In Your Mercy, Lord, You Called Me: A Sung Prayer in the Christian Tradition

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Studies in The History of Christian Hymnody
In this study Dr. Nancy C. James analyzes the symbolism in Josiah Conder's poetic hymn, the expression of his beliefs and the notion of prevenient theology that motivated Conder.


“Dr. James presents historical information on Josiah Conder that places his poetic work in the tradition of Protestant Nonconformism”
-Prof. Sharon Voros
United States Navel Acedemy

From the Foreword:
“ James’ vigorous scholarship and penetrating analysis commend her as a writer we can rely upon to speak with honesty, clarity and care. We read her as we would listen to a trusted mentor.”
­-Prof. William Bradley Roberts
Virginia Theological Seminary

Author’s Abstract:
In 1843 poet Josiah Conder published his hymn "Tis Not I Did Choose Thee." Conder used Jesus' Farewell Narratives from the Gospel of John to speak of God's choice of humanity. This theological idea of prevenient grace affirms that God chooses those who believe. Conder used two primary symbols of stain and chosen in this hymn to describe the condition of humanity. In the late 20th century many Protestant denominations took a new interest in Conder's hymn. An Episcopal theologian, Charles Philip Price, edited Conder's hymn and named it "In Your Mercy, Lord, You Called Me." Price successfully advocated for the inclusion of this hymn in the Episcopal hymnal 1982. Twentieth century philosopher, Paul Ricoeur, defines a symbol as a spontaneous appropriation of a spiritual meaning read on a literal object. The symbol reveals the bond between holiness and humanity. Ricoeur's work on symbolism deepens our understanding of Conder's symbols. Conder's stain reveals how lost people can become while his symbol of chosen affirms that God reaches out through grace to humanity. That the postmodern era shows fresh enthusiasm for Conder's hymn "'Tis Not I Did Choose Thee" reveals a spiritual need in this era. This book explores the many issues raised by these three Protestant thinkers, Josiah Conder, Charles Philip Price, and Paul Ricoeur.

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