Another Installment by Kevin Bauder

For those of you that haven’t had the time to read Dr. Kevin Bauder’s series on Fundamentalism I have extracted one teaser from his latest essay. I have taken this one building block out of his solidly constructed analysis of history. If this tidbit doesn’t stand by itself then you need to start at the beginning of the series and read through to this point. The series has caused me to reflect upon both my own faith as well as upon the dynamics within churches that I have been associated with.

“The shift in metaphysical dream [precedes  a worldview] resulted in professing Christians (including fundamentalists) whose vision of the faith was surprisingly and appallingly earthbound. While they gabbled of the historic doctrines of the faith, those doctrines often ceased to grip their imaginations and consequently ceased to influence their lives. Focused almost entirely on the immanent order and driven by populism, these Christians felt compelled to adapt their religion to every breeze of cultural change. A concern for relevance displaced the thirst for transcendence, but what they thought of as relevance turned out to be mere trendiness (and nothing is less relevant than a trendy church). Evangelism became the new mysticism, and evangelicalism (including the later fundamentalism) became profoundly pragmatic. In the long run, much of Christianity was transformed into a venue for baptizing worldly trends so that the faithful could enjoy the same amusements as the rest of the culture, only in a partially sanitized way. Fundamentalists and evangelicals still struggle against (or, more often, capitulate to) this dynamic.”

I would be interested in people’s reactions to this extract or the entire series.

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How fast doth our ship sail!

This following quotation is taken from one of Rutherford’s letters written while in exile in 1637. The content from this one passage is reflected in many of the stanzas of the previously posted poem.

“How fast, how fast dot our ship sail! and how fair a wind hath time, to blow us off these coasts and this land of dying and perishing things! Alas! our ship saileth one way and fleeth many miles in one hour, to hasten us upon eternity, and our love and hearts are sailing close backover and swimming toward ease, lawless pleasure, vain honor, perishing riches; and to build a fool’s nest I know not where, and to lay our eggs within the sea-mark, and fasten our bits of broken anchors upon the worst ground in the world, this fleeting and perishing life! And in the meanwhile, time and tide carry us upon another life, and there is daily less and less oil in our lamps, and less and less sand in our watchglass. Oh, what a wise course were it for us to look away from the false beauty of our borrowed prison, and to mind, and eye, and lust for our country! Lord, Lord, take us home!”

I spent Thursday evening discussing this poem with some friends. What struck all of us was Rutherford’s Pilgrim spirit and how vividly he was able to portray the glory of Immanuel’s Land. Spending time in such discussions is a tremendous approach at beating back this worlds encroachment and to catch a clearer vision of spiritual things. What a blessing the edification and mutual encouragement the many members of the church can be in our pilgrim journey.

Hebrews 11:14-16   14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.  15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.  16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

IMMANUEL’S LAND

The following poem was written by Anne Roth Cousin in 1857 and titled “IMMANUEL’S LAND, The Last Words of Samuel Rutherford”. It is based upon the collection of letters written by Rutherford to his church members after he was ejected from his ministry by the religious and political establishment. At the end of his life’s journey Rutherford was summoned to answer for his theological, and ecclesiastical views before Parliament. The likely conclusion of this trial would have been his martyrdom. From his deathbed he responded that “He had got another summons before a superior Judge and judicatory and replied “I behove to answer my first summons; and ere your day arrive, I will be where few kings and great folks come.”  Samuel Rutherford died March 30, 1661.

This poem serves as the basis for the hymn “The Sands of Time”

The sands of time are sinking,
The dawn of Heaven breaks,
The Summer morn I’ve sighed for,
The fair sweet morn awakes:
Dark, dark hath been the midnight,
But dayspring is at hand,
And glory–glory dwelleth
In Immanuel’s Land.

Oh! well it is for ever,
Oh! well for evermore,
My nest hung in no forest
Of all this death-dommed shore:
Yea, let the vain world vanish,
As for the ship the strand,
Since glory–glory dwelleth
In Immanuel’s Land.

There the red Rose of Sharon
Unfolds its heartmost bloom,
And fills the air of Heaven
With ravishing perfume:
Oh! to behold it blossom,
While by its fragrance fanned,
Where glory–glory dwelleth
In Immanuel’s Land.

The Kin there, in His beauty,
Without a veil is seen:
It were a well-spent journey,
Though seven deaths lay between:
The Lamb with His fair army,
Doth on Mount Zion stand,
And glory–glory dwelleth
In Immanuel’s Land.

Oh, Christ! He is the Fountain,
The deep sweet well of love!
The streams on earth I’ve tasted,
More deep I’ll drink above:
There, to an ocean fulness,
His mercy doth expand,
And glory–glory dwelleth
In Immanuel’s Land.

E’en Anwoth was not heaven,
E’en preaching was not Christ;
And in my sea-beat prison
My Lord and I held tryst:
And aye my murkiest storm-cloud
Was by a rainbow spanned,
Caught from the glory dwelling
In Immanuel’s Land.

But that He built a Heaven
Of His surpassing love,
A little New Jerusalem,
Like to the one above,
Lord, take me o’er the water,’
Had been my loud demand,
‘Take me to love’s own country,
Unto Immanuel’s Land.’

But flowers need night’s cool darkness,
The moonlight and the dew;
So Christ, from one who loved it,
His shining oft withdrew:
And then, for cause of absence,
My troubled soul I scanned;
But glory, shadeless, dwelleth
In Immanuel’s Land.

The little birds of Anwoth
I used to count them blest,
Now, beside happier alters
I go to build my nest:
O’er these there broods no silence,
No graves around them stand,
For glory, deathless, dwelleth
In Immanuel’s Land.

Fair Anwoth by the Solway,
To me thou still art dear!
E’en on the verge of Heaven
I drop for thee a tear.
Oh! if one soul from Anwoth
Meet me at God’s right hand,
My heaven will be two Heavens
In Immanuel’s Land.

I’ve wrestled on towards Heaven,
‘Gainst storm, and wind, and tide;
Now, like a weary traveller,
That leaneth on his guide,
Amid the shades of evening,
While sinks life’s lingering sand,
I hail the glory dawning
In Immanuel’s Land.

Deep waters cross life’s pathway,
The hedge of thorns was sharp:
Now, these lie all behind me,–
Oh for a well-tuned harp!
Oh! to join Halleluiah
With yon triumph and band,
Who sing, where glory dwelleth,
In Immauel’s Land.

With mercy and with judgment
My web of time He wove,
And aye the dwes of sorrow
Were lustred by His love:–
I’ll bless the hand that guided,
I’ll bless the heart that planned,
When throned where glory dwelleth,
In Immanuel’s Land.

Soon shall the cup of glory
Wash down earth’s bitterest woes,
Soon shall the desert briar
Break into Eden’s rose;
The curse shall change to blessing,
THe name on earth that’s banned,
Be graven on the white stone
In Immanuel’s Land.

Oh! I am my Beloved’s ,
And my Beloved is mine!
He brings a poor vile sinner
Into his house of wine:
I stand upon His merit,
I know no other stand,
Not e’en where glory dwelleth
In Immanuel’s Land.

I shall sleep sound in Jesus,
Filled with His likeness rise,
To live and to adore Him,
To see Him with these eyes:
Tween me and resurrection,
But Paradise doth stand;
Then–then for glory dwelling
In Immanuel’s Land.

The bride eyes not her garment,
But her dear bridegroom’s face;
I will not gaze at glory,
But on my King of grace,–
Not at the crown He gifteth,
But on His pierced hand:
The Lamb is all the glory
Of Immanuel’s Land.

I have borne scorn and hatred,
I have borne wrong and shame,
Earth’s proud ones have reproached me,
For Christ’s thrice blessed name:
Where God His seal set fairest,
They’ve stamped their foulest brand;
but judgment shines like noonday
In Immanuel’s Land.

They’ve summoned me before them,
But there I may not come,–
My Lord says, ‘Come up hither,’
My Lord says, ‘Welcome Home!’
My kingly King, at His white throne,
My presence doth command,
Where glory–glory dwelleth
In Immanuel’s Land.

Essays on Fundamentalism

I can’t recommend strongly enough that we spend some time reading the articles on Fundamentalism that Dr. Kevin Bauder is writing in his Nick of Time series.

How foolish we are if we fail to confront our past as we stumble forward along life’s path. After reading these essays ask yourself, “how does this history play out in how I think and behave both personal and corporately.” I don’t think anyone reading this is hung up in the organization, but I presume we are all hung up in the ideal. Is our thinking that plays out in our behavior contributing to or detracting from that ideal?

We know that this Word is from God, as we know that fire burns – The Life of William Tyndale

September 6th marked the 473 anniversary of the martyrdom of William Tyndale (1494-1536). God used his translation of the Scriptures as the foundation for nearly every other English translation that would follow. He is most famous for his response to the Romanist schoolman who had proclaimed “Well then! it were better to be without God’s laws than the pope’s.” to which Tyndale responded “If God spares my life, ere many years I will take care that a ploughboy shall know more of the Scriptures than you do.” Tyndale, as history reveals, was true to his word. Without question his crown gleams brightly for the amount of light he shed in a very dark world.

I find the spirit of William Tyndale’s life reflected most clearly in the following quotation that I have written on the flyleaf of my Bible.

“We know that this Word is from God, as we know that fire burns; not because anyone has told us, but  because a Divine fire consumes our hearts. O the brightness of the face of Moses! O the splendor of the glory of Jesus Christ, which no veil conceals! O the inward power of the Divine word, which compels us, with so much sweetness, to love and to do! O the temple of God within us, in which the Son of God dwells.”

His esteem for the Scriptures was motivated by his esteem for God. His life always provokes me to look at my own heart, to revere the Scriptures, and to thank my God . Consider reading more about him yourself. I have the following biography:

Edward, Brian. God’s Outlaw: The Story of William Tyndale and the English Bible. Darlington: Evangelical Press, 1976.

Loved More for Sanctification or Justification?

I am still making slow progress through Rutherford’s Letters. In the quotation today he addresses man’s willingness to be “happy,” relegated to be like angels, instead of being like Christ. If you were posed with this hypothetical choice, that he sets forth, which would you choose?

“I have now made a new question, whether Christ be more to be loved for giving Sanctification or for free Justification. And I hold that He is more and most to be loved for sanctification. It is in some respect greater love in Him to sanctify, than to justify; for He maketh us most like Himself in His own essential portraiture and image in sanctifying us. Justification doth but make us happy, which is to be like angels only. Neither is it such a misery to lie a condemned man, and under unforgiven guiltiness, as to serve sin, and work the works of the devil; and, therefore, I think sanctification cannot be bought: it is above price. God be thanked forever that Christ was a told-down price for sanctification. Let a sinner, if possible, lie in hell forever, if He make him truly holy; and let him lie there burning in love to God, rejoicing in the Holy Ghost, hanging upon Christ by faith and hope,–that is heaven in the heart and bottom of hell!”
(Rutherford 1951, 235-236)