“Come, sinners, to the Gospel feast” – Charles Wesley

Oft times, Methodists like to pretend that the theology we inherited from John and Charles is that of a symbol — yet, in reading the stanzas, we see sacrificial language, mimicking the high sacramentarianism of the Catho-Anglicans.

This hymn was part of our Maundy Thursday service, and I having never heard it before, listened as intensely as one does to an new lover.

(I note the singers of this version left out some pertinent parts…)

Come, sinners, to the Gospel feast;
Let every soul be Jesus’ guest.
Ye need not one be left behind,
For God hath bid all humankind.

Sent by my Lord, on you I call;
The invitation is to all.
Come, all the world! Come, sinner, thou!
All things in Christ are ready now.

Come, all ye souls by sin oppressed,
Ye restless wanderers after rest;
Ye poor, and maimed, and sick, and blind,
In Christ a hearty welcome find.

Come, and partake the Gospel feast;
Be saved from sin; in Jesus rest;
O taste the goodness of your God,
And eat His flesh, and drink His blood!

You vagrant souls, on you I call;
(O that my voice could reach you all!)
You all may now be justified,
You all may live, for Christ hath died.

My message as from God receive;
Ye all may come to Christ and live.
O let His love your hearts constrain,
Nor permit Him to die in vain.

His love is mighty to compel;
His conquering love consent to feel,
Yield to His love’s resistless power,
And fight against your God no more.

See Him set forth before your eyes,
That precious, bleeding Sacrifice!
His offered benefits embrace,
And freely now be saved by grace.

This is the time, no more delay!
This is the Lord’s accepted day.
Come thou, this moment, at His call,
And live for Him Who died for all.

Joel L. Watts
Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

9 thoughts on ““Come, sinners, to the Gospel feast” – Charles Wesley

  1. Yikes! “O taste the goodness of your God,
    And eat His flesh, and drink His blood!”
    Reminds me of TSA fixation on “Washed in the blood of the lamb”. I always cringed hearing that one, imagining the poor kids listening to it, thinking “where’s the exit! So far, at least, the UMC hymns seem to be rated PG.

        1. No matter how modern you make it, the story of Easter and thus the way that all of us can find redemption is not a PG story.

          1. “and thus the way that all of us can find redemption is not a PG story”…I think there, we can find a discrepancy in our thought processes! Redemption, I assume, you think is required because Adam decided to eat forbidden fruit. I say, ridiculous. Redemption is not required because there is no such thing as original sin.

          2. Agreed – original sin in the Reformed sense is a doctrine owed to Augustine’s inability to properly translate Greek.

            But, this is where we must turn to Irenaeus and his idea of recapitulation – and Christus Victor!

  2. I was referring to the Crucifixion which whether you need redemption, salvation or some other ‘tion’ it can not be a PG story.

    1. That’s why I always wondered why they call it “Good Friday”! People die. Christ died. Emphasis, seems like it should be “Good Sunday”, and “not so Good Friday”. Same for the gruesome depictions of Christ on the cross in some churches. I am glad hymns are modernized to reflect good and hope, instead of blood drenched sacrifices of purification ceremonies (similar to voodoo), like Leviticus, or TSA fixation on “washed in the blood of the lamb”. That was my original point.

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