DiM | “Whole Heart” by Brandon Heath

disapproveCCM Edition.

November 1, 2017. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Whole Heart” by Brandon Heath which currently sits at #7 on 20TheCountdownMagazine.

This song is a synergistic mess, a humble brag, and an empty promise to a very weak understanding of God. Seriously, whichever god this song is appealing to isn’t the God of the Bible who is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. We’ll discuss this below, but for now, let’s get the whole “listening to the song” over with and move straight into the lyric.

BrandonHeathVEVO (Lyric Video)

Lyrics (via K~Love)

Well I called Your name a long time ago
And You sprung a well from a heart of stone
But I was careful then what I let You see
Only thought You wanted the best of me

The less I trust You the less I grow
The more You love me the more I know
I don’t have to be afraid to show
All of me, all of me

Where there’s hurting
You show me what healing can do
Where there’s hatred
You show me how kindness can move
Where there’s fear deep inside
I won’t run, I won’t hide
I’ll give You all of me
So that You can see
Every broken piece
And open up my whole heart, whole heart
And love You with my whole heart, whole heart
My Whole heart

So I’m ready now gonna let You in
All the way to the scars beneath my skin
And You don’t look away cause You understand
And You hold my heart with a gentle hand

The less I trust You the less I grow
The more You love me the more I know
I don’t have to be afraid to show
All of me, all of me

Where there’s hurting
Oh where there’s sorrow and shame
Enter into the pain

Publishing: © 2017 Haidaway Music (BMI) (admin. by Songs of Kobalt Music Publishing); EGH Music Publishing (BMI)/Be Essential Songs (BMI) (admin. at http://www.EssentialMusicPublishing.com); Fair Trade Music Publishing (ASCAP). All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Writer(s): Brandon Heath, Ethan Hulse, Colby Wedgeworth

Discussion

Synergism. *sigh*

Verse 1Well I called Your name a long time ago And You sprung a well from a heart of stone… A heart of stone cannot call upon the Name of the LORD. The order of these lines is backward. God regenerates us, saves us, softens our hearts, granting us faith. He springs the well before we call on His Name.

Ephesians 2:1-10 (ESV) | By Grace Through Faith

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. 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.

Romans 10:10-17 (ESV) For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 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.

The beginning of faith is external to us, our will, our decisions, our thoughts, our desires, our dedication, our speech. The beginning of faith is in the Word of God. It is God who saves, God who regenerates, God who grants faith by His Grace, through His Word. This is monergism, only One does the work and that One is God.

But I was careful then what I let You see Only thought You wanted the best of me… you cannot truly think that you are successful in hiding anything from God, right?

1 Samuel 16:7 (ESV) But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.

Proverbs 17:3 (ESV) The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts.

Romans 8:22-27 (ESV) For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

I made this point in the intro, God sees, searches, knows our hearts. There is no hiding ANYTHING from God. God is God. The only way to think about this line in the song is “I withheld confession and repentance” in certain areas of my life. God knows this. He knows our hearts. Our hearts are wicked. We are so vain we actually think we can keep secrets from God.

Pre-Chorus. The less I trust You the less I grow… here we see a theology of “infused righteousness”, a notion that “getting saved” is a starting point that infuses us with the ability to grow into sanctification. Failure to trust God is a breaking of the first Commandment, and is sin.

Matthew 22:36-38 (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.

So, yes, one doesn’t grow toward God in sin. But the problem is so much bigger than simply “stalled growth”, sin kills. Doubt, worry, anxiety, run contrary to faith.  The other problem with this wording, is that it is unclear on how to do the opposite in order to grow. How does one “trust God more”? Well, the song will present a sort of “commitment” thing where you make God empty promises. Scripture points us to dying daily to the flesh, repenting of sin, including the sin of failing to trust the Lord our God with all our hearts and soul and mind. This isn’t a one-time declaration sort of thing, it’s daily.

Luke 9:23-24 (ESV) And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.

Paul’s teaching to the Romans on this point is excellent. All of Romans needs to be read as one teaching, though this portion from Romans 6 through Romans 8 is a great place to examine the “how we grow in Christ”. It’s not glorious in this life, it’s frustrating, it’s painful, we sin when we don’t want to as Christians because our still sinful flesh craves sin. The Law convicts us of our sin and sentences it to death. The Gospel grants us repentance and the forgiveness of sins and a Promise of the Hope of our Salvation in Christ Jesus. We remain connected to Christ by Grace through Faith, not of our own doing, there is no room for anyone to boast in their justification nor sanctification.

The more You love me the more I know… Really hate what is being implied here. So, two things:
— firstly, there is simply no room for anyone to complain that God didn’t love them enough. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 ESV) No one gets to make that complaint.
— secondly, it seems to be pointing to a demand that God keep doing things for the singer “the more You love me” so that he’ll know who God is. I’m sorry, but we are called to trust in the LORD our God despite our circumstances. The early Christians expected to die as martyrs for their faith… many did just that.

I don’t have to be afraid to show All of me, all of me We’re back to this nonsense of being brave enough to show God “all of me”. *sigh*. I think this comes mostly from the really bad “relationship paradigm” of drawing from earthly romantic relationships as a model for faith in God. It’s nonsense. Stop trying to woo God or sing about Him wooing us through our emotions. Cut it out. Faith isn’t an emotion.

ChorusWhere there’s hurting You show me what healing can do Where there’s hatred You show me how kindness can move… This is a form of mysticism. Looking for God in our experiences/emotions rather than looking to where He has revealed Himself to us fully, in His Word. Please note, I’m not saying God doesn’t heal, He does. We are ask (not demand or command) for healing in prayer. We pray for these things. We do not make our faith in Christ contingent upon having those prayers answered in this life. Christians are persecuted by hatred, even killed. Christians suffer from disease, sickness, injury, mental illness, and God’s Truth still remains. We are not guaranteed temporal healing, but eternal healing IS guaranteed for all who are in Christ Jesus when He returns.

I won’t run, I won’t hide I’ll give You all of me So that You can see Every broken piece And open up my whole heart, whole heart And love You with my whole heart, whole heart My Whole heart The rest of this chorus is empty promises. This is the humble-brag I mentioned above. When we make such grand gestures, oaths, of what we are going to do for God, it makes us look/sound so pious, so committed, so godly. But it is pure arrogance to suggest that God is somehow hoping and waiting for us to give Him “all of me”. That’s not how Scripture talks of any of this. Let’s look at how Paul opens his letter to the Colossians. In this letter, he opens with encouragement in the Gospel to Christians.

Colossians 1:3-14 (ESV) We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf and has made known to us your love in the Spirit. And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

The focus isn’t on their inside secrets or fears; rather, the focus is on Christ, His Word, the Gospel, and what Christ has done and is doing among them. We should do likewise. This business of “giving God all of us” or “showing Him all of the stuff we’ve been hiding” is nonsense, folly, a distraction. God sees it all, and He has already bled and died for those sins. Confess, repent, and Trust in what Christ has already done for you on the cross, in your place.

Verse 2. So I’m ready now gonna let You in All the way to the scars beneath my skin More of the same junk. This seems to be building a case for the synergistic “re-dedication” altar call bit, where this time you’re really gonna let God into your life… blah, blah, blah. You don’t get to play that sort of role here. God is God. Jesus is LORD. You don’t “let God” be Lord of your life in stages. Nowhere does Scripture speak like this about God. He is Sovereign over all creation, and He is the Head of His Church. Those who were baptized into the Name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit have been baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection (Romans 6). Now, in this life, the sinful flesh wages war against the Spirit, and we must take up our crosses daily, dying to sin and walking in the Spirit. It’s hard. This temporal life is one of repentance. And You don’t look away cause You understand And You hold my heart with a gentle hand There’s a nugget of truth here. Sadly, it’s buried beneath a lot of false premises. There isn’t enough here to salvage the song, not by a long shot, but I do want to acknowledge that God is a loving God.

1 John 3:1-3 (ESV) See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

We don’t need additional proof of His love, we simply need to look to the proof already provided at the Cross of Jesus.

Conclusion

This song is just awful. Don’t try to make bargains with God to secure healing and victory in this life by offering to then show him what he already knows… He knows you better than you know yourself. Don’t bargain with God, humble yourself. Confess your sin. Repent. Trust. Repent again for failing to trust. It is God alone who saves.

1 Peter 1:3-13 (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. Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look. Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Amen.
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

DiM | “Word of Life” by Jeremy Camp

disapproveCCM Radio Edition.

October 24, 2017. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Word of Life” by Jeremy Camp which currently sits at #5 on the20theCountdownMagazine.

Generally speaking, I’m a fan of Jeremy Camp’s music. This song gets a Disapproval for a couple of reasons, the most prominent is the synergism in the lyric, that it isn’t Christ alone saving us, we have to do something. The other problem is the implied notion that there is something more that we must do beyond being brought to eternal life in Jesus Christ our LORD. This is a song of revivalism, which places the emphasis on “what I’m going to do once God moves in me”.

JeremyCampVEVO (Lyric Video)

Lyrics (via K~Love)

Speak to my weary heart
Strengthen my broken parts
Lead me to Your open arms
Word of truth
Illuminate all these lies
The enemy speaks inside
In freedom I will rise

‘Cause You called me out from the grave
So I can live like I’ve been changed
There is a new song in my soul
And it begins
When I breathe in
Your word of life

Spirit of God
Take me to a deeper place
Take me out of what is safe
I will not be afraid
Spirit of God
Fill me with joy again
Springing up from within
It cannot be contained

The old has gone away
Only Your love remains
I am alive today
‘Cause You called me out

Publishing: Only In You Publishing (ASCAP) (admin. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com) / EGH Music Publishing / Be Essential Songs (BMI) (Admin. at EssentialMusicPublishing.com) / Colby Wedgeworth Music / Fair Trade Music Publishing (ASCAP) (Admin. by Music Services)

Writer(s): Written by Jeremy Camp, Ethan Hulse, and Colby Wedgeworth

Discussion

Okay, so let’s begin our discussion with who the intended target audience might be. There are no clear articulations of Law and Gospel, repentance and the forgiveness of sin. There are poetic references to salvation themes, so my guess is that this song is aimed at the weary Christian. So, before we go verse-by-verse, what is it that weary Christians need to hear the most? The clear Gospel of Jesus Christ, preached to them and for them. Which leaves us with a problem… no clear Gospel in this song. There are allusions to Gospel themes, I’ll grant the song as much, but when we are beaten-down and weary, we need clarity, assurance, and rest that can only be found in Christ Jesus.

Verse 1. The first verse is setting up our ‘weary Christian’ target audience. The setup is emotional, which leaves it open to any interpretation of what it means to be a weary Christian. That’s not a problem yet, I just want to acknowledge the writing here. The song opens with a desire for someone to speak directly to the singer’s weary heart. Strengthen my broken parts is vague, but it works lyrically and poetically, so we need to see where this is going. Lead me to Your open arms is also vague, and follows more of the romantic mysticism we get in CCM and Evangelical/Contemporary Worship (CoWo) these days. So, the first three lines have set up the relationship paradigm of understanding our need for a Savior and how we are to relate to Him. It’s a poor picture that relies too heavily on emotionalism rather than the clear Word of Truth we see in Scriptures. While there is a right way of speaking about our relationship with God, this approach brings a lot of baggage with it. What does it mean to be “led into Christ’s open arms”? This relationship metaphor bears a sense of proximity that is unhelpful in understanding Christ, and ultimately has to be turned into an “emotional proximity” which is purely subjective and easily manipulated by circumstance, fatigue, temperature, and disco lights. Christ gave us a Promise in the Great Commission that we need to bear in mind whenever someone tries to invoke the relationship metaphor of needing to be “close to God”.

Matthew 28:19-20 (ESV) Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Christ promised to be with us always, to the end of the age. That’s a promise that remains true whether we feel it or not. As far as a rescue mechanic might go, or “best construction”, we’d have to de-mystify the subjective emotionalism and translate Lead me to Your open arms into “Remind me of Your Gospel”, and understand Speak to my weary heart as something the Holy Spirit does WITH the preaching or reading of the Word of God, not as an appeal for an unmitigated direct revelation experience.

The next line in the song is Word of Truth, which is being treated as a Name of God that can be applied to Christ and the Written Word of God as the Revelation of Christ. I’d like to have it made more explicit, though, God works through the means of His Word to deliver the Grace, Forgiveness, Faith secured for us on the cross. So, we can work to insert this understanding here, that the singer is telling us we need to be in God’s Word looking for the clear Gospel of Jesus Christ for the answer to our weariness and broken parts (I really hope this isn’t a stand-in for sin). The song, however, continues in a mystical/poetic form with the request that the Word of Truth Illuminate all these lies The enemy speaks inside. The best thing we can do with this is to ground it in Scripture and the role of God the Holy Spirit.

John 16:13-15 (ESV) When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

I really want to highlight what Jesus said of the Holy Spirit, that He will not speak on his own authority. The Holy Spirit testifies and Glorifies the Son, Jesus, our LORD and Savior. The Holy Spirit delivers us faith in Christ Jesus, and He does this primarily through the means of the Preached Word. Romans 10:17 (ESV) So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. The wording of the lies the enemy speaks inside is troublesome. If you have a poor understanding of sin, the “enemy” is only going to be demons, evil spirits, tempting us to sin. But Scripture makes it clear that our very flesh is sinful, constantly desiring to do evil.

Romans 7:21-25 (ESV) 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.

There is a really bad habit with pop evangelicalism of flipping Law and Gospel inside out, they externalize sin (the devil keeps trying to make me do something I don’t truly want to do) and internalize the search for God through our emotional proximity to Him. What we should be doing is recognizing that it is our hearts of flesh that are sinful and tempting us to sin and looking to the external Word of God for His Grace and Forgiveness.

The final line of the verse bothers me, In freedom I will rise. Within the context of this first verse, we have nothing to anchor this line. Rise from what, a weary heart? from the lies of the enemy inside? Is this an appeal to Christ’s Return? The Resurrection? Or is this just a part of the “I can do this” revivalism?

Chorus. ‘Cause You called me out from the grave -yes! So I can live like I’ve been changed -no! I mean, living differently is an outflow of having been granted saving faith and eternal life in Christ Jesus, but it’s not the reason God called us from the grave. We’re still playing around in metaphors in the lyric of the song, so there is the whole matter of the simul, the already and the not-yet. Eternity is the focus, the reason behind Christ calling us from the grave. And He will do it literally for all who fall asleep in Christ in the Resurrection into eternity.

1 Peter 1:3-9 (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. 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.

The problem of this so being anchored in this temporal life is that it places the focus back onto the believer’s ability to “live a changed life”, it places the focus back onto the law. The Gospel carries us into eternity in Christ Jesus. Don’t let folks turn the Gospel into only a “fresh start” where you’re supposed to finish the rest on your own.

Galatians 5:2-5 (ESV) Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.

Now, I’m not speaking against the notion that our lives should bear fruit. I’m saying that’s not the focus of the Gospel, it is an outflow of the Gospel. Saving Faith will bear fruit because God’s Word has Promised. So love and serve your neighbor, share the Gospel with peace, joy, and thanksgiving. Walk humbly before God in repentance, waiting for the Day of Christ’s return. Don’t make ‘doing good works’ the point of your having been saved. There is a new song in my soul And it begins When I breathe in Your word of life these are words that don’t convey any clear meaning. It’s part of the poetic mysticism, spiritualizing everything leaving it up to the listener to figure out what it means and how to apply this to their own lives. The new song in my soul could be a reference to having regenerate spirits by Grace through Faith in Christ Jesus. If that’s the case, though, the song is there even when we’re run down, weary, and have “broken parts” and even when we feel far away from God. As we discussed earlier, regardless of how we feel, Christ has promised to be with us, so He is. Let’s look at another passage:

Romans 6:3-5 (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.

The Apostle Paul taught that we are united with Christ’s death and resurrection in our baptism. The reference to “breathing in the word of Life” is a metaphor within a metaphor, that is not really helpful. I think it’s pointing to the Holy Spirit delivering saving Faith to those who are in Christ, but it’s buried several layers deep in metaphor. Lyrically, I think it’s building to the start of the second verse, too.

Verse 2. Spirit of God take me to a deeper place… again with the proximity relationship metaphor thingy. The mystic is always looking for deeply hidden truths, secrets, revelations, etc. The romantic mystic is looking for deeper relationship, connectedness, togetherness, but it always gets internalized emotionally. It also suggest a progression beyond salvation, a constant climbing of some ladder to get to God, to reach that next level of “Christian”. Dear, Christian, stop climbing ladders. Christ has done it all. It is finished. He IS our propitiation, our reconciliation, our adoption into the Kingdom of Heaven has already been won by His Blood. There is no “deeper” in our right-standing with God. It is in Christ, and that is more than enough. Your good works aren’t for God or for your position with Him, they are for your neighbor.

Take me out of what is safe I will not be afraid… Well, we have to deal in the subjective with this metaphorical language, otherwise we’re left wondering, “didn’t this song start out with you being weary and broken? Shouldn’t we stay in a safe place, securely in Christ Jesus?” Frankly, it feels like the start of this verse is an homage to Oceans (where feet may fail). Suddenly, the metaphor is now of our external circumstances, sort of a “get me out of my comfort zone” language to go do good works, don’t be safe, take risks, I will fear no evil sort of stuff. The Gospel is sort of a charging station where you get healed up, and then you’ve gotta get “out there” and “fight the good fight”. It’s a terrible way to consider the Christian Life or what it means to be In Christ Jesus. Christ isn’t just a charging station, He IS our Sabbath Rest, He IS our Salvation, He IS our bulwark, our Shield, our safe place.

The second half of the verse returns to the internalized, emotional metaphor, looking for joy (emotional version) that cannot be contained springing up from within. I cannot help but see this being presented as a condition that follows stepping out of the safe places and not being afraid. It’s the wrong focus. This is Revivalism, folks.

Conclusion

So, I hope I’ve at least explained where I see the problems in this lyric and where we can look in Scripture for a corrective lens. Believers need to be pointed to Christ, not just as an example of what they should be trying to emulate, but as their Savior, their propitiation, their reconciliation, and their Sabbath Rest (Hebrews 4). For now, I’d like to leave you with an encouragement written by the Apostle Paul, to the Colossians.

Colossians 2:6-23 (ESV) Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God. If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.

Colossians 3:1-4 (ESV) If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Amen.
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

DiM | “Hard Love” by Need to Breathe (feat. Lauren Daigle)

disapproveCCM Edition.

September 19, 2017. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Hard Love” by Need to Breathe (feat. Lauren Daigle) which currently sits at #6 on 20TheCountdownMagazine.

The version that is on the Top20 track isn’t the album version, it is the version done for the movie adaptation of the heresy-filled novel, “The Shack”. We’re not here to debate the book or the movie, but if this is news to you here is a good article that goes over the basic problems of the movie. For more on the book click here. Let’s give the song a listen and read through its lyric.

“The Shack” Version (Audio Only)

Lyrics

Trading punches with the heart of darkness
Going to blows with your fear incarnate
Never gone until it’s stripped away
A part of you has gotta die today

In the morning you gon’ need an answer
Ain’t nobody gonna change the standard
It’s not enough to just feel the flame
You’ve gotta burn your old self away

Hold on tight a little longer
What don’t kill ya, makes ya stronger
Get back up, ’cause it’s a hard love
You can’t change without a fallout
It’s gon’ hurt, but don’t you slow down
Get back up, ’cause it’s a hard love

You know the situation can’t be right
And all you ever do is fight
But there’s a reason that the road is long
It takes some time to make your courage strong

Hold on tight a little longer
What don’t kill ya, makes ya stronger
Get back up, ’cause it’s a hard love
You can’t change without a fallout
It’s gon’ hurt, but don’t you slow down
Get back up, ’cause it’s a hard love

When the wolves come and hunt me down
I will face them all and stand my ground
‘Cause there’s a fire burnin’ in me
They will see my strength in this love I found
Oh

Hold on tight a little longer
What don’t kill ya, makes ya stronger
Get back up, ’cause it’s a hard love
You can’t change without a fallout
It’s gon’ hurt, but don’t you slow down
Get back up, ’cause it’s a hard love

It’s a hard love, it’s a hard love, it’s a hard love, it’s a hard love
Oh, it’s a hard love, it’s a hard love, it’s a hard love, it’s a hard love
Oh, it’s a hard love, it’s a hard love, it’s a hard love, it’s a hard love

Hold on tight a little longer
What don’t kill ya, makes ya stronger
Get back up, ’cause it’s a hard love
You can’t change without a fallout
It’s gon’ hurt, but don’t you slow down
Get back up, ’cause it’s a hard love
‘Cause it’s a hard love

Songwriters: Nathaniel Rinehart / William Rinehart
Hard Love lyrics © Downtown Music Publishing

Discussion

Well, now… that’s an example of confusing Law and Gospel. The Law isn’t the Gospel, nor should it ever be presented as such. There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, the Law kills. That’s what it does. Under the Law everything that isn’t Holy is destroyed. Only God is Holy; therefore, under the Law everything is destroyed. There is nothing you can do to avoid it, because there is nothing in ourselves that is Holy. The ONLY hope is in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He’s the Only One (both fully God and fully Man) who fulfilled the whole Law in our place. Jesus paid the full price of sin in our place, as our substitute. He drank the full Wrath of God against all sin, and with His dying breath on that cross He declared tetelestai, “It is finished”.

John 19:28-30 (ESV)

After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth.When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Colossians 1:13-23 (ESV)

[God the Father] has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He 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.

2 Corinthians 5:20-21 (ESV)

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

The second reason this confusion of Law and Gospel should be avoided is that it makes the person, the sinner, the star of his own salvation. This is the glaring problem of this song, it focuses entirely on the person enduring this “hard love” and makes the person the hero of his own journey. Whatever this is, it isn’t the Gospel. This falls right in line with the nonsense that is “the Shack”.

Ephesians 2:4-9 (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.

The full work of salvation is the LORD’s, not ours. None of it is our own doing, and no one may boast in it.

Now, some might argue that this song isn’t about “getting saved” but about sanctification. To that I would like to say that the song isn’t overtly Christian. So, to try to rescue the song by claiming it to be an exhortation to sanctification is to ignore the primary fault in the lyric… it’s appealing to a sanctification that is focused on the sinner rather than the Savior. It’s generally assumed to be delivering a Christian message since it is being played on “christian” radio stations and was highlighted in a “christian” movie based on a “christian” book. In fact, the book was abysmally heretical (more), the movie is slightly toned down in its heresy, but it’s still there, and the song is theologically no better than Katy Perry’s Roar or David Guetta’s Titanium. That is to say that the song glorifies the singer and the listener. If we’re to make this “hard love” a stand-in for God’s love, we’ve completely and totally missed the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Total confusion of Law and Gospel.

Conclusion

This song fails on every count. A complete confusion of Law and Gospel and its focus is on the sinner rather than the Savior. What’s worse, is that this particular version of the song serves to promote a heretical movie based on an even more heretical novel. Full disapproval in this DiM.

Jude 17-25 (ESV)

But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit,keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

DiM | “The Comeback” by Danny Gokey

disapproveCCM Edition.

September 12, 2017. Today we’ll be taking a look at “The Comeback” by Danny Gokey which currently sits at #7 on 20TheCountdownMagazine.

Today’s song lands in the “Disapprove” category simply because there is nothing of Scripture being taught, supported, intimated in its lyric. It’s a purely earthly motivational song.

Official Lyric Video

Lyrics (via KLove)

After a season of nightfalls and pushbacks
After the heartache of wrong turns and sidetracks
Just when they think they’ve got you game, set, match
Here comes the comeback

Just cause you laid low, got up slow, unsteady
Don’t mean you blacked out or bought out you’re ready
Just when they think there’s nothing left running on empty
Here comes the comeback

(chorus)
This is your time, your moment
The fire, the fight, you’re golden
You’ve come so far keep going
Here comes the comeback, comeback

You feel the lightning, the thunder, your soul shakes
Under the roar of the heaven, the tide breaks
And from the ashes you will take your place
Here comes the comeback

(chorus)
This is your time, your moment
The fire, the fight, you’re golden
You’ve come so far keep going
Here comes the comeback, comeback

There is no mountain you can’t face
There is no giant you can’t take
All of your tears were not a waste
You’re one step away

Just when they think they’ve got you game, set, match
Here comes the comeback

(chorus)
This is your time, your moment
The fire, the fight, you’re golden
You’ve come so far keep going
Here comes the comeback, comeback

Publishing: © 2016 BMG Platinum Songs/Creative Heart Publishing, Admin. by BMG Rights Management (US) LLC. (BMI); Red Red Pop/Capitol CMG Amplifier, Admin. by CapitolCMGPublishing.com (SESAC); Hello Darling Music (BMI). Used by Permission. All Rights Reserved.

Writer(s): Danny Gokey, Josh Silverberg, and Cameron James

Discussion

Well, this song is purely a motivational piece. A pep talk for everyday life. The video shows athletes, and I suppose it could apply to folks in the business realm, but that’s it. The lyric doesn’t present any Christian theological truths. Nowhere in Scripture are we promised that we will have a “comeback” in our vocations or everyday, temporal life. This song is no more theological than Rachel Platten’s Fight Song.

So what do we do with this one? Let’s have a chat about the purpose of this DiM work a bit. This work isn’t about determining “what a Christian is allowed to listen to and remain Christian”. A Christian who is exercising proper discernment can listen to “secular” music and remain Christian. Most Christians do a decent job of recognizing bad theology or carnal thinking in so-called secular music as long as they’ve taken the time to consider the lyrics. They can listen to music for its artistry or maybe a raw description of life in a fallen world, or an opportunity to vent some emotional frustration. Whatever the reason for listening, most Christians aren’t tuning into Imagine Dragons looking for some Biblical truth. If you are doing that… stop it.

The problem with songs like today’s song by Danny Gokey, is that when they get played on a Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) radio station, they are given an artificial blessing of being “biblically sound”. The industry isn’t being run by theologians, pastors, or seminarians. They are business executives pushing a product. The artists themselves are rarely seminary trained, much less pastors (there are a few). This CCM industry isn’t about teaching the faith, it’s about promoting the next album/concert/single just like every other musical genre within the industry. The best thing that can be said of this song lyrically is that it’s “clean”. It’s a song about how great “I” am, or going to be soon. There are times when I’d like to have my own “theme song guy” or “hype man” in everyday life. Just please, whatever you do, do not try to draw some Christian meaning from it, because it’s focus is all wrong for that. The Scriptures point to Christ, not you. The Scriptures preach Christ and Him Crucified for our sin, buried and rose again on the third day, ascended into Heaven and returning once more for His Church and to judge both the living and the dead. That is the central focus and theme of Scripture. The Promise of Scripture is that Christ will come back one day, the Last Day.

1 Peter 1:3-13 (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. Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look. Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Conclusion

Today’s song earns a “Disapproved” rating, because it falls outside of what we are looking for in these songs. There’s nothing of Scripture being taught in this song. Now, if you find the song entertaining or are specifically looking for a “pump me up” kind of song to motivate you to “try, try, again”, by all means enjoy the song for that purpose. Just don’t go baptizing it, okay?

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

Best CoWo songs?

September 4, 2017. The DiM work here focuses primarily on Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) that plays on the airwaves. The goal is to encourage Christians to exercise Biblical discernment when a song plays on the radio. If you’re just listening for entertainment, then keep your guard up and treat every song as a “secular” song. What is the theology being presented in the lyric? Indeed, even secular music presents theology.

With so many Contemporary Worship (CoWo) songs making their way onto the CCM charts, we’ve had a lot of interest in the issue of CoWo (as opposed to historical didactic hymns). As I engage folks in conservative churches, I’m finding a lot of people insisting that the CoWo they have in their church is biblically solid. The problem is that they rarely name these songs. I’m interested in doing more evaluation of CoWo songs, but I want to deal with the songs folks genuinely believe to be biblically solid.

I would like to ask my readers to Contact Us or comment below with what you consider to be Biblically solid CoWo songs that cannot be found in a traditional Hymnal. This has nothing to do with the accompaniment. Trading an organ for a band without changing the lyric is perfectly fine to me and does not make it CoWo. The focus absolutely must be in the content of the lyric. If a contemporary band does a cover or remake of an old Hymn, I will be looking for what was removed from the song and what was added to it lyrically.

My comment section is moderated, so if you don’t want me to post your comment let me know in the comment. I’m asking for help on the research end of CoWo. If you think your church does excellent CoWo, I’d love a list of songs/artists you guys use.

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