I really appreciate the expressions of love and devotion to Christ’s church in Timothy Dwight’s hymn, “I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord,” but the first verse, on a surface reading at least, seems to identify the Kingdom as the Church. Such an understanding of the Kingdom is usually a problem for dispensationalists. As I imagine several of my readers are dispensationalists to one degree or another,* my question is: Is it possible for a dispensationalist (especially a traditional dispensationalist) to sing the first verse of “I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord” without contradicting his beliefs?
You can answer either by posting a response or by completing my handy-dandy poll. Or both. (I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but I’m adding the poll as a way of gathering information for those too lazy or shy to comment.)
Here are the words, for those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about:
I love Thy kingdom, Lord,
The house of Thine abode,
The church our blessed Redeemer saved
With His own precious blood.
I love Thy church, O God.
Her walls before Thee stand,
Dear as the apple of Thine eye,
And written on Thy hand.
If e’er to bless Thy sons
My voice or hands deny,
These hands let useful skills forsake,
This voice in silence die.
Should I with scoffers join
Her altars to abuse?
No! Better far my tongue were dumb,
My hand its skill should lose.
For her my tears shall fall
For her my prayers ascend,
To her my cares and toils be given
Till toils and cares shall end.
Beyond my highest joy
I prize her heavenly ways,
Her sweet communion, solemn vows,
Her hymns of love and praise.
Jesus, Thou friend divine,
Our Savior and our King,
Thy hand from every snare and foe
Shall great deliverance bring.
Sure as Thy truth shall last,
To Zion shall be given
The brightest glories earth can yield
And brighter bliss of Heaven.
*Yes, I’m talking to all three of you.