DiM | “Love Broke Thru” by TobyMac

disapproveCCM Edition.

November 24, 2016. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Love Broke Thru” by TobyMac which currently sits at #20 on 20TheCountdownMagazine.

This song is an anthem-styled love song pulling on Revivalist “Sinner’s prayer” themes ala Charles Finney. Stylistically its one of Toby’s better songs of late. Lyrically, there is no pointing the listener to Christ, just a retelling of the singer’s description of his new life or perspective. The singer is just sharing an emotional experience tied to an epiphany he had after a prayer he prayed. If you hold to decisional theology, we aren’t going to see eye-to-eye on this one. I pray you read this review with an open bible.

TobyMac – Topic (YouTube)

Lyrics (via K-Love)

Verse 1
I was feelin’ that, feelin’ that breeze
Singin’ like a song thru the tall oak trees
It was just another summer night
Had to be the last thing on my mind
Yeah, I was all but lost in the moment
I was young and runnin’ wide open
It was just another summer night
Had to be the last thing on my mind

Chorus
When love broke thru
You found me in the darkness
Wanderin’ thru the desert
I was a hopeless fool
Now I’m hopelessly devoted
My chains are broken
And it all began with You
When love broke thru

Verse 2
I did all that I could to undo me
But You loved me enough to pursue me
Yeah, You drew me out of the shadows
Made me believe that I mattered, to You (You)
You were there, You heard my prayer in that broke down dusty room
It was the first time I said, “I’m Yours”
The first time I called You Lord

Rap/Interlude
Yeah, it was late in the summer when the northeast breeze
Sang like a song thru the oak trees
Pennsylvania
She kind of caught my soul
Which had me a little more open than closed
Walls I built
Opinions I learned
Covered in the ashes of bridges I burned
Blind to the arrow that headed to my heart
But You hit the mark

Outro
I did all that I could to undo me
But You loved me enough to pursue me

Publishing: 2015 Achtober Songs/Meaux Mercy/Moody Producer Music (BMI)/Capitol CMG Genesis/TrueMuse (Admin. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com)/Bartlandia/ Simple Tense Songs (ASCAP)
Writer(s): Toby McKeehan, Christopher Stevens, Bart Millard and Bryan Fowler

Discussion

Verse 1. This verse paints quite a mental picture. Nothing comes completely into focus, but we get a sense that he’s leading up to an epiphany, or an aha! moment. This verse is pure setup, not really much to discuss here.

Chorus. This is an odd shift in the mental picture. Everything in the first verse is serene and peaceful, but now it’s all darkness, desert, hopelessness, chains. If we are giving this our best construction, I suppose we could make the assumption that Christ’s love breaking through first shatters the false notion that “I’m a generally good person” as the Law of God convicts us of our sinful state. But there is still no mention of the Gospel being preached, just a sort of inevitability of love breaking through.

Verse 2. Not much to go on for a reference point in this first line. Is he now describing live as an unbeliever as being “doing all I could do to undo me”? An unbeliever IS undone. There is a tendency for synergists to act like unbelievers just don’t know any better and are only doing what they do because they haven’t yet made the right choices, said the right prayer, or “devoted themselves” or “made Jesus their Lord and Savior” (decision theology). The problem with this way of thinking about our sin is that this isn’t how Scripture describes the sin of unbelief.

Ephesians 2:1-3 (ESV) And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

Notice the wording is “dead in the trespasses and sins” not “dying”. Being dead precludes decisional regeneration. This is not easy to accept, I grew up in decisional theology. The point of this verse is to imply the “sinner’s prayer” and the decision to finally accept Christ (I’m Yours) as Lord.

Okay, so let’s address this point about salvation. The one who lacks faith cannot pray to God. Sure, they can utter prayers as the pagans do, but my point here is very specific, without faith, no one can draw near to God.

Hebrews 11:6 (ESV) And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

We are not born with faith, nor the capacity to have faith, we are born dead. So how does one receive faith? By hearing the Word of Christ preached.

Romans 10:11-17 (ESV) For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

So, I don’t take issue so much with the singer having an emotional memory of a moment he can remember first realizing that Jesus is LORD… but such emotionally dependent memories are fleeting and subjective, easily tossed about by the seas of doubt, trials, and tribulations. Rather than focus on such an internal focal point, we instead choose to focus on the moment when Christ claimed us as His own, when He declared “It is Finished”. We can also look toward our baptism, for it is God’s work, not ours.

Romans 6:3-11 (ESV) Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old selfwas crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 5:25-27 (ESV) Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

So, the singer is pointing to his own romanticized recollection of a decision he made, presumably in light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The comfort of the assurance of salvation needs to be solid when our emotions aren’t in check, when we are afraid, or burdened with guilt, or confused. This is the folly in tying assurance to an emotional experience, or a recollection of something you realized or a prayer you uttered. Far better to place your trust in the objective Word of God. The Promise of salvation in Christ Jesus is assured and unchanging, no matter your emotional state or physical circumstance.

Ephesians 2:4-10 (ESV) But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Rap/Interlude. I think we are seeing somewhat of a confession, or at least a depiction of the artist’s life. Not sure which timeframe. Maybe this was before “being saved”, or maybe it is a particular crisis of faith, but this part of the song seems a bit raw and unfiltered. But here the lyric makes Jesus out to be Cupid shooting his love arrow. /sigh. The one thing we can focus on in this is the idea that we take no part in our salvation… so the idea that Christ would save him without his knowledge like an arrow being shot without his knowledge.

Outro. This thought could also be pointing at the work of God the Holy Spirit in preserving us in the faith.

Hebrews 12:5-7 (ESV) And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?

I suppose we could do some work to try to salvage the messaging of the song if we ignored the sinner’s prayer bit and focused in on God’s discipline and reproof. That’s a bit of a stretch, but it might be helpful for those who really want to like the song due to its style.

Conclusion

While I did try to offer ways of giving the song a positive construction, the synergism presented in this song places this one in the “Disapprove” category. Stylistically this song is pretty good, but lyrically it’s a bit of a vague mess. With so many TobyMac memes with sporting the #speaklife tag, I really wish they spent more time clearly conveying the Gospel of Jesus Christ and less time being cool, relevant… and completely vague.

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,
Jorge

2 thoughts on “DiM | “Love Broke Thru” by TobyMac

  1. From the first time I hear this, I always thought “I did all that I could to undo me” as “I did all I could do to erase my mistakes, sins, etc.”
    Don’t you think so?

    I have never read about ‘decision theology’ until I read this, but could you elaborate briefly what’s wrong with this theology, and how exactly someone can be saved? I’m quite surprised when reading this.

    • That interpretation of the phrase “I did all that I could to undo me” is new to me. I’m not sure I can connect the ideas of “erasing sins” with the notion of “undoing me”.

      Decision theology is a category of theology that basically believes that God has done what He needs to do to save an individual; however, that individual cannot be saved UNTIL he/she makes a decision to believe or follow Christ. It is a theology that places too much emphasis on our free will and in doing so diminishes the gravity of original sin. As for exactly how someone can be saved, only by the Word of God and the work of the Holy Spirit granting faith to the hearer. There are those who think they were saved “because” they made a decision for Christ after hearing the preaching of God’s Word, but for those what actually happened is that they were able to “make a decision” because God had already granted saving faith. The flip side of this is also that there are many who’ve never truly been preached Law and Gospel; rather, they have been pumped and primed to “make a decision” or “answer an altar call”… such individuals have made human decisions that have no bearing on eternal salvation. We pray that these individuals may come to saving faith by the Grace of God through hearing the Word of Christ faithfully preached (Rom 10:11-17). It is God alone who saves, we take no active role in our salvation, for we are dead in trespasses and sins before Christ grants us saving faith.

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