Tag Archives: quotes

Christianity alone tells us this

Tribute in Light, 9/11/03

“We don’t know the reason that God allows evil and suffering to continue. But we know what the reason isn’t. We know what the reason can’t be. It can’t be that he doesn’t love us. It can’t be that he doesn’t care.”


“Because he got involved with his Son. Christianity alone tells us that God lost his Son in an ‘unjust attack.'”

— Rev. Timothy Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian in NYC, from his sermon preached on 16 September 2001, following the tragedy of 9/11.

Praying for those who, years on, may still experience much earthly sorrow.

(HT: John Starke)

Quotable: So often worship in our modern day is like…

United at Friday's Praise Rally

Kevin Twit, on comparing what we sing in gathered worship with what we say at weddings:

“If all you’re singing and ever saying back to God is you want to do, and you’re never focusing on what He’s done and what He promises to do, I think ultimately your worship will be impoverished and your Christian growth will be stunted…

… So often worship in our modern day is basically like a pep rally trying to stir up your emotions to keep you fired up for Jesus through the week. That’s not what it’s about!

I always tell people, when we do weddings, we don’t dress people up and try and whip their emotions into such a state of height that will sustain them through 30, 40 or 50 years of being married to a sinner. No day can do that!

But we hopefully point them to the One who makes promises to them, to love them for richer or poorer, in sickness or in health… promises that are not ended by death but were actually secured by death and therefore can never be broken by death. That’s what we want to do in our worship, that’s what we want to point people to.”

– Kevin Twit, Lecture 2 of History of Hymnody


“Could my zeal no respite (rest) know,
could my tears forever flow,
all for sin could not atone,
thou must save and thou alone!”

– Augustus Toplady, “A Living And Dying Prayer for the Holiest Believer” (Rock of Ages)

Quotable: what’s a hymn and why we still need them

Sing Me A Sinner's Hymn; I'll Hum Along

While preparing for the upcoming seminar on hymns at STAND conference this year (I can’t believe it’s less than 2 weeks away!), one of the things I’ve enjoyed is coming across excellent quotes about hymns and singing them.

I’ve strung a few of them together for a snapshot of what’s a hymn, why we still need them, and how to choose them. Come along at 2:30pm on Saturday 17th if you’d like to hear more.

What’s a hymn?

“… a poem, designed for group singing, and written as a sequence of identical units called stanzas. Each stanza has the same line length, rhythms and rhyme scheme as its predecessor, so that the hymn can be sung, stanza by stanza, to the same tune.”

– Brian Wren, Praying Twice

Are they historically literary or musical texts?


“Many of the great hymn writers weren’t musicians… they worked as theological poets, writing hymns in meters that were commonly used amongst the churches, relying on melodies that were written by others.” Mike Cosper

Do we still need them?

“I say without qualification, after the Sacred Scriptures, the next best companion for the soul is a good hymnal.

For the child of God, the Bible is the book of all books, to be reverenced, loved, pored over endlessly and feasted upon as living bread and manna for the soul. It is the first-best book, the only indispensable book. To ignore it or neglect it is to doom our minds to error and our hearts to starvation.

After the Bible, the hymn book is next. And remember, I do not say a songbook or a book of gospel songs, but a real hymnal containing the cream of the great Christian hymns left to us by the ages…”

 – AW Tozer, We Travel An Appointed Way


“A great hymn embodies the purest concentrated thoughts of some lofty saint who may have long ago gone from the earth and left little or nothing behind him except that hymn.

To read or sing a true hymn is to join in the act of worship with a great and gifted soul in his moments of intimate devotion.

It is to hear a lover of Christ explaining to his Saviour why he loves Him; it is to listen in without embarrassment on the softest whisperings of undying love between the bride and the heavenly Bridegroom.” – AW Tozer, We Travel An Appointed Way

But even today?

“Hymns are great art! The arts, stories, poetry, music all combine to sneak into the heart by the backdoor – something increasingly important for our ministry to the coming generations” – Kevin Twit, Why We Still Need Hymns in a Post-modern World

“How will you reach this post-modern generation – a generation that cannot conceive of objective truth, cannot follow your linear arguments, cannot tolerate anything (including evangelism) that smacks of religious intolerance?”” – Kevin Ford, Jesus for a New Generation

So how do we choose and sing good hymns?

James Montgomery

“[Good hymns are those] which, once heard, are remembered without effort, remembered involuntarily, yet remembered with renewed and increasing delight at every revival.” – James Montgomery, The Christian Psalmist


Ron Rienstra

“The best results happen when theologically deep and emotionally rich texts are wedded to music that is aesthetically fitting and culturally resonant, that connects at every level.”Ron Rienstra


“We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.” – Psalm 78:4