Sources - Christ in Hymnology by Christian Chen and William Mallon

Where to buy

Christ in Hymnology can be purchased from the publisher at Living Word Publications - Christ In Hymnology)


Christ in Hymnology is a history of English hymnody. However, the authors’ focus on studying hymnology through the lens of Watchman Nee’s “1052 Hymnal”. This hymnal contains classic hymns combined with some of the most deeply spiritual and rare hymns. Chen and Mallon provide an engaging view of the Holy Spirit’s work throughout the ages, as seen through hymnody.

This work also includes an entire chapter devoted to Miss Barber. Nee’s hymnal featured over a dozen of Miss Barber’s hymns. Christ in Hymnology also supplies some details of her history which can only be found in this volume.

Details Unique to Christ in Hymnology

Relationship with D. M. Panton

This resource mentions that there were possible considerations of marriage between Panton and Barber. A brief correspondence with Mr. Keith Ives of confirms that this was a rumor or anecdote passed down by those who were a part of Surrey Chapel. (See his article on D. M. Panton.) Both Panton and Barber felt sure their callings were in England and China respectively. Chen and Mallon then put forth that each wrote a hymn in the wake of this unfulfilled desire for marriage. They suggest that Barber wrote “If the Path I Travel” in reflection upon this sacrifice. Similarly, they state that Panton’s only hymn, “Nearest of All Is He”, was also written in response to their decision as well.

Meeting with Moule

Barber’s furlough in England (1907–1909) was filled with changes. Chen and Mallon state that, while considering her return to China, Miss Barber attended the Keswick Convention during one of those summers. There, they say, she met with Bishop H. C. G. Moule who “knew her case well and encouraged her to go back to China.” (pg. 484)

Moule was both a chief speaker at Keswick and a leading voice for missions in the Anglican Church. For sometime, he was on the board of the Church Missionary Society and very possibly would know about Miss Barber’s case. If he did encourage her to return to China, the year of this encounter would be interesting to know. If this was during the 1907 convention, perhaps Moule still thought she could return as a part of the CMS. She did not alert Mr. Baring-Gould of her intentions to leave until her September 18th letter; she was received into membership at Surrey Chapel September 29th of that year.

If, however, this encounter was later in 1908 or 1909, then this appeal would indicate the broadness of Moule’s mind and heart. Miss Barber had already been re-baptized and she had already left the Anglican establishment. She could not return as a member of the Anglican mission. Therefore, if this is the case, then his encouragement for her to return was not for the benefit of this mission, but in response to the Lord’s call.

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