Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What do Karl Barth, Amy Carmichael, and Francis Schaeffer Have In Common?

Three renown famous bold Christians:Barth, Carmichael and Schaeffer shared a love of the hymn: "Jesus Loves Me."

Karl Barth, famous Swiss theologian, was a great thinker, a prolific writer, and a professor at several leading European universities. Once he was confronted by a report following a worldwide speaking tour regarding his twelve thick volumes of church dogmatics. The reporter wanted Barth to give him a brief summary of these works for his article. Barth quoted the most popular children's hymn with "Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so." Barth felt this song clearly summed up his 12 volumes of theology.

Francis Schaeffer was one of the most influential figures in American evangelicalism between the period of World War II and the Reagan-era. He was the founder of L'Abri Fellowship International; a famous lecturer, and author of eighteen books. One Sunday at the close of a church service at Swiss L’Abri, Francis Schaeffer asked the congregation to sing, “Jesus Loves Me.” He smiled and added, “Some of you may realize that this is my favorite hymn.” As we sang this children’s hymn together many of us became aware of how needful it is for songs to have simple direct words that penetrate our hearts. “Yes, Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so.” Schaeffer shared with the people that this hymn conveys a certainty of scriptural truth that leads to peace, joy and freedom. Great Hymn Writers, Jane Stuart Smith, Betty Carlson. Crossway Books Publishers

Amy Carmichel, the famed Irish missionary to India, founded Dohnavur Fellowship in India that has had a lasting influence on L'Abri Fellowship. was converted to Christ after hearing this hymn sung at a children's mission in Yorkshire, England. At the age of 12 she was sent to a Wesleyan Methodist boarding school in Yorkshire England. At a service for children when she was fifteen, Carmichael heard the song lyrics "Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so." In the quiet moments following the song, Carmichael realized that, in spite of her mother's teaching that Jesus loved her, she had never opened the door of her heart to invite him in. "In His great mercy the Good Shepherd answered the prayers of my mother and my father and many loving ones, and drew me, even me, into His fold." P. 454 The Complete Book of When and Where: In the Bible and Throughout History by E. Michael Rusten, Sharon O. Rusten, Philip Comfort, Tyndale House PUblishers, Inc. 2005 ISBN 0842355087

I could go on and on with the stories of profound powerful men and women of God who owe "Jesus Loves Me" tribute to their spiritual lives. My hope is that you will sing this song and see what God does in you as you sing this song to Him.

Let me close today with this truth:

'After more than a century, "Jesus Loves Me" became the number one spiritual song in the world. It has been translated into more languages than any other song.'

I have read that this hymn is one of the first hymns that missionaries teach new converts.

John Stott wrote:
"The love of Christ is an immense subject, shallow enough for a child to paddle in; "Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so."But deep enough for giants to wade in: "how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ!" "the love of Christ is 'broad' enough to compass all mankind (especially Jews and Gentiles, the theme of these chapters), 'long' enough to last for eternity, 'deep' enough to reach the most degraded sinner, and 'high' enough to exalt him to heaven.

Leslie Mitten expresses it, finding a parallel to Romans 8:37-39: 'Whether you go forward or backward, up to the heights or down to the depths, nothing will separate us from the love of Christ.'

Ancient commentators went further. They saw these dimensions illustrated on the cross. For its upright pole reached down into the earth and pointed up to heaven, while its crossbar carried the arms of Jesus, stretched out as if to invite and welcome the whole world." (John R.W. Stott, "The Message of Ephesians," IVP, Leicester, 1979, p. 137).

Jesus Loves Me
The Bible Tells Me So


sailorcross said...

Yes!! Hallelujah!!

Jesus' love is all encompassing, unconditional.

Where else can we find this in our world?

Jesus--He fills the hole in my heart.


Joyfulsister said...

Hi Kay,
Wow Kay I grew up on this song and had no idea of the story behind it. Amy is an awesome poet as well and I admired her work and now I hear this song drew her to the Lord. What a blessing to learn something new. Thank you for this post..
Hugz Lorie

Dorothy Champagne said...

Thank you for the research you put into this! I love it!

© 2008 Kay Martin

Thrive In Christ

Who I Am In Christ by Neil Anderson

For several months we will center on this book to pursue Thriving in our Christian journey.

Neil challenges us with: "Do you know who you are in God's eyes? We are no longer products of our past. We are primarily products of Christ's work on the cross. Who we are determines what we do.

You are not who you are in Christ because of the things you have done, you are in Christ because of what He has done. He died and rose again so that you and I could live in the FREEDOM of His love."

That's just the introduction. More to follow.