Today is “Discernment in Music” (DiM) day here at Faithful Stewardship (2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (ESV)).
February 17, 2015. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Made New” by Lincoln Brewster which currently sits at #10 at 20theCountdownMagazine.
We’ll continue using this top 20 song list until I find a better list. Another option would be to devote 2 days a week to DiM and simply pull from different lists, maybe an East Coast/West Coast, or pulling from Billboard one day and a Christian site the other. Your feedback in this would be greatly appreciated.
This song is pitched as a Praise and Worship song by Integrity Worship Music. This song is being played on the airwaves. There is no outside context to frame the meaning of the song when it is being played on the air. This is why we look at the lyrics and we review the popular songs to see if they say what we think (hope) they say, and compare that with what the Bible says.
Lyrics (via K-Love)
If we are going with the assumption that the “You” in this song is Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, then we have some general themes we can acknowledge in this song. Beginning with the title “Made New”.
2 Corinthians 5:14-21 (ESV)
14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. 16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Anyone who is in Christ is a new creation by faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We hold onto this truth by faith, though we continue to walk in a fallen flesh. The curse of the Law was born by Christ (Him who knew no sin) on the cross, so that in Christ we might be forgiven and set free from the curse of the law. This is wonderful news… news we need to lay hold of every day. Our flesh still desires to sin, and will do so until the day when we are at last freed from this mortal body of sin and are resurrected in Christ and made perfect. By faith we hold onto the promise of salvation that is being kept in heave for us.
1 Peter 1:3-12 (ESV) | Born Again to a Living Hope
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.
So, this is some of what the New Testament teaches about being “Made New” (born again) in Christ Jesus.
There are a couple other good themes in the song that bear some expansion (if indeed we are seeking to Worship the God of the Bible). The song says the Lord is our Salvation and the one who lifts our head up. A good place to look for a way to bring these phrases into the Light of Scripture is to look in Palms 3.
Psalm 3 (ESV) | Save Me, O My God
A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son.
3 O Lord, how many are my foes!
Many are rising against me;
2 many are saying of my soul,
there is no salvation for him in God. Selah
3 But you, O Lord, are a shield about me,
my glory, and the lifter of my head.
4 I cried aloud to the Lord,
and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah
5 I lay down and slept;
I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.
6 I will not be afraid of many thousands of people
who have set themselves against me all around.
7 Arise, O Lord!
Save me, O my God!
For you strike all my enemies on the cheek;
you break the teeth of the wicked.
8 Salvation belongs to the Lord;
your blessing be on your people! Selah
If we keep these passages in mind, we can at least keep our heads in the right place should the song find its way into your Church service.
The song isn’t a reflection on the Gospel of Jesus Christ or on repentance. While the song alludes to what God has done, it does so with a focus on ourselves. The anthemic praise/worship tunes are tough for me because they have a confused audience. Anthems are usually aimed at the congregants to stir them up… so when the personal pronouns are supposed to be pointed to God but the messaging is to tell the audience about God it creates confusion. Some anthems get it right, like We Believe by the Newsboys. This song, doesn’t get it right. What is God actually being praised for? What is the audience (congregants) being taught concerning God? It ends up sounding like a serenade where the singer is telling the object of his/her affection what makes them special… but in the “I love the way you make me feel” realm.
For someone who is grounded in sound doctrine, this song is just empty. Singing Psalm 3 would be better. The self-focused, feel-good vagueness is a hallmark of the seeker-sensitive approach to worship. There is no clear acknowledgement of doctrine and it doesn’t really honor God for who He is or what He has done. This song is used to whip youth services into an “I’m loved for who I am” frenzy and emotional high but ultimately lacks substance. It doesn’t say anything patently false, but every statement is vague and lacks authority. I don’t recommend including this song in Sunday Worship… there are just too many other meaningful songs that can and should be song instead of this one. This song is to Sunday worship what Krispy Kreme is to a healthy breakfast.
To God be the glory, Amen.
In Christ Jesus,