DiM | “Who You Say I Am” by Hillsong Worship

Presentation1CCM Radio Edition.

October 11, 2018. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Who You Say I Am” by Hillsong Worship which currently sits at #2 on the Top20 chart at 20theCountdownMagazine.

This is a song by Hillsong Worship, who recently declared themselves to be a denomination. This song does have nuggets of the Gospel, which we will point out in the discussion of the lyrics; however, the song’s focus is still on glorifying “me” and “who I am”. Because of the Gospel nugget, this song lands in the middle category. Let’s give it a listen and then work through the lyrics.


Lyric (via KLove)

Verse 1:
Who am I that the highest King
Would welcome me
I was lost but He brought me in
Oh, His love for me
Oh, His love for me

Chorus 1:
Who the Son sets free
Oh, is free indeed
I’m a child of God
Yes, I am

Verse 2:
Free at last
He has ransomed me
His grace runs deep
While I was a slave to sin
Jesus died for me
Yes, He died for me

Chorus 2:
Who the Son sets free
Oh, is free indeed
I’m a child of God
Yes, I am
In my Father’s house
There’s a place for me
I’m a child of God
Yes, I am

I am chosen
Not forsaken
I am who You say I am
You are for me
Not against me
I am who You say I am

Publishing: Hillsong Music Publishing (APRA) (admin. in the US and Canada at CapitolCMGPublishing.com)
Writer(s): Ben Fielding & Reuben Morgan


Let’s open up with an acknowledgment of the Gospel Nugget in the song:

While I was a slave to sin
Jesus died for me

In this little nugget, we have Law (I was a slave to sin) and Gospel (Jesus died for me). This alone is enough to keep the song in the “middle category”. However, it is exceedingly frustrating that the rest of the song is so “me-centric” rather than focusing on Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Let’s build out this nugget with some Scripture:

Romans 5:6-11 (ESV) For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Verse 1. So, right at the beginning, we have an interesting question of “Who am I…?” This question pops up a few times in the Old Testament. The first is when God, speaking to Moses from the Burning Bush, calls Moses to rescue Israel out of Egypt.

Exodus 3:7-15 (ESV) Then the Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. And now, behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” He said, “But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.”

Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.

This was Moses trying to back down from the call because he’s a nobody in the eyes of Pharaoh. Notice that God’s response isn’t to tell Moses who Moses is, but who God is. Moses is type and shadow of Jesus Who would later come to rescue the Church (Israel) out of slavery to sin (Egypt). Another place we can look for the question of “who am I” is King David, who also prefigures Christ, decides he wants to build a House for the LORD (2 Sam 7). But the Word of the LORD come to Nathan and tells him to go and speak to David a Word of the Lord. The LORD tells David he will not build the LORD’s house, but the LORD will build his house.

2 Samuel 7:12-16 (ESV) When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.’”

Here we see the LORD speaking of His Son, Jesus, the Messiah… born in the City of David, descended of David. Let’s look at David’s response:

2 Samuel 7:17-29 (ESV) In accordance with all these words, and in accordance with all this vision, Nathan spoke to David. Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far?And yet this was a small thing in your eyes, O Lord God. You have spoken also of your servant’s house for a great while to come, and this is instruction for mankind, O Lord God! And what more can David say to you? For you know your servant, O Lord God! Because of your promise, and according to your own heart, you have brought about all this greatness, to make your servant know it. Therefore you are great, O Lord God. For there is none like you, and there is no God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears. And who is like your people Israel, the one nation on earth whom God went to redeem to be his people, making himself a name and doing for them great and awesome things by driving out before your people, whom you redeemed for yourself from Egypt, a nation and its gods? And you established for yourself your people Israel to be your people forever. And you, O Lord, became their God. And now, O Lord God, confirm forever the word that you have spoken concerning your servant and concerning his house, and do as you have spoken. And your name will be magnified forever, saying, ‘The Lord of hosts is God over Israel,’ and the house of your servant David will be established before you. For you, O Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, have made this revelation to your servant, saying, ‘I will build you a house.’ Therefore your servant has found courage to pray this prayer to you. And now, O Lord God, you are God, and your words are true, and you have promised this good thing to your servant. Now therefore may it please you to bless the house of your servant, so that it may continue forever before you. For you, O Lord God, have spoken, and with your blessing shall the house of your servant be blessed forever.”

Notice that David understands that this isn’t about him, or who he is, but about God and Who He is. He believes the Promise of God through Faith in His Word. So when this song starts off with this question of “Who am I”, I’m hoping the answer to the question that will be pulled from the song will be along the lines of “it’s not about who I am, but about who God is.”

The song doesn’t really answer it, though. The song just winds up saying how great I am, I’m set free, I’m a child of God, I’m ransomed, He loves me… but the focus is all about “me”. This isn’t preaching a theology of the Cross; rather, it is promoting a theology of glory. Look at how great “ME” is thanks to Jesus.

Chorus. The Gospel nugget is in the chorus, and we’ve covered that. The Chorus is building up to the driving point of the song, I am awesome.

Bridge. This is the main point of this anthem, it’s all about self-affirmation. The mystical format of the song (emotional manipulation) sets up this bridge as the driving point of the song:

I am chosen
Not forsaken
I am who You say I am
You are for me
Not against me
I am who You say I am

While each of these themes can be rightly preached, these are just ear-tickling soundbites set to an emotionally charged rhythm. We’ll look at how we might fill out the doctrine here a bit in our conclusion section, in an attempt to somehow salvage this “me-fest”.


While the song does contain a Gospel-nugget, the focus of the song isn’t the Gospel of Jesus Christ; rather, the focus of the song is “self-esteem” through soundbites set to a mystical form of music.

How would I correct this one? Well, I wouldn’t recommend replacing any Traditional hymn or doctrinally rich song with this “me” anthem in church, that’s for sure. But, if we understand that the answer to the question of “who am I” is ever and always, “I am a poor miserable sinner in need of God’s Grace and Forgiveness and Mercy”, then we can set our minds on Thanksgiving to God that isn’t self-aggrandizing. For this, let’s look at Paul’s opening in his letter to the Ephesians:

Ephesians 1:1-2:10 (ESV)

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

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.

Don’t look to “me” for the answer of “who am I”… Look to Christ and Who He Is and His finished work on the Cross for your sin and mine.

In Christ Jesus,

DiM | “What a Beautiful Name” by Hillsong Worship

disapproveCCM/Evangelical Worship Edition.

February 14, 2017. Today we’ll be taking a look at “What a Beautiful Name” by Hillsong Worship which currently sits at #17 on 20TheCountdownMagazine.

Hillsong doesn’t write music for Biblical worship, they write mood music for mystical/emotional experiences sold with an empty promise of deepening your intimacy with God, not through reading and studying His word, but by directly experiencing God’s “Presence”. That is the theology they push, that is the aim of their marketing/money-making arm known as “Hillsong Worship”. They package an emotion and sell it as spirituality. This song earns a spot on our “Disapproved” list, but we will examine the theology behind the song by looking at what Hillsong says about it, and we’ll examine the clear scriptures. I don’t recommend including this song in your “contemporary worship” (COWO) service.


Lyrics (via Hillsong)

Verse 1
You were the Word at the beginning
One with God the Lord Most High
Your hidden glory in creation
Now revealed in You our Christ

Chorus 1
What a beautiful Name it is
What a beautiful Name it is
The Name of Jesus Christ my King
What a beautiful Name it is
Nothing compares to this
What a beautiful Name it is
The Name of Jesus

Verse 2
You didn’t want heaven without us
So Jesus You brought heaven down
My sin was great Your love was greater
What could separate us now

Chorus 2
What a wonderful Name it is
What a wonderful Name it is
The Name of Jesus Christ my King
What a wonderful Name it is
Nothing compares to this
What a wonderful Name it is
The Name of Jesus
What a wonderful Name it is
The Name of Jesus

Death could not hold You
The veil tore before You
You silence the boast of sin and grave
The heavens are roaring
The praise of Your glory
For You are raised to life again

You have no rival
You have no equal
Now and forever God You reign
Yours is the kingdom
Yours is the glory
Yours is the Name above all names

Chorus 3
What a powerful Name it is
What a powerful Name it is
The Name of Jesus Christ my King
What a powerful Name it is
Nothing can stand against
What a powerful Name it is
The Name of Jesus

What a powerful Name it is The Name of Jesus
What a powerful Name it is The Name of Jesus

Words and Music by Ben Fielding & Brooke Ligertwood


Hillsong teaches false doctrine. There is no getting around that and I’m definitely not inclined to side-step their false gospel. They push the Word of Faith (WoF) heresy. They don’t preach repentance. Brian Houston is a notorious bible-twister. Their doctrine of “worship” borrows heavily from New Age worship of “Presence” rather than a Biblical understanding of worship. They are the masters of emotional manipulation to create a feeling or, as they put it, an “atmosphere of worship” where they suggest that our act of worship, our sincerity in our singing/emotions actually invites the very presence of God into the room. Any music coming out of Hillsong is suspect due to the false teaching the pervades its halls. In the past, the better songs that Hillsong has put out have been edits or rewrites of older hymns, and they’ve always been less theologically sound than their original hymns. From what I can tell, this song seems to be a Hillsong original. To begin our discussion, let us look at how they describe the purpose and creation of this song in one of their blogs.

What A Beautiful Name Song Story
Hillsong Worship
13 October 2016

What hides in the name of Jesus?

The name of Jesus encompasses more than we can hope or imagine—more beauty, more wonder, more power.

Most of the song “What A Beautiful Name” was penned in a glorified cubicle in the suburbs of Sydney over a few days in December 2015. From there we spent months crafting the lyrics to riff on our core scriptures — Hebrews 1:1-4 and Colossians 1:15-20, 26-27 — yet be simple enough to make sense on a first reading. Hebrews 1:1-4 expresses with clarity and conciseness the supremacy of Jesus Christ — the radiance of God’s glory, the exact expression of His being, the creative conduit of His power. Jesus is God’s Word: powerful, authoritative and utterly supreme. He is the wonder of salvation, who reconciled us to God.

Let’s pause here for just a moment. What hides in the name of Jesus? Is a terrible way to start this discussion. Why are we starting with the notion of attempting to discover something about Jesus that He has not already revealed to us in His Word? The next statement is objectively true right up until the break in the sentence “—” . The writers of the song are focusing on the beauty, wonder, and power that is beyond our hope or imagining and is hidden in the name of Jesus. We’ll see where they go with this, but first let us examine their “core scriptures”, because I noticed something in their citation in the Colossians text. As for their Hebrews text, they’ve truncated the introduction to Hebrews to just the opening thought. I wish Hillsong would continue reading through Hebrews 2:4 to see where the opening argument is building. But notice the break in the verses in the Colossians citation. What is being skipped? Colossians 1:21-25. Let’s see what’s in there.

Colossians 1:21-26 (ESV) 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.Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints.

Here is what is missing from the Hillsong theology in general and specifically in the formulation of this song. Hillsong preaches a theology of glory, rather than the theology of the cross. Hillsong doesn’t preach Christ and Him crucified for our sin so that we might be forgiven and reconciled to God saving us from wrath, Hillsong tries to move “beyond salvation” into us doing stuff to bring Him extra Glory. That’s how they teach worship, that’s how they teach prayer (WoF), and that’s how they teach intimacy with God (mysticism).  They skip over the verses that don’t fit their narrative. Paul is preaching the supremacy of Christ in our salvation, the hope of the gospel which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven. This doesn’t leave a lot of room for “new revelations”, which is a big deal in Hillsong theology. The mystery hidden for ages and generations is now (the time of the Apostle Paul) revealed to his saints (the Church). Again, this cuts against the grain of Hillsong’s push for new knowledge, hidden secrets, and fresh revelation. So, they bounce back to the Hebrews 1:1-4 passage and camp out on the trailing thought that we now listen to Christ so that they can suggest there’s  more for us to know (reflecting back to the opening thought in this blog of “what’s hidden in the name of Jesus”).

To know God and to worship Him (“to enjoy Him forever”) is the most fundamental reason for our existence. As Jesus reveals the great mysteries of God, we come to know more of who God is, glimpsing new facets of His beauty, wonder and power.

“Beauty” evokes the tenderness of His love and the sweetness of His presence. “Wonder” speaks to our gratitude for salvation, awe at the lengths of His sacrifice. “Power” affirms His supremacy and Sovereignty—an exhortation to remember our access to the power of God in every situation, as we call upon and declare the Name of Jesus.

This section begins with a bit of a hat-tip to the first question in the Westminster Shorter Catechism (ref), “What is the chief end of man?” Where Hillsong gets squirrelly is in how they formulate and define what it means to “worship” and “enjoy” Him. Hillsong will not be looking to Westminster for this definition, they have their own. What we see next is the emphasis on the hidden secrets, the hidden knowledge, special revelation of the new facets of His beauty, wonder, and power. There is a bit of gnostic mysticism in this focus, and it’s being processed sensually (focusing on sensual themes of enjoying His beauty, wonder, and power).

Jesus has the Name above all others. Anything that we can name – from our greatest triumphs to our greatest challenges—comes under the authority of His Name. This song confesses that no greater beauty or source of wonder exists outside of Jesus, “the radiance of God’s glory” (Hebrews 1:3). The song is also a statement that Jesus has no rival or equal. His power is unmatched and absolute.

It is interesting they keep building their case from the Hebrews text. Rather than pull from clear teaching of scripture, they keep embellishing this “radiance of God’s glory” motif. Understand that I’m in no way undercutting the Hebrews text, but this is an odd reference point for understanding the Name that is above all names. A clearer text would be Phil 2:1-11, for example.

Philippians 2:1-11 (ESV) | Christ’s Example of Humility

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Theology of the cross. Christ humbled Himself, and God has highly exalted Him. To what end? That every knee bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. But this end has already been secured by Christ in His finished work on the cross. We have no active role to play in this bringing glory to God. Ours is but to confess Christ.

The purpose of the song, as we’ll see in the close of the blog, isn’t to remind the listener of what Christ has already done; rather, it is to motivate the hearer to push for something more intimate, more fresh, more sensual.

Perhaps some of us understand God loves us through the death and resurrection of Jesus, but haven’t grasped His power, ability and will to move strongly in our present circumstances. Or perhaps, we understand God as the supreme, omnipotent Deity He is, but have never known Him close and tender, as a friend acquainted with the depths of our humanity, knowing our flaws cannot perturb His love. Our prayer for this song is that we can all enter into a deeper, more lateral, revelation of the person of Jesus Christ—the epitome of beauty.

Rather nonsensical, mystical, and oddly sensual goal for this song. Stop pointing believers to their own emotions for deeper understanding of God, and start pointing them to the how Christ has already revealed Himself to the Church, in His Written Word.

Song Lyrics

Verse 1. The first two lines remind me of John 1:1-14. The third line, though… doesn’t quite make sense. It flies in the face of Romans 1:18-23, particularly v20, “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” That fourth line continues the nonsensical by suggesting Jesus’ hidden glory is now reveled in Himself. It’s intentionally obscured, because according to Hillsong theology, Christ’s glory must be pursued empirically, through their form of worship.

Chorus. The chorus in most Hillsong music generally serves as more of a mantra than a confession or teaching. This is especially true of today’s song.  It’s an emotional mantra meant to focus the congregant on imagining the hidden beauty of His Name. The intent is to create a sensation of “deep intimacy” with the Presence of God.

Verse 2. Just awful. This is a throw-away divine romance notion. God didn’t create Adam and Eve in heaven, He created them on Earth. The final destination for those who are of the household of Faith isn’t Heaven, it’s a New Heaven and a New Earth. We sinned. We rebelled against God. We deserve His eternal wrath and destruction.

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.

Bridge. Its mystical form makes clarity hard to grasp here. It’s just a random collection of some of the attributes of the Person and Work of Jesus Christ in His death and resurrection without granting a unified proclamation of the Gospel. The focus here isn’t clarity of doctrine; rather, it is an emotional experience of the “beauty, wonder, and power of His Name”.


As always, Hillsong music is a dangerous brew of leaven. There are clear passages of scripture that we can turn for an understanding of the Name that is above all names, the Name of Jesus Christ. The Church is baptized into the Name of God the Father, God the Son Jesus Christ, and God the Holy Spirit. There is much to be seen of God that He has revealed of Himself plainly to us in Scripture. The pursuit of hidden knowledge is dangerous and even deadly to our faith, particularly when that pursuit is encouraged empirically or sensually, looking within ourselves and our emotions rather than on the objective Word of God.

Jude 24-25 (ESV) 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,

DiM | “Broken Vessels (Amazing Grace)” by Hillsong Worship

disapproveEvangelical Worship Edition.

August 25, 2016. So, it’s been a while since we last took a look at an Evangelical Worship song. Today we’re taking a look at “Broken Vessels (Amazing Grace)” from Hillsong Worship. I pulled this song from the “popular songs” list found at WorshipTogether.com, a website that pushes a majority of the “contemporary worship” music to music leaders around the world. They promote all things Passion, Hillsong, Jesus Culture (Bethel), and those who mimic their style. None of these “ministries” preach sound doctrine, yet countless churches around the globe are using their songs in their services.

The theology coming out of Hillsong isn’t a theology of the Cross (though the cross gets mentioned); rather, it is a theology of glory. They preach the christian and the christian life rather than Christ crucified for our sins. We’ll see that in today’s song. We’ll also see that Hillsong avoids sin, repentance, and forgiveness. Hillsong doesn’t preach original sin Biblically, instead they preach of our innate potential for greatness that is broken, until we give ourselves to God and then He’ll put us back together and set us on our destined path to greatness that will itself shine a light to the broken people of the world, so that they, in turn, might also do what we have done to become what we can become. Theology of Glory.

Official Lyric Video

Well, the video runs through the lyrics of the song in under 4min. However, it’s a 9:28min video. What’s going on for the remaining five and a half minutes? Emotional manipulation. The Hillsong doctrine of worship is to “invite the Presence of the spirit” through emotional ‘worship’. Music is powerful, and moves the flesh like nothing else on earth.

Lyrics (via WorshipTogether)

All these pieces
Broken and scattered
In mercy gathered
Mended and whole
Empty handed
But not forsaken
I’ve been set free
I’ve been set free

Amazing grace
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost
But now I’m found
Was blind but now I see

Oh I can see You now
Oh I can see the love in Your eyes
Laying Yourself down
Raising up the broken to life

You take our failure
You take our weakness
You set Your treasure
In jars of clay
So take this heart Lord
I’ll be your vessel
The world to see
Your life in me

Writer(s): Joel Houston, Jonas Myrin
CCLI #: 7019974


Now, the song pulls from the hymn by John Newton called Amazing Grace. That song serves as a reminder of the Grace of God and the assurance of the Promise of the Resurrection in Christ Jesus, an eternity in the Kingdom of God. A reminder that God’s Grace is greater than our sin. The hymn doesn’t teach a lot of Scripture, it’s purpose is to remind the congregation of what they’ve already been taught concerning salvation and the forgiveness of sin. There are 6 verses to that song which bear out the theology. Our song today from Hillsong, only pulls the one verse and uses it as a pre-chorus. This verse of “Amazing Grace” doesn’t stand on its own. It really needs the other verses for clarity. Hillsong’s verses and chorus don’t add any clarity to the doctrine.

Verse 1. This verse is a mystically muddled mess. There is absolutely no clarity in these lines. Remember the point of Hillsong worship, it is to create mental imagery, to evoke a deeply felt emotion or sensation of feeling the Presence of the spirit… it isn’t clarity of thought or teaching they seek. The less they define, the less they have to explain and the more of the burden they can place on you. But knowing enough of Hillsong’s doctrine, we can attempt to fill in the thoughts they are aiming for. All these pieces Broken and scattered is Hillsong’s replacement for “born dead in trespasses and sins” in Eph 2.

Ephesians 2:1-3 (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.

Hillsong doesn’t preach sin and repentance. Instead, they want to be as inclusive as possible, so instead of referencing the Law of God through which the Holy Spirit works to convict the world of sin, Hillsong will used coded language of broken pieces scattered so that those who reject the concept of sin can still play along, because everyone can relate to brokenness, no faith required for that. No repentance, either. You see, when you can cloak sinfulness as something we are a victim of, then you cannot lovingly make a call to repent. Now, are we broken? Yes. We are fallen. We are born dead in sins, and we actively pursue sin. Once we’ve been granted saving Faith in Christ Jesus, our flesh is still broken, and actively works against the Spirit. So, yes, we are broken, but not as mere victims of some external force. That brokenness is in the seat of our passions, from our fleshly hearts flow sinful desires, lusts, passions, of which we are to repent and die to, daily, in Jesus’ Name. By Faith in Him.

In mercy gathered, Mended and whole. What’s missing? Forgiveness. You can’t speak of forgiveness when you avoid speaking of sin. What is the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Forgiveness. Jesus didn’t preach “wholeness and a victorious life”, He preached “Repent! for the Kingdom of God is at hand” (Matthew 4:12-17). What we desperately need is repentance and the forgiveness of sin. Another glaring issue with this language, is that without the objective Truth of God’s Word of forgiveness of sins in Christ Jesus, we are left looking for our own mendedness and wholeness for the assurance of salvation. How absolutely horrible to bind someone to a pursuit of fleshly perfection for the assurance of his/her salvation.  Horrible. So this circles back to the goal of Hillsong worship music, to make you feel warm and fuzzy on the inside so that you can connect that feeling with being in the Presence of god (The capitalization I’m employing is intentional. They are worshiping an idol of an emotional experience, not the God of the Bible).

Empty handed But not forsaken. This seems like an attempt to offer something in the way of touching on the concept that we have nothing to offer God for our own salvation, which is absolutely true, we have nothing to offer for our salvation, except the sin that we need forgiveness for and salvation from. This thought is confused in this song, since later the song talks of giving our hearts, and Hillsong Church is quick to bind the conscience of the believer to give financially to them… sacrificially for those who are empty-handed, to the empire of Hillsong. But I digress… for now, this line is filler in the verse to get to the chorus. I’ve been set free from what? brokenness. But what if I still feel broken? Am I free?

Pre-Chorus. General pre-Chorus pulled from a popular and beloved hymn. We’ve already addressed its use in this song in the first paragraph, so let’s move on to the chorus.

Chorus. This chorus is the main thrust of the song, both in the song portion and in the extra portion at the end. Oh I can see You now Oh I can see the love in Your eyes… and here is where we get to the Sarah Young “Jesus Calling” modern mystic portion of the song. No one in the band, or in the congregation, or in ear-shot of this emotional song is seeing Jesus, nor are they seeing love in His eyes. No one. They might be imagining, or “visualizing” it, but none of them are seeing it. This is mystical nonsense. What’s sad is this is the central focus of the majority of the song (5:30min)… just keep singing and emoting until you can drum up enough emotional goo so that you can claim to (or even believe) you can see Jesus and the Love in His eyes. If you want to see Jesus, look for Him in His Word. For Christ is the Word made flesh. He is currently in Heaven and has promised to be found in His Word, in the waters of Baptism (we are baptised into Christ), and in Communion (this is my body… this is my blood). Even if you refuse to confess His presence in Communion and in the waters of Baptism, you still have Christ in His Word. Christ hasn’t promised to meet you in your emotions. Please stop looking for Him there. Laying Yourself down Raising up the broken to life. If the rest of the theology in this song were sound, I’d be tempted to give this line a pass. Christ described His death and resurrection as lying down His life and taking it back up again (John 10). But there’s the vague language of “broken” rather than “dead in sin”. If the song elsewhere connected brokenness to sinfulness, this line would get a pass.

Verse 2. Again we see stand-ins for sin, namely “failures” and “weakness”. You set Your treasure in jars of clay. What treasure might that be? The Gospel of Jesus Christ is what it should be. We’ve been given the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the mystery of the Gospel is what we’ve been given. Is that where this song is headed? So take this heart Lord I’ll be your vessel The world to see Your life in me. Nope. Theology of glory. Rather than preach the Cross, the song aims for a glorious life of example that others will see and desire for themselves. So what happens when we don’t live up to this life? We are left to question whether or not we are truly saved, whether or not we are in Christ. There is no assurance here. Such bondage. Such a crushing weight to bear. This isn’t the Gospel, this is the Law… and it is crushing.

Ephesians 2:4-10 (ESV)

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

Here is where we find the assurance of Salvation, in the Written Word of God. It is by Grace, through Faith in Christ Jesus. Not a result of works… no one may boast. Whether or not you feel it, is irrelevant.


If you’re aim in selecting song which proclaim the Gospel, or teach sound doctrine for the assurance of salvation in Christ Jesus, I don’t recommend this song. I don’t recommend this song for anything other than elevator music in the Mall… maybe in that environment folks will get Amazing Grace in their heads (hopefully they know 2 or 3 verses). As for Church worship, this song doesn’t point to Christ or His Word, it points us to ourselves, or to those around us who are clearly more spiritual than we are… at least they seem to be really feeling the Presence more than I am.  Preach the Word. Sing the Word. Repent and be forgiven of your sin in Jesus’ Name. In closing, let us look to Romans 10 to address the error in the final part of this song lyric, concerning the treasure of the Gospel.

Romans 10:11-17 (ESV)

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

Amen. Share the Gospel and speak God’s Word for the world to hear.
In Christ Jesus,

DiM | “Cornerstone” by Hillsong Worship

Presentation1Evangelical Worship Edition.

February 25, 2016. Today we are taking a look at songs we’ve not yet covered on the Popular Songs list at WorshipTogether. We’ll be looking at “Cornerstone” by Hillsong Worship. It’s not a new song, but it’s probably going to be one of Hillsong’s most enduring songs. Once we’ve rounded out the list of Popular songs on this site, our Evangelical Worship Edition will start looking at the “New Songs” list.

Hillsong Worship. Hillsong church is a house of heresy. It is an enemy to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Brian Houston is a false teacher, a wolf in the pulpit. Brian and his fellow preachers twist the Scriptures for shameful gain. Everything that comes out of this “ministry” is suspect. Having said that, this song is salvageable in that when the proper theology is applied to the song, there is some merit in its lyric. This song being played in a Hillsong affiliated church? Not good. This song being played in a doctrinally sound church for corporate worship? Potentially beneficial.

Music Video (Live at RELEVANT)


Lyrics (via WorshipTogether)

Verse 1
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and  righteousness
I dare not trust the  sweetest frame
But wholly  trust is Jesus’ name

Christ alone, Cornerstone
Weak made strong in the Savior’s love
Through the storm He is Lord
Lord of all

Verse 2
When darkness seems to hide His face
I rest on His unchanging grace
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil
My anchor holds within the veil

Verse 3
When he shall come with trumpet sound
Oh may I then in Him be found
Dressed in His righteousness alone
Faultless stand before the throne

Writer(s): Edward Mote, Eric Liljero, Jonas Myrin, Reuben Morgan
Ministry(s): Hillsong
CCLI #: 6158927
Scripture Reference(s): Psalm 118:21-23, Isaiah 28:16, Matthew 21:41-43


Let us begin by taking a look at the cited Scripture References.

Matthew 21:41-43 (ESV)
41 They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons.”

42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:

“‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
this was the Lord’s doing,
and it is marvelous in our eyes’?

43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits.

Here Jesus is referring to a couple of Scriptures. I want to expand the references a bit for the sake of context. These are clearly pointing to Christ.

Psalm 118:19-24 (ESV)
19 Open to me the gates of righteousness,
that I may enter through them
and give thanks to the Lord.
20 This is the gate of the Lord;
the righteous shall enter through it.
21 I thank you that you have answered me
and have become my salvation.
22 The stone that the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone.
23 This is the Lord’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Isaiah 28:14-17 (ESV) | A Cornerstone in Zion
14 Therefore hear the word of the Lord, you scoffers,
who rule this people in Jerusalem!
15 Because you have said, “We have made a covenant with death,
and with Sheol we have an agreement,
when the overwhelming whip passes through
it will not come to us,
for we have made lies our refuge,
and in falsehood we have taken shelter”;
16 therefore thus says the Lord God,
“Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion,
    a stone, a tested stone,
a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation:
‘Whoever believes will not be in haste.’
17 And I will make justice the line,
and righteousness the plumb line;
and hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and waters will overwhelm the shelter.”

These passages are being cited in context. That’s impressive to me. These passages point to the work of Jesus Christ in His first advent. These were not purely prophetically pointing forward, but we have also what the Apostles taught regarding Christ as the cornerstone. We’ll get to the song lyric in a bit, but I want to discuss the picture of Christ as the Cornerstone and a Firm Foundation.

Cornerstone and Firm Foundation of What?

That’s the big question. In the Old Testament they would have assumed a new Temple of God, maybe even a New Kingdom. We who belong to the New Covenant understand that all of these are true and they find their fulfillment in the Person and Work of God the Son, Jesus Christ. The writer of Hebrews goes to great lengths to flesh out how the Old Covenant foreshadowed pointed to, was fulfilled in, and replaced by Jesus Christ the Messiah. There is no longer a physical Temple in Jerusalem, so this isn’t a work being made by man. Instead, the foundation and cornerstone refer to the Church, the Body and Bride of Christ.

Ephesians 2:11-22 (ESV) | One in Christ
11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

Amen! We are the Body of Christ, we stand on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets (the Divinely Inspired Scriptures, the Written Word of God) with Christ as its cornerstone. And in Christ we are being joined together and growing into a holy temple a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. Notice how this New Testament teaching in no way undermines the prophetic passages in Psalms or Isaiah… everything points to Christ and His Person and Work.

The Lyric of the Song

There are several lines in the song that convey parts of the Gospel for those with eyes to see and ears to hear. It isn’t clear enough (in my opinion) for the unbeliever to hear the Gospel, but as I said earlier when sung within the context of a biblically-sound church, it can be profitable for encouragement.

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness…
I rest on His unchanging grace…
may I then in Him be found dressed in His righteousness alone…

These lines put together a picture of the Promise of Salvation because of Christ’s penal substitutionary atonement for our sin. When we stand before the Throne of God, by faith we will not be standing on our own righteousness, but we will be dressed in His righteousness. Praise the Lord!

Another line I really love in this song is “My anchor holds within the veil”. In its best light, it’s an artistic reference to Hebrews 6. Let’s take a look.

Hebrews 6:13-20 (ESV) | The Certainty of God’s Promise
For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise. For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation. So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

The Person and Work of Jesus Christ is the assurance of our salvation. Praise the Lord.

A call to discernment

Now, with all of the good found in this song, why didn’t it earn an approval? Because for all of the good that can be found in the song, it has to be properly aligned with Scripture for the message to come out clearly. Hillsong doesn’t preach a christocentric Gospel. Hillsong preaches man-centered false theology. Hillsong doesn’t hold to the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Hillsong promotes, encourages, and blesses modern-day false prophets. They don’t rebuke self-appointed apostles. Hillsong promotes a form of christianity that circumvents the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets and preaches a different christ, a different cornerstone, a different spirit, a different gospel. Their Presence theology encourages a mystical and emotional direct connection to the spirit apart from the clear teaching of Scripture. So in that sense, they aren’t singing the same confession of scriptures we’ve just worked through.

Edit: I completely dropped the ball in this review when I failed to search for these lyrics in hymnals. “My Hope is Built on Nothing Less” by Edward Mote, 1797-1874. The Lutheran version doesn’t have the refrain added by William B Bradbury’s “Solid Rock” (reference). So that is why this song is so much better than most of what Hillsong puts out… Hillsong didn’t write it so much as repackage it, dropping a verse and changing the Refrain into a full chorus.


This is lyrically the best song I’ve reviewed coming out of Hillsong Worship. It’s vagueness is salvageable by sound doctrine, and exploitable by heretical teaching. This is a bit of an anomaly for music coming out of one of the major heresy houses (Hillsong, Bethel, IHOP, etc). That doesn’t mean we should be okay having it looped ad finitum to whip the congregation into an emotional frenzy, but it can be properly used for Biblical Worship. Please exercise discernment in how this is used, and ensure the congregation understands the connection of the Temple to Jesus Christ.

Jude 24-25 (ESV) 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,