I’ve appreciated some miscellaneous postings and sites over the past week:
Philip Brown has written a good summary article about capital punishment, entitled ‘Capital Punishment within a Christian Worldview‘ (Exegetical Thoughts & Biblical Theology, 24 Apr 2009). While I would largely agree with what he says, I found he came up with some fresh and stimulating arguments.
Tim Challies had a stimulating reflection on/quote from Ligon Duncan’s book Fear Not!, entitled ‘Eternity Without a Mediator‘ (26 Apr 2009). Hell is a provocative subject, but Duncan has some fresh thoughts that are pretty thought-provoking.
360 Cities is an impressive site of panoramic views at various locations worldwide. James Darlack has some targetted links to areas of biblical interest in ‘Panoramic Views on 360cities.net‘ (Old in the New, 12 Mar 2009).
Reformed Praise is a site with new and updated hymns, mainly by David L. Ward. I liked many of the hymns, and most are easily learned by any congregation. Most come with mp3 and piano score or lead sheet.
Mark Dever comments on the decline in hymns about the grave and the afterlife in current hymn books:
Our reluctance to sing about the grave in church on Sunday only reveals how much our hopes have been entrusted to this life–and we do not wish to conceive of them being lost. Our treasures have been put too much in this world. Completely Unavoidable Optimism, Together for the Gospel blog, 22 Feb 2007
I’ve previously pondered the decline in singing about death. This is certainly another important factor in the decline. It’s a very long time since I heard the hymn
This world is not my home
I’m just a’passing through
My treasures are laid up
Somewhere beyond the blue
It may not be the best example of Christian hymnody, but it’s certainly not as popular today as it was in my youth. Perhaps the reason lies not so much in changes in musical taste but in changes of hope.
I was struck by the following paragraph in William Edgar's article "The Dynamics of Cultural Change" in the latest issue of reformation21 where he reflects on the contrast of the New Jerusalem with earthly cities as we know them:
Heaven will be a city, the New Jerusalem. Of course, it will be a beautiful city, full of gardens and trees. (Rev. 22:1-3) And at its center will be the great “gardener king” of biblical tradition. Just as the Ancient Near Eastern king had a magnificent garden, so Zion includes Eden in the new order. (2 Kings 25:4; Jer 39:4; Neh 3:15; Is 51:3; Pss 46; 36:8-9) Christ’s tomb was in a garden. When the women first came on Easter morning, they met a man whom they supposed was the gardener. (John 19:41) Well he was! He was the great gardener king of the new order, Jesus Christ, whose transforming breath would bring peace to all of the world. (Ezek 36:27)