Would you sing this hymn in your church?

Father We Love You (Glorify Your Name)

Father, we love You
We worship and adore You
Glorify Your name in all the earth
Glorify Your name
Glorify Your name
Glorify Your name in all the earth

Jesus, we love You
We worship and adore You
Glorify Your name in all the earth
Glorify Your name
Find more lyrics at ※ Mojim.com
Glorify Your name
Glorify Your name in all the earth

Spirit, we love You
We worship and adore You
Glorify Your name in all the earth
Glorify Your name
Glorify Your name
Glorify Your name in all the earth

As you know my favourite topics are 1 Cor 11 and Gen 1 -2. However, they lead me to thinking about the Trinity and the relations of the Father and Son and so also the Holy Spirit.

So, as we sang this song today, I asked myself these questions.
Are we in scripture told to tell the Holy Spirit we love Him, worship Him and adore Him? and to ask Him to glority His name? Rather, does not the Spirit glorify the Son and (thence) the Father?

Pushing harder, I asked myself in regard to the Son. Are we told to love, worship and adore Him? And I immediately answered Yes. But, the next bit I was hesitant. Are we to ask HIm to glorify His name? Rather, does not the Son glorify the Father?

Egalitarians and some/many complimentarians deny that the son is eternally subordinate to the Father. The argument is that the subordination is only in the economic Trinity.

But, is the sentiment of this hymn taking things even further than an economic Trinity? Is it presenting an egalitarian Trinity? Is this egalitarian Trinity the real Trinity as presented in Scripture?

… baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Maybe a fourth verse would help (?) or is it even messier?

Father, Son, Spirit
We worship and adore You
Glorify Your name in all the earth…

“For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11

My inclination is to say this absolutely closes the case on the question of whether we should glorify the name of Jesus, as His name is “above every name” and He is Himself “highly exalted by God.” It even implies that glorifying the Son glorifies the Father.

I think it would stand to reason that glorifying the Spirit would likewise glorify the Father, but no passage immediately came to mind in support of that.

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No Scripture came to mind, but the Nicene Creed says this:

And we believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life.
He proceeds from the Father and the Son,
and with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified.

IMO it’s hard to call the song any kind of trinitarian heresy in light of that creedal statement. Perhaps there are nuances to the creed, or Scripture proof texts that make it complicated. Someone else can do that work if interested.

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The doxology also comes to mind:

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost

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Yes I would sing it. The only issue I have is it’s a bit repetitive and could be meatier.

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I appreciate your comments and the pointing to the words of the Nicene Creed
Now against myself, against my initial analysis of the song

  1. In the song, the 3 persons are presented in a particular order … Father, Son, Holy Spirit.

  2. And our theology of the Trinity is not based on just one text. So, we recognise that any particular text does not present all that it true about the Trinity. So, if I relied on just one text, then would I want to accuse that biblical author or being unbalanced? Obviously not. So, maybe I should allow more leeway in songs that do not present all that is true about the Trinity?

But, over the next few days I will skim read through the New Testament, to see if any of the authors do speak of telling the Holy Spirit that we love Him, worship and adore Him and do ask Him to glorify His name.

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Yes, I would sing this, and have. The Anglican tradition prays, “Come, Holy Spirit”; and Pentecostals pray to the Spirit as well (obviously).

Some conservatives would not sing this, as they don’t see any particular Scriptural warrant to pray directly to the Spirit, when He is supposed to work in us to pray to the Father through Jesus. As a result, it seems to me that the Holy Spirit barely gets a mention. But it also seems to me that if the Holy Spirit is God, does this distinction really matter?

It seems to me that the Spirit’s role is to bear witness to the truth about Christ. He is constantly pointing the attention to Jesus, not himself. A few texts that spring to mind:

“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.” John 15:26

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” John 14:26

“And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.” John 16:8-11

I don’t think it’s altogether improper to sing the doxology, praising the three persons of the Godhead, but I do believe that the Spirit is grieved when we put the spotlight on Him, when His entire ministry is to put the spotlight on Christ. We shouldn’t forget that. I think it’s plain for all to see what sorts of errors have followed in evangelicalism for the last century and a half, as charismatic teachers have taught many errors springing from the notion that we’ve “forgotten” the Holy Spirit.

“This is my beloved Son, listen to Him!” says the Father. The Spirit works in the saints to cause us to obey the Father in listening to the Son.

It isn’t an idle thought when Paul refers to the Spirit as the Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:9). And if Christ is to be praised, it follows that the Spirit of Christ is to be praised. Only let that praise be proper.

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Thankyou Jason for your clear and helpful words

I have basically finished my speed reading of the New Testament (excluding the gospels). And I found out I was wrong about never praying/speaking to the Holy Spirit. To my surprise, I did find one reference to speaking to the Holy Spirit. Well sort of speaking.

Acts 5:3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit…”

In actuality, it was speaking/lying to the apostles.

Other than this, I found no direct speaking to the Holy Spirit. I found no telling Him we love Him. No telling Him we worship Him. No telling Him we adore Him. No asking Him to glorify His name.

I found instances of the Holy Spirit speaking to us, but nothing about us speaking to Him.
I found some instances of speaking to the risen exalted Jesus. I found exhortations to love Jesus. etc…

I found that the emphasis is on the Holy Spirit leading us to have faith in Jesus and serve Him as our Lord.

I found that His (the Holy Spirit) presence in us and His work in us which came about because of the work of God’s Son in redeeming us leads us to calling God our Father and crying out to the Father in prayer.

Galations 4:6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”.

If I kept firmly in my mind as I sing “Glorify your name” to the Holy Spirit, that the name is the 3-fold name as in Matthew 28 “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” , maybe I could sing those words. Maybe.
But, just as firmly, I must have in my mind, is that there is order and distinction within God. I do not relate to the Father the same way that I relate to the Son or to the Holy Spirit. If I am to relate to God properly I must relate to Him as He has revealed Himself.

We cannot approach or know God the Father without and in any other way than through His Son. I am sure we all agree on this.

Yet, similarly, we cannot relate to the Holy Spirit independently of the Father and the Son. And the Holy Spirit is not an independent means of approaching God or worshipping God or praying to God.

My conclusion is still that I don’t like that song.

In my 25 year sojourn in the orthodox Anglican Church, I know of only one hymn which is routinely sung as an address to the Holy Ghost - Veni Creator Spiritus. It is ancient in the Roman Church, and also appears as a hymnic fixture in Lutheran and Anglican worship at the consecration of new bishops, or the ordination of new priests and deacons.

If one were to seek a “justification” for the lyrics, it would come from the conviction that ordination - like other sacramental events - is effected by an operation of the Holy Spirit upon those who receive the grace of the sacrament, sacrament in this case referring to events other than (but also including) Holy Eucharist.

In the context of a worship service attending the ordination of new officers in the Church, the common English translation of the original Latin lyrics are sensible. These lyrics were sung at my Anglican ordinations to deacon and later to priest, and I have sung them on many identical occasions:

Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire
and lighten with celestial fire;
thou the anointing Spirit art,
who dost thy sevenfold gifts impart.

2 Thy blessed unction from above
is comfort, life, and fire of love;
enable with perpetual light
the dullness of our mortal sight.

3 Teach us to know the Father, Son,
and thee, of both, to be but one;
that through the ages all along
this may be our endless song:

4 Praise to thine eternal merit,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Amen.

Note that though the lyrics are addressed to the Holy Spirit, they conclude with a clear affirmation of the Trinity. In a similar fashion, in the collects of Western Worship, drawing from Eastern worship before that, prayers to or invoking the Holy Spirit are invariably embedded in an affirmation of the Trinity, not toward the Holy Spirit apart from the Father and the Son. A typical example is the opening invocation of the Great Litany:

O GOD the Father, Creator of heaven and earth;
> Have mercy upon us.
O God the Son, Redeemer of the world;
> Have mercy upon us.
O God the Holy Ghost, Sanctifier of the faithful;
> Have mercy upon us.
O holy, blessed, and glorious Trinity, one God;
> Have mercy upon us.

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Fr. Bill,
Thanks for that helpful reply.
There seems to be a world of difference between Veni Creator Spiritus and “Father We Love You (Glorify Your Name)”. The difference is in both who is addressed and the content of that address.

The content of Veni Creator Spiritus seems to outline the work of the Holy Spirit as given in scripture e.g. “Teach us to know the Father, Son”. The address to the Holy Spirit is as you point out concludes with a clear affirmation of the Trinity. Also, the method of address itself “Come, Holy Ghost” also describes what He actually does. He comes.

Whereas, “Father We Love You (Glorify Your Name)” appears to address the Holy Spirit as an identical independent entity to the Father and the Son and it does so in terms that are not used in Scripture.
Spirit, we love You
We worship and adore You
Glorify Your name in all the earth

My interest in this, is sparked in part by my thinking about man and woman. The modern tendency is to equate man and woman, to increasingly see them and treat them as identical and in the church this is under the guise of acknowledging their each being created separately, independently as the image of God. (Of which I dispute elsewhere and argue that it is together as woman is created out of man, that Adam/man is the image of God). So, we end up with 2 separately created images of God - man and woman.

It seems to me that a similar error is occurring in this hymn in regard to God, in regard to Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In order to argue that the Holy Spirit is God, the author is proposing that we must address and relate to the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit in an identical way. We must say the same things to each of them, to treat them as if each is the same as the other.

It is a far cry from the opening invocation of the Great Litany which distinguishes the persons and work of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

In order to argue that the Holy Spirit is God, the author is proposing that we must address and relate to the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit in an identical way.

I must admit, brother, I’m not sure I understand. It’s a hymn, a prayer, not a
treatise. The song is so simple that any nuanced meaning must be provided by
the context around it. It is so simple that it barely says more than the
doxology: the first two lines of each verse are our praise, and the next 4
lines are just repeated calls for God to make all creatures praise Him.

Speaking of the doxology, doesn’t your argument hold against it as well? The
doxology calls all creatures and every member of the heavenly host to praise
the Holy Spirit by name. Why else would it say “Praise Father, Son, and Holy
Ghost” instead of just repeating “Praise God” again? The naming of each person
is counter-productive if each is not to be praised individually, by name.

I think you may be overcomplicating it. Is it appropriate for my wife to be
honored separate from me? Or must people always say only, “Honor thy father
and mother?” Of course my wife must be honored separate from me; in fact, she
must be honored by me (Prov. 31:28–29, 1 Pet. 3:7). When she is faithful, her
honor does not diminish my own; rather, it provides the foundation for it.

The same is true of the Holy Spirit. Glorifying the Holy Spirit glorifies
Christ. Demeaning the Holy Spirit demeans Christ. We all owe a huge debt
of gratitude and glory to the Holy Spirit. We should give it to Him.

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Au contraire. Somewhere in Aidan Kavanaugh’s works (I think it was Elements of Rite or On Liturgical Theology, I can’t take the time to look it up right now) said this: " . . . liturgy causes one to learn what cannot be taught . . ." Another maxim that makes the same point says Lex orandi, lex credendi.

These statements are true, and they invariably shape the belief of a Christian even if he expressly affirms that he disbelieves them both. This is because Protestants generally (with the exception of a few Lutherans and Anglicans) have no idea what liturgy is, what it does, and what effects it produces in the belief of its participants.

About the only liturgy that remains for modern American Protestants (especially of the ostensibly evangelical sort) is hymn singing! These Christians’ most deeply embedded beliefs are likely engraved on their spirits by the hymns they sing.

Now that I’ve set the cat amongst the chickens, I’ll scurry out of the hen house!

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Thank you. I wasn’t thinking of this at the time, and it helps me see why the author might be seen as arguing.

But in this case, I still object to saying that. The hymn is in the form of a simple prayer without much reasoning. It is not a detailed argument. Since it is so simple, authorial intent must be imported by the reader, and I read the author as assuming that the Holy Spirit is God then doing what comes natural.

Perhaps I am naïve, but I think it is natural to praise the Holy Spirit if we believe Him to be a person of the trinity. What about his work means that we shouldn’t interact with Him? It is only by the Holy Spirit that we are born again and can come to Jesus. As long as we don’t make it all about the Holy Spirit, why would we not want his name to be praised?

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Please excuse my ignorance of what has come before. In the circles where the Lord has placed me, I was unfamiliar with the maxim Lex orandi, lex credendi - Law of prayer, law of creed. However, my new knowledge of this maxim, does tell me that many have faithfully thought through these issues before. And that many now continue to work hard in their churches to be biblically faithful and consistent in their doctrine and practices.
And hopefully that is what I too am trying to do. To think through our application of the truth of the Trinity. To look at, in this one instance of a simple hymn, whether there is a true alignment of doctrine and liturgy.
As I have indicated, I am doing this with an agenda.
I personally am thinking through the biblical teaching on man and woman. It has led and forced me to think more deeply about God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
I may be imagining connections where there are none, but as I read 1 Cor 11 and Gen 1&2 and the revelation by God of Himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, there seems to be strong ties between our understanding of God and our understanding of man (and woman) - “let us make “adam” in our image, in our likeness”. (See the links to my Genesis articles).
So, in addition to trying to understand the biblical revelation about God and man, I am also trying to listen carefully to what is said and done as I meet with other Christians. In particular, what is said and done in regard to the Trinity.
In my context, Australian evangelical churches, many christians and churches are on the path of dishonouring God through their ever increasing embracing of egalitarianism. In this context, I have considered myelf a complementarian, however, after interacting with this forum, I now realise that it is biblical patriarchy that I align myelf with.
I don’t personally know of any churches in Australia, including my own, that formally practice headcovering during prayer and prophecy. Of my own church, where I am a layman, I don’t think they have gone too much further in embracing egalitarianism. However, I am thinking about and analysing how it is that many churches are taking small steps and then larger strides into embracing egalitarianism.
At this point, in particular, I am asking myself, what is it about our understanding of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit that might be allowing us to embrace this false understanding of man.
And so, I am even being critical of a simple hymn.
What understanding of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit … what misconstruing of their relations … could be underlying or at least paralleling the misconstruing of our understanding of man (of man and woman).

@NEK
Neil - your argument seems to be that direct prayer to the Holy Spirit is misrepresenting His role, and a “misconstruing of [the] relations [in the Godhead]”. So, it is is analogous to the creeping or not-so-creeping egalitarianism in the churches.

I think these are separate issues, and the presence of one of these does not necessarily explain the presence of the other.

Ross, that is a great comment to help me think through where I am going with all this and whether it is valid - this post on the song and direct prayer to the Holy Spirit and my articles on 1 Cor 11 and Genesis 1&2.
I am very busy at work for the next few days, but I will respond in more detail later.
But for now, in my articles on 1Cor 11:2-16 I have left out direct analysis of v3
3 But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife[a] is her husband,[b] and the head of Christ is God.
However, these verses do seem to connect the relations of man and woman to the the relation of Christ and God.
It is this connection that I am exploring in Gen 1&2 and thinking through my own application of it. I am not saying that my prior tolerance of the theology of the song necessarily has a direct one on one correspondence to my prior tolerance of egalitarianism. But, I am suggesting, at least to myself, that in light of 1Cor 11:3 I think it is worth reflecting on the possible similarities and connections about what I believe and express about the Trinity and what I believe and express about man and woman.
Hopefully, in my later longer reply, I can explain the connections (at least in my mind) between the Trinity and man and woman, in terms of what I have written on 1Cor 11:2-16 and Genesis 1&2.

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Neil, to explain: my background, and where I came to faith, is in the A/G (specifically New Zealand, and Frank Houston’s church, if that rings any sort of bell). The movement, and wider tradition, most certainly invoked the Holy Spirit; but it was pretty complementarian if not patriarchal for much of its history as well. That is why I think that the two things are not related, or at least not closely so.