We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Original “Jesus Is My Boy Friend” Song


One “hymn” I’ve heard since the beginning of time (well, at least as long as I can remember) is “In The Garden.”  I’ve had requests to play this tune at funerals and so I learned it on the pipes, but I never really liked it because it is so sappy.  What I find disappointing is how many Christians just love this song, and claim that it means a whole lot to them.

Other than this song’s sappiness, I never gave it much thought until the new genre of “Jesus is my boyfriend” songs entered the Contemporary Christian Music world, and then I came across an article where John MacArthur was panning it (about a decade or so ago).  From that point on I’ve come to really despise hearing this song; let’s take a look at the lyrics to see why.

In The Garden

I come to the garden alone,
While the dew is still on the roses,
And the voice I hear, falling on my ear,
The Son of God discloses.

[Chorus:]
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own,
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

He speaks, and the sound of His voice,
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me,
Within my heart is ringing.

[Chorus:]

I'd stay in the garden with Him,
Tho' the night around me be falling,
But He bids me go, thro' the voice of woe,
His voice to me is calling.

[Chorus:]

In the first verse the author hears the voice of Jesus in the garden.  Really?  What did He say?

In the chorus, Jesus walks in the garden with the author, and carries on a conversation with him/her, and this conversation leads to an intimate joy that no one else will ever know!

Then we come to the 2nd verse and the author describes the voice of Jesus, which even caused the birds to quit singing.  The implication is that Jesus was singing, giving a melody to the author.

The last verse has Jesus really sad to see the author leave Him, all the while bidding him to go.

Do you see how this song is nothing more than claims of direct, audible and verbal revelation from Jesus?  And that they have an intimate relationship in which Jesus just has a “voice of woe” when they part?

Really, brothers and sisters in Christ, shouldn’t this song be relegated to the refuse bin?  It is unbiblical nonsense at best.  Please exercise some discernment, because this song is really about self and not about the Lord.

Beth Moore should adopt it as her theme song!

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this article. I too have been bothered by the lyrics of this song for a long time. Coming from a very conservative church, I was surprised that no one I knew seemed to have a problem with it. It is an encouragement to hear that I am not alone in my thinking. Although the song was supposedly written by C. Austin Miles as he was thinking about the post-Resurrection encounter that Mary had with the risen Lord, it is very dangerous for us to make an emotional attachment to a story (putting ourselves in Mary's place in the garden) instead of bathing our souls with the spiritual truth of the reality of Christ's power over death. Our emotion should spill out from our understanding of what Christ has done for us in freeing us from bondage to sin and death, not from what it must have "felt" like to be with the post-Resurrected Christ.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

I had never heard that story about the author and his reason for writing it. But it that is the case, then there should be a prologue verse to explain that this song is from Mary's perspective.

Since there is no hint in the song about its context, then the song is worthless.

Thanks for that information!

Anonymous said...

Ha ha ha, my previous church used to always sing this hymn, esp. at the ladies' study. Nowadays, I count all the "I" and "me" in the songs that we sing at church. I haven't heard this song for awhile. Thanks for the info!

Ms. B

Ralph M. Petersen-Always Right; Sometimes Wrong! said...

Hi, Glenn.

I credited you here:

http://hymnsthatpreach.blogspot.com/2016/03/in-garden.html

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Thanks Ralph. I was a bit surprised to see a guy actually like that song :oD

Castiron said...

I've heard that it was Mary's song, but still, it doesn't fit the story in the gospels. In John 20:17, Jesus tells Mary not to touch him, but to go and tell the others. It doesn't sound like they were strolling around a "garden" (um, place of tombs?...) for any length of time.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Castiron,

EXACTLY!!!

Anonymous said...

If we don't have a solid doctrinal foundation in the Word of God, we tend to romanticize our "walk" with God!

Ms.B

Alec said...

I always thought this was a Fanny Crosby creation. Ms. B, counting those "I"'s and "me"'s is about the best we can do sometimes.

Alec

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Alec,

Fanny Crosby never wrote a sappy song to my knowledge!