you bout somethin that happened!

    Turns out this was the Son of God. I came to the garden wantin to spend some time meditating and thinkin bout Jesus and what he done for me. While I am there, he starts talkin ta me…ME…He starts talkin ta me!

    I end up stayin in the garden for a while. He starts tellin me stuff and showin me things that He has written. Amazing. I was havin a great time. The highlight of my day, you know.

    When he spoke to me, he had this way of sayin stuff that made you listen, ya know. Some thing bout how he said stuff. He was astounding, amazing and all. He was a man’s man…you could tell this by what he said and how he said it. No emotional games were being played. Matter of fact, what he was tellin me was so profound that I could not even hear the birds thate were actually hollerin at me for being in their garden! He had my attention…

    It was great time. His words burned in my heart. Intense and deep, he was touching on things I ain’t never thought about. But you know, there was nothing condensending in what he was saying. Sure, he pointed out some things I done wrong, but rather than beating me over the back with these, he was helping me correct my mistakes and see where I gone wrong. Sweet…real sweet….yeah… ain’t never known nothing like this before.

    This garden was a normal garden, you now. Actually, it was in my back yard…nothin special. But this morning it was really different. I didn’t care to leave the place. I was having a great time just having a back and forth conversation…learning and just being there…special time. But, he told me to look at my watch…it was time ta go. Kid’s were getting up…had ta get’em ta school…you know…day was starting. But listen, this was a great time…

    You ever have a time like this? I mean, we are just talkin and I thought I would share this…

    I gotta go…I got a fight this evening…this MMA stuff is tough and you gotta train hard if you gonna win…

    I hope you get my point…

  52. Rob
    September 26, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    Hmmm, interesting… its amazing what you can do just by changing a word or two isn’t it, like engineer the fall of man, or generating division in a church congregation.

  53. July 16, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    I think everything posted was very reasonable.
    But, think about this, suppose you were to create a awesome headline?
    I am not suggesting your content isn’t solid, however suppose you
    added a post title to possibly grab people’s attention?
    I mean If I Come to the Garden Alone, Will the Dew Be Still on the Roses?
    | Jack Hammer is a little plain. You ought to peek at Yahoo’s front page and note how they
    write post headlines to get viewers interested.
    You might try adding a video or a picture or two to grab readers excited about everything’ve written.
    Just my opinion, it might bring your blog a little livelier.

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