i

December 2023 New Horizons

Long Live the True King

 

Contents

Long Live the True King

Rejoicing in the Mystery

A Closer Look at Two Common Carols

A Conversation with Rosaria Butterfield

Download PDFDownload ePubArchive

Long Live the True King

As modern Christians, we live in what feels like an increasingly disenchanted cosmos. The thrill is gone. Charles Darwin told us we are just highly evolved apes. Carl Sagan informed us that the earth is nothing but a pale blue dot. And John Lennon encouraged us to “imagine there’s no heaven, / It’s easy if you try. / No hell below us, / Above us, only sky.” What is left is a disenchanted cosmos—just matter in motion, no ghost in the machine. Everything (we are told) can be explained by science. Everything can be reduced to its component parts. A star, to quote Eustace Scrubb, is nothing but “a huge ball of flaming gas” (Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader , 209). Our bodies are nothing but recycled stardust. Love is only a chemical reaction. On the other side of the so-called Enlightenment, which some prefer to call the “Endarkenment,” modern man feels (understandably) alienated—estranged from God, the world, and himself. The cosmos feels disenchanted, as if it were (like Narnia under ... Read more

Rejoicing in the Mystery

Unlike the commercialized holiday, the Christian’s Christmas lasts the year long. Every Lord’s Day we gather as God’s people to celebrate the incarnation, death, resurrection, and ascension of our Savior. So it was perhaps not too odd for me to have written this carol in the heat of July. Having written hymns for ten years now, I had never yet attempted one focused on the theme of the incarnation. The topic seemed too marvelous and mysterious to justify it with my own paltry words. But then I thought that perhaps rejoicing in the mystery of it all would be a fitting approach. How could a mighty Messiah be weak? How could a King come in poverty? Why would a High Priest die for sinners? How is it that the God who sleeps in the manger still upholds the universe by the Word of his power? This carol rests in the contemplative, and that is brought out beautifully by a pensive, almost lullaby-like tune by composer Josh Bauder. The singable and memorable melody rises sequentially over three phrases before ... Read more

A Closer Look at Two Common Carols

When we sing the familiar old carols each year, we often pass by words and phrases with a comfortable lack of understanding that we don’t even notice. Sometimes the texts have idioms from another era, sometimes lofty poetic language, sometimes confusing word order and punctuation. Other times, however, it’s our own comfortability with the familiar words that obscures the meaning of the text. “Angels We Have Heard on High” ( TPH 318) That was the case for me [Timothy] with “Angels We Have Heard on High,” until I sat down to examine exactly what it was that I was singing about. The carol is written by James Chadwick, based on Luke 2:8–17, and set to an anonymously composed French tune called Gloria. The text as presented in the Trinity Psalter Hymnal consists of three verses separated by a repeating chorus. I tried my hand at paraphrasing the verses in more plainspoken English. The first two verses seem to be from a narrator’s perspective: We heard angels from heaven singing ... Read more

A Conversation with Rosaria Butterfield

This fall Rosaria Butterfield, former lesbian, professor, and activist, and now Christian and RPCNA member, followed up her popular The Gospel Comes with a Housekey with a new book, Five Lies of an Anti-Christian Age (Crossway 2023). She reflects here on what’s changed since her prior book, and why she picked up her pen again. New Horizons : How has the conversation surrounding LGBTQ+ issues changed since the publication of The Gospel Comes with a Housekey ? Rosaria Butterfield : In the course of watching the rollout from the Obergefell decision in 2015, it was very clear very quickly that it was not “just” about domestic partnerships with an official mandate. It was way more than that. The decision has something in it called the dignitary harm clause, which is a particular use of the Fourteenth Amendment. In that clause, it said that you are actually doing harm to an LGBTQ+ person if you do not affirm their identity. That was pretty shocking to me. When I was a lesbian, you would do ... Read more

CONTACT US