DiM | “Holy Spirit” by Francesca Battistelli

Today is “Discernment in Music” (DiM) day here at Faithful Stewardship (2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (ESV)).

May 05, 2015. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Holy Spirit” by Francesca Battistelli which currently sits at #18 at 20theCountdownMagazine.

We’ll continue using this top 20 song list until I find a better list. Your feedback in this would be greatly appreciated.

This song is emotionally powerful and beautifully sung. It comes to us through Francesca Battistelli, but is in-fact written by the folks at Jesus Culture, Bryan & Katie Torwalt. They are the worship band/team at Bethel Redding, CA, where Bill Johnson holds court. Bill Johnson is a false teacher and his Bethel is a mystical cult. One aspect of their false teaching is that of “presence” theology. The idea that the point of worship is to invite the Holy Spirit of God into their worship in such a way that He will manifest Himself, most often they allude to the Glory Cloud as in the Tabernacle in the wilderness. Bethel claims a lot of manifestations, gold dust, the glory cloud, even claiming that God the Holy Spirit looks like the blue genie in Disney’s Aladdin. This theology is the genesis of today’s song.  We will review it, and do our best to correct the false theology that sits under the hood.

Official (Audio) Music Video

Behind the Song

Lyrics (via KLOVE)

Holy Spirit
Francesca Battistelli

There’s nothing worth more
That could ever come close
No thing can compare
You’re our living hope
Your presence, Lord

I’ve tasted and seen
Of the sweetest of loves
Where my heart becomes free
And my shame is undone
Your presence, Lord

CHORUS
Holy Spirit, You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory, God, is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your presence, Lord

There’s nothing worth more
That could ever come close
No thing can compare
You’re our living hope
Your presence, Lord

I’ve tasted and seen
Of the sweetest of loves
Where my heart becomes free
And my shame is undone
Your presence, Lord

CHORUS

Let us become more aware of Your presence
Let us experience the glory of Your goodness

CHORUS

Publishing: © 2011 Bryan & Katie Torwalt (ASCAP) (All rights adm. by Jesus Culture Music) Produced by Ian Eskelin
Writer(s): Brian & Katie Torwalt

Discussion

Okay, so here we have a “worship song” that seeks to entreat the Spirit of God to come into the room/sanctuary/life and grant those singing an experience of His goodness. There are a couple of problems with that, the first is that as Christians we have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us by faith. The second problem is that the worship seems conditional upon having an emotional experience of the presence of God the Holy Spirit. Emotions are fickle, fleshly, and easily manipulated.

Hebrews 11:1-3 (ESV) | By Faith

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

Faith is not an emotion, nor is it grown by emotion. Read through the whole of Hebrews 11, search out each referent and see how faith sustained them despite circumstance or emotion. Their faith is in who God is, not what they felt, and that faith was accredited to them as righteousness.

Taste and See

Mystics tend to latch onto these types of phrases to hyper-inflate empirical (experiential) spiritual knowledge. The idea that one can “try” or “taste” the Gospel and it will be so good to them that they’ll be won over and saved. This “taste and see” comes from Psalm 34. I’ll leave it to you to read Psalm 34 in its entirety in your personal time. The Apostle Peter makes reference to this Psalm, so lets begin there.

1 Peter 2:1-12 (ESV) | A Living Stone and a Holy People

So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is goodAs you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in Scripture:

“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone,
    a cornerstone chosen and precious,
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe,

“The stone that the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone,”

and

“A stone of stumbling,
    and a rock of offense.”

They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

To what is Peter referring, an emotional experience or forgiveness by faith? Notice he mentioned it as a past-tense experience, If indeed you have tasted, Peter is talking about salvation. Does Peter encourage his audience to seek their own experiences like what he and his fellow Apostles experienced? Peter witnessed Jesus transfigured into His Glory, and He heard the voice of God the Father audibly. What does Peter say about such experiences?

2 Peter 1:16-21 (ESV) | Christ’s Glory and the Prophetic Word

16 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” 18 we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. 19 And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Rather than push others to having their own supernatural experience, Peter points to Scripture as prophetic and more fully confirmed than even his experience of witnessing the transfiguration of Jesus Christ. Peter points them to the Word. Peter charges them to walk by faith. Right after this section, Peter moves on into strong warning against false teaching.

We Have the Holy Spirit

I’d like to revisit the problem of this song presenting a notion that we need to somehow invite the Holy Spirit to fill us again, and again, and again, (particularly during Sunday Morning Worship). Is that what is taught in Scripture? Quite the opposite, in fact. The Holy Spirit doesn’t leave us waiting for us to re-invite Him if we “worship Him correctly”.  Are there times He moves upon/within His people in a special manner? Yes, but that’s up to Him, by His Grace not by any of our works. Let’s go to Paul’s rebuke to the Corinthians to see this play out.

1 Corinthians 6:12-20 (ESV) | Flee Sexual Immorality

12 “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. 13 “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” 17 But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. 18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

You are not your own, if indeed you have been bought by the Blood of Jesus Christ. If by faith you have been saved, then the Holy Spirit is within you, His temple. Paul is reminding them that they are the temples of the Holy Spirit; therefore, they are not to present their bodies for sexual immorality, because of the offense to the Holy Spirit who indwells them by the Promise of Jesus Christ. This is NOT something that comes and goes, dear Christian! When we sin, we must repent and be forgiven of sin by faith. Sexual Immorality is a sin against God and our bodies and against the Holy Spirit who indwells us. Serious, serious, stuff. But know that for all who have believed in Christ, who have called upon His name by Grace through faith have been adopted as sons of God, sealed by His Spirit until the Day of the upward Call in Christ Jesus.

Conclusion

As pretty and poetic this song seems, I cannot endorse it. The song is a request for an emotional experience, I cannot even call it a “worship song”. Worship God for who He is and what He has done. Take great care not to force some emotional/spiritual experience as a replacement for worshiping Him. There is a huge difference between praying to God for Him to meet a need and asking for a sign (be it emotional or spiritual).

Luke 11:27-30 (ESV) 27 As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” 28 But he said, Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” 29 When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, “This generation is an evil generation. It seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah. 30 For as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so will the Son of Man be to this generation.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ, He who fulfilled the Law completely and offered Himself as the propitiation of God’s Wrath against sin, so that by faith in Him we might be made the righteousness of God, is all we will ever need. God’s Spirit indwells all who are His by faith in the Promise of salvation. There will be times when you “feel it”, but He is there even when you don’t “feel it”… this isn’t about feelings, it’s about faith. He is our Hope. Rest in Him by Faith.

Amen. In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

7 thoughts on “DiM | “Holy Spirit” by Francesca Battistelli

  1. Thank You for this commentary on this song! The Lord recused me from the charismatic movement a number of years back. I formally loved songs like this! I realize now I was worshiping something called “presence” or an emotional high, or an experience. Or, whatever you would like to call it. I had to repent of this idolatry and turn to the true God of the bible. Now, being filled with the spirit means to me daily walking with him in his word and prayer. I am grieved that the church today quickly embraces songs like this that do not glorify Christ. In fact, I believe it leads people such as myself to a false from of godliness, one without the true power of the true gospel!

  2. As a worship leader, I appreciate your efforts and praise God for inspiration that is clearly God breathed. So, thank you for obeying.

    Songs that are coming out these days do not make sense in correlation to the title, verse and chorus. It’s not in sequence of telling a single story of what the title says. It’s just a bunch of “Christianese” thrown in a nice melody.

    When the words “fill the atmosphere” came up through the senseless gibberish in verses. I through this out the window.

  3. How can those who have discerned this false spirit in so many of these songs and movements encourage others who are unaware? It seems so many people either don’t want to hear it or just don’t see it? How is it that some recognize it but many don’t? Because many of these movements like Hillsong, Bethel Music, and Jesus Culture have been let in to most churches, I truly believe this is a major issue for the church at large. A little leaven leavens the whole lump! Does anyone have any suggestions from prior experience on how to approach others about this issue? Thanks for your help!

  4. I’ve been listening to Francesca Battistelli original songs lately and a lot of her songs have very poor Biblical Foundation in them, if at all. “Free To Be Me” and “This is the Stuff.” are prime examples of bad teaching so I’m not surprised she sang another song that promotes False Christianease. Praying for her and so many other artists.

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