Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Hymns & Hymn Writers: The Lord and Savior of Mankind by David R. Kenney

Tommy Wheeler copyrighted this song on the same date as his other song “I Love The Lord” in 1970.  It was among the collection of the hymns both he and his father, Palmer Wheeler, published in Tommy Wheeler’s Gospel Gems hymnal in 1970.
Tommy Wheeler (1931-2016), Lyricist & Music
Tommy Wheeler was the only child to Palmer Esker Wheeler (1904-1983) and Lena Bandy Wheeler, and he was born February 1, 1931 in Scottsville, KY.  His father was an accomplished hymn writer, and he taught Tommy about music as he was learning to read.  His parents were converted out of the Baptist Church, and his mother was converted by G. K. Wallace.  His father had spent many years singing with the Vaughan and Stamps Quartet.  His father taught music at Freed-Hardeman College (now University) from 1937-1939 during which time Tommy attended grade school in Henderson, TN.  His father decided to devote his life to leading singing in evangelistic efforts.  Palmer led singing for preachers such as N. B. Hardeman, Foy E. Wallace, Jr., E. R. Harper, and G. C. Brewer. 
Tommy Wheeler had a B.A. in Music from Abilene Christian College (now University) and a M. A. in Music from Texas Tech in Lubbock, TX.  He had a career in teaching music in public schools and also worked in the banking industry.  When his father retired from the work, Wheeler coordinated the music for “Way of Truth” TV program for 30 years.  He wrote many songs published by Stamps-Baxter Music Company, but “I Love The Lord” first appeared in his own hymnal, Gospel Gems in 1970 which contained all of his father’s hymns plus 30 of Tommy’s hymns.  He was elected in 1976 to the American Society of Composers and Publishers (ASCAP).  He and his father wrote Down Memory Lane With the Wheelers in 1977 which was a biographical sketch of their family.  He married Beth Wood Wheeler in 1956; however she passed away in 1965.  He then married his second wife Joyce Preston Wheeler.  On February 9, 2010, Tommy Wheeler donated his family’s music scores to Freed-Hardeman University Archives which are entitled “The Wheeler Family Music Collection”.  Tommy Wheeler wrote hundreds of hymns including some with his cousin, Max Wheeler.  Tommy Wheeler passed away November 21, 2015 and is buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Paris, TX.  He was survived by his wife, Joyce Wheeler, two sons (Dennis and Gary), one daughter (Kathy Wheeler Lemay), grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 
The Lord and Savior of Mankind
There are some who sometimes say “I want the God of the New Testament, but not the God of the Old Testament.  The God of the Old Testament is filled with hate, but the God of the New Testament is one of love.”  There was an interesting conversation between Jesus and His disciples-- “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”  Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?  Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.  Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves (John 14:7-11, NKJV.)
There are some who mistakenly believe that God has three modes—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit rather than being distinct beings.  This view, as opposed to trinitarianism, was first championed by Sabellius of the 3rd century  It holds that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all the same person, the difference is in God’s mode (or modal) of operation.  Would this passage support such a view?  No.  What Jesus is explaining to His disciples is that both the Father and the Son are united and not divided.  How does one explain Jesus’ prior statement—“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.  And where I go you know, and the way you know.”  Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:2-6, NKJV.)
Notice the phrase in Wheeler’s song “He prayed to God in full review, ‘Please forgive they know not what they do.’”  Did Jesus pray to Himself?  Of course not.  He prayed to His Father.  The plan for the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to redeem mankind was actually made before the foundation of the world—“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love” (Ephesians 1:3-4, NKJV).  Jesus is the Lord and Savior of mankind who came here in accordance with the will of the Father and revealed to us by the Holy Spirit.



Finely, George E., ed.  Our Garden of Song – A Biography of Song Writers of the Church of Christ and Articles and Other Items of Interest of Our Worship in Song.  West Monroe, LA:  Howard Publishing Company, 1980.
Howard, V. W., and Broadus E. Smith, eds.  Church Gospel Songs & Hymns. Texarkana, TX:  Central Printers & Publishers, 1983.
Jackson, Wayne. "An Attack upon the Trinity." No pages.  Cited 26, May 2016.  Online:
“Tommy Wheeler.” No pages.  Cited 23 May 2016.  Online:
“Wheeler.” Gospel Advocate  158 (2016): 41.
Wiegand, John P., ed. Praise for the Lord.  Nashville, TN:  Praise Press, 1997.

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