We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer

Monday, April 13, 2009

Tozer On Modern "Praise"

I’m always suspicious when we talk too much about ourselves. Somebody pointed out that hymnody took a downward trend when we left the great objective hymns that talked about God and began to sing the gospel songs that talk about us. There was a day when men sang ‘Holy, Holy, Holy,’ and ‘O Worship the King,’ and they talked objectively about the greatness of God. Then we backslide into that gutter where we still are where everything is about ‘I.’ ‘I’m so happy,’ ‘I’m so blest,’ ‘I’m so nice,’ ‘I’m so good,’ always ‘I.’ The difference between heaven and hell is the difference between God and I. Jesus Christ, by canceling His ‘I’ was the Christ of God, not as I will, but as Thou wilt. The devil by magnifying his ‘I’ became the devil -- when he said, ‘I will arise, I will raise my throne above the throne of God’.” (A.W.Tozer, Sermon, “Ezekiel”)

You'd think Tozer was sitting in today's churches and listening to their "praise" choruses!

8 comments:

Marie said...

The timing of this observation is interesting - I just found this site last night:http://aboutmeorgod.blogspot.com/

Tozer's not alone.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

It's something I've been complaining about for years! I liked that site - thanks for that link!!!!

Marie said...

I was thinking about doing a semi-humorous blog post entitled "The Ten Dumbest Praise Songs Ever Written". Topping that list would be the cringe-inducing "Let My Words be Few" (the one where he tells Jesus how in love with Him he is). I decided against it (for now) because it wouldn't have been very edifying.

It would have been funny, though. Some of those songs just SCREAM to be mocked. "I am a Friend of God" comes to mind, as does the theologically vapid "Days of Elijah". In terms of sheer moron quotient, the winner has to go to John Wimber's "Isn't He Beautiful?" an idiotically repetitive what-was-the-lyricist-smoking-when-he-wrote-this ditty.

But I probably won't. As I said, wouldn't be edifying. :))

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

I haven't heard of any of those except the moronic Wimber one. I guess I've been sheltered!

One I despise is "Shine, Jesus, Shine" - does anyone really understand what that song means? But it makes people feel good, and isn't that the important thing?

Marie said...

"Shine Jesus Shine" - oh boy, now you're bringing back Campus Crusade memories (early '90's)!! Actually, that one's not soooo bad....as in, there are many worse.

You've never had to endure "Let My Words Be Few" in church? You're blessed. Let me first off say that I love Matt Redman - some of his songs are quite good. This particular one is painful. If you can get through the first 30 seconds, you'll understand why: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmbkyHks9y0

When they do that one at church (and yes; the worship leader is a guy), I'm too embarrassed to sing, let alone to look at my husband, who also loooks uncomfortable with the lyrics (I have great peripheral vision). Picture 300 guys in the sanctuary self-consciously glancing around and looking at the seat in front of them; 200+ women with their eyes closed (presumably so they don't have to look at their husbands).

This song is symbolic of everything that is wrong with modern "praise" music. I'll let you draw your own conclusions as to why. I'm not the first in the blogosphere to notice it; I just don't have the courage to do a post about it on my own blog. ;)

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

"Let My Words Be Few" was icky. That's the best I can say.

"Shine, Jesus, Shine" is one of those nonsensical charismatic songs about a flowing river (of what?) and blazing fire. ARGH!

I have a collection of music lyrics in a file of "Contemporary 'Christian' Music." So much is unbiblical and self-focused, often new-agey.

I have a lyric sheet from an album by Jars of Clay, a supposedly great Christian group. Of the 11 songs on the album, 9 didn't make any sense, all being very esoteric. I have stuff from News Boys, Small Town Poets, The Normals, Orange County Supertones, DC Talk, Five Iron Frenzy, Delirious, Code of Ethics, and Audio Adrenaline. I got these lyrics when my daughter used to work at a "Christian" book store (Family Christian Store) and was able to bring the CDs home. I listened to all of them and didn't find any of them a bit edifying, most had nonsensical or aberrational lyrics, and the music usually assaulted one's senses. And yet these were supposedly the "hot" Christian music. So disgusting.

Mark said...

Amen! Great observation!

4simpsons said...

""Let My Words Be Few" was icky. That's the best I can say."

Yep. They play that at church now and then. It is all I can do not to yell, "Jesus is not my boyfriend! He's my Savior and my God"