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,

DiM | “One Thing” by Hillsong

Evangelical Worship Edition

January 25, 2016. In this edition we are going to be taking a look at the next song on the top new song list for 2015 found at Worship Together. Today’s song is “One Thing” by Hillsong Worship. If you’re idea of a worship song is to take the typical “woo your girlfriend for romance” type of song and replace “girlfriend” with “Jesus” and “romance” with a mystical experience (or just leave it as it is and call it ‘passion’), then this is the song for you. *sigh* 

This should never be played in a church service… but what worries me is that this was probably aggressively pushed at youth conferences/rallies/retreats.

Hillsong Worship Lyric Video


Lyrics (via Worship Together)

I tasted the world, seen more than
Enough, it’s promises fleeting.
Of water and wine I emptied the cup
And found myself wanting
But there is a well that never runs dry
The water of life, the blood of the Vine

And all I know is everything
I have means nothing
Jesus, if You’re not my one thing
Everything I need right now
All I need is You right now

Chorus 2
‘Cuz all i want is
Everything you are and nothing
Jesus if you’re not my one thing
Every thing to me right now

Just one thing I ask
And this I will seek, if
Only to know You
To be where You are and
Go where You lead, my God, I will follow
The things of this world, I’ve counted as loss
I lay it all down to take up this cross


Chorus 2

And I’ll sing, Whoa , whoa
I want nothing but to know
You and Be with You, my God

Chorus 2

Writer(s): Joel Houston, Aodhan King, Dylan Thomas
Theme(s): Call to Worship , Commitment & Dedication , Faith & Trust , Peace & Hope
CCLI #: 4869957
Scripture Reference(s): John 4:14; Psalm 27:4


Let’s begin with its Scripture Reference(s):

John 4:14 (ESV) but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.

Clearly this single verse isn’t the complete thought. However, this passage wasn’t torn out of its context for this song. The passage is referenced in a manner consistent with its context… though I really wish they’d reference the full passage. The point of the first verse of this song is an attempt to place the singer in the shoes of the adulterous Samaritan woman at the well. Let’s read it in its context.

John 4:1-42 (ESV) | Jesus and the Woman of Samaria

Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), he left Judea and departed again for Galilee.And he had to pass through Samaria. So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.

A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 1Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”

16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.”21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”

27 Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” 28 So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” 30 They went out of the town and were coming to him.

31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. 35 Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.36 Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 37 For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”

39 Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”

Such a powerful story. Jesus proclaimed Himself to be the Christ, to the Samaritans. But what is the water that flows from Jesus and becomes a spring of water in us unto eternal life? The Gospel of Jesus Christ, of forgiveness, of the waters of Baptism, of the resurrection and the Life in Christ Jesus. Does this song faithfully convey this? No… true to Hillsong teaching, it’s switched from the Gospel to some emotional worship experience that comes as a result of “making Jesus your One Thing”. What does that even mean? We’ll get to that, but for now lets move on to the other referenced passage.

Psalm 27:4 (ESV)
4 One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire in his temple.

This passage is used to explain the rest of the song. This one isn’t kept as contextually based as the other. The Seeker-driven approach to corporate worship connects exuberance and excitement to attend a Hillsong concert, or “worship experience” to dwelling in the house of the Lord and inquiring in his temple. They don’t focus on preaching the Word of the Lord, Law and Gospel. They are selling the exuberance, the emotion, the passion of the moment. Hillsong preaches the prosperity false-gospel, so they didn’t include the rest of the Psalm that demonstrates hardship and hard times. No, they pulled verse 4 to turn it into a formula that the song is presenting… If I make Jesus my One Thing, then I’ll have everything I need and nothing else will matter. The problem with this formula is the “if I make Jesus my One Thing”. No one is capable of making Jesus their one thing… for we are all sinners. We sin. This is LAW (do this to be righteous). The Samaritan at the well was familiar with the LAW… it wasn’t the LAW that forgave her, it was the Gospel. In this Psalm, David has asked for permission to dwell in the house of the Lord… and committed himself to seeking Him in His House. But he asked, because the LORD gives by His Grace and Mercy… it cannot be granted us by our merit, for we don’t merit anything and our vows are worthless. Only in Christ are granted access to God, adopted as sons through Him.

Verses. These verses are quite pious in their claims at rejecting earthly living. Notice there isn’t a mention of sin, guilt, shame, or repentance… there’s just a sense of “well, I’ve tried the world and am left empty and wanting more… I’m not satisfied”. This is the problem that Prosperity doctrine tries to remedy… not sin and the Wrath of God, but mediocrity, blandness, unfulfilled living. I don’t like throwing out the “pelagian” card, but that philosophy is here… as if to say that we are somewhat neutral at our core, but we’ve been looking to the wrong places for fulfillment… when what we should be doing is ignoring everything but Jesus so we can finally be fulfilled.  That’s not preaching neither God’s Law nor His Gospel… it’s scratching itching ears and teaching for shameful gain what ought not be taught.

Choruses. Here’s the wooing of “girlfriend Jesus”… where impossible promises are made to secure an intimate experience. No one else matters to me, hun, you’re the only one I seeNo one holds a candle to your radiant sunshine… or more directly, Nothing else matters to me than to make you my One Thing right now, in this moment, in this place.


So, the point of this song is to make a promise to Jesus that “you’ll make Him your One Thing” so that He’ll give you an emotional/spiritual experience in this moment… so you can feel Him… and then nothing else in the world will matter. So… what happens if you don’t feel Him? Well, just walk through the song to see that clearly you haven’t made Him your One Thing. You need to give sacrificially of your time or money… you need to do more… let go of more… until YOU’VE made Him your One Thing. Anything less than that is failure, worldliness, mediocrity. Law, law, law…. law. Who benefits from this? Hillsong. Who suffers? the congregant who recognizes his/her own sin and crushed by the LAW but isn’t preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the forgiveness of sin.

This song is abusive in its theology, and teens are particularly susceptible, given their fixation on the “here and now” and “emotional intelligence”. But they are not the only susceptible group… millions of people worldwide are held captive under this false doctrine of “experience” and law-heavy, man-centric piety.

Jesus is the well of Life… and you don’t even get to draw the bucket. He washes you, regenerates you, and Saves you. You contribute nothing but the sin that needs to be forgiven.

Jude 24-25 (ESV) | Doxology

24 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, 25 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 | “This is Living (feat Lecrae)” by Hillsong Young & Free

CCM Radio Edition

January 14, 2016. Today’s song is “This is Living” by Hillsong Worship. Now this song is going to have two separate DiM posts, this one and an Evangelical Worship Edition. Admittedly, I was quite flustered and upset toward the end of the worship review of this song, so I’m going to try to start this review with a bit of a clean slate. That being said, I’m not sure the lyric can be salvaged even for casual listening. Most of the song review will be the same from that DiM, but this one will have extra rap lyrics (feat Lecrae) and the Official Music Video attempts to provide scripture references that are, oddly enough, different from what the worship version claims. hmmm.

I’m a huge fan of techno or electronic dance music (EDM)… it’s my favorite form of music. It taps my emotions easily… which is what anyone can say of their favorite musical form. I enjoy other forms of music, too. I don’t think there’s any place for this form of music in corporate worship, but I whole-heartedly wish there was more doctrinally-sound lyrics set to this music. Honestly, I think simply setting narrative passages to this style of music would make memorization of scripture (for me at least) much easier. Despite my love for EDM, I will not be swayed in favor of this song. The lyric that is there needs to be sound.

Hillsong Young & Free Music Video (feat Lecrae)


Lyrics (via KLove)

Verse 1
Waking up knowing there’s a reason
All my dreams come alive
Life is for living with You
I’ve made my decision

Verse 2
You lift me up, fill my eyes with wonder
Forever young in Your love
This freedom’s untainted with You
No moment is wasted

See the sun now bursting through the clouds
Black and white turn to colour all around
All is new, in the Saviour I am found
This is living now
This is living now

Verse 3
You lead the way, God You’re right beside me
In Your love I’m complete
There’s nothing like living with You
This life You created I choose


You take me higher than I’ve been before
It’s Your perfect love that sees me soar
God Your freedom is an open door
You are everything I want and more

Maybe I ain’t really know what living is
Is it love if it was am I living it?
Do I live in it?
So astounding
Love is an ocean you can drown me
The sweet embrace the lovely taste
I taste and see I’m under Grace
The place to be it means I don’t ever need an umbrella
I’m cool in the cold and the hot weather
Whether or never I ever understand
I’m a man in the hands of great plans
I stand with faith in a life I never known or touched
It’s still outside my clutch but
I’m like what’s to dream of and what’s to hope in
What’s to die for and live to no end
This is living
The life I’ve been given’s a gift
If I’m gonna live it I’m gonna live it to death!



Publishing: © 2014 Hillsong Music Publishing (APRA) (admin. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com) / Unashamed Music (BMI)
Writer(s): Aodhan King, Joel Davies, and Lecrae


Let us begin by acknowledging the attempt at providing Scriptural context to the music video (even though it serves the radio listener no purpose). The video uses different versions of the bible, so we’ll continue using the ESV alongside the video’s versions.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT) This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

Okay, this is a much better proof-text that what was attempted in the worship version, because it at least provides a framework for what the lyrics are trying to say. Let’s look at the verse in context from a good translation.

2 Corinthians 5:11-21 (ESV) | The Ministry of Reconciliation

11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. 12 We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart. 13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. 16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Such a wonderful passage. Now, I wish this had truly been the foundation of the song, but even if it was the song misses the mark. You see, the song focuses so much on the saved individual that it misses the call to be an ambassador for Christ, entrusted with the message of reconciliation. It’s a message that must be preached, it cannot be acted out or pantomimed. Your best good works fall miserably short of the Message you were entrusted with to be a faithful steward of… the Message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the ministry of reconciliation to God. I have no doubt that the folks involved in this production intended to convey this message… but failure to handle the text properly leads to mishandling the Word and veering off-course into sensuality (feeding the senses).

As good an attempt as that first proof text was, the next one over achieves in demolition. The often misquoted John 10:10… but not the whole verse, so really John 10:10b, and that not even from a Bible translation, but a parody of the Bible called The Message. So, let’s begin with a good translation, in context, with the proof-text underlined… then we’ll look at what the Parody has to say (again, proof-text will be underlined):

John 10:7-16 (ESV)

So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock,one shepherd.

John 10:7-18 (MSG)

6-10 Jesus told this simple story, but they had no idea what he was talking about. So he tried again. “I’ll be explicit, then. I am the Gate for the sheep. All those others are up to no good—sheep stealers, every one of them. But the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.

11-13 “I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd puts the sheep before himself, sacrifices himself if necessary. A hired man is not a real shepherd. The sheep mean nothing to him. He sees a wolf come and runs for it, leaving the sheep to be ravaged and scattered by the wolf. He’s only in it for the money. The sheep don’t matter to him.

14-18 “I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own sheep and my own sheep know me. In the same way, the Father knows me and I know the Father. I put the sheep before myself, sacrificing myself if necessary. You need to know that I have other sheep in addition to those in this pen. I need to gather and bring them, too. They’ll also recognize my voice. Then it will be one flock, one Shepherd. This is why the Father loves me: because I freely lay down my life. And so I am free to take it up again. No one takes it from me. I lay it down of my own free will. I have the right to lay it down; I also have the right to take it up again. I received this authority personally from my Father.”

Ugh. False promise inserted into the text by the parody bible. Notice that this is where we get a lot of the “dream destiny thingy” or “peter pan” doctrine we see in the song. The MSG doesn’t even attempt to convey what is in the Greek. The real passage of scripture is about being protected, cared-for, guarded, and led by Christ, the Good Shepherd. Our freedom is in Christ… IN Christ, which means that our freedom is found in serving Him and growing in His Word. It’s not a freedom that we get from Him to then live our lives as we please or to chase fame, fortune, prosperity or our dream destinies.

The video moves on from these proof texts to its own sloganeering (Young and Free) while the video itself is a montage of supposedly “young and free” youths doing their own things… it really feels like a Nike commercial or a FitBit commercial. It’s telling the young, (sub)urban viewer, “this is what you want to be doing, this is where you want to be going, this is what you want  you-being-you to look like… and then the song starts. But there is something more to the messaging that I find particularly troubling… and it comes in the timing of the video with the lyrics, particularly in the hook, “this is living now”. The video is targeting (sub)urban youth with the message that they can “live it up” like the world does, only it’s untainted when they do it because they’ve “made a decision for Christ” so it’s all cool, fun, hip, AND sanctified so come join the club. Uhm… that’s not Christianity. But it’s powerfully enticing to youth growing up in seeker-sensitive, emotionally driven churches.

Now let’s work through the song lyrics. I’m going to leave what we already covered in the Evangelical version in-place… so we’re really just going to skip to Lecrae’s addition.

Verse 1. There’s a reason all my dreams have come alive? What dreams? Jesus didn’t die on the cross to regenerate your dreams. Salvation isn’t about bringing your dreams back to life. What did you dream about before you were made alive in Christ Jesus? Sin. You followed the course of this world, the prince of the power of the air… you dreamed of carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, the passions of your flesh (Eph 2:1-10). That was what you dreamed about. Jesus didn’t die for those dreams to come alive. He died to rescue your soul from God’s Wrath to be set free from sin that controlled your heart and mind. So, you’ve made your decision? That’s great. What decision was that… to make yourself alive in Christ? We’ve covered that, that wasn’t your decision to make while you were still an unbeliever. Now, once you’ve been regenerated by the Holy Spirit and made a new creation in Christ Jesus, yes… there are some decisions that need to be made, sure. But I’m certain this line of the song is a reach back to Finneyism, decisional regeneration (I was saved because I chose to raise my hand and ‘say yes’ to Jesus).

Verse 2. Peter Pan theology. Drivel. Just… no.

Pre-Chorus. This is just some odd vision-scaping here. There is nothing real being said of Christ Jesus here. Fluff.

Chorus. Pitiful. Painting freedom in Christ as a door to Neverland, where all of our dreams come true and we never have to grow up or deal with consequences again.

Lecrae. Well, he’s skilled in the delivery of the quick-paced lyric. I’m not going to quibble with his poetic depiction of the Grace of God and the Love of God being an ocean. That’s fine. The song has been very self-centered thus far, so at least he’s pointing to God in the lyric, to some degree. But I start to recoil at the line The place to be it means I don’t ever need an umbrella. Hold the phone… are we saying that being a Christian means never having to deal with hard times? It doesn’t rain on Christians, metaphorically speaking?

Matthew 5:43-45 (ESV) | Love Your Enemies

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

1 Peter 1:3-9 (ESV) | Born Again to a Living Hope

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

His lyric works its way back to the confession that the life we live is a gift from God. That is true. What if our life is hard, boring, filled with trials, tests, sickness, poverty…. still true. Evangelicalism has a very bad habit of taking promises of eternity and applying them to this temporal life simply because “I’ve made a decision for God”. That, my friend, gets a red card, foul whistle, a flag on the play. There are promises for eternity and there are promises for the temporal, learn to know which is which. Lecrae’s lyric doesn’t end with any more specific Christian encouragement than what Hillsong offered.


Ultimately this is just an upbeat Electronic Dance Music (EDM) track with some vague vocals that anyone can sing along and quite literally infuse any meaning they want and a quick-rap lyric to boot. The video is a montage of what every youth pastor wishes they could show of their youth group outings… beautiful people, lots of beautiful smiles, fun times, zaniness, games, yay!

I don’t think this song topped the charts because it wasn’t heavily promoted on Radio; rather, this is geared for heavy promotion on youth groups, youth conferences, etc.

Jude 24-25 (ESV) | Doxology

24 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, 25 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,