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

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Songs of Pablum Rather Than Meat


Last week, Friday evening the 6th and Saturday morning the 7th, we attended an “Intelligent Faith” apologetics conference held in the local “Willow Creek Wannabe” church in Cedar Rapids.  Both sessions were opened by a young woman leading the audience singing “Jesus Culture” songs.  For those who aren’t aware, Jesus Culture is a group of musicians subscribing to some really bizarre theology, including claiming that God spoke to them and gave them their mission.  They spawned out of Bill Johnson’s Bethel Church In Redding, CA, an assembly rife with false teachings and charismania.

The fact that any Christian church would allow people to bring in Jesus Culture songs shows just how non-discerning they are.  Assuming they don’t know who Jesus Culture is, all one has to do is look at the lyrics to determine they are nothing but spiritual junk food.  Having these songs performed at an apologetics conference was quite surprising.  Of course, I’m sure that the men putting on the conference (Frank Turek, John Stewart, and J. Warner Wallace) had no idea what this particular assembly was like, so I can’t fault them.

With all this introduction, let’s now look at the two songs.  The first one is “Your Love Never Fails.”

Nothing can separate
Even if I ran away
Your love never fails

I know I still make mistakes
But You have new mercies for me everyday
Your love never fails

You stay the same through the ages
Your love never changes
There may be pain in the night but joy comes in the morning

And when the oceans rage
I don't have to be afraid
Because I know that You love me

Your love never fails

The wind is strong and the water's deep
But I'm not alone in these open seas
Cause Your love never fails

The chasm is far too wide
I never thought I'd reach the other side
But Your love never fails

You make, all things, work together for my good

Can anyone tell who is the subject of this song?  One has to assume that, because of the supposed Christian context, they are talking to either God the Father or Jesus Christ.  However, this song could be sung by anyone of any faith about their own god, or it could be a girl speaking of her boyfriend.  In fact, it is one of those “Jesus is my boyfriend” genre.   If someone wants to use this song for personal devotion, fine and dandy; but to use it for corporate worship is wrong-headed.  I think the music was intended to drive the emotions.

A commenter also pointed out that the lyrics say "I still make mistakes," while they should be saying "I still sin."  So many Christians today are afraid of that word, "sin."

The next song is “Oh Lord, You’re Beautiful,” lyrics originally by Keith Green.  Now, I did just a bit of color-coding to demonstrate the mindless repetition.  Notice the light blue lyrics are sung four times, the purple twice, and the pink once. 

Oh Lord, You're beautiful
Your face is all I seek
For when Your eyes are on this child
Your grace abounds to me

Oh Lord, You're beautiful
Your face is all I seek
For when Your eyes are on this child
Your grace abounds to me

I wanna to take Your word and shine it all around
But first help me to just, live it Lord
And when I'm doing well, help me to never seek a crown
For my reward is giving glory to You

Oh Lord, please light the fire
That once burned bright and clear
Replace the lamp of my first love
That burns with holy fear

I want to take Your word and shine it all around
But first help me just to live Lord
And when I'm doing well, help me to never seek a crown
For my reward is giving glory to You

Oh Lord, You're beautiful
Your face is all I seek
For when Your eyes are on this child
Your grace abounds to me

Oh Lord, You're beautiful
Your face is all I seek
For when Your eyes are on this child
your grace abounds to me

These seven “verses” could be reduced to just three for the same message, but then there wouldn’t be time to work up the emotions.  Notice the focus is all about “me"; overall the lyrics are quite vacuous.  And, like the first song, it could be used by any religious person directed at their own “Lord,” such as “Lord Krishna.”

Realize first and foremost that songs sung in our church assemblies are teaching the congregations just as much as are the sermons.  Most people don’t seem to understand that.  This fact makes it important that we have “meat” in our songs rather than “pablum.”

In my opinion, if this is the fare your assembly brings in, walk out the door and find a church assembly where they feed meat.  Otherwise you will never mature in the faith.

3 comments:

Jim B said...

Glenn, I completely agree with you, the newer songs have gotten so generic and void of any meat. I believe worship leaders and so call Christian radio stations need to stand up and not accept this new style of songwriting. This all comes down to discernment.

A fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus.
Jim B.

Lindsay said...

Couldn't agree more. So many songs today may be OK for humming or private devotions if one is very discerning,but can be very misleading and downright heretical when used in public worship and sanctioned by the worship leader.

Anonymous said...

In the first song it says, Lord I still make mistakes...
That's the word used instead of the word sin, today. Joel Osteen talks about mistakes but not sin. No one wants to hear of their sin - it's too offensive. So they say we make mistakes - because we are human - so it's normal to make mistakes. Jesus is always there to pick us up after our 'mistakes', they say.
Yes, these songs could be sung about anyone.
A couple days ago I read about how George Harrison of the Beatles set out to basically trick his fans by singing My Sweet Lord, and then at the very end he throws in Hare Krisna and by that time the people are hooked, they're singing along, tapping their feet, and by the time he's singing Hare Krisna, they just accept it.
It's all very manipulative and deceptive. The anti-christ system is growing stronger.