THE PURPOSE OF THIS BLOG

I am the song leader in my church. I am not very proficient as a musician or a choral director. I pray that, someday soon, God will send someone more capable, to take this ministry from me. But for the time being it is my responsibility to select the music and lead the congregation in the singing every week.

I take that responsibility seriously. The hymns and songs that I select must be doctrinally sound, they must be appropriate for worship with a God-centered worldview, and, withing those parameters, I try to select music that will reinforce and, support the text and subject of my pastor’s messages.

Some of us have been singing the hymns for years; the words roll off our lips but the messages often don't engage our minds or penetrate our hearts. With the apostle Paul, I want the congregation to "sing with understanding."

So for the past couple years, it has been my practice to select one hymn each week, research it, and then highlight it with a short introductory commentary so that the congregation will be more informed regarding the origin, the author's testimony, or the doctrinal significance of the hymns we sing.

It is my intention here with this blog, to archive these hymn commentaries for my reference and to make them freely available to other church song leaders. For ease of reference, all the hymn commentaries in this blog will be titled IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. Other posts (which will be music ministry related opinion pieces) will be printed in lower case letters.

I know that some of the comments contain traces of my unique style, but please feel free to adapt them and use the content any way you can for the edification of your congregation and to the glory of God.

All I ask is that you leave a little comment should you find something helpful.


Ralph M. Petersen

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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Let There Be Peace On Earth

There are some songs that I hate to love.

What do I mean by that?  They are songs I love.  I grew up with them.  I memorized them I sang them with passion.   The people in my church love them.   They are songs that raise the human spirit.  They touch our hearts.  They make us feel warm and fuzzy.  They inspire us.  The music is pleasant and dynamic.

But I HATE THEM.  They are egocentric.  They are theologically anemic at best and downright errant, heretical, or blasphemous at worst.  Yet, because they are ingrained in our church culture, undiscerning people are filled with false doctrines.

So I hate them; I hate it that I love them.  
This song should not be sung in church.


*****

Here’s one that rears its ugly head every few years.  It was performed at the 9-11 memorial service a few years ago and this year the world thrilled over it once again at the ungodly display of a man in Washington who thinks He is god, hosting another man (the Pope) from South America who thinks He is god, to bring about worldwide peace and love among heathens who don’t care about God.


Let There Be Peace On Earth is a BAD hymn.  It is liberation theology.  It anticipates the glorious end of the earth when all people will live in love and drink Coca-Cola while they "teach the world to sing in perfect harmony."

It deifies mankind.  The premise of the song doesn’t begin with God; it begins with me.  This heavenly peace on earth is achievable because, if every one of us will just dedicate ourselves to the goal, we can make it happen. 

It smacks of universalism.  I hate to break this to you but, God is NOT the father of all men and we are NOT all brothers.  God is the Father of His elect and Satan is the father and god of everyone else.  So, as a Christian, as much as I might try, I cannot walk together in perfect harmony with unbelievers.

And what about this peace?  Is this peace really meant to be?  What does that even mean?  Who meant it to be?  Was it God?  If so, then why don’t we have it?  Maybe God is impotent and we have to do His work for Him.  If we don’t do it, it won’t be done.

This song is classified as a Christmas song, perhaps because of the phrase “peace on earth.”  But when the angel appeared to the Shepherds and declared “peace on earth; goodwill toward men,” he wasn’t just mouthing a mushy Hallmark sentiment.  He was declaring that, with the advent of the Messiah (God’s goodwill toward men),  we can now be at peace with God.  That peace was achieved at Calvary; it is a done deal and that is evidenced by the fact that God doesn't just kill us all but, instead, has provided a way for some to be reconciled to Him.  And someday, Jesus Christ will return, take his throne, and rule over all the earth for 1000 years of peace.  He will do it; we cannot.  And, no matter how hard He tries, neither can King Obama.

This is a lousy Christmas Carol and a terrible, unbiblical Christian hymn but, other than that, it is a really great song.  Please, can somebody write some better lyrics?  Until then, let's keep it out of our churches.






2 comments:

  1. I remember this one from my high school days -- Back then I was a pagan and didn't think anything of it. But you are right -- it needs to be trashed.

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  2. If I may comment on another of 'the Olde songs' that I find non-Biblical
    - 'The Old Rugged Cross'
    - 'the old rugged cross' - My focus is upon HE who died for me upon the cross, not to have a physical remembrance of the means of HIS death \ why not sing about 'The Precious Robe'
    - 'Till my trophies as last I lay down' - I have NO trophies, I have been given "grace through faith"
    - 'and exchange it someday for a crown' - IF I get 'a crown', it will be given unto me by my "Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ"

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