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, May 30, 2011

Worship Songs Compared

Yesterday in church we sang some contemporary “worship” songs at the opening of service and closed with a traditional hymn.  Our church often mixes the old and the new, the trite and the meaty.  I want to show you the difference for what passes as “worship” songs today, compared to what used to be standard fare.  I will give them in the order we sang them, and I want you to read the lyrics with a discerning eye.
Here I Am to Worship (by Tim Hughes)
Light of the world
You stepped down into darkness.
Opened my eyes, let me see.
Beauty that made this heart adore You
Hope of a life spent with You
Here I am to worship,
Here I am to bow down,
Here I am to say that You're my God
You're altogether lovely
All together worthy,
All together wonderful to me
King of all days
oh, so highly exalted
Glorious in heaven above
Humbly You came 
To the earth You created
All for love's sake became poor
Here I am to worship,
Here I am to bow down,
Here I am to say that You're my God
You're altogether lovely
All together worthy,
All together wonderful to me
I'll never know how much it cost
To see my sin upon that cross
I'll never know how much it cost 
To see my sin upon that cross
I'll never know how much it cost
To see my sin upon that cross
I'll never know how much it cost 
To see my sin upon that cross

Here I am to worship,
Here I am to bow down,
Here I am to say that You're my God
You're altogether lovely
All together worthy,
All together wonderful to me
(repeat)
Overall the message isn’t too bad, sort of like a Psalm, although I don’t think of the word “lovely” when I think of Jesus; somehow I don’t see this word applied to men.  But that’s personal taste, I suppose.  But the real kicker is the phrase, “I’ll never know how much it cost...”  Excuse me?  Doesn’t the Bible make it perfectly clear how much it cost the Son of God to be punished for our sin?!?  What sort of nonsense is this??  Then there is the incessant repetition common to so many “choruses” today.  I don’t mean the refrain (although at the end the refrain is repeated a second time), rather, look at  how many times we say the unbiblical statement, “I’ll never know how much it cost to see my sin upon the cross.”  I guess if you repeat a lie often enough it becomes true.
Now look at the next one, which I refuse to sing. First, it comes from the aberrational Vineyard movement, which should tell you immediately that it may have problems.  But let’s look at the lyrics:
Breathe (by Michael W. Smith)
this is the air I breathe
this is the air I breathe
Your holy presence living in me
this is my daily bread
this is my daily bread 
Your very word spoken to me
And I, I'm desperate for you
And I, I'm I'm lost without you
this is the air I breathe
this is the air I breathe
Your holy presence living in me
this is my daily bread
this is my daily bread
Your very word spoken to me
And I, I'm desperate for you
And I, I'm I'm lost without you
And I, I'm desperate for you, 
And I, I'm lost without you, 
I'm lost without you, 
I'm lost without you. 
I'm lost without you.
I'm lost without you Lord, 
this is the air I breathe
this is the air I breathe
Your holy presence living in me
this is my daily bread
this is my daily bread
Your very word spoken to me
And I, I'm desperate for you
And I, I'm lost without you.
WOW!!!!  Now there is a lot of mindless repetition!  These lyrics are totally vacuous.  And, this ditty could be sung by a member of any religious belief system!  Why are Christians wasting time with this?
Okay, here’s the third song we sang in the first part of the service, separated from the first two by announcements and prayer time.
Step By Step (by Rich Mullins)
Oh God, You are my God
And I will ever praise You
Oh God, You are my God
And I will ever praise You
I will seek You in the morning
And I will learn to walk in Your ways
And Step by step You'll lead me
And I will follow You all of my days
Oh God, You are my God
And I will ever praise You
I will seek You in the morning
And I will learn to walk in Your ways
And Step by step You'll lead me
And I will follow You all of my days
Oh God, You are my God
And I will ever praise You
While the lyrics, few as they are, convey an acceptable message, the repetition gets weary; I don’t remember how many times we went in this circle.
NOW, let’s look at the lyrics of the hymn we closed with
At the Cross (by Isaac Watts - except for the refrain)
Alas! and did my Savior bleed
And did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For sinners such as I?
Refrain
At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day!
Thy body slain, sweet Jesus, Thine,
And bathed in its own blood,
While the firm mark of wrath divine,
His Soul in anguish stood.
Was it for crimes that I had done
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!
Well might the sun in darkness hide
And shut his glories in,
When Christ, the mighty Maker died,
For man the creature’s sin.
Thus might I hide my blushing face
While His dear cross appears,
Dissolve my heart in thankfulness,
And melt my eyes to tears.
But drops of grief can ne’er repay
The debt of love I owe:
Here, Lord, I give my self away
‘Tis all that I can do.

Did you notice the meaty truths of the Gospel in this?  Why do we feed trite phrases to our young people, thinking that is all they can understand?  If you only feed them milk, they will never want anything else.  
I am NOT saying there aren’t good, meaty songs of worship written today; I’ve reported on some of them by Stuart Townend - he gets it!  Nor am I saying old is better; we’ve got some really bad old ones out there (In the Garden comes to mind).  What I AM saying is that we need to use discernment with our worship songs and reject those vacuous, milky, 24/7 (24 words sung 7 times - or often 7/24) choruses, especially those which could be sung with equal fervor by a Hindu!

57 comments:

Neil said...

Good points, Glenn, especially about how other religions could sing many of these songs. That's a good rule of thumb.

I hate the repetition.

I didn't object to the "I'll never know . . ." part as much, as I assumed they meant it as a major understatement -- i.e., recognizing how significant the sacrifice was.

Re. "In the Garden" -- yep, I would have used the same example!

Had a great morning of study and worship at my daughter's church yesterday. They had a good mix of old and new.

I would also add that with many songs I want to stop them and say, "Look, I love Jesus but He is not my boyfriend. So let's skip the songs that say things in a romantic way such as, 'Jesus, I am so in love with you.'"

laura said...

That's exactly how I feel! What is especially irksome to me is the use of slang in songs, "I'm gonna" or "yea". Is this a respectful way to worship?

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

I was actually gonna do a post on those bad grammar songs a while back but never got around to it. I'm gonna have to look for some of them.

Bad grammar in new songs is a way of dumbing down our kids.

Anonymous said...

Glenn this is a good post. I think the idea of Jesus Christ being lovely is perhaps from the Song of Solomon verse 5:16 (for those who see the Song as a picture of Christ and His church). The word lovely in Hebrew in that verse means: delightful; hence a delight, that is, object of affection or desire: - beloved, desire, goodly, lovely, pleasant (thing).

This is how the word lovely used to be used and is somewhat old-fashioned, for nowadays it has a very limited use and meaning, in USA anyway.

I agree with you the repetition does get old. And it also makes me wonder: why do we always seem to repeat the lines that have the least truth to convey? The old hymns really do put some of the newer songs to shame. The newer ones almost sound like ditties for children because of their simplistic words.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi Anonymous 5/31,

Well, those who see the Song of Solomon as a picture of Jesus really haven't read it! That nonsense came about over a thousand years ago because of prudity of some of the early church "fathers." The Romanist church propagated it, and too many protestant churches kept propagating it. One has to really wrench SoS out of context to find any application at all to Jesus.

I like your observation that the worst lines are the ones repeated most - that explains a lot about the poor biblical understanding of so many people.

Marie said...

Dude!!!! I'm sorry; but the "tritest" thing about your church's "contemporary" selections is that they are waaaaayyy out of date! As in, late-nineties/early 2000's out-of-date. As in, my middle schooler was potty-training when those songs were in vogue.

(I think you see my point about general lameness. What seems hip and relevant one year is hopelessly dated the next.) I totally agree with you on those songs! Probably for that reason, we don't do them at our church - they try to choose contemporary ones pretty carefully, although a few of the Jesus-is-my-boyfriend ones have snuck in, along with Hillsong, but don't get me started on that.

Chris Tomlin is unusually good for a CCM worship song writer, as is his buddy Matt Redman, although that song certainly wasn't his best work. I am LOVING his new CD, which contains "Majesty", one of the best worship songs I've ever heard. A lot of his songs have been the old hymns played in a more contemporary format ("Amazing Grace - My Chains are Gone", "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name" and several others on the "Passion" CD.) So it's not all terrible, but certainly most of the modern praise choruses are lacking any real depth.

Yeah, I got the SoS connotation right away, too. I've heard both sides of that debate (what SoS means); not sure who's right but even if it has some symbolism of Christ and the Church, you cannot take the nalogy too far. MANY in the Church today hink it's an individual thing ("bridal paradigm" and all that). Um; wrong.

'K I'll shut up now. :)

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi Marie,

We actually run the gamut of CCM at our church, old and new stuff.

"Majesty" is one I don't care for, and John MacArthur even pans it; "kingdom authority" etc. It is a dominionist song.

I'm also not keen on taking Amazing Grace and changing it. I can handle "My Chains are Gone," because that just adds a refrain, although it drops a verse. But the other "Grace Like Rain" really ruins it.

Marie said...

Oh no... I didn't realize that! I'd be interested in reading what Macarthur had to say -- do you happen to have a link, by any chance? Yeah, I also agree about "Grace Like Rain".

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

No, what I read by MacArthur was several years ago in a magazine. I just remember it being panned for the dominionist slant to it. He also panned "In the Garden," which was the first time I ever looked at the lyrics of that song, having played the pipe tune for funerals.

Stan said...

Amen on that. We seem to think that we can bring whatever we feel like (I chose that phrase specifically) into worship and God should like it. We seem to forget that it's not about how we feel, but about Who we are worshiping. I read in Col. 3:16, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God". Really? Teaching and admonishing with ... songs? Well, yes, that's what he wrote. Rarely have I been to a church that practices such a concept.

Randy said...

Well, I thought I posted here yesterday. A shame too, I said good things. I have this habit of sometimes closing a tab without ever verifying that the comments took. I'll try to remember what I said.

The thing about these songs is that they are WORSHIP songs, sung TO God. They aren't trying to spread the Gospel, they aren't trying to convict, they're all about God. As for "I’ll never know how much it cost...” can you truly understand the impact of what He did for us? I can't. I can't understand what He left. It's more than I can imagine. The fact that He cared enough about me, that He would take on all of my sins - and He knows what they are - that just amazes me. I'll never understand why He did that for me.

As for Breathe, it's all about Him, the creator of the universe. Yes, it's a lot of repetition, but isn't there a lot of repetition in the Psalms? Was David wrong?

Step By Step bothered me because of a TV show with the same name. But after I sang it a few times, I grew to understand it better and as I sing it, I prepare my heart for His message, I open myself up. Isn't that what worship is about?

Solomon said there is a time for everything, for every purpose under the sun. Paul said I become all things to all men, that I might reach some for Christ. The church I grew up in was so Southern Baptist that the Will of the Spirit was only allowed after a 3/4 vote from the board of deacons. We turned off a lot of young people because we stuck to verses 1,2 & 4 from the Baptist Hymnal.

I actually like the old hymns better than the choruses, but I have gained a new appreciation for worship as I meditate on many of these songs.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi Randy,
As I pointed out on Neil's blog, just like in the Psalms we sing TO and ABOUT God in our worship. No, it shouldn't be a gospel message because ostensibly only Christians are worshiping. However, reminding ourselves of solid doctrine is part of edification and encouragement.

The Scripture never says we can't know what it cost for salvation, and to say that we can't is unbiblical. It is spelled out for us. Knowing and understanding are two different things - we often have intellectual knowledge of things without understanding the workings. Nevertheless, my primary complaint with that song is the ridiculous repetition of the same statement over and over.

Breathe Is a vacuous song from a vacuous movement - the Vineyard; all about signs and wonders. The intent of the song is to keep repeating it and get into an emotional state. But, as noted, any religious belief system can sing it, which demonstrates to me how worthless it is.

Step by Step, as noted, is just a silly ditty repeated over and over. Which, being written by the same guy as Breathe, doesn't surprise me about how vacuous it is.

I never said we need to stick to only one type of song, either new or old. What I am saying is that we should be more discerning about the lyrics. Lyrics that have to be repeated a zillion times so as to get the worshiper into a state of ecstasy and all emotional (feeling good about how devout he is at the moment) and are vacuous in content, should be discarded for the rubbish that they are. Lyrics with bad doctrine should be discarded. It doesn't matter if they are old or new, off the radio or out of the hymn book.

072591 said...

Why has nobody mentioned what is so obvious to me?

Not all songs were meant for worship. I suspect that is the cause of a LOT of problems. Much of CCM music is meant to be listened to, but not meant for a worship service. What happens is that as soon as a song is labelled Christian, it either gets incorporated into a worship service or people scream from the rooftops how it's not a Christian song. Few people can see how a song can be a good Christian song and not be a song appropriate for a worship service.

For those who don't see the point, allow me to give an example. Is "Happy Birthday" an immoral song? Is it a worship song?

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

072591,

Excellent point! I have often said that many of the songs heard on the radio which people then want to bring into church, are excellent for personal devotion or the like, but not for a corporate worship setting.

Anonymous said...

Praise verses worship! All about me today verse all about Him traditionally. Sad to see the gospel replaced by the gospel of self today.

http://herescope.blogspot.com/2011/05/gospel-of-self.html
http://herescope.blogspot.com/2011/05/gospel-of-self_20.html
http://herescope.blogspot.com/2011/06/gospel-of-self.html
http://herescope.blogspot.com/2011/06/gospel-of-self_04.html

Drew said...

The "I'll never know" part is just supposed to mean that the singer can't personally relate to it.

I can't stand the second song, both due to the repetition and also due to the negativity. Saying "I'm desperate" and "I'm lost" over and over again sort of makes it sound like I am unsaved.

072591's comment is a good one. Worship service songs should be practical for a whole group to sing together. A church service isn't supposed to be a concert where one master singer sings and everyone else just listens.

chrisaund said...

A very interesting discussion folks,
I think it was Tozer who told us that we don't go to church to be entertained, we should either be challenged, convicted or encouraged by the hymns.
When I am visiting a different church to my own and the chorus is sung over and over I tend to want to question the doctrine of the said church, is the worship leader taking too much resposibilty for the choices, does the Pastor notice or care?
In one church which I attended the Pastor stopped the singing after a chorus about "Jesus taking the fall, and thinking about us most of all!"
To his credit he said it was rubbish doctrine, Our Lord was thinking about His Father's glory most of all! Gasps all around!
Yours Chris.
( Manchester England)

Randy said...

Glenn, glad to see my last post took. I'll add a couple of other comments. I grew up in a Southern Baptist Church singing the 1st, 2nd and last stanza from the hymnal. I still enjoy the old hymns and many have deep meaning to me.

As for mindless repetition, one of the worst offenders is the hymn Blessed be the Name. If you sing all 4 verses, the phrase is repeated 32 times. Another bad offenders of repetition is Psalm 136. "His love endures forever" is repeated 26 times.

I've heard some people call it 7/11 music, seven words repeated eleven times. A question though - how did you learn your multiplication tables? Was it by repeating them over and over? Did that "mindless repetition" serve a purpose - to train your mind? It sure helped me. And some of these songs remind me of how much He loves me, of what He has done.

Churches like the one I grew up in turned off a lot of people, because they refused to change the music. I can't say that I ever worshiped there when I was growing up.

My preference is to enjoy a mix, my wife's preference is more hymns, less "contemporary". But we both agree, it's not about our desires, it's about worshiping Him and finding a place that doesn't run people off.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi Randy,

Repetition in the Psalms, or in "Blessed Be the Name" cannot be compared to the contemporary stuff where the repetition has a primary purpose of being virtually a mantra to work up emotion. And notice there are other phrases between the repeated phrase, which is rare with the "choruses."

Also, learning the multiplication tables by repetition was for memorization, not to work up an emotion - or for lack of talent to think of something else.

If people leave because a church refuses to change their music style (assuming it is doctrinally sound), then the problem is with the people leaving who are self-focused.

Randy said...

Glenn, you're free to choose your style of worship, but I remind you that Jesus commanded you to "Go ye therefore". If we're to go into the world, aren't we likely to see other forms of worship? You assume that these people are self-focused, but you don't know their hearts.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Randy,

You said the church had good teaching and the hymns supposedly were doctrinally sound, just old-fashioned instead of the new stuff. It has been my experience over the past 15 years of going to churches other than Lutheran, that people who leave the type of church described simply because of the music, have even specifically stated that they want music that makes them feel good, or feel like they've been to worship, etc. It's all about how THEY feel with the songs. And that is indeed a self-focused reason. That has been my experience.

Randy said...

Actually, the church I grew up in had some doctrinal issues that didn't help. But there stiffness in music serves as a good reference point.

My real point here is that there really are some people out there that are seeking the Truth. I have a desire to meet them where they are and show them the love of Christ. I don't really care what kind of music it takes. Yes, they should move on from baby's milk to real meat, but running them out with snoring between verses of "How Great Thou Art" doesn't cut it in my book.

(By the way, what's wrong with "In the Garden"? I love that song)

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

I have a desire to meet people where they are also, but we must never meet them with garbage - "garbage in, garbage out." It is often said that what we win them with is what we win them to. If what we win them to is vacuousness, emotionalism, and "boyfriend" Jesus, that is was they will be won to.

"In the Garden" is one an old song, but it certainly is a "boyfriend" song. Even John MacArthur panned it as being among the worst of the older hymns.

Drew said...

Songs should be doctrinally sound, or else they can corrupt the minds of the people.

Songs should be doctrinally meaty, or else they are wasting the congregation's time.

Songs should be capable of being sung as a congregation, or else praising God becomes a spectator sport.

Most modern songs violate ALL of the above. I get so sick of people saying that song choice is just a matter of preference, and that people need to stop focusing on themselves and start focusing on God, etc. Song choice in church is not just a matter of preference. It is a matter of objective righteousness.

Randy said...

Sigh. Yesterday while at church I remembered this thread. I think we sang mostly hymns yesterday (because we don't use the book, it's hard for me to know where the songs come from.)

I've said before that I grew up in a Southern Baptist church that believed the Holy Spirit could only be invited by a 3/4 vote of the Board of Deacons. We had arguments similar to the argument here many times. Only it wasn't over song selection (if it wasn't in the Hymnal, we didn't sing it).

I recall the lady who was nearly expelled from our church because she was divorced. The ultimate sin for Southern Baptists. No matter that her husband had left her because he didn't want to care for their mentally disabled daughter, their third child. No matter that she needed help raising a son, and many men in the church could have given him a good male role-model. No, she wore short dresses and encouraged teen-agers to dance (another Southern Baptist sin).

My fear is that too many people in the church focus on song selection and ignore people like this. People that need the love of Christ instead of condemnation because of their choice of style of worship.

For some people, these songs represent their choice of worship. It's not my choice, at least not 100% of the time. But sometimes, I do get lost in His love. Sometimes, I can't find the words to tell Him how grateful I am that He saved me.

Glen, I know that you and Neil care for the lost, take care of orphans and new Christians. Just don't paint all of these songs and all of the people who listen to them as evil just because your taste is different.

P.S. I've tried to get my son to understand the beauty that's in the hymns. Someday, I hope he'll see where I was right...

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Randy,

Your citing abuses by a legalistic church really doesn't address the issue of whether or not lyrics should be doctrinally sound, have some sort of meat, and are not full of repetitious phrases designed to get into an emotional state.

Song selection can be just as important as any other teaching because it should be all about proper doctrine. Style can be debated, but lyrics cannot be. No one is painting anyone as evil, but we need not to be permitting false doctrine and emotionalism to infiltrate the church via song lyrics.

Lois said...

We attended a church that used contemporary music. I am a musician, and I stood there like a dork because the songs were not singable. (I need notes and rhythms, not just the words on the overhead.) Anyway, one Sun. after an atrocious blues rendition of something during offeratory, the "worship leader" made a statement about any kind of music being acceptable to God, and if you don't like it, then you don't understand worship. My husband stayed after church about an hour, challenging him with, "If you knew your music was a stumbling block to a believer, would you give it up?" The short answer was no, he wouldn't. I was terribly offended. I barely tolerated the music to get to the good sermons, but then to be told I now have to LIKE it, was just too much. My husband also confronted the pastor with what the worship leader had said, and rather than apologizing for it, or saying we had misunderstood, he proceeded to justify what he had meant! We left.

Oh, and the examples you gave of CCM are examples of the TOLERABLE ones, in my opinion! Thanks for sharing this post.

Leelee said...

Whether or not you appreciate modern worship music, you could at least credit the correct people who wrote the songs. Chris Tomlin did not write "Here I am to Worship."

As for my position on the issue of which music is right, I would just like to say that the whole debate is missing the point. The kingdom is so much bigger than the three songs we here on a Sunday morning.

Jordan said...

It's too bad all of these churches that use the wishy washy fluff don't look to the good examples of contemporary music. You've got the Getty's and Townsends. Those folks are fantastic. Then for a more contemporary "style" you've got the bulk of the Sovereign Grace Music. Now there is some good stuff. I especially like their Valley of Vision album.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Leelee,

I don't know who writes the songs - I just get the info off the net, so if Chris Tomlin isn't the right guy - who is? I'll change it with the correct info.

And, no, we are not missing the point. Apparently you are. The point is that the songs we sing should be just as solid in their doctrine as the other teaching in church. We should never permit false teaching, even if it is only sung.

Anonymous said...

Just to clarify, the late Rich Mullins is responsible for the song "Step by Step," not Michael W. Smith. Michael W. Smith sings a lot other musicians' songs on his worship albums, which is why there is probably some confusion.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi Anonymous,

Boy, I just can't get any of these right! I guess that goes with getting them off the 'net. I don't like them so I don't pay attention to where they came from and just assume what I found on the 'net with the lyrics would be the writer. DUH.

Acidri said...

Now i feel tongue tied singing songs on my christian radio station. To be honest they are mind numbing and I just thought it was me alone who wanted something (how do i put it?) ...meaty.

Buddy King said...

Though I agree we need to use discernment and it's good express and discuss these things, I think we need to be careful to be quick to judge and artist without truly knowing their heart. For example, when I hear "I'll never know how much it cost to see my sin upon the Cross.", I think no, I will never know (experience) what it cost because I don't have to pay it, it has been paid for me. Thank God.

As for the repetition, I don't know it's necessarily bad as long as the theology of what is being sang is sound. Seems more of a preference to me.

And for the "cross-over" songs. I do lean towards being "against" those, but really, isn't it the heart of the person singing the song that matters? If they are singing to Christ, then what does it matter that the same song could be sang to some other god?

Just my thoughts

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Buddy,

I wasn't judging artists - I was judging lyrics.

The lyrics of the one you discuss are, "I'll never know how much it cost" - not "I'll never experience how much it cost." Let's stick with the lyrics. The point is that we DO know the cost because the Word of God tells us. My guess is that the author was looking for something sentimental to end with.

Repetition is usually there to work up an emotional state, and that is the main problem with it. And it doesn't take a whole lot of talent to write, nor does it take a whole lot of contemplation when singing.

I understand it is the heart of the person which determines which God one is worshiping, and there are even some Psalms that people could claim have no specific God identified. But "Breathe" isn't only something that could be sung to any god, it is also totally vacuous of all doctrine - it is all emotion and comes from a signs and wonders movement. If we are going to be singing to and about the Lord, let's have songs which actually have meaning.

Randy said...

Glenn, the book of Esther doesn't mention God - should it be removed from the Bible? As Paul said - Heaven forbid.

I agree with Buddy, I think you're being judgmental.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Randy, I also stated that there are Psalms which don't specifically mention God. That isn't the point. The point is the song itself is vacuous and has one purpose - emotional. The root is VIneyard.

Ah yes, pull out the old "judgmental" charge. But aren't you being judgmental against me?

We are called to be judgmental, by the way. We are to judge right from wrong.

Apparently I've struck a nerve with one of peoples' favorite feel-good songs.

Randy said...

Sigh. I guess I should have said unfairly judge. You're right, we all judge.

When you say it's possible to know the cost, you sound like the person at a funeral who tells the family "I know just how you feel." You may have read in a book something about it, you may have even lost a love one that bears the same relationship, but you can't really know how they feel. What's amazing is that we have a High Priest who really does know how we feel. I'll never know why He chose to die for my sins.

You talk about mind numbing repetition, yet you admit that the Psalms are often that way. You talk about being there to elicit feeling. I'd argue that if worship doesn't elicit feeling, it's not really worship.

There's a verse in one of Paul's letters (Corinthians?) that talks of people preaching for the wrong reasons. Paul says that as long as it brings people to Christ, it's ok. I think Paul would say the same about what you call bad worship music.

Glenn, I know you mean well. Like Paul telling the Corinthians (1 Cor 3:2) that he wished they could eat meat, but he'll just explain the simple stuff, you're trying to educate. Instead, why don't you try to understand? Why don't you speak to someone singing these songs and ask them what they feel? Tell them that John wrote these things that they could know.

And Dude, lay off "The Garden." It's one of my favorites. Your only complaint about it is that John MacAurthur said something bad about it and you can't even remember what he said.

I left this discussion a while back because I'd said all I needed to say. I came back because someone else was saying the same thing and you still didn't see the point.

I tried some HTML tags, I hope they come out right. More importantly, I hope my tone comes across right. As someone said - debate, don't divide. I would never leave a church over the music. When I don't like what's being sung, I just assume God told the worship leader there was someone else there that needed to hear it. I try to figure out what God was telling the writer and what he was trying to express.

Oh, and I like cross-over music too. Even hymns sung by people that I know don't live the life. Yes, you have to know their heart. It's the heart of a sinner. Much like mine.

Julie said...

I agree; many of the contemporary songs are dumbed down and really have no depth to them at all.
Does anyone beside me have a problem with singing, "In everything I do, I honor You."?
That's at the end of a popular song (I can't remember which one right now) and I just can't quite get the words out. It's just blatantly false. There are plenty of things I do that do NOT honor the Lord. Why would I want to even say that? Am I misunderstanding what the lyricist is trying to get across?

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Randy,

I don’t think your comparison is valid. Scripture tells us exactly what it cost for Christ to die for our sins, so we can indeed know. Perhaps if the lyrics read, “I’ll never understand how much it cost,” that would be more accurate. But remember, that one line is my only complaint about the lyrics in that song - the repetition was more bothersome.

The repetition in most CCM is there for working up an emotional high - not just “feeling” - as demonstrated by their use in all the charismatic churches where people get into altered states of consciousness and get “slain” and all that stuff. If it is a Vineyard song, warning bells should immediately go off.

Citing Paul is taking him out of Context. Using him to justify songs with poor doctrine is like using him to justify Mormonism. It was my trip through Mormonism that eventually led me to Christ, but I dare say Paul wouldn’t say Mormonism would be an okay way to reach people for Christ.

I fully understand about the songs, but what you have to understand is that the songs are just as important as the sermon; they must have solid doctrine. We don’t do sermons (or shouldn’t do them) to make people feel good, nor should we do songs just to make people feel good. That is Joel Osteen’s business. Our job is to preach the truth. If the truth makes people feel good, that’s fine, but if the sermon or the songs just appeal to the emotions and just make us feel good about being in church without having any idea of what the doctrine was, then we haven’t done our job of edifying the saints.

Your comment about “The Garden” demonstrates one of the main problems about songs in church - or even for personal devotion. We find a favorite and we turn off objectivity because we like it. No, MacArthur’s comment isn’t my only complaint - I used him to buttress my argument. The song is a “Jesus is my boyfriend” type song. The lyrics are awful and void of any doctrine.

If a church has a very solid foundation with good teaching and good leadership, I doubt that they will have much bad music, so leaving just over music would most likely not be an issue.

As for God telling a worship leader about a song, I find it more likely that the worship leader has favorite songs he does whenever he’s there. Our primary leader mixes old and new for the opening songs, and most are of a praise and worship nature. Then the song before the sermon usually is something which goes with the message. The closing songs will also often have something to do with applying the message to our lives, or else just edifying songs of encouragement in the faith.

Cross-over music, as you call things like “Breathe,” are what I think can be very dangerous theologically. But that is my opinion.

And, Randy, you come across just fine - I hope I also come across okay. Sometimes just stating viewpoints back and forth can be misinterpreted as attacks, etc. I’m just a “here’s what I think, and here’s what you think” sort of person. Never take anything personal - unless it’s name-calling :oD

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Julie,

I've never heard that song, but while I think the lyricist was trying to convey that in every thing we do, we WANT to honor Him, I have to agree with you that the phrase as written is really untrue.

Thanks for that tidbit of discernment!

Anonymous said...

Well you do have a point with some of those songs. I agree with you on a few points, but don't throw the baby out with the bath water. There's good modern songs and good hymns, and there's bad modern songs and hymns as well. If you don't believe that get the lyrics to the great speckled bird, which is completely misused.
But the most important part of worship is the heart, which is forgotten these days in many churches.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Anonymous 7/3,

Of these songs, I am not throwing out the baby. My only complaint about the first one is that last line, which is sung ad nauseum.

As I noted, there are indeed good contemporary songs and bad traditional songs. But we must always examine the lyrics. Teaching must be as solid in the songs as it is in the sermon.

Neil said...

Re. Rich Mullins & Step by Step -- just a bit of trivia about Mullins -- not necessarily saying to use all the songs in worship.

He was very committed to his faith. He had his agents give away all his money -- and he surely made a lot -- except what the average worker would make, and he lived on that.

Step by Step is a good song, but many churches (and people like Michael W. Smith) just sing the chorus, which of course makes it seem too simple and repetitive.

Same thing with his song Awesome God. It actually mentions the fall (Adam and Eve kicked out of Eden), Sodom, mercy and grace at the cross, and that you'd "better be believing" that God is awesome. He didn't use "awesome" in the trite sense, but in the appropriate sense.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi Neil,

I've heard about Mullins in the past. Seems like a decent fellow.

I don't consider "Step by Step" to be a good song because it is just one stanza and a chorus repeated over and over. As noted, the message is okay, but the repetition is wearing. To me this is evidence of very little imagination, but that's just my opinion.

As for "Awesome God," I fully understand he didn't mean "awesome" in a trite way, but I never liked the song because I think the first part is trite, childish and even trivializes God with the whole thing of rolling up his sleeves and "ain't putting on the ritz" (as if many people even know what "ritz" means). And bad grammar in songs is something I find very annoying. (ain't, 'em). As with the other songs, the actually message and most of the lyrics are fine, but then it goes into that incessant repetition!

I'm just an old stick-in-the-mud who likes songs that say something meaty without endless repetitions. His songs are okay for personal use and "fun" singing, but really shouldn't be used for corporate worship.

Darren Brown said...

Glenn,

I have found this post quite interesting and entertaining (at least for the last 10-15 minutes).

Anyway, I must disagree with your comment about the "meaty truths" of the hymn At The Cross.

First, I'd like to know and understand what your definition of "meaty truth" is. Does that mean descriptive flowery language? If so, then I'm on board. Does it mean using language and phrases that none of use in our day-to-day lives? If so, then you're right again.
If it means "Is the truth set forth in the song actually TRUE in the Christian walk?" If so, I must say this particular hymn is flawed. And it's a line that's repeated several times.

here we go...let's all sing together: It was there by faith I received my sight and NOW I AM HAPPY ALL THE DAY. Just not true. Not Biblically sound. That's not a promise of life with Christ at all. Ask the disciples who were KILLED!!

As for the "contemporary" songs your church chose that week, I must say they are crusty and dated, and not really all that contemporary. I believe that MANY current praise songs are considerably more Biblically based than most of the "treasured hymns" of our past.

Check out "You Never Let Go", "Your Unfailing Love", "How Deep The Father's Love For Us", "Great I Am", "In Christ Alone"...I could go ON, and ON and ON.

When it comes to older traditional hymns being sung or not sung, and folks being so attached to them and adamently opposed to new songs, I believe it has to do with nostalgia more than anything else.

When your church sings a song that you sang as a child, you're transported to a memory attached to your church experiences as a child...dinner on the grounds...Sunday school...getting pulled out of the pew by your ear when you talked during the sermon...ah, the memories.

But in truth, people are not really that interested in hymns. Tell me of all the people you know who LOVE the hymns and ALSO have their ipods full of hymns. Do they listen to recordings of piano/organ with choir belting out "Bringing in the Sheaves"? Do they even know what a sheave is?

My guess is, they, and possibly you, prefer to have church the way you remember it. We're all somewhat attached to the things of our youth and childhood. My favorite music is still 80's since that's when I "grew up".

I have sung most every song in the Baptist hymnal. I still remember a TON of them. As a worship pastor, our church still sings 1-2 "oldies" per week, like "'Tis So Sweet","Amazing Grace", "When I Survey", "It Is Well", etc. But they are in no way more powerful, more Holy, more True, or closer to God than the more current songs that God is putting in the hearts of worship leaders and psalm writers around the world.

Of course, that's only MY OPINION! Which is what this all is... a bunch of people's preferences. When we begin to understand that God wants our LIVES and cares little to nothing about what songs we sing, we can start to move closer in our walk with Him. Who cares even if the song is true that I'm singing. What matters is "Do I believe it?" "Am I living it out to the world around me?" And by the way, when reaching out to the world around us, what kind of music do you think is going to connect with them and meet them where they are? My guess is probably not "and now I am happy all the day", sung like a happy-go-lucky sing song tune from Guys and Dolls that doesn't even match that flowery descriptive "meaty truth" at all.

The good thing for all of us is: If you don't like the music this week, it'll be different next week; or you can go to another church; or you can just turn on itunes and listen to hymns till you pass out (or Chris Tomlin).

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hello Darren,

Welcome to my blog. I'm sorry your first visit didn't go well.

“Meaty truths” as I define them are those that speak of the sound doctrine of the Bible and not just “feel goodism”.

"At the Cross", with the stanzas written by Isaac Watts, has a refrain which I really don’t think goes with what Watts wrote, and I’ve only recently heard this version (as a Lutheran we sang the stanzas to the tune “Martyrdom.”) However, you seem to discount the refrain (and the refrain of ANY song is repeated for each verse, but THAT is not what I’m complaining about when I complain about repetition, and I thought that was pretty plain).

What is NOT biblically sound about that refrain? Do we or do we not have our eyes opened - receive our sight - at the cross of Christ? That is, do we or do we not understand the gospel and God’s mercies through the sacrifice of His son?

As far as being “happy all the day,” happiness is how you want to define it. But as I understand the refrain, we are happy knowing we are eternally saved no matter what befalls us. The disciples who were killed, those who have been horrifically martyred over the centuries were indeed happy that they were eternally saved. THAT is very biblical.

Those “crusty and dated” songs we had that week were only an EXAMPLE. I could pick worse stuff by bringing in lots of newer garbage which focus only on self. And I sincerely doubt that any current song would be “more biblically based” than most old hymns for the simple fact that most song writers now seem to be more biblically illiterate than in the past or else are just interested in emotional tripe. HOWEVER, I made note that there are many old hymns that are also abhorrent, yet you seem to have overlooked that point.

And while many contemporary songs may be acceptable doctrinally, they are more for personal worship and devotion than they are suitable for corporate worship.

Have you looked at the other hymns I’ve highlighted in past posts? I’ve pointed out a few excellent contemporary songs which are written by songwriters who “get it” - who are biblically literate: “O Church Arise” (3/21/11), “In Christ Alone” (2/11/10), and “How Deep the Father’s Love For Us” (1/15/10). “Old” hymns I’ve highlighted (and I am going to highlight another today) have included rich theology: “We Are Earthen Vessels” (12/16/09), “The Love of God” (1/31/10), When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” (1/25/11), “It Is Well With My Soul” (3/27/11), and “Holy God, We Praise Thy Name” (6/19/11).

Again, I have pointed out that my argument isn’t old versus new - it is all about the lyrics. We should be adamantly opposed to new or old songs if the lyrics are bad.

Oh, and I didn’t have any church experience as a child - I became a Christian at 22. So your “guess” is just plain wrong. You bring in all the red herrings about nostalgia, etc, but none of that was the issue, nor should it be. We need to have solid doctrine in our songs just as we need to have solid doctrine in our sermons. It doesn’t matter whether the song is “old” or “new” - it must be sound in the doctrine it presents.

Ken Myers Jr. said...

Oh, if only you knew how much worse it is than that. Some of those songs I consider to be very biblical and worshipful. Look at songs such as "Everything Glorious" and "Awakening" by artists such as David Crowder and Chris Tomlin. Now these songs are nonsense. Why? Because the content is not even biblical. In fact, they are "me-focused." That's right, contemporary Christian music is becoming less biblical, and more me-focused. People are trying to command God to do things for them, rather than give God the praise He deserves. Let me show you the chours of the song "Everything Glorious":

You make everything glorious
You make everything glorious
You make everyhing glorious
And I am yours
What does that make me?

This is the contemporary worship. It's at most of the churches here in northeast ohio. This movement must be discerned carefully. I combat this by listening to the "good" contemporary worship from artists such as Keith and Kristen Getty, Stuart Townend, and Fernando Ortega. You and I both have hearts of discernment. I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who sees these things.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi Ken,

I know it gets much worse, but rarely so in my church; our music director has a wee bit more discernment than that, but he still has people wanting this stuff.

Hey, good to hear from a fellow Buckeye! I'm from Springfield, but haven't lived there since I went into the Army in 1970. Came out in 1975 and lived in Columbus until the end of Aug 1978 when the job took me to the Chicago area. We visit "home" at least once a year. Iowa reminds us a lot of it.

baldworshipguy said...

Glenn,

Thanks for your reply to my comment. I do find it interesting that you had no church experience at all growing up. That is indeed quite rare, from my dealings with people in the church, especially those with such a passion for the "old hymns". I do realize that you of a different generation than me, and even though you didn't "grow up" on the hymns, you most likely "grew up in Christ" on them. Also, you were a believer for a number of years before contemporary christian praise music came to be so popular, since you've been following Christ almost 40 years.

I don't think there were many people singing anything other than hymns back then. I grew up in the church, but it was a the same time as you.

As for your previous posts, I apologize for not being up to speed on them. I haven't had time to go back and read them, but I will make the effort.

For the happiness issue, your argument is still weak. God never promised our happiness. Joy is so far removed from happiness. The disciples may well have been happy WHEN they got to Heaven, but tell that to my friend who just buried her daughter. What about the family who just found out their 2 week old has a heart defect and is given a month to live at best? Happy? Far from it. Joyful? Not even sure about that. And truthfully, why should they be? The majority of the Psalms deal with unhappy people. There's an entire book of the Bible called Lamentations. Enough about that. I merely just thought it was funny that you were using that particular song as your example of traditional hymns being so theologically sound.

As for the nostalgia, you're kidding yourself if you say you don't feel nostalgic towards the hymns. Honestly, since you came to faith as an adult, they may even mean MORE to you, since they were the songs you sang when you were discovering Jesus for the first time. That's not a bad thing either. It is what it is.

I personally like old and new songs. I just think WE make a lot more of the whole thing than God does. There are plenty of DEAD churches who sing nothing but the hymns. The hymns alone don't bring us any closer to God. Our daily walks and personal time in the Word and prayer do that. Truthfully, when any of us say we "can't worship" due to the songs being sung, we are actually worshiping ourselves. We're putting our own preferences and opinions ahead of God.

Again, I'm most definitely not saying you do that in any way. I would love for you to come down to D.C. sometime and worship with us and give me your feedback. It's a hard job choosing which songs are appropriate for any given week in corporate worship. Getting everyone to agree that you've made wise choices is practically impossible...but it makes for good blogging.

thanks for your time, Glenn!

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi baldworshipguy,

It looks like you must be Darren!

In the early 1970s there were lots of sappy, feel-good “Jesus people” songs. I couldn’t get in to them because I need “brain food.” Modern CCM really is just expanded over those trite songs. Here are those we sung in May 1974 (about four months after I became a Christian) when on a “Duty Day With God Religious Retreat”: “Lord I Want to Be a Christian,” “They’ll Know We Are Christians” (still sung in our church, and I have written an article about this one and guarding “each man’s dignity” and saving “each man’s pride”), “The Numbers Song,” “Every Day With Jesus,” “If You Want Joy,” “Give Me Oil in My Lamp,” “Jesus in the Morning,” “Walking With Jesus,” “Put Your Hand in the Hand,” “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” “Here Comes Jesus.” These were mostly trite choruses. Of course we had some better stuff also. (This isn’t from memory - I still have the booklet.)

As for the happiness issue, I think it is your argument which is weak. You want to play semantics, yet the context of the song - the words of Isaac Watts - really preclude your interpretation of what the chorus means by “happy.” I find it interesting that you pick out one word in the entire hymn. If the chorus had “joyful” instead of “happy,” I don’t think you’d give it a second thought, yet that is the context of “happy” in this chorus.

I am not “kidding” myself about nostalgia. I like the hymns I do, not because of nostalgia, but because of the lyrics and the congruent music which go with them.

As I previously noted, I like old and new also, but age makes no difference. What is important is that the lyrics are sound, and if I’m going to like a song the music also has to be congruent with the lyrics.

I agree that there are assemblies who sing good songs and yet are dead churches, but that doesn’t mean God doesn’t “make” much of the issue of what we sing. I think He makes just as much of an “issue” of the songs as he does about the teaching - both must be theologically and doctrinally correct so as not to lead people astray. False teaching is false teaching whether sung or preached.

Anonymous said...

Hello Watchman,

I have just recently discovered your blog and have been incredibly blessed by the majority of what I've read thus far, including this article. I came out of the contemporary Christian movement by the grace of God alone and now attend a church that only sings hearty, Christ exalting hymns of praise to our God. I do not miss any of those new "worship" songs at all. I could expound on this and clarify my reasons as to why exactly this is, but I wanted to humbly address another matter that I feel needs to be addressed immediately. First of all, I am nothing. I am least of all the Lord's servants and unworthy to be one at all. I must preface what I am about to say with this because first of all it is sadly, yet entirely true, and secondly I know it can be difficult to discern tone though a written correspondence, and want you to know that this comes from a heart deeply burdened for another precious brother in Christ Jesus our Mighty, Glorious, Wonderful God, Lord, Saviour, and King, and it is sent with the utmost humility.

Jesus Christ truly is altogether lovely! We are His bride, He is our bridegroom. My pastor just recently preached a sermon on this glorious subject and many in the congregation were having a difficult time fully appreciating this. Some said they can't appreciate it enough because they aren't married, others have said they can't fully grasp it because the are married. Because of comment like this He has convicted to continue passionately preaching on it until it sinks in and we are more in love with Jesus Christ than ever, for Who He is and all that He has done for us! I am thankful, as I am so feeble and so apt to forget, and can be just as cold on this subject as anyone. Here is one of his outlines on this subject. I encourage you to please read through it and would like to hear your thoughts on the subject.

http://www.letgodbetrue.com/bible/christ/he-is-altogether-lovely.pdf

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hello Anonymous 7/26,

You sound like a very sincere believer who takes his/her? (I’m guessing “her”) faith seriously. I appreciate that; there should be more believers like you in that regard.

I don’t intend to offend, but I think it is important to understand the truth of what the Bible says, so if something I say offends you, I’m sorry because I do not want that.

Let me start by saying that I looked at the sermon you linked to and I find a problem right off the bat with its reference to the Song of Solomon. The SoS has nothing to do with Christ, so the phrase, “You’re all together lovely, ” is immediately taken out of context. I never realized that this is where that song got the phrase from, but now that I know I can pan the song even more because it twists SoS into something it is not. So the song misuses Scripture, says we’ll “never know how much it cost,” and goes around and around in repetition. No wonder I never liked it!

The Song of Solomon (Song of Songs) is a poetic story about two lovers marrying. It was never intended to be prophetic. It was only later in history made into an allegory of Christ and the Church because it was considered to be too lewd and sexual to be taken literally. Prudes turned into something it was never meant to be.

Psalm 45, on the other hand, while also being a story about marriage, has been seen to be Messianic by the Jews long before Christ.

The analogy of Christ being our bride (“our” being inclusive as a church, not singular as each person) cannot be taken to the romantic, “boyfriend Jesus” level. At no time in history was the relationship between Christ and the Church seen on this level until recent times with all the “feel good” theology and “worship” methods.

The husbandly characteristics of Jesus outlined in this sermon are indeed characteristics every husband should have, and in this regard the sermon was good. But if you take it to a romantic level, then Christ only appeals to women because normal men don’t have romantic feelings for another man!

About the linked site, “Let God Be True,” I want to caution my readers that there are some legalistic and aberrational teachings on that site, including the fraudulent and virtually cultic “King James Only” teaching. Other teachings are that Christians are required to tithe (i.e., mandated at least 10%), that the Church has replaced Israel, that using instruments for worship is unbiblical (an issue I previously addressed), anti-Christmas (another issue I previously addressed), anti-Easter celebration (another I addressed), etc. So anyone going to this site to see what anonymous is referring to, be very discerning.

In His service,
Glenn

HisLitehaus said...

I would like to hear opinions on the following songs:
Break Every Chain
Signs and Wonders
Heaven On Earth

My church has changed its' singing time and seems to be trying to make something happen with songs like these. I am very distraught about this new push and the lyrics of these songs, some of which have nothing to do with God or Jesus or the Word. I am in a bind because my husband is on the worship team. Prayers appreciated.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

HisLitehuas
I’ve never heard of any of these, so I had to look on-line for lyrics.

“Break Every Chain” has some questionable theology about an “army rising up,” leading me to wonder about charismatic “Joel’s Army” stuff, and it is quite repetitious. I find it to be trite, if nothing else.

I find nothing in “Signs and Wonders” that even tells me it is a Christian song. If this is used for worship, I’d be wondering what worship was. I see no rational thought process even as a secular song! I don’t understand what it is saying.

“Heaven On Earth” is an unbiblical charismatic song about exalting oneself.

If the church I was attended used these songs, and I couldn’t get them removed, I’d be looking for a new place of worship. The theology presented in these is unbiblical.

You said your husband was on the worship team - does that mean he likes these or that he is in a bind?

A Worship Pastor said...

I found this post when googling bad grammar in worship music. You have some interesting thoughts, but I must admit that I find them to be quite one-sided. You admit to feeling the need for "brain food" in worship music, and yet you find it offensive when worship tries to elicit an emotional response from the congregation through music. What about those in the congregation who have the need for "heart food"? In the Bible, you are called to love the Lord your God with all your HEART as well as soul and strength (Deut. 6:5). I understand the need for intellectual worship of God, but if you neglect the emotional worship of God, you are not obeying this command to its fullest extent, just as if you only sing emotional songs, you are not worshiping God with your mind. I hope you understand this challenge and do not mistake me. I also find it interesting how you easily interpret metaphors in hymns, such as "and now I am happy all the day", yet find it difficult to use definition 1 in the Dictionary for "know" ("to perceive or understand as fact or truth; to apprehend clearly and with certainty: I know the situation fully."), and instead choose to use definition 3 ("to be cognizant or aware of: I know it." [Definitions taken from dictionary.com]) when a word is used in a contemporary song. You obviously have some bias, especially in your tearing down of the Vineyard movement. I would wager a guess that you do not spend time with or go to church with many people who are different from you, or who worship God differently than you do, as you seem to say that there is only one right way to worship God (intellectually). I would like to challenge you to attend a few church services where there are poor people or people of different ethnicities than you (even better if you can do this overseas), and after listening to their contemporary music, interview some of the congregants and ask them what, if anything, they gleaned from the worship music. I think their responses may shock you. As a worship pastor, I understand that the primary reason to have music in a service is so that God may receive worship from his people, and secondarily, that His people may understand and reflect on truths about Him. You seem to have lost the first true meaning of worship music in the midst of all your criticism and checklists for songs to live up to, dwelling only on the second. I am not saying that we should accept all songs as right, but merely that in addition to holding them up to scriptural standards, we should also determine whether or not they are songs from which God may receive the glory. Oh and by the way, the old hymn "In the Garden" may not have the specificities you require for it not to be a "boyfriend" song; however it is the story from the Bible of Mary Magdalene's joy finding Jesus in the garden. It has a place in painting a word picture that many in the congregation who cannot relate to "raising an Ebenezer" will find joy in praising God with.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Well, hello Worship Pastor,

Just as a point of amusement to me, you accuse me of being “quite one-sided,” but then you give me your “one-sided” comment. I am always amused by people who have an opinion of their own, but then call others with their own opinion, “opinionated”.

When discussing what I refer to as “emotional” responses, I would suggest you re-read what I wrote. I am not denigrating the fact that we worship with our emotions, rather my point is that many of the CCM songs are meant to work one into an altered state of consciousness so as to be open to any suggestions. Ever watch videos from the “Pensacola Revival”? Ever watch stuff from Benny Hinn’s “crusades”? People are open to suggestions of being “slain in the spirit” or speaking in “tongues” or just plain focussing on how good they feel about being wrapped up in the music. (Sort of like being at a rock concert.) And true “emotional” worship must first be based in the intellect - understanding just who it is we are worshiping! The “true meaning” of worship is focussing on God and who He is, not focussing on self and getting into emotional highs so as to be open to deceitful teachings and crowd dynamics. That isn’t “worship” - it is manipulation.

In the song discussed, the word,“know” is understood in the context as I explained it. Your resorting to other definitions doesn’t alter the context.

As for worshiping with people who do so differently than I do, I have done so many times. I have worshiped with a wide variety of people of various ethnicities as well as social standings. Styles aren’t what bother me - false teachings and following them or giving tacit approval to them (viz, singing songs from said movements) is what bothers me.

Since there is nowhere in the song “in the Garden”, the lyrics themselves, which speak of the story about Mary Magdalene, there is no way anyone can know that was what the author was thinking about. And I had never heard that about this song until now, and I looked it up on the net to verify it. Nevertheless, it still has the “boyfriend” Jesus appearance. I would guess there are very few people who knows the story this song refers to.

And, Yes, I have some bias against the aberrational Vineyard movement, as I have against any false teachings.

At the risk of causing offense, for those readers who have no idea what the Vineyard movement is, it was founded by John Wimber as a signs and wonders movement. Of course it is false signs and wonders, as the excess from the Toronto Airport Vineyard demonstrated many years ago - they were just the logical end of Vineyard teaching.

Some of the teaching includes dominion theology (originating from such movements as Joel’s Army, Manifest Sons of God, etc - taking the “kingdom of God” by force); “power evangelism” - which Wimber described as combining the preaching of the Gospel with demonstration of supernatural signs and wonders, because the Gospel really isn’t effective on its own (although Jesus said it was an “adulterous generation” who sought signs and wonders); aberrant “spiritual warfare” which is totally unbiblical (Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare)

Wimber said “God is not limited by His Word,” meaning that just because it isn’t in the Bible that doesn’t mean we can’t do it, which opens a whole new Pandora’s box of anything goes. He also claimed that he lived for extended periods of his life without sinning. Wimber, as a self-proclaimed prophet, said that, “Many if not most personal prophetic words given today are conditional, and as such are invitational, not certainties.” An O.T. prophet with that attitude would be stoned. The list of heretics, false teachers, Romanists and mystics who Wimber credits with influencing him and his teachings is shocking. And we must not forget his connection to the fraudulent “Kansas City Prophets.”