Hoekema on Hymns

Anthony Hoekema, The Bible and the Future, 274:

One gets the impression from certain hymns that glorified believers will spend eternity in some ethereal heaven somewhere off in space, far away from earth. The following lines from the hymn “My Jesus I Love Thee” seem to convey that impression: “In mansions of glory and endless delight / I’ll ever adore thee in heaven so bright.” But does such a conception do justice to biblical eschatology? Are we to spend eternity somewhere off in space, wearing white robes, plucking harps, singing songs, flitting from cloud to cloud while doing so? On the contrary, the Bible assures us that God will create a new earth on which we shall live to God’s praise in glorified, resurrected bodies.

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Posted on October 5, 2009, in Anthony Hoekema. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. It’s true, there are a lot of songs that can be misleading and/or have inadequate eschatological conceptions. Given my own penchant for the Reformed view that you’ve articulated (via Bavinck) in the past few days, I tend to interpret the lyrics of the hymn mentioned above through those lenses, irrespective of whether or not the composer intended it to be that way.

    I wonder if this is a bigger problem in modern contemporary Christian music. At our church we’ve actually re-written lyrics for songs that convey unbiblical teachings. Because the church confesses what it sings, it is really important, as you indicate here, that we give a lot of thought to what we are singing.

  2. Jessica Torres

    Jake,

    I think it’s great that as a church you’re conscious of the confessional aspect of the songs you sing. Too many churches overlook the confessions of their worship through music, while working so hard to re-enforce the confessions of other parts of their worship. And we wonder why there are so many theologically confused believers out there!

    The church really must start viewing it’s worship services from a wholistic perspective recognizing that each part of their worship should work together, compliment and re-enforce the others. Thanks for continuing to harp on this issue Joe!

    Jessica Torres

  3. Thanks for this post. I’ve been attempting to point out this emphasis in many of our hymns for years now. I’ve been dreaming of the day when a plethora of hymns will be written dealing with consummated kingdom of the new heavens and new earth, but alas they are hard to come by.

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