DiM | “At Your Feet (Surrender)” By Dan Bremnes

disapproveEvangelical Worship Edition.

April 7, 2016. Today we’ll be looking at a song that was pushed by Worship Together YouTube Channel back in December 2015. The song is worthless, but it does give us an opportunity to discuss the mystical movement called SOZO.  Today’s song is called “At Your Feet (Surrender)” by Dan Bremnes.

 

Music Video (via SOZO Playlist)

 

Lyrics (via Genius)

[Verse 1]
My eyes are on the Cross
Where You gave it all
I worship You, I worship You
I see the One who saves
The Light of heaven’s grace
I run to You, I run to You

[Chorus]
And I, I surrender
I lay my life down at Your feet
God of mercy, You are worthy
I give You every part of me

[Verse 2]
The things that I have done
The things that I will do
I give to You, I give to You
Holy God above
How could I resist Your love?
I run to You, I run to You

[Chorus]
And I, I surrender
I lay my life down at Your feet
God of mercy, You are worthy
I give You every part of me

[Bridge]
With every breath
With all I am
Oh Jesus, I surrender
My heart is Yours
I trust You Lord
Oh Jesus I surrender
(2x)
Jesus I
Through You, Jesus

[Chorus]
I, I surrender
I lay my life down at Your feet
God of mercy, You are worthy
I give You every part of me
(2x)

Written By: Scott Cash, Ed Cash, Dan Bremnes, Katherine Langridge, Ben Fielding
Release Date: June 9, 2015
Produced By: Ed Cash, Scott Cash

Discussion

The focus of the song is the singer. What the singer will do, what the singer is doing, what the singer is pledging. If the object of the “You” is truly the God of the Bible, then we can find some small phrases that are indeed true, like “You are worthy…”, “God of Mercy”, and “On the Cross is Where You Gave it all”. But these are not the focus of the song, nor are they even remotely explicated.

The song is filled with mystical promises bereft of meaning. What does the singer mean by “I run to you”? We don’t know. The only valid, Christian understanding is that we turn to God’s Word and the Lord’s Supper for grace and forgiveness. Mystics have a lot of false meanings for this turn of phrase. What does it mean to “surrender all to God” or to “give every part of me to God”? It’s a purely abstract, emotional, mystical promise of doing something for God, but it has no meaning. It’s like making a vow to keep the Greatest commandment without understanding that to do so according to the Law would necessitate keeping all of the Law, which necessarily includes loving neighbor as ourselves.

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.”

Jesus Christ is the Only One who kept the Law. And He laid down His life on the cross, bearing the wrath of God against sin, so that by Faith we might be clothed in the Righteousness from God, forgiven of our sin, and adopted as Sons of the Most High. Salvation had nothing to do with any of our “surrender” or “works”; therefore, our worship should focus on what He did for us, not what we claim to do for Him.

Ephesians 2:8-10 (ESV) 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.

Your relationship with God is all His doing. Thank Him for that. God doesn’t need your good works, your neighbor does. Preach the Word of God, love and forgive your neighbor as an outflow of your understanding of the immeasurable Grace He extended to you at the cross. This song is off-mission, off-target, and completely out of focus.

Before we close out, let’s look at the artist behind the song and then we’ll examine the Sozo movement.

Dan Bremnes

I wanted to see what the artist’s doctrinal foundation might be, so I checked out his Facebook page.

It was a six-month missions trip in Australia with Youth With a Mission (YWAM) that would help re-shape his perspective: “While I was there, something happened in my life, and God started working on my heart. I started to go a lot deeper in my faith,” Dan shares. “Something sort of clicked in me. I’ve always had these opportunities to lead worship and share about my faith, and I started thinking about making music that was really intentional about reaching people on a spiritual level. I wanted to come right out and speak about God and my relationship with Him.”

Sharing “about our faith” or “about our relationship with God” isn’t the same thing as Preaching the Word of God, or Sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Sure, it could just be a wording issue where he means the right thing, but he also leads Christian worship. What is he really leading, who is he leading, and where is he leading them? That’s the question that really needs to be asked and answered. Look at how he describes his understanding of Faith.

“In my town we go cliff jumping in the summer. I’m always the guy to round up a group of friends to go jump off cliffs. But when I get there and stand on the edge of the cliff, I realize that I like the idea of cliff jumping more than I actually like cliff jumping,” Dan shares. “Faith is similar for me. I like the idea of being brave and jumping out in to the unknown, but when it actually comes to putting faith into action, I think I like the idea of it more than the actual act. But I know that God is always calling us out into the unknown, and He’s faithful to catch us anytime we take a leap.”

That said, leaps of faith are still intimidating, even scary, but for Dan, stepping out and pursuing music led to a tremendous sense of purpose and joy. Like the majority of artists, his journey began humbly—playing local churches for the cost of his gas. But as he shared his songs with anyone who’d listen and continued to hone his songwriting craft, it wasn’t long before people took notice.

Risk-taking isn’t the same thing as Faith. Scripture doesn’t call us to take “leaps of faith”, like what this artist is describing. This isn’t Christianity. This isn’t sound doctrine. Humanists and mystics talk this way about their own beliefs, too. How does the Bible define Faith? I recommend reading through the book of Hebrews, but here let us pull some portions from the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11.

Hebrews 11:1-16 (ESV) | By Faith

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. 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. By faithNoah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.

 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland.If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out,they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city….

Hebrews 11:29-40 (ESV) By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned. By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies. And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises,stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV) | Jesus, Founder and Perfecter of Our Faith

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

What the Bible records isn’t a blind leap of faith like jumping off a cliff or embarking on a music career… Faith is trusting in the Word of the Lord. They trusted in the Word of the Lord despite their circumstance, and what’s even more important is that many cited never received their promises while in this life, for they were trusting in an Eternal God who gave Eternal Promises. Christ is the fulfillment of these promises, and He is now in Heaven at the right hand of the Father, where all of our Promises wait for us who are in Christ Jesus… by Faith.

Is this man a gifted musician and singer? sure. Should he be leading Christian worship? No.

SOZO

Let’s talk about SOZO for a moment. It is one of the fruits of the heresy house, Bethel Church in Redding, CA. Now, the theology taught there by Randy Clark spurred on a mystic in Argentina who then developed Bethel SOZO. From their “history of SOZO” page:

In 1997 Randy Clark, a healing evangelist, held meetings at Bethel Church. At that time, Pastor Clark would send a team to train a congregation how to be prayer servants. A small portion of that training was a model of “deliverance” from Argentina. This model became our first tool “The Four Doors”. Dawna DeSilva, the leader and founder of the Sozo Ministry, attended this training at Bethel. Afterward, Dawna began to use the concept of “The Four Doors” when she prayed for people. Seeing a miraculous difference in people’s level of freedom, the “Sozo Ministry” was birthed. As the Sozo Ministry developed, the Lord introduced other tools that have aided in people being healed and released from the wounds and lies which have hindered those individuals from the Godhead and their destiny.

From their “overview” page:

There are six tools that the SOZO team uses:

  • Father Ladder
  • Four Doors
  • Presenting Jesus
  • The Wall
  • Trigger Mechanisms (Advanced Tool)
  • Divine Editing (Advanced Tool)

As you can see, this isn’t even remotely Biblical Doctrine. I think the folks at GotQuestions.org summarized this “ministry” well here:

Sozo prayer, or Sozo ministry (from the Greek for “save” or “deliver”), is defined as “a unique inner healing and deliverance ministry in which the main aim is to get to the root of those things hindering your personal connection with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” Sozo was created by a group of people from Bethel Church in Redding, California, and modeled after spiritual practices observed at revivals in Argentina. Sozo is strongly mystical in its approach and relies heavily on ideas about God and the Holy Spirit that are not based on biblical fact.

Sozo prayer requires the presence of a mediator or guide who is trained to walk participants through a time of prayer and reflection that is supposed to facilitate intimacy with God. Intimacy with God is definitely something to be sought; however, the method of attaining intimacy via a journey through the subconscious is questionable at best. Intimacy with God is achieved by Bible study, prayer, regular church attendance, and obedience, not by a mystical “journey” through our past. The Bible warns us to be discerning and wise, and not to be fooled (Hosea 14:9; Hebrews 5:14). The Bible and the Holy Spirit—not our subconscious thoughts or a fallible human being—are our connection to the counsel and the voice of God (John 17:17). Many types of ungodly mystical practices include the presence of a “spirit guide,” but the Bible tells us that our connection to the Father is a direct connection, mediated by Christ (1 Timothy 2:5) and guided by the Holy Spirit (John 16:13). No other spirit guide is necessary.

The methods and practices of Sozo are of human invention and require human instruction, without reference to Scripture. In fact, Sozo is much closer to new age mysticism than to Christianity. Participants are encouraged into a mild trance state, while being “led” into a series of mental/emotional rooms or stages where, by connecting to their own deeper feelings and thoughts, they believe themselves to have a new experience with God. Whatever participants feel has happened to them, the Bible tells us it is dangerous to open ourselves up to something that has not been sanctioned by God (Ephesians 4:11–14). Preaching and teaching, evangelism, and the practice of anointing a person with oil or laying hands on him, for instance, are all shown in Scripture to be spiritually safe and useful. But Sozo prayer does not have that kind of backing. (Read More)

This SOZO ministry is garbage mysticism posing as “christian”. Avoid it. Today’s song is presented as music conducive to such mysticism, avoid it also. This is not sound doctrine, it is false teaching… doctrines of demons.

1 Timothy 4:1-5 (ESV) | Some Will Depart from the Faith

Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.

1 Timothy 6:3-11 (ESV)

If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.

Conclusion

This song is worthless. It would be better to pray the 10 Commandments and then immediately asking forgiveness for failing them than to make the vaulted oaths to God about all that you are doing for Him in this song. Dear Christian, read the written Word of God (in context) or listen to it being read or rightly preached as your act of worship. Find music that is truly Christ-centered, be it hymns or Psalms set to music, but don’t chase every mystical wind of music being put out there under the label of “christian ministry”.

Jude 24-25 (ESV) | Doxology

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 | “No Longer Slaves” by Bethel Music

CCM Radio Edition.

January 26, 2016. Today we’ll be taking a look at “No Longer Slaves” by Bethel Music which currently sits at #16 on the 20thecountdown Magazine.

This comes from the heresy house known as Bethel Church of Redding, CA. Led by the false-teacher, Bill Johnson and his wife the false-prophetess Beni Johnson. This is undoubtedly designed as one of their worship songs… how it’s found its way onto the top 20 CCM radio charts breaks my heart, and makes me mourn for the visible church. For some background on the problems with Bethel check out PirateChristianRadio.

The voices are incredible… seriously… gifted vocalists. The song is garbage. We’ll look at the lyrics.

Bethel Music Video

Lyrics (via KLove)

You unravel me, with a melody
You surround me with a song
Of deliverance, from my enemies
Till all my fears are gone

(Chorus)
I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God

From my Mother’s womb
You have chosen me
Love has called my name
I’ve been born again, into your family
Your blood flows through my veins

(Bridge)
You split the sea, so I could walk right through it
All my fears were drowned in perfect love
You rescued me, so I could stand and sing
I am a child of God

Publishing: ©2014 Bethel Music Publishing (ASCAP). All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.
Writer(s): Brian Johnson, Jonathan David Helser, Joel Case

Discussion

As with most successful cults, Bethel has mastered the art of cloaking their false theology in “churchinese”. The song hits a couple of key terms: slavery, deliverance, womb, chosen, child of God… but how it gets put together is the problem. Nothing in this song points to Christ. It points to “me” being a child of God directly. From what is the singer proclaiming he has been set free? fear. Not sin, death, and the Wrath of God… fear. How are we set free from fear? We just are, in our being, because God’s blood flows in our veins… see how the Gospel of Jesus Christ is just being skipped over here?

It is true that in having been forgiven of our sin and having been set free from darkness, death, and the Wrath of God we no longer have anything (or anyone) to fear. But that fear isn’t because the problems are all gone… sin still exists, death still reigns in our mortal flesh, and the Wrath of God will be poured out when Jesus Christ returns to judge the living and the dead… the difference is that Jesus Christ is the Hope of our Salvation. For we who are of the household of faith are baptized into His death and resurrection. In His death, He bore the full wrath of God against all sin, and His resurrection silenced the enemy and secures for us everlasting life in Him.

Verse 1. First 2 lines are throw-away lines. Those who’ve dabbled in mysticism long enough will key into the emotional/mystical/spiritually-sensual vibe of these first two lines and will likely close their eyes, maybe throw their hands out, possibly start weeping,… because the atmosphere is being filled with the Presence…. these folks don’t need the rest of the song, or any of the churchinese… they’ve moved beyond Christianity, beyond doctrine. The rest of the song is for the unitiated… for the Christian who still needs some indication that Bethel is somehow connected to the Bible. So they mention deliverance… from my enemies. Not from sin, no… that’s too legalistic… it’s more their speed to personify a purely external enemy, the devil, demons, scoffers, discernment bloggers… anyone who’d dare question the authenticity of their “spiritual/mystical experience”, or claim that the familiar spirit is God the Holy Spirit. The point of this mysticism is to numb out… mentally, spiritually, until all fear is gone… and all discernment… and all truth and reality. This is not how the God of the Bible instructs us to worship Him. Bethel records a lot of their live “worship experiences”… this is how they employ this song:

 

Chorus. Nothing more than a bold (I think the singer actually encourages the crowd to sing more boldly) declaration of self. Entitlement. Absolutely no credit to the One who bought us by His blood.

Verse 2. This verse has some more churchinese, with a reference that will remind orthodox Christians of their doctrine of election, but that’s not what Bethel teaches. And that’s not really what is being said… it’s a spiritually-sensual reference to being begotten of God. I think that’s why KLove knew to capitalize “Mother” in the lyric… or maybe Bethel gave it to them capitalized. who knows. The point here is that it’s pointing to us, not to God the Father, God the Son, or God the Holy Spirit. The verse also super-spiritualizes Jesus. Bethel has very poor Christology… well, they preach a different Jesus altogether. God the Son (Jesus) still has a body, a perfect body, but still an actual body. His blood does not flow through our veins. When we receive communion, we are given His blood and body by Grace… yes… but still His blood is not flowing in our veins. We are indwelt by God the Holy Spirit, sealed by Him for the day of Judgement for the Resurrection in Christ Jesus.

Bridge. Yeah, another hyper-sensual spiritualization of the Red Sea crossing. By this point you are either in, going with the flow, or you’ve left the auditorium. Rescued me from what? Well, according to the song “fear”. Why? So I can stand and sing I am a child of God. Yeah, that ain’t the Gospel.

I’m done with this song. But I think we need to remind ourselves of what the Scriptures say regarding the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Let’s turn to 1 Corinthians 15… the full chapter.

1 Corinthians 15 (ESV) | The Resurrection of Christ

15 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

The Resurrection of the Dead

12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. 28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.

29 Otherwise, what do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf? 30 Why are we in danger every hour? 31 I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die every day! 32 What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” 33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” 34 Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.

The Resurrection Body

35 But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” 36 You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. 38 But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. 39 For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. 40 There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another.41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.

42 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. 47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.

Mystery and Victory

50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?
    O death, where is your sting?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

Conclusion

The song is worship created and used by the heretical cult of Bethel Church in Redding. This should not be playing on Christian radio, let alone be in the top 20. Bethel preaches a false gospel, a counterfeit spirit, and a different Jesus. It doesn’t point to Christ, doesn’t preach repentance and the forgiveness of sin.

Romans 16:24-27 (ESV) | Doxology

25 Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages 26 but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— 27 to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.

Amen.
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

DiM | “Holy Spirit” by Francesca Battistelli

Today is “Discernment in Music” (DiM) day here at Faithful Stewardship (2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (ESV)).

May 05, 2015. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Holy Spirit” by Francesca Battistelli which currently sits at #18 at 20theCountdownMagazine.

We’ll continue using this top 20 song list until I find a better list. Your feedback in this would be greatly appreciated.

This song is emotionally powerful and beautifully sung. It comes to us through Francesca Battistelli, but is in-fact written by the folks at Jesus Culture, Bryan & Katie Torwalt. They are the worship band/team at Bethel Redding, CA, where Bill Johnson holds court. Bill Johnson is a false teacher and his Bethel is a mystical cult. One aspect of their false teaching is that of “presence” theology. The idea that the point of worship is to invite the Holy Spirit of God into their worship in such a way that He will manifest Himself, most often they allude to the Glory Cloud as in the Tabernacle in the wilderness. Bethel claims a lot of manifestations, gold dust, the glory cloud, even claiming that God the Holy Spirit looks like the blue genie in Disney’s Aladdin. This theology is the genesis of today’s song.  We will review it, and do our best to correct the false theology that sits under the hood.

Official (Audio) Music Video

Behind the Song

Lyrics (via KLOVE)

Holy Spirit
Francesca Battistelli

There’s nothing worth more
That could ever come close
No thing can compare
You’re our living hope
Your presence, Lord

I’ve tasted and seen
Of the sweetest of loves
Where my heart becomes free
And my shame is undone
Your presence, Lord

CHORUS
Holy Spirit, You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory, God, is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your presence, Lord

There’s nothing worth more
That could ever come close
No thing can compare
You’re our living hope
Your presence, Lord

I’ve tasted and seen
Of the sweetest of loves
Where my heart becomes free
And my shame is undone
Your presence, Lord

CHORUS

Let us become more aware of Your presence
Let us experience the glory of Your goodness

CHORUS

Publishing: © 2011 Bryan & Katie Torwalt (ASCAP) (All rights adm. by Jesus Culture Music) Produced by Ian Eskelin
Writer(s): Brian & Katie Torwalt

Discussion

Okay, so here we have a “worship song” that seeks to entreat the Spirit of God to come into the room/sanctuary/life and grant those singing an experience of His goodness. There are a couple of problems with that, the first is that as Christians we have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us by faith. The second problem is that the worship seems conditional upon having an emotional experience of the presence of God the Holy Spirit. Emotions are fickle, fleshly, and easily manipulated.

Hebrews 11:1-3 (ESV) | By Faith

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

Faith is not an emotion, nor is it grown by emotion. Read through the whole of Hebrews 11, search out each referent and see how faith sustained them despite circumstance or emotion. Their faith is in who God is, not what they felt, and that faith was accredited to them as righteousness.

Taste and See

Mystics tend to latch onto these types of phrases to hyper-inflate empirical (experiential) spiritual knowledge. The idea that one can “try” or “taste” the Gospel and it will be so good to them that they’ll be won over and saved. This “taste and see” comes from Psalm 34. I’ll leave it to you to read Psalm 34 in its entirety in your personal time. The Apostle Peter makes reference to this Psalm, so lets begin there.

1 Peter 2:1-12 (ESV) | A Living Stone and a Holy People

So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is goodAs you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in Scripture:

“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone,
    a cornerstone chosen and precious,
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe,

“The stone that the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone,”

and

“A stone of stumbling,
    and a rock of offense.”

They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

To what is Peter referring, an emotional experience or forgiveness by faith? Notice he mentioned it as a past-tense experience, If indeed you have tasted, Peter is talking about salvation. Does Peter encourage his audience to seek their own experiences like what he and his fellow Apostles experienced? Peter witnessed Jesus transfigured into His Glory, and He heard the voice of God the Father audibly. What does Peter say about such experiences?

2 Peter 1:16-21 (ESV) | Christ’s Glory and the Prophetic Word

16 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” 18 we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. 19 And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Rather than push others to having their own supernatural experience, Peter points to Scripture as prophetic and more fully confirmed than even his experience of witnessing the transfiguration of Jesus Christ. Peter points them to the Word. Peter charges them to walk by faith. Right after this section, Peter moves on into strong warning against false teaching.

We Have the Holy Spirit

I’d like to revisit the problem of this song presenting a notion that we need to somehow invite the Holy Spirit to fill us again, and again, and again, (particularly during Sunday Morning Worship). Is that what is taught in Scripture? Quite the opposite, in fact. The Holy Spirit doesn’t leave us waiting for us to re-invite Him if we “worship Him correctly”.  Are there times He moves upon/within His people in a special manner? Yes, but that’s up to Him, by His Grace not by any of our works. Let’s go to Paul’s rebuke to the Corinthians to see this play out.

1 Corinthians 6:12-20 (ESV) | Flee Sexual Immorality

12 “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. 13 “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” 17 But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. 18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

You are not your own, if indeed you have been bought by the Blood of Jesus Christ. If by faith you have been saved, then the Holy Spirit is within you, His temple. Paul is reminding them that they are the temples of the Holy Spirit; therefore, they are not to present their bodies for sexual immorality, because of the offense to the Holy Spirit who indwells them by the Promise of Jesus Christ. This is NOT something that comes and goes, dear Christian! When we sin, we must repent and be forgiven of sin by faith. Sexual Immorality is a sin against God and our bodies and against the Holy Spirit who indwells us. Serious, serious, stuff. But know that for all who have believed in Christ, who have called upon His name by Grace through faith have been adopted as sons of God, sealed by His Spirit until the Day of the upward Call in Christ Jesus.

Conclusion

As pretty and poetic this song seems, I cannot endorse it. The song is a request for an emotional experience, I cannot even call it a “worship song”. Worship God for who He is and what He has done. Take great care not to force some emotional/spiritual experience as a replacement for worshiping Him. There is a huge difference between praying to God for Him to meet a need and asking for a sign (be it emotional or spiritual).

Luke 11:27-30 (ESV) 27 As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” 28 But he said, Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” 29 When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, “This generation is an evil generation. It seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah. 30 For as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so will the Son of Man be to this generation.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ, He who fulfilled the Law completely and offered Himself as the propitiation of God’s Wrath against sin, so that by faith in Him we might be made the righteousness of God, is all we will ever need. God’s Spirit indwells all who are His by faith in the Promise of salvation. There will be times when you “feel it”, but He is there even when you don’t “feel it”… this isn’t about feelings, it’s about faith. He is our Hope. Rest in Him by Faith.

Amen. In Christ Jesus,
Jorge