CCM Radio Edition.
March 02, 2016. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Everything Comes Alive” by We Are Messengers which currently sits at #12 on the 20theCountdownMagazine.
This is a relatively new band to me, so I thought I’d check out their website after listening to the song once through. Here are some excerpts:
…“We see ourselves as messengers carrying the good news,” says Mulligan. “We’re just carrying His message from our hearts up into our mouths and out into our hands. God’s given us something to say through words and songs and through our lives. We ask the same question every day, ‘What is God saying? What opportunity is God bringing?’”…
”Essentially, this is the action We Are Messengers hopes to mimic through the ministry of their band. “Christ came to serve and showed us how to serve, and we want to do that,” Mulligan says. “We want to tell people about the goodness of God. Music allows us to have that conversation. We want to love people the way He loves us. We want to wash people’s feet.
”We Are Messengers may have left their homeland for the sake of a greater call, but it’s a sacrifice they consider well worth the hefty price. “We’ve been rescued so that we could give ourselves away,”Mulligan maintains. “The Bible says, ‘Lose your life and you’ll find it’; and we’re determined to keep giving ourselves away until we die, so that when it comes to the end of the race, we’re spent, we’re done.”
Sad, really. What we see presented in their biography and distilled in the quotes above is a theology of glory, a man-centered, works-righteousness that offers no rest, no assurance, and no peace. Indeed there may be some infused-grace working under the doctrinal hood, so to speak. Very emotionally driven “testimony” about the artist, very vague on the Gospel… and that is what we see in the biography where there are no limitations on space, rhyme and meter. Doesn’t bode well for the song. Now, let us give the song a listen.
Official Music Video
Now there are some lines at the beginning of the video and at the end that are not captured in the song lyric.
Intro: People said I’d never be anything, they said I was too broken, they said I had too many scars
Close: People said I was too broken, but God said something different, He said He’d take me with my bruises and my scars. He never said life would be easy. It can still be tough. But I know this, I’ve got hope.
Lyrics (via KSBJ)
In the morning when my heart is cold
You’re the heat for my weary soul
You’re the good in all I know
In the mirror all that I see
Is Your grace looking back at me
I’m not the man that I used to be
You’re the song, You’re the song
Rising from my heart
Everything Comes alive
Everything comes alive
Everything comes alive
In the evening when my bones are tired
You’re my strength and my heart’s desire
You’re the light when the sun expires
I remember how far I’ve come
I’m not lost with You I’m home
I didn’t find You on my own
I’m made alive
Now I’m by Your side
I’ve come alive
I’ve come alive
And when my days are done
I’ve got a Hope that I’m sure of
I’ll be with You in heavenly places
I’ll be with You in heavenly places
My heart is beating to the rhythm of Your love
My feet are running ever faster to Your grace
A common complaint I’ve received in private is that I haven’t been granting enough freedom of artistry in the poetry of these songs. Indeed, I haven’t. You see, such freedom is intended for “art appreciation” for finding the beauty within a given lyric. These DiM aren’t about trying to out-art each other in waxing eloquent on the subjective beauty of the lyric… we are here to discern if these songs convey or teach sound doctrine. The reason we are doing so isn’t random, but because they are written, produced, and promoted as “Christian” songs. This band even makes the claim that their goal is to share the Gospel. So that is what we are checking.
This song above engages in highly mystical / sensual poetic style. How far do we take the metaphors of each line to force a Biblical message? Well, it cannot be done objectively. If the rule is to apply metaphor to each line in the song, then this song could very easily be a secular love song, exaggerating (poetically) the real impact one person can have on another. So we won’t be playing fast-and-loose with the imagery just to conjure up a best construction for the song. Objectively speaking, there’s no clear reference to Jesus Christ. No mention of repentance and the forgiveness of sin. The subject of the song is the singer. It is at-best an individualistic anthem of self-motivation and self-esteem.
Verse 1. The first bit about warmth of the heart and all the good the singer knows is just fluff. There’s no external Word, no external object of Faith… it’s an appeal to internal acknowledgement of spirituality. The second with the mirror takes an interesting idea and buries it in narcissism. The interesting idea is that when we look in the mirror we see God’s Grace in action… because we are alive and have not been judged and punished for sin. It’s a thin thread, but it is a cool one… except the singer has inflated it to being “all that he sees in the mirror”. No. Stop looking for the Gospel inside yourself. The Gospel is found in the external Word of God, not in your reflection in a mirror, or in your heart, or in what you know internally. Mysticism is rot of the soul that will shipwreck your faith.
Pre Chorus. NO! Stop it! God is NOT the song rising up from our hearts. He is the One who forgives us of the sin that comes from our hearts, He is the one that brings our hearts to life, He is the One whose Word grants faith and life and forgiveness in Jesus’ Name. Our hearts are wicked, turned in on themselves in sin. Even after we’ve been made new creations in Christ Jesus by Faith, our fleshly hearts (seat of our emotions, desires, passions) are still corrupted by sin. That’s why our physical bodies will still die even though we’ve been saved… because our flesh is wicked and must be put off.
1 Corinthians 15:50-56 (ESV) | Mystery and Victory
I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
Chorus. Well that doesn’t really say much, does it? And what it says seems to ignore that God is a Personal God. Three Persons, in fact. “everything comes to life in you” makes it sound automatic and impersonal… like it’s just something that happens, rather than a Work of God’s Grace on us, in us, and through us by His Word. From the very creation of all things, God spoke it into existence. It didn’t just “come to life” in God, He spoke it into existence. Do you see the distinction I’m trying to make here? Mysticism doesn’t want a Triune God who saves by His Grace and Love; rather, mysticism wants an impersonal force that can be manipulated according to spiritual principles and disciplines.
Verse 2. Still seeing a heavy hand of synergism here. The rest of God is only found at the end of “me”, at the end of my toil and labor. If I do absolutely everything I can do… then I’ll find God and He will give me rest. Even in that last line, when one who is hoping to find sound doctrine might think, hey he acknowledged that he’s not the one who found God. Only, he is saying he found God… he’s just acknowledging he had help. Still dealing with the Methodist / Armenian depiction that God makes a way for us to seek Him and find Him, but we still have to do it. So, the Holy Spirit doesn’t grant you faith, just helps you find it? No. That’s not what Scripture teaches.
Romans 10:17 (ESV) So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
Verse 3. So here the artist turns his attention to the afterlife… in vague assumptive terms. I say assumptive because there is no confession of faith in this song. No repentance or forgiveness of sin… just “I’ll be with you in heavenly places”. This isn’t even particularly Christian… this is just an appeal to an afterlife in general. Dear Christian, the promise of eternal if is true, the Hope our Salvation is assured in the Name of Jesus Christ, and we know this because He gave us His external Word.
1 Peter 1:3-9 (ESV) | Born Again to a Living Hope
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, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 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. 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, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Bridge. Nothing to see here.
Otro. We don’t run to God’s Grace. Ugh. We aren’t infused by grace in order to earn more grace. That’s not how it works. In the glorious exchange, our sins are placed upon Christ on the Cross, and His Righteousness is imputed to us by Grace.
Praise Song Cruncher 2.0
I believe Lutherans are still the minority of my readership, but I’d still like to recommend Table Talk Radio Podcast with Rev. Bryan Wolfmueller and Rev. Evan Goeglein, both Lutheran Pastors. I thoroughly enjoy everything about their show… it’s great, but particularly why I’m bringing it up now is because they have what they call a Praise Song Cruncher 2.0 that they use to evaluate worship songs, hymns, CCM, whatever people have sent in that they decide might be helpful to “crunch”.
Each song is measured by 5 questions:
- Is Jesus mentioned?
- Is there mystical form?
- Truth. Does the song use sentences (with subject, verb, object) or sentence fragments? Is the song full of impressions or assertions? (Without sentences it is impossible to express truth.)
- Repetition. Is the song repetitive, using the same phrases over and over?
- Is there mystical content?
- Immediate. Does the song talk about an immediate experience of God (seeing, touching, feeling God directly)?
- Romance. Does the song use romantic imagery (boyfriend/girlfriend romance)?
- Loss of self. Does the song talk about losing our identity, being lost in God, absorbed, consumed, engulfed ? Are we surrendering, abandoning ourselves, etc.?
- Internal. Is the action of the song, or the action of God as described in the son, happening on the inside of me?
- Subjective. Is the song about the things that God has done (objective), or about me (subjective)?
- Is Law and Gospel present and rightly divided?
- Is there any explicit false doctrine not already addressed?
Reference: PraiseSongCruncher PDF
Today’s song wouldn’t survive the praise song cruncher.
I worry about this artist and the man-centered “gospel” they’ve committed to sharing in their music. I worry because it is wildly popular (#12 on the chart today) and it’s law-heavy with no actual Gospel being preached. I pray the Word of God be preached to them faithfully, and that the Holy Spirit open their eyes and ears to the Truth of God’s Word, and find Rest in the external Word of God.
Hebrews 13:20-21 (ESV)
Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will,working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
In Christ Jesus,