Least favorite hymns in the hymnal...

Started by LutherMan, September 24, 2015, 01:54:30 PM

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Do you think, Pr. K., that maybe "good as he" is not "as good as he is" but simply, as the hymn says later, following the good example of His childhood, letting it be our childhood's pattern? In other words, obedient to His parents, kind, etc. I think the point is that He shows the way of being a child, just as later he would show us the path of being an adult. To quote our Dr. Nagel, "He alone knows what it is to be fully human; He alone is. We're all fragment and fractions." Anywho, enough time defending a hymn that I have never particularly liked at all, mostly because I think the opening line is probably historically eronneous. I'll stick with the stable cave over the stable shed. :)

Charles Austin

 I'll say it again. If you want every line, every verse of every hymn to be theologically precise, there will be nothing that we can sing.
ELCA PASTOR. Iowa born and raised. And look at this. Here's the old 1960s protestor and critic of our government as virtually the only "love this country" patriot in this forum.


Quote from: Weedon on October 08, 2015, 05:12:39 PM
Do you think, Pr. K., that maybe "good as he" is not "as good as he is"

No, I do not think that. That's why English grammar uses the subject pronoun "He" after the conjunction "as," for "He" is the subject of the assumed verb "is."  (Pronouns that rename the subject are followed by a form of the verb to be.) So, practically, the "is" is there, otherwise there would be no sentence after the conjunction.

Plus, singing the "is" doesn't fit, so it's simply understood.

If there is to be no understood "is" then proper grammar would use the preposition "like" followed by the object pronoun "Him," i.e., "good like Him" which is the meaning of the stanza that you are arguing. Unfortunately, the carol uses the conjunction "as" rather than the preposition "like," so your argument doesn't fly.
Don Kirchner

"Heaven's OK, but it's not the end of the world." Jeff Gibbs


Well, it was more about the assumed first "as" than about the "is." But whatever.


Quote from: Weedon on October 08, 2015, 05:31:18 PM
Well, it was more about the assumed first "as" than about the "is." But whatever.

That too. If not assumed, the proper grammar to understand the meaning as you wish to do would be "good like him."

I wonder why so many of the children's hymnals, etc. changed the original from "must" to "should," as Ms. Smith learned it?
Don Kirchner

"Heaven's OK, but it's not the end of the world." Jeff Gibbs

Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: Pr. Don Kirchner on October 08, 2015, 04:45:38 PM
Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on October 08, 2015, 04:26:44 PM
Quote from: Weedon on October 08, 2015, 03:05:36 PM
Actually our Lord is the one who told us that we must be as good as He is, or as His Father is: "Be ye perfect therefore even as your Father in heaven is perfect." The hymn, though, doesn't say that you must be this to merit or deserve His love. Many stanzas of hymns are not included in our hymnals; I think it would be a mistake to assume that every stanza omitted represented something false. I am frankly surprised that Once in Royal David's made it in at all, because it is not a particularly strong text over all. I suspect that its position in the Ceremony of Lessons and Carols is what accounts for its popularity in certain quarters. FWIW.

I don't think that "perfect" is the best way to translate τέλειος.

There are also translation issues with ἔσεσθε. Should this future verb be understood as a command (as your quote does) or as an indicative: "You shall be complete/mature/perfect ...." Thus, it is not something we strive for, but is given to us.

"Jesus commanded us not to be respectors of persons in loving our friends and hating our enemies (Matthew 5:44-47), but to be complete or "perfect" [teleion] like our heavenly Father (v. 48) in loving friends and enemies alike."

A quite different context than in the carol. I characterized "good as He" as perfect in the sense of being without fault or sinless.

Other uses of teleion:

"Paul said that his preaching was wisdom among those who are "full grown," or "perfect" [teleion] (1 Corinthians 2:6)"

"Paul urged the Corinthians to be "men" [teleion] (i.e. "full grown" or "perfect") instead of babes (1 Corinthians 14:20)."

"In Ephesians 4:13 we read that the body of Christ is to be built up unto a full grown, "mature" [teleion] man."

"When Paul wrote to the Philippians he said (3:15) that some of the Christians were "perfect" [teleion]." (I submit that Paul was not stating that they were without fault or sinless, i.e. as good as Jesus.)

I think that the CEB expresses your understanding when it translates Mt 5:47 with: "Therefore, just as your heavenly Father is complete in showing love to everyone, so also you must be complete."

   τέλειος has the sense of achieving a goal (τέλος) or reaching the end (also τέλος) or even paying one's taxes (also τέλος). A verbal form is used by Jesus on the cross in John 19:30: τετέλεσται = "It has been finished (or completed)." The image is a like paying off a bill. There was a "goal/end" the debt owned. When it is reached, the payments are completed or ended or perfect in paying off the debt.   
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

Richard Johnson

I love "Once in Royal David's City" primarily because it's the traditional opening carol for the Service of Lessons and Carols. Don't mind the "obedient child" stuff because I figure it points to me as a child of God, not exclusively to literal young 'uns. I really should be more obedient.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

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