For His Glory

on the Purpose of Salvation According to Jesus & Paul

Johann Sebastian Bach, the great Lutheran church musician, is universally recognized as the greatest contrapuntist (and by some as simply the greatest composer) who ever lived. He wrote endless anthems, chorales, and cantatas for church worship (“Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring”), a multitude of preludes and fugues (“In D Minor”), a number of “secular” concert pieces (The Brandenburg Concertos), and a popular keyboard primer (the Anna Magdalena notebooks). He treated all of them the same way. At the top of the first page of each manuscript he inscribed the Latin initials for Jesu juva, “Jesus, help me.” And at the bottom of the last page he wrote, Soli Deo Gloria, “Glory to God alone.”

What did Bach understand that we need to recapture if we want to celebrate God’s glory today? I summarize it in what may seem a radical claim: God’s purpose in the salvation of sinners is his own glory.

THIS ARTICLE ONLY AVAILABLE TO SUBSCRIBERS.
FOR QUICK ACCESS:


Donald T. Williams is Professor Emeritus of Toccoa Falls College. He stays permanently camped out on the borders between serious scholarship and pastoral ministry, between theology and literature, and between Narnia and Middle-Earth. He is the author of fourteen books, including Answers from Aslan: The Enduring Apologetics of C. S. Lewis (DeWard, 2023). He is a contributing editor of Touchstone.

Print &
Online Subscription

Get six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for only $39.95. That's only $3.34 per month!

Online
Subscription

Get a one-year full-access subscription to the Touchstone online archives for only $19.95. That's only $1.66 per month!

bulk subscriptions

Order Touchstone subscriptions in bulk and save $10 per sub! Each subscription includes 6 issues of Touchstone plus full online access to touchstonemag.com—including archives, videos, and pdf downloads of recent issues for only $29.95 each! Great for churches or study groups.

Transactions will be processed on a secure server.


more on music from the online archives

33.3—May/June 2020

Consolation in Death

Bach's Cantata BWV 106, Gottes Zeit ist die allerbesteZeit (God's time is the very best time) by Ken Myers


more from the online archives

22.8—November/December 2009

The Origin of Aesthetics

Looking for Beauty & Justice 150 Years After Darwin’s Classic by Charles Taliaferro

32.4—July/August 2019

A Case of Win-Win

on Probability, Death & the Existence of God by Graeme Hunter

27.2—March/April 2014

Poetry Above Compulsion

Higher Education Should Advance the Glorious Liberty of the Sons of God by Anthony Esolen

calling all readers

Please Donate

"There are magazines worth reading but few worth saving . . . Touchstone is just such a magazine."
—Alice von Hildebrand

"Here we do not concede one square millimeter of territory to falsehood, folly, contemporary sentimentality, or fashion. We speak the truth, and let God be our judge. . . . Touchstone is the one committedly Christian conservative journal."
—Anthony Esolen, Touchstone senior editor

Support Touchstone

00