DiM | “All My Hope” by Crowder

ApprovedCCM Radio Edition.

March 22, 2018. Today we’ll be taking a look at “All My Hope” by Crowder which currently sits at #2 on the 20theCountdownMagazine.

Today’s song has a good chorus in that it is focused on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The verses are weak and a bit vague, but minus the first verse they aren’t horrible. This song lands tentatively in the Approved category for having a good chorus with a strong focus on the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the answer for our sin. Let’s listen to the song and then work through the lyrics.

Lyric Video

Lyrics (via K-Love)

I’ve been held by the Savior
I’ve felt fire from above
I’ve been down to the river
I ain’t the same
A prodigal returned

All my hope is in Jesus
Thank God my yesterday’s gone
All my sins are forgiven
I’ve been washed by the blood

I’m no stranger to the prison
I’ve worn shackles and chains
But I’ve been freed and forgiven
And I’m not going back
I’ll never be the same
That’s why I sing

There’s a kind of thing
That just breaks a man
Break him down to his knees
God, I’ve been broken more than a time or two, yes, Lord
Then He picked me up
And showed me what it means to be a man
Come on and sing

Publishing: sixsteps Music/Worshiptogether.Com Songs/Inot Music (ASCAP) (Admin. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com)/Alletrop Music (BMI) (admin. by Music Services)
Writer(s): David Crowder and Ed Cash

Discussion

This song takes the form of a “testimony” type song, where the singer shares with the audience his/her theology or testimony of God. Such testimonies should always be focused on Christ as revealed in His Word. I’m very happy that this song didn’t slide into the humble-brag category of really being “about me” while claiming to be about “what God has done for me”.

Verse 1. The song opens up very poorly with a weak and empty verse appealing to emotional experiences.

I’ve been held by the Savior
I’ve felt fire from above
I’ve been down to the river

By faith, we have been saved by the Savior, brought to life by God the Holy Spirit delivering faith to us through the preached Word of Christ, washing us clean by water mixed with the Word in Baptism. The singer has not actually been held by the Savior in a literal sense, not yet. So, this is an emotional appeal in spiritual symbolism. Also, the singer hasn’t “felt fire from above”. This particular emotional symbolism is quite common in charismatic circles where they claim their emotional experiences are equal to what took place in the upper room on Pentecost in Acts 2.  The scriptures tell us there were tongues of fire descending upon them as they were given the miraculous gift of speaking in other languages, the praises of God. Let’s look at the text because I want to point out how clearly the Scriptures describe the event.

Acts 2:1-12 (ESV) When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?”

This isn’t something these people had to imagine happening, these things actually happened. The divided tongues of fire appeared to them and rested on them. They were actually proclaiming the mighty works of God in clear languages, languages that actually existed, languages that were listed in the text. No symbolism need be invoked, this actually happened. This stuff isn’t happening today, particularly not in churches where false doctrine is being plainly taught. So, the singer is claiming to have felt fire from above, when what has really happened is the singer felt a sense of euphoria and wants to believe it was this sort of “presence of the holy spirit”. We’ve talked about the references of “being down to the river” in CCM before. As a Lutheran, I want to believe this is a reference to Baptism; however, it’s most likely a reference to the symbolism that creedal baptists believe baptism to be. Given the rest of Crowder’s theology, this is a symbolic reference to what they think baptism represents, not a direct reference to Baptism. As with the rest of this first verse, it is spiritual imagery or an appeal to an emotional experience.

I ain’t the same
A prodigal returned

The best construction I can give these 2 lines is that this is an allusion to repentance. As the prodigal son realized the error of his ways and remembered his father and repented of his sin. “And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son” Luke 15:21 (ESV).

Chorus. The chorus is a strong point in this song.

All my hope is in Jesus
Thank God my yesterday’s gone
All my sins are forgiven
I’ve been washed by the blood

All our hope is in Jesus. The Apostle Peter’s letter comes to mind first:

1 Peter 1:3-7 (ESV) 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.

All our sins are forgiven, indeed. Now, Crowder goes back to symbolism in our having been washed by the blood. This is good symbolism and it is clearly laid out in Revelation talking about John’s vision in the resurrection. Let’s look at chapter 7.

Revelation 7:9-14 (ESV) After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.” Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Now this is a vision and in these visions in the Revelation of Jesus Christ there are lots of symbols. Let’s look at the Institution of the Lord’s Supper as recorded in Matthew, specifically at His words regarding the cup:

Matthew 26:27-28 (ESV) And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Amen. So we have the symbolism in Revelation and the reference to the substance in the Lord’s Supper, Christ’s blood of the New Covenant, poured out for the forgiveness of sins. Now, I mentioned earlier in the discussion of verse 1 how I’d like to think Crowder was directly referencing Baptism. Christ washes His Bride (the Church) in Baptism as we see the Apostle Paul reference in his letter to the Ephesians.

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.

I understand that not everyone who reads this blog is Lutheran, so this is how I’d go about connecting “down to the river” and “washed by the Blood”… I’d point to Holy Baptism.

Verse 2. The second verse is allegorical but these are metaphors most of us can relate to emotionally, at least at some level. We have an idea of prison, shackles, chains, and we have an idea of being set free from temporal bondage and being forgiven of wrong.

I’m no stranger to the prison
I’ve worn shackles and chains
But I’ve been freed and forgiven
And I’m not going back
I’ll never be the same
That’s why I sing

The problem here is the idea that it’s an all-or-nothing thing for Christians in this temporal life, completely sanctified or still-a-sinner. The Truth is that it’s both, simultaneously sinner & saint. As long as we walk in fallen bodies of flesh, we are sinners. By faith we are saints, not because of what we have done, but solely because of what Christ has done already for us in our place at the cross. That is why our hope is in the Resurrection, when at last Christ will be revealed, we will be saved, and we will be given new bodies free of sin. Until then, we live in the simul, simultaneously sinner & saint.

Verse 3. I think this third verse/bridge gets a little bit sideways.

There’s a kind of thing
That just breaks a man
Break him down to his knees
God, I’ve been broken more than a time or two, yes, Lord
Then He picked me up
And showed me what it means to be a man
Come on and sing

We were doing okay up until this point (I’m still happy with the chorus), but now we seem to have externalized sin a bit, making it the boogie man on the outside of us breaking us down to our knees. While we do have an external enemy in the devil, our primary ill is our own sinful flesh, our black hearts filled with sinful passions craving sin and waging war against the Spirit within us.

Romans 7:15-25 (ESV) For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

Galatians 5:16-17 (ESV) But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.

There is also one other thing that is missing from the discussion in the third verse, and that is the discipline of our Heavenly Father against our sin that breaks us down. Indeed, the LORD disciplines us as sons/daughters. We see this proclaimed clearly in Hebrews.

Hebrews 12:3-11 (ESV) Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 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? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Amen. So this third verse gets sideways by only painting part of the picture of what breaks us down, for God, our Heavenly Father disciplines us as sons/daughters. This third verse in the song also wrongly externalizes the sin problem as merely external circumstances rather than our core sin issue which is in our very flesh.

Conclusion

Given this song’s clear focus on the Gospel for the chorus, the pale allegorical nature of the verses get overshadowed and I’m placing this song just into the Approved category.

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.

Amen. In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

4 thoughts on “DiM | “All My Hope” by Crowder

  1. I always appreciate your in-depth commentary about today’s songs, because they help me sharpen my focus on the individual songs or those who are hearing them on Christian radio. I’ve only heard snippets of this song once, but after reading the lyrics and watching the video, I wonder if people could misconstrue this song as a “freed from religion” anthem? Is this a song anyone can sing and feel right in singing it?

    The first verse pretty much covers all of NAR, Charismatics, and Southern Gospel terminology. In the second verse, is the singer freed from the bondage and shackles of denomination or religious teachings? In the video, is the camera walking the aisle to go forward or walking out the door? Is the camera trapped by those windows with big locks? Why is the lamp broken and the church in seeming disrepair? Where are all the people? Why is the church empty? Is it ineffective so the singer only clings to Jesus and not His Bride?

    I can see people eagerly singing this in church on Sundays or listening to it as “special music” and each person putting their different spin on the lyrics.

    I like your tentativeness to put it in the approved category. A little tightening up of the vague lyrics would’ve put this song over the top for Gospel focus, but maybe that’s a little too much to ask these days.

    • Excellent point about what is being conveyed by the video footage of an empty cathedral. I wouldn’t want this song sung in Church services because of the emptiness of the verses. For casual listening, I think the chorus was too good not to recognize considering the current state of the CCM landscape.

      Thank you for reading and for your words of encouragement.

  2. Hey I was wondering if you could give your thoughts on Cory Asbury song “reckless love”. Kinda controversial due to the title. And alao being from bethel, that can’t be good.

    Love you blog!

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