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
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Friday, September 26, 2014

And Here It Goes

Last Sunday I wrote an article about the need for discernment with the songs the Church uses for worship.  The two I gave examples of were Vineyard songs, but, as commenters pointed out the same could be said for songs from IHOP, HIllsong and the Jesus Culture — just to name a few.

Monday I wrote about “worship” pastors and how they are often behind such poor choices for worship.  Today, via a Facebook post from my local assembly, I learned that we will be singing a HIllsong ditty (at least when I Google it shows as Hillsong).  This is the first time we’ve had such notice of what we will be singing, and apparently it’s because the notice included a link to a Youtube performance with lyrics, and I suppose that will give us time to learn the song.  I’m not going to learn it.

Let’s look at the lyrics:

I Stand In Awe of You

You are beautiful beyond description
Too marvelous for words
Too wonderful of comprehension
Like nothing ever seen or heard
Who can grasp you infinite wisdom
Who can fathom the depth of your love
You are beautiful beyond description
Majesty enthroned above

And I stand, I stand in awe of you
I stand, I stand in awe of you
Holy God to whom all praise is due
I stand in awe of you

I noted in red the only part of the song which leads me to believe it is about God and not someone’s girlfriend.  

According to the Youtube link, I guess we sing it at least twice all the way through, with multiple times of the last four lines.  I’m sure that’s to give us time to build up our emotions and sway to and fro.

Why is it that people think this stuff is worthy of using for congregational worship!?!?  Where is the discernment?!?!?

Please, please, church leadership, give us MEAT to sing and not such trite choruses that could be sung to a girlfriend or boyfriend!


Anonymous said...

Hi Glenn,

I am familiar with this song. I agree that it is a bit lacking, but many of the sentiments in the song are indeed Scripturally true. I think it's a song with the right idea that could have been done much better.

There are unfortunately far worse examples of modern CCM P&W songs, with idiotic, nonsensical lyrics. Like the previously mentioned Kutlass song, with the lyrics "as deep cries out to deep". What that means, is beyond me.

I can definitely understand your alarm, though, because of your new "worship leader", who has already accomplished all 9 of your "hip worship pastor" criterion in one Sunday service...


Joe said...

"...give us MEAT to sing..."

It isn't going to happen in most "evangelical" churches. It's sort of the quasi-Christian version of "I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony...buy Coca Cola," only it's "Buy Jesus (or God, or whoever the song is pointed to).

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

I understand that the sentiments expressed are okay, but the way it is written is sentimental pap; as I said, if it wasn't for the two phrases included, you'd think it was a sonnet to a lover.

As for "deep cries out to deep," when I first heard that song I had the same question: "what the heck does than mean?" It's actually in Psalm 42:7. I found this link which gives an explanation of the phrase:

Yes, there are far worse examples this genre, but those like this are only stepping off points.

Anonymous said...

Like I said, that song I Stand in Awe could have been done much better!

The "deep cries out to deep" makes sense in the Psalm, but not in the way they used it in the Kutlass song.


Glenn E. Chatfield said...


I agree!

Anonymous said...

Word of caution: Beware of the "praise band" who wears Hawaiian shirts for then you shall know that Rick Warren has infiltrated this church....and the praise band is NOT your worship leader. Jesus Christ is....

Drum roll please....so tired of the word "leadership" which is strongly promoted in our western churches....never hear the words "die to self or servant" anymore.

Perhaps it is for this reason that when I had surgery and was bed ridden, it was the unchurched believers in Jesus Christ who came with meals and offered prayer and spiritual encouragement to me, rather than the institutional churched folks....perhaps they are too busy being "leaders."

Praise our LORD for those who heed His Word in helping the sick and the poor.

Anonymous said...

The line "Who can grasp Your infinite wisdom" seems quite fitting, i thought.

May i just ask if you are familiar with a contemporary song, 'Beautiful' sung (not sure if penned) by Twila Paris? When i first heard it, i dont remember if i knew it was sung at weddings, but that wasnt what i thought of it to be. What can you say of such, with lines like:
'How beautiful the feet that walked the long dusty road...
How beautiful the hands that served the wine and the bread...'
and on referring to the body of Christ?
Just asking what you think, sir, and thank you.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...


Sorry for the delay in posting your comment and in my response. I was on a trip and have been trying to catch up on everything!

My main problems with "I Stand in Awe" is that the melody itself sounds like a love ballad, and except for a couple lines the lyrics themselves could apply to a lover.

As for Twila Paris' "How Beautiful," it's another one which is not for congregational singing, and the "how beautiful" everything is a wee bit "lovey dove" for me. But the lyrics are okay theologically.

The one video I saw in which they danced to the music and have it as a wedding song is weird. It isn't a song for a wedding. For Passover? Perhaps, if the focus of the Passover is the last Passover of Christ.

Personal devotional song? Yes. Congregational? No.

Anonymous said...

Thanks. I did not get back to this soon either. Yes, i just wondered about the song being used in weddings also.

Anonymous said...

There was an article i read entitled THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GOOD AND BAD MUSIC by Alan Ives. Tho i haven't saved the link, it can be easily googled. Rather long but informative, saying the main difference between worship music and most other is in the rhythm.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Anonymous 11/6,

I don't think one could nail it down to rhythm. There are certainly some rhythm styles which are incongruent with the message of the Christian faith and its doctrines, but so many rhythms are really irrelevant as to the genre. So saying the main difference is rhythm is too simplistic.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Anonymous 11/6,

I just read over the article, and I see he is much like Bill Gothard or David Cloud with their broad brush as to what music is acceptable, and what syncopated music is, etc.

He rails against "dance music," but many hymns are 6/8 waltz tempo, which is really congruent with the message! So if you say "dance music" is evil, then you have to leave out a lot of 2/4 and 4/4 music also, because they are used for jigs and reels. I have personally played march tunes for jigs, reels, and strathspey dances merely by cranking up the speed. Yet the author of the article praises march music as something okay to use for hymns at the same time condemning music used for dancing!

As I said, the music - including tempo, style, and even beat - must be congruent with the message. There are indeed a lot of music styles incongruent with the message of the Christian faith, but to say that is the main problem is really silly. The main problem is the lyrics, because you can have the most wonderful, God-honoring music with heretical lyrics.

Royce Murray said...

The lyric line in the song All Who are Thirsty that says, "deep cries out to deep" is from Psalms 42:7 and means that the deep things of God are calling to the deep things in us(man) and is simply put a call from the Lord to commune with us His people. If we are thirsty for the lord then let us commune with Him in the depth of His majesty and wonder and graciousness and He will sup with us as we will sup with Him (Rev. 3:20). I wondered about the lyric line also and had to ask of the Lord and find the answer to the question. Through reading the Biblical text and commentary this is what I believe the line means in the song.It makes perfect sense when seen in the light of revelation. God Bless. I hope this helps solve the mystery.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi Royce,

If you looked at my comment above you will see we came to the same essential conclusion about Psalm 42:7.