DiM | “Testify” by Need to Breathe

disapproveCCM Edition.

January 24, 2017. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Testify” by Need to Breathe which currently sits at #18 on 20TheCountdownMagazine.

The band has a great sound and I really like the lead singer’s voice. The tune is catchy and I like how they basically start with the chorus. Sadly, the song is very vague, mystical in form, synergistic, and presumes to speak in the place of God. It is such a mess, lyrically, we’ve placed it in the Disapprove category.

Official Audio

Lyrics (via K-Love)

Chorus
Give me your heart
Give me your song
Sing it with all your might
Come to the fountain
You can be satisfied
There is a peace, there is a love
You can get lost inside
Come to the fountain
Let me hear you testify

Verse 1
Into the wild
Canyons of youth
Oh there’s a world to fall into
Weightless we’ll dance
Like kids on the moon
Oh I will give myself to you
As soon as you start to let go

Give me your heart
Give me your song
Sing it with all your might
Come to the fountain
You can be satisfied
There is a peace, there is a love
You can get lost inside
Come to the fountain
Let me hear you testify

Bridge
Wave after wave
As deep calls to deep
Oh I’ll reveal my mystery
As soon as you start to let go

Give me your heart
Give me your song
Sing it with all your might
Come to the fountain
You can be satisfied
There is a peace, there is a love
You can get lost inside
Come to the fountain
Let me hear you testify

There is a peace, there is a love
You can get lost inside
Come to the fountain
Let me hear you testify

Verse 2
Mist on the mountain
Rising from the ground
There’s no denying beauty makes a sound
We can’t escape it
There’s no way to doubt
Mist on the mountain
Rising all around

Give me your heart
Give me your song
Sing it with all your might
Come to the fountain
You can be satisfied
There is a peace, there is a love
You can get lost inside
Come to the fountain
Let me hear you testify

There is a peace, there is a love
You can get lost inside
Come to the fountain
Let me hear you testify

Publishing: © 2016 Bear Lee Breathing Music (BMI) / Needtobreathe Music (BMI). All Rights Administered by Downtown DMP Songs (BMI). All Rights Reserved. Produced by Ed Cash and NEEDTOBREATHE Engineered by Bo Rinehart, Ed Cash and Seth Bolt at Plantation Studios, Summerville, SC Mixed by Robert Orton Mastered by Dave Kutch at The Mastering Palace in New York, NY

Writer(s): Rinehart & Rinehart

Discussion

Firstly, the song seems to bounce unexpectedly between a person encouraging others and what seems to be God speaking to us. There isn’t really a clear way to see which words are being attributed to God and which are the singers. Such confusion is unhealthy and even dangerous.

Chorus. This chorus is sung in full 4 times, and in pieces another 2 or 3 times. That’s a lot of repetition and focus on what can only be presented as an ultimatum by God to get all of the amazing thing being offered. “give me your heart” = Law. “give me your song” = Law. “come to the fountain” is vague. What fountain? Why? “you can be satisfied“. Oh, for the potential to be satisfied. I suppose “can” might be understood in the permissive sense, as in “you are permitted to be satisfied”… I think that’s stretching a bit, though. “There is a peace, there is a love, You can get lost inside, Come to the fountain, Let me hear you testify“. Emotional pabulum. There is indeed peace in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God is indeed love. But scripture isn’t talking about an emotional sensation of peace, the Gospel of Jesus Christ brings us peace with a Holy and Just God.

Romans 5:1-11 (ESV) | Peace with God Through Faith

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Which brings me to the glaring hole in this chorus and in this entire song. It attempts to offer Gospel promises without the Law. I say “attempts” because popular evangelicalism thinks commands like “give me your heart” is Gospel. It isn’t.

Matthew 22:36-40 (ESV) “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

It is Law and it is Good. The problem isn’t in the command, it’s in the belief that you are capable of keeping it of your own will. You aren’t. I can’t. We fail in this daily. Yes, believers, too. Our fleshly hearts are wicked and incapable of loving God completely on our own. Christ fulfilled the Law and the Prophets. He loved God perfectly. The gift of the Gospel is that He fulfilled the Law for us. When we are baptized into His death and resurrection, we are granted the Righteousness of Christ by faith. So, through Christ, we are seen as righteous, holy in His sight. Christ bore the full punishment for our failure to love God and our neighbors by dying on the cross.

So, getting back to the chorus of this song, we have a big problem. God is not withholding His gifts waiting for us to fulfill the Law. God gave us the Gift of His Son, Jesus, while we were yet sinners… enemies of God. The song paints a false image of God and presumes to speak for Him.

Now, regarding the vague imagery of the fountain. It could be taken as a reference to water baptism. I doubt that is the intended reference given the mystical leaning of the song. Modern mysticism generally flows from ancient gnosticism which would reject a connection to actual water baptism. We could also view this as a reference to Christ, though we’d have to unpack the theology a bit to clarify. In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he addresses several errors. In the build up to his longer teaching on the LORD’s supper, we find this reference to Christ in the wilderness:

1 Corinthians 10:1-5 (ESV) For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

Paul is clearly teaching that the miracles in the Exodus all pointed to Christ. The mana from heaven, baptism through the Red Sea, the water that flowed from the rock that was struck… all pointing to Christ. We see this also laid out in the Gospel According to John.

John 4:7-15 (ESV) A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”

John 7:37-39 (ESV) On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

So, given its best possible construction, the fountain is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Colossians 1:15-23 (ESV) | The Preeminence of Christ

[Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

Amen. If we’re to believe this is the intended meaning of the song, then all of this is what is what must be assumed by the command “Let me hear you testify“. So, the song isn’t proclaiming the Gospel, it’s waiting for someone else to do it.

Verse 1. What a muddled mystical mess. The identity of the speaker is in each line is unclear here, and I don’t think there’s a good way to parse any of it out. It’s just bad.

Verse 2. This verse is no better than the other. Beauty makes a sound, really? Did Chuck Pierce write this line? There’s no clear doctrine of Scripture being presented in this. The same problem of who the speaker is in each line plagues this verse.

Bridge. As deep calls to deep seems to be pulling from Psalm 42, in the portion of despair. The psalmist here is describing discouragement. The Psalm turns to the clear promises of God. This song offers a revelation… as soon as you start to let go. Paul already took the time to explain the mystery of the Gospel in his letter to the Ephesians.

Ephesians 3:1-6 (ESV) | The Mystery of the Gospel Revealed

For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

Praise be to God!

Conclusion

While some of the lines in the Chorus can be rescued with solid, Biblical Christology (both in the Old Testament and the New), the song overall cannot be salvaged. It’s a mystical ride through the emotions to create a “worship experience”. As I said in the intro, musically this song is awesome and the lead vocals are impressive. The song lacks clarity and substance and misrepresents the Gospel with mysticism and law.

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

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