A Neolegalist Hymn

October 2002

The Internet is a useful tool, but sometimes emails and even entire files fall into the wrong hard drives. Just the other day we received revised lyrics to the old hymn "My Hope Is Built" – lyrics apparently written by some Neolegalists.

The brief notes that came with the new lyrics indicated that the authors were offended by the hymn's (1) obsessive preoccupation with individual salvation; (2) its unwarranted assertion of justification by faith alone; (3) its superficial understanding of the finished work of Christ; (4) its antinomian teaching of the imputed, perfect righteousness of Christ as the Christian's only righteousness; (5) its speculative suggestion that the covenant of grace involves only the elect and Christ as the sole mediator; and (6) its rationalist denial that saving faith does not include works, or need works in order to make itself saving.

Here are the revised lyrics: My Hope Is Built (as "corrected" by Neolegalists)

Our hopes are built on nothing less
Than grace infused as righteousness;
This hoary doctrine's still the same,
Though we don't keep the Catholic name.

Yes, we're saved by grace—don't fear;
The grace to do, the grace to hear.
And we must work year after year.

His oath, His covenant, His blood
Require that we do something good;
Faith can't be just a mere assent–
James clearly said such faith is dead!

Yes, we're saved by grace—don't fear;
The grace to do; the grace to hear.
And, rest assured, no cheap grace here.

When darkness veils His lovely face,
We trust in fuzzy future grace;
Endure the stormy gale we will,
If we the covenant fulfill.

Yes, we're saved by grace—don't fear;
The grace to do, the grace to hear.
Our faithfulness is without peer.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
We hope we shall be faithful found
When we declare before the throne,
"See what we did for You alone!"

Yes, we're saved by grace – don't fear;
The grace to do, the grace to hear.
(But why's it getting hot down here?)

The notes indicate that the anonymous writers were J, N, S, S, and D, who was identified as the Maestro of the Moscow Madrassah.

John Robbins
The Trinity Foundation
October 9, 2002

For further reading go to Review Archives at www.trinityfoundation.org