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

Monday, February 9, 2015

Another Bad “Worship” Song

We were taught a new “worship song” yesterday, “Your Great Name,” by Krissy Nordhoff and Michael Neale of “The People’s Church” in Franklin, TN.  As the lyrics went on the overhead, I immediately had problems with them.  AND I wondered, “Where is the discernment?”

As with most new songs, there is a “feel-good” aspect to this song.  Are all the lyrics in this song bad?  No - the chorus is fine.   Which is why the song is dangerous.  Let’s look at the lyrics, and then I’ll explain the problem in case you missed it.

Lost are saved, find their way
At the sound of Your great name
All condemned, feel no shame
At the sound of Your great name

Every fear has no place
At the sound of Your great name
The enemy, he has to leave
At the sound of Your great name

Jesus, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain for us
Son of God and Man
You are high and lifted up, that all the world
Will praise Your great name

All the weak find their strength
At the sound of Your great name
Hungry souls receive grace
At the sound of Your great name

The fatherless, they find their rest
At the sound of Your great name
Sick are healed and the dead are raised
At the sound of Your great name

Jesus, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain for us
Son of God and Man
You are high and lifted up, that all the world
Will praise Your great name, oh, Your great name

Redeemer, My Healer, Lord Almighty
My Savior, Defender, You are my King
Redeemer, My Healer, Lord Almighty
My Savior, Defender, You are my King

Jesus, the name of Jesus
You are high and lifted up and all the world
Will praise Your great name

Jesus, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain for us
Son of God and Man
You are high and lifted up, all the world
Will praise Your great name
Your great name, Your great name
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus

Lost are saved, find their way at  the sound of Your great name.”  REALLY?  People are saved just by hearing the name of Christ?  They don’t have to hear the Gospel, nor repent, nor believe that Jesus died for them?  All they have to do is hear His name?

All condemned, feel no shame at the sound of Your great name.”  Those who are condemned - I.e., the unsaved - feel no shame?  Even Christians should feel shame for the sins they commit, even though forgiven.

Every fear has no place at the sound of Your great name.”  REALLY?  There is no place for fear in combat just because someone hears the name of Jesus?  The unbeliever has no fear of death just because he hears the name of Jesus?   There is no place for fear just because the name of Jesus is heard?

The enemy, he has to leave at the sound of Your great name.”  REALLY?  Assuming the “enemy” is the devil, can an unbeliever just say “Jesus” and the devil will leave?  There is no magical property in the name of Jesus.

Do you get the point?  Do you see the problem?  Look at the rest of the lyrics applying the same questions and you will see it is nothing less than false teaching about what just hearing Jesus’ name will do.

If our “worship leaders” would quit using “radio songs” for congregational singing, a lot of this problem would disappear.  With so many theologically sound songs to use, there is absolutely no excuse to be promoting such tripe.


Anonymous said...

I wish I could say I have an optimistic view on church worship, but I do not. I believe a sign of the times is the continuing downgrade of church music ministry. Part of the problem is the repetitious songs with vapid lyrics, I agree, but I can't help but wonder if the greater contribution to the issue is that many worship leaders are not trained musicians, ie, they cannot read music. So they cannot play what is in a hymnal. A worship leader must be both theologically sound and musically competent.

You are right, Glenn, with a hymnal full of 500-600 songs, many of which are solid meat, there is no excuse for tripe. But it appeals to those whose ears love being tickled...

My husband and I completely stopped listening to "Christian radio" music.


Doug Evans said...

Every time I see a post like this I praise the Lord for leading me to a little prairie church where "granny hymns" are still sung with joy and gusto. How joyful it is to sing "When The Role Is Called Up Yonder" and "Are You Washed in the Blood" and "Just a Closer Walk With Thee" and just love the message. I still can't make it through "Amazing Grace" without tears. All things considered I've been blessed far more than I deserve.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Doug for your testimony, it offers hope!

I sat in a church where the songs Glen posts are rabid worship fare with the loud microphones, the deafening voices and drum beats, and the pastor says, "my wife just loves loud music!" One "worship" leader said, "I can tell who is more spiritual in the congregation, they are the ones who raise their hands during worship." Fascinating comment considering he must know what is going on in the hearts and minds of men, women, and children simply by the outward "sign" of raising one's arms....hmmmm.

The party atmosphere of the opening "worship" concert always, always, always came to an abrupt end when we were asked to open up the dusty hymnals and sing the "closing hymn" before we parted our ways. Great and beautiful hymns they were....but no arms raised, no dancing to the heavy metal drumbeat, and no shouting out "amens and wooo hoooos" from the party mongers.....funny thing how much of what is called modern worship music facilitates an uncontrolled party/circus atmosphere, while hymns sang soberly bring out more of the fruits of God, the Holy Spirit including self control..

Maybe my observation is incorrect to some, but as of late, I no longer go to the party church and gave up falling down in "holy laughter and drunk in the spirit" for lent. No regrets and my relationship with Jesus has grown stronger without the charades.

072591 said...

On the flip side, I HATE, HATE, HATE "Amazing Grace". The song is slooooow, to the point that it sounds like a dirge.

The lyrics are sound, which really makes the song worse! The tune is somberly speaking of being redeemed, to the point that it sounds like the person is depressed BECAUSE he is redeemed.

"Was blind but now I see", and the tune sounds like it's adding, "and that thought makes me so depressed."

Glenn E. Chatfield said...


But you see, Amazing Grace doesn't have to be sung slowly. I have been in churches where they sing it slowly like a dirge, but most of the ones I've been in sing it like a praise song, to a good march tempo (and I play it to march tempo in parades!)

By the way, the guy who wrote the lyrics didn't write the melody.

Anonymous said...

072591......respectfully submitted....

Personal testimony from one who was ill for three years requiring surgery in a city far away from my home....

As I laid in bed, the nurses came in to for a routine check...it was her midnight check and the precious petit nurse took my vitals and sat on the edge of my bed for about 30 minutes or so. I was awake anyway feeling so lonely and destitute, longing for some company. We visited like we were old girlfriends and as it turned out I knew some people from her small home town, so we shared some common interests. She was patient, polite, and very loving, perhaps sensing that I needed a caring person to visit with.

After she left, I felt a surge of anxiety develop within me, panic and perspiration consumed my whole body and my heart rate went sky high. Some time ago, I was blessed to memorize some of my favorite hymns and psalms (making up tunes to accompany the words.

So, around 12:45 in the morning, if the sound carried.....the nurses probably heard "Amazing Grace" and "It is Well With My Soul, "In Christ Alone" and a variety of encouraging Psalms, for sung aloud, they calmed my soul and the anxiety went away.

Then I knew, Jesus was ever present with me.....oh, those wonderful slow songs comfort my poor soul. Blessed be the Glorious Name of Jesus, the Christ!

http://itaintthesame.wordpress.com said...

The Australian Hillsong church has a lot to answer for in promoting the concert atmosphere in worship today. Undiscerning pastors and worship leaders slavishly plug new songs even though they are unsuitable for congregational singing or they are doctrinally suspect and even heretical or lyrically vacuous, just because the beat or the chord progressions are exciting.

Joe said...

On the flip side: "Amazing Grace" should never be rendered as a dirge. It should be done in 6/8 with a 2/4 feel at, as Glen said, the tempo of a good march.

castiron said...

Well said.

There's several songs I just can't sing that our church does. (They do have a mixture of old and new.) Some I mentioned in an early thread on this site. This new one doesn't necessarily have wrong words, but it just felt wrong to me in my spirit. The music was so powerful, everyone stood up and held their hands high, the emotions it evoked were so very very strong.

The song was Whom Shall I Fear (God Of Angel Armies). It wasn't the lyrics that bothered me but the music itself. It reminded me very much of Battle Hymn of the Republic, which is a lovely song, in terms of a very beloved and catchy tune, but, looking at it's history, is nothing more than war propaganda. (Look into the song's history). Turns out that this song that so troubled me was written by the same person who had written a previous song I couldn't sing, one whose words are questionable. (I'm not surprised.)

On another note, my teen boys are being expected to go to the church's camp, which is a big concert-type, fun-filled, adventure. I remember "camp" sitting around picnic tables and doing some in-depth soul searches as we tackled Bible passages, having some fun in the woods, then meeting again around the campfire with songs (hymns in fact, I guess we weird kids) and testimonies. Now camp is $800 worth of jet skiing, bungee jumping, concerts, thousands jumping and shouting.

Last year at this camp, 10 that went with our church were saved. 6 of those started going to our church. Those 6 soon stopped going. 4 of those then went to a different church (they didn't say which churches). The church is wondering what they can do to keep these new believers and disciple them. I wonder if saving in them in such a wild, fun, extravagant atmosphere is dooming them. Who wants to sit in an hour long traditional service after the extremes of summer camp. And I worry that they'll start changing things in our service to be even more "camp" or "concert" like, so we can keep our young, who apparently need that stimuli.

Fortunately, my boys don't have any desire to go to this camp. Otherwise, I don't think I'd allow them to go. I wonder if the youth group I belonged to in the 80's, where our Bible pages were damp with ocean mist or dusted with mountain dust, was just a minority : (

Glenn E. Chatfield said...


I agree that the music itself can be very distracting even if the lyrics are okay. This is what I call an incongruence of music and lyrics. I wish more musicians would think about that.

As for the sort of camps you describe, I am totally against them. These become false converts, really. What you win people with is what you win them to.

The camps of they type you knew are, I'm afraid, pretty much extinct.

Jack Morrow said...

Someone made the discovery a few years ago that Amazing Grace can be sung to the tune of the theme from Gilligan's Island. It's true!

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

THAT would be disgusting!