DiM | “Because He Lives (Amen)” by Matt Maher

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

February 3, 2015. Today, we will be taking a look at song #13 on the Top 20 Songs at 20theCountdownMagazine website, “Because He Lives (Amen)” by Matt Maher. The song has an anthemic vibe (typical of Matt Maher and Chris Tomlin), a catchy tune, and Matt’s vocals are strong. It is cleverly written to get those who know the Hymn to fill in the gaps in the message automatically. Sadly, for those who don’t know what was conveyed in the hymn, the song doesn’t stand on its own. The hymn didn’t tell the full story (no repentance and a little bit self-focused), but it did a much better job than this song does.

Music Videos

Lyrics (via K-Love)

Because He Lives (Amen) by Matt MaherI BELIEVE IN THE SON
I BELIEVE IN THE RISEN ONE
I BELIEVE I OVERCOME
BY THE POWER OF HIS BLOOD

(CHORUS)
AMEN
AMEN
I’M ALIVE
I’M ALIVE
BECAUSE HE LIVES
AMEN
AMEN
LET MY SONG JOIN THE ONE THAT NEVER ENDS
BECAUSE HE LIVES

I WAS DEAD IN THE GRAVE
I WAS COVERED IN SIN AND SHAME
I HEARD MERCY CALL MY NAME
HE ROLLED THE STONE AWAY

(CHORUS)

BECAUSE HE LIVES
I CAN FACE TOMORROW
BECAUSE HE LIVES
EVERY FEAR IS GONE
I KNOW HE HOLDS MY LIFE MY FUTURE IN HIS HANDS

(CHORUS)

Publishing: © 2014 Hanna Street Music (BMI) (Adm. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com)/ Sony/ATV Tree Publishing / I Am A Pilgrim Songs (BMI) / Sony/ATV Timber Publishing / Open Hands Music (SESAC) / Alletrop Music (BMI) (admin. by Music Services) / worshiptogether.com songs / sixsteps music (ASCAP) (Adm. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com) / Worship Together Music / sixsteps songs / SDG Publishing (BMI) (Adm. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com)
Writer(s): Bill & Gloria Gaither, Matt Maher, Jason Ingram, Ed Cash, Daniel Carson, Chris Tomlin

Positive Elements

There is an allusion to the Hymn “Because He Lives“, which is a good song. The best thing about this song by Matt Maher is that it reminds older Christians of that hymn. Unfortunately, if you’ve grown up in contemporary worship… you probably have never heard of that song. I’m thinking this is why Bill & Gloria Gaither are included in the list of writers.

Concerns

Had I seen the list of 7 writers before seeing the lyrics of the song, I would have been greatly disappointed by the vagueness and brevity of the message of the songs. Such a vague song. Never identifying who the Son is, or the Father. No mention of repentance and the forgiveness of sins. This song simply can’t wait to jump to “me”.

The second verse is very odd to me. While we are born dead in sins and transgressions, we aren’t yet in the grave. Before we are regenerated by faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we walked in our sin, transgressions, and death. The line “He rolled the stone away” is odd, too, at least in this verse if we are to connect it to our sinful state… are we placing ourselves in the resurrection of Jesus? In the Baptism, we do join (by faith) in His death and resurrection… but is that being properly conveyed here? I don’t think so. I don’t mean to impune the intent the song’s writers, but the brevity of the song and this verse makes clarity tough to achieve. If you cannot be clear with the analogy, either write more verse(s) or dump the analogy and declare the Gospel outright.

I also struggle with the use of the word “Mercy” calling our name. Grace and Mercy are not interchangeable terms in the New Testament. Since this verse is alluding to Ephesians 2, let’s look at the passage.

Ephesians 2:1-10 (ESV) | By Grace Through Faith
2 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 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— 3 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. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

So why use “Mercy call my name”? The song doesn’t preach Law or repentance. When we preach Grace, we include the need for the atonement. Society sees “grace” and they think of a temporary reprieve, but the payment is still due. That is fitting; however, in the case of the Gospel of Jesus Christ the payment has already been made. We still need only confess our sinful state and repent from our sins and receive the Grace of God by faith in Christ Jesus, and this we do on a daily basis for as long as we continue living in these sinful bodies. Mercy comes after the judgment, it doesn’t skip it. While I may be splitting hairs a bit, I feel like keeping the terms and concepts of Grace and Mercy in their proper places in Scripture.

Conclusion

The world is eating up the lawless version of God’s love and mercy, and churches are crumbling under the pressure of “church growth” and “seeker sensitivity”. With the recent news of another megachurch declaring unrepentant sexual immorality to be an acceptable lifestyle for Christians, I think of this song being played on the radio or even in the worship service at such a church. Let’s sing about the self-esteem building side of the Gospel without mentioning the Law which identifies sin in our lives. Ultimately, the song is too vague to be given a pass. It’s a somewhat random collection of ideas that point to the Gospel, but they are not articulated well… and I’m comparing it to a short hymn. Did this song really take 7 writers?

Jude 1:20-25 (ESV) 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh. 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.

To God be the glory, Amen.
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

DiM | “Lord I’m Ready Now” by Plumb

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

January 27, 2015. Today we are going to take a look at the #10 spot on the 20theCountdownMagazine top 20 songs list, “Lord I’m Ready Now” by Plumb. This is the first time we are reviewing a song by Plumb and, sadly, this one isn’t going to go well. I am a fan of her sound, and a lot of her music is remixed by DJs into some very cool techno/dance music, a genre of which I’m personally a fan. However, we aren’t here to review musical stylings, we are here to review the messaging. This song echos a very emotionally driven mystical view of God that has infiltrated the visible church. It is a confused view of repentance and forgiveness and Salvation. It’s extremely vague and emotive, which will lead many to feel like the song “resonates with them”, but the message is confused and unclear. Let’s watch the lyric video (which was very well done) and then examine its lyrics.

Official Lyric Music Video

 

Lyrics (via K-Love)

Lord I’m Ready Now by Plumb

I just let go
And I feel exposed
But its so beautiful
Cuz this is who I am
I’ve been such a mess
But now I can’t care less
I could bleed to death

Oh Lord I’m ready now
All the walls are down
Time is running out
And I wanna make this count
I ran away from you
And did what I wanted to
But I don’t wanna let you down
Oh Lord I’m ready now
Lord I’m ready now

You called my name *
I turned away
But now I
Am listening
I was so caught up
In who I’m not
Can you please forgive me?

I’ve nothing left to hide
No reason’s left to lie
Give me another chance

Writer(s): Tiffany Arbuckle Lee and Luke Sheets

* These lines, though listed on a coupe of lyrics sites, are not sung in the Lyric video

Positive Elements

The need for forgiveness is acknowledged at the end of the mini-second verse (or first bridge?), “Can you please forgive me?” But it comes in the form of a question, and lacks the assurance we would expect of a Christian song.

Concerns

The song is confused. Artistically, I get the whole “this is a song about the ‘real’ emotions people go through in life”… but people’s emotions are sinful. We are sinful. Our flesh is sinful. Christians have the answers in Christ and in His Word. If you are going to posit a fleshly question in a song, provide the spiritual Truth as its answer. So let’s grab some Truth:

1 John 1 (ESV)
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— 2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Another line that punched me in the face (figuratively) is the “Can you give me another chance?” What is this “chance” of which you speak? That you are still breathing is evidence of the Grace of God at work in your life so that you might hear the Word, be granted Faith, repent and believe in Him. You don’t need “another chance” you simply need to believe in Him. Your “chance” goes away on the last day.

John 6:35-40 (ESV)35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

Okay, so let’s work through the song from the beginning. Please forgive the tone (a bit snarky and frustrated) of these questions.

I just let go of what, your sin? your unbelief? your pride?
And I feel exposed
But its so beautiful …what is? being exposed is beautiful? in what way? Adam and Eve didn’t consider their new-found nakedness a thing of beauty, they worked to cover their sin. Sin and unbelief are not beautiful, they are ugly.
Cuz this is who I am …I suppose being artistically vague allows for the listener to fill in their own narrative, but this is getting frustrating. I want to think this is admitting that we are born dead in our sins and trespasses, but we just finished talking about how whatever this current state of the singer is being beautiful. huh?
I’ve been such a mess …okay…
But now I can’t care less …[sigh]. Really? Confession is to agree with God about our sin and how it has earned us death and punishment… and you can’t care less?
I could bleed to death …and if you do as an unbeliever you face an eternal judgement outside of Christ. If you do as a believer in Christ Jesus, you will be raised again in the Last Day.

The chorus suggests the singer’s theology is along the lines of “the Believer’s prayer”, as if to say “okay, Lord, I’m ready to recite that prayer that saves me now that I’ve torn down my own walls and I am really, really, serious about wanting to say that prayer now that I know that my time is running short. I’m ready, so let’s do this thing!” How did Peter present the Gospel after preaching Law?

Acts 2:37-41(ESV)37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

The truth of the Gospel is that its focus is on Christ and what He did on the cross. Stop turning it into some ritual WE do in hopes of gaining another chance or convincing God to forgive us. We can wax eloquent and sing/talk/lecture about “surrendering to God” without ever actually doing it, because we’ve spent so much time focusing on our hearts, our emotions, and our experience. If your eyes are on you, they aren’t on Christ. Repent and be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ.

Conclusion

I cannot recommend this song to anyone for any purpose. The song reflects a genuine misunderstanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I have no doubt Plumb is singing about real emotions… the problem is that no real answers are provided in this song, and as Christians we’ve been given the real answers in God’s Word. It’s like providing a very real and graphic depiction of drowning… knowing all of the signs and stages of drowning won’t teach someone how to swim. One might argue that it will motivate someone to learn to swim, but the details of drowning do not teach a person to swim. Again, I believe she’s sharing real emotions… but our flesh is corrupt and there is no Truth in our emotions. We find Truth and rest only in God’s Word, for it is by hearing the Word of God that we might receive Faith.

To God be the glory, Amen.
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

DiM | “He Knows” by Jeremy Camp

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

It is good to be back on this DiM Tuesday, the first of 2015. Not a lot of new music in the 20theCountdownMagazine chart, so today we’ll be taking a look at the #8 slot, “He Knows” by Jeremy Camp. Today will be the first we time we take a look at a Jeremy Camp song.

This is a good song of encouragement for sinners that God isn’t ignorant to our sins, nor our struggles, hurts, pains, or fears. By sinners, I’m including Christians. We often hear of God’s omniscience as something to fear as in “God is not mocked”, but it is also a point of comfort for the believer. He Knows, so your confession isn’t to surprise and disappoint Him, it’s to seek His forgiveness, as promised by the Blood of Christ.

Music Videos

VEVO Lyric Video

VEVO Acoustic Video

VEVO “Behind the Music” Video

Lyrics via K-Love

He Knows
Jeremy Camp
from the album He Knows

All the bitter weary ways
endless striving day by day
you barely have the strength to pray
in the valley low

how hard your fight has been
how deep the pain within
wounds that no one else has seen
hurts too much to show

all the doubt you’re standing in between
And all the weight that brings you to your knees

HE KNOWS, HE KNOWS
EVERY HURT AND EVERY STING
HE HAS WALKED THE SUFFERING
HE KNOWS, HE KNOWS
LET YOUR BURDENS COME UNDONE
LIFT YOUR EYES UP TO THE ONE
WHO KNOWS
HE KNOWS

we may faint and we may sink
feel the pain and near the brink
but the dark begins to shrink
when you find the one who knows

the chains of doubt that held you in between
one by one are starting to break free

every time that you feel forsaken
every time that you feel alone
He is near to the broken hearted
every tear
He knows…

Publishing: © 2014 Capitol CMG Genesis / Stolen Pride Music (ASCAP) (Admin. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com) / CentricSongs / 2 Hour Songs (SESAC) (Admin. at Music Services)
Writer(s): Jeremy Camp and Seth Mosley

Positive Elements

As mentioned in the introduction to this post, this is a wonderful reminder of the comfort we have in the omniscience of God. He knows. Too often we hear the law-heavy exhortation plucked out of its context:

Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.

Now let’s look at this verse in its context:

Galatians 6:1-10 (ESV) | Bear One Another’s Burdens
6 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. 5 For each will have to bear his own load.

6 Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. 7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Okay, so now that is out of the way, let’s move on with this song. Jeremy provides a good foundation for the purpose/intent behind the song in the interview above. Let’s look to the Word to expand on the ideas he presented.

John 11:28-37 (ESV)28 When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” 29 And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jewswho were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32 Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. 34 And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept. 36 So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?”

I encourage you to read the full chapter, because Jesus knew that everything was being done for God’s glory. He told His disciples that they were going to raise Lazarus from the dead. This was going to be a demonstration/confirmation that Jesus is indeed the Resurrection and the Life. Still, He was moved in His spirit, and He wept. There was much pain and confusion surrounding the death of Lazarus, and the Children of God were hurting from the loss as well as confused as to how God would allow such a death. Jesus did raise Lazarus for a season (Lazarus would die later, as all men do), and not too far in the future His disciples would have to endure the death of Jesus Christ on a cross. He knows. Moving forward a bit in time, let us look at Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Matthew 26:36-46 (ESV) 36 Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” 37 And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” 40 And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42 Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” 43 And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44 So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. 45 Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Sleep and take your rest later on. See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”

Without sinning, Jesus met sorrow, even to death. He knows first-hand the weakness of the flesh, without ever succumbing to sin. He knows… even more than any of us can know in this life. By His Blood, my brothers and sisters in Christ will never taste the full brunt of the wrath of God poured out on us for our sin. He bore that price on our behalf, He drank of that cup, He laid down His life on our behalf. Looking at that underlined statement Jesus made, “sleep and take your rest later on”, notice how He is separating sleep and rest. What does this mean? For this answer, let us look to the second passage Jeremy Camp referenced, Hebrews 4. Only to better understand the rest of which Jesus referred, let us begin in chapter 3.

Hebrews 3  (ESV) | Jesus Greater Than Moses
1 Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, 2 who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God’s house. 3 For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses—as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. 4 (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) 5 Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, 6 but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.

7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,

“Today, if you hear his voice,
8 do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
on the day of testing in the wilderness,
9 where your fathers put me to the test
and saw my works for forty years.
10 Therefore I was provoked with that generation,
and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart;
they have not known my ways.’
11 As I swore in my wrath,
 ‘They shall not enter my rest.’

12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. 15 As it is said,

“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

16 For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? 17 And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19 So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.

Hebrews 4  (ESV)
1 Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. 2 For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. 3 For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said,

“As I swore in my wrath,
‘They shall not enter my rest,’”

although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” 5 And again in this passage he said,

“They shall not enter my rest.”

6 Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, 7 again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted,

“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts.”

8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. 9 So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, 10 for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.

11 Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Amen. He knows. Your confession of sin isn’t about revealing to God a disappointment He didn’t know about already, it’s about agreeing with Him about your sin, your temptation, your weakness and placing your faith in His Word, in His Son, for the forgiveness of sin. “Please forgive me, Lord, for I am a sinner”.

Luke 18:9-14 (ESV) | The Pharisee and the Tax Collector
9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee,standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

He knows… and our humble confession and repentance is true worship.

Concerns

The one concern in this song is that it doesn’t complete the thought. “Lift your eyes up to the One who knows” isn’t clear enough to indicate confession and repentance to anyone except a Christian who is well established in the Faith.

Luke 24:44-49 (ESV)  44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

This song also carries with it the typical burden of antinomianism, meaning the accusation that those who preach “free grace” are often accused of being “soft on sin”. This is a false-accusation, but one that rears its ugly head often, especially from those who hold to a works-based salvation (such as Roman Catholicism according to the Council of Trent). We preach Law and Gospel together, not holding one above the other, understanding that Christ is the fulfillment of the Law and His blood atones for our failure to uphold the law since Adam, and this entire message is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Conclusion

I am a fan of this song, it is a welcomed comfort for all who struggle with sin (every Christian). He knows, so confess your sins to Him and be forgiven by Grace, through faith, which you received from God when you heard the Word of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-24 (ESV) | Final Instructions and Benediction
12 We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 15 See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.

23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

Amen.
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

DiM | “He Knows My Name” by Francesca Battistelli

Presentation1Today is “Discernment in Music” (DiM) day here at Faithful Stewardship.

2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (ESV)
4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 6 being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

Today we return to 20theCountdownMagazine moving to the top rated song we haven’t reviewed. Today we will be taking a look at #6 on the chart, “He Knows My Name” by Francesca Battistelli.

Why We Do This

Before we get to today’s song, I’d like to point out that while we take the time to exercise Biblical discernment here in what we listen to on “Christian Radio”, the goal isn’t to tear down these artists. The goal, is to protect you from ambiguous or false teaching conveyed by most of what we hear on the radio. I’m not lobbying for you to turn off your radios, though I think many of us should do so from time to time, my hope is that when the questionable songs start to play, that you will remember what we searched in God’s Word. Sometimes, we can salvage a vague or blah song and add Scriptural meat to it. Sometimes, we just have to outright rebuke the theology presented, and we do so also with Scripture. Either way, if we’ve done our work well here, then no matter which song pops up, your mind will go to the Word of God. If we haven’t covered the song yet, I hope that when a line catches your attention, you will try to follow the steps we take here to search out the Scriptures. There are some songs that I’ll change the channel for, others I’ll only sing with a line or two, and others I thoroughly enjoy (either because the song is great or because I can apply proper Scriptural context to correct the vagueness). As always, if you disagree with my assessments or feel I’ve not been fair, do please speak up either in comments below or in a private message via the contact page.

Francesca Battistelli – “He Knows My Name”

Lyrics (via KLove.com)

Spent today in a conversation
In the mirror face to face with
Somebody less than perfect
I wouldn’t choose me first if
I was looking for a champion
In fact I’d understand if
You picked everyone before me
But that’s just not my story

True to who You are
You saw my heart
And made something out of nothing, so

CHORUS
I don’t need my name in lights
I’m famous in my Father’s eyes
Make no mistake
He knows my name
I’m not living for applause
I’m already so adored
It’s all His stage
He knows my name
He knows my name

I’m not meant to just stay quiet
I’m meant to be a lion
I’ll roar beyond a song
With every moment that I’ve got

True to who You are
You saw my heart
And made something out of nothing

CHORUS

He calls me chosen
Free, forgiven
Wanted, child of the King
His forever
Held and treasured
I am loved

I don’t need my name in lights
I’m famous in my Father’s eyes

CHORUS

Publishing: © 2014 Word Music, LLC, Francesca Music (ASCAP) (All rights on behalf of itself and Francesca Music adm. by Word Music, LLC) / Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Upside Down Under (BMI) (All rights on behalf of itself and Upside Down Under adm. by Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC) / CentricSongs, 2 Hour Songs (SESAC) (Adm. by Music Services) Scripture quotation is from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version ® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Produced by Ian Eskelin
Writer(s): Francesca Battistelli / Mia Fieldes / Seth Mosley

Without a doubt, Francesca has an amazing singing voice. The song is very well done (this acoustic version is my favorite sounding version). Let’s see if its content matches its performance.

Positive Elements

The idea that we don’t need to be famous in this life because God knows who we are is awesome. It is important to remind Christians that regardless of your personal successes or failures, what matters is if He knows your name. Not just in His Omniscience, but in a knowing that comes from having repented of our sin and believed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Let’s look at some verses.

John 10:14-18 (ESV) 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. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”

Luke 10:17-20 (ESV) 17 The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” 18 And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. 20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.

Revelation 3:1-6 (ESV) | To the Church in Sardis
1 “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. “‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. 4 Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. 5 The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life.I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. 6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

Matthew 10:24-33 (ESV) 24 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household. 26 “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.

So, we’ve explored the idea of what is truly important as far as fame and notoriety are concerned as demonstrated in Scripture. This is such an important theme for us (Christians) to grasp when this world tempts us to focus on ourselves rather than on Christ and His Gospel. While this theme is important, the song doesn’t do a good job of conveying it properly. While the lyrics include a citation of the ESV for Bible quotes, there are no Bible quotes in the song. At best, there are soundbites that can be found in the Bible, but nothing is actually quoted.

Concerns

Title. There are a lot of concerns in this song. Let’s start with the title of the song, “He knows my Name”. Firstly, we serve a God who is omniscient, who knows everything. We saw earlier that every hair on our head is numbered, and God loves us, and He knows our hearts. Also, our names are written in the Lamb’s book of Life, that is what we must rejoice in, the promise of Heaven through Jesus Christ our Lord. But why this focus on our name? The song is overly focused on us, as though God chose us because of something  possess rather than by His Grace. The only name that matters, is the Name that is above all names, Jesus.

Verse 1. So she spent time speaking to herself in the mirror. This screams post-modern progressive notion of “finding myself” or “getting to know myself”. She defines herself as “less than perfect”, well that’s pious and slightly emotive, but it is incomplete. The Mirror we should be looking in is the Law, and according to the Law we are hopelessly and irrevocably sinful, dead in our sins and trespasses.

Romans 1:18-23 (ESV) | God’s Wrath on Unrighteousness
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 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. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

Romans 1:28-32 (ESV) 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Ephesians 2:1-3 (ESV) 1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 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— 3 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.

When we look in the mirror, we should recognize all of mankind. For our flesh is corrupt and our hearts were darkened by unrighteousness. That is the Law, that is the perfection of God from which we fell when Adam sinned. And it is from this state, that the Grace of God is revealed in Christ who is the Good Shepherd who laid down His life for us, so that we might have life in Him. That is the answer to this dilemma, that Christ died to rescue us from our sin (the Gospel). So this contemplative nonsense about having a conversation in the mirror is concerning. Any thought of this being merely a lyrical device evaporates in the next line “I wouldn’t choose me first if I was looking for a champion”. Uhm… the Gospel of Jesus Christ is NOT that He was looking for a champion in fallen man. God has never needed a Champion. God called and equipped Gideon and then God gave him the victory… God didn’t “find a champion in Gideon”. Same with all of the other judges and with King David. This rings of the narcissistic theology sold by Osteen, “Discover the Champion in You“. No. Soli Deo Gloria, means that everything God does is for His Glory and for His Name’s sake.

Romans 1:1-7 (ESV) 1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3 concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh 4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, 5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, 6 including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, 7 To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Chorus. I struggle with first line of the chorus, “I don’t need my name in lights”, because immediately my mind goes to, “that’s an easy thing to declare when your name is in lights”. I found myself also tripping over the fact that her name is prominently displayed on her album cover. Sure, it’s not “in lights” but it still trips me up. It evokes the same response as when I hear a multi-million dollar televangelist preach about how the love of money is idolatry right before insisting that if you want God to work in your life just send him “seed money”. To make things a bit less emotional and a little more scriptural, I find it to be much like the rich young ruler who claimed to keep the whole Law and wanted to follow Jesus, only to have Him say, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me (Matthew 19).” It’s easy to tell others who have not, that what you have isn’t what is important, especially if in the telling, you get to keep what you have. Now let’s get to this “He knows my name” line that gets repeated (and is in the title of the song). The disclaimer in the lyrics says it pulls quotes from the ESV Bible. Let’s search for that line in the ESV. One hit, from Psalm 91.

Psalm 91:11-16 (ESV)
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
12 On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the adder;
the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.
14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
15 When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”

Did you catch what went wrong there? The “he” in verse 14 is no longer pointing to God, it is pointing to “he who dwells in the secret place” in verse 1, which points to the Messiah. This should be made clear when you realize the “I” is pointing to the deliverer of him. God is the deliverer. God is promising to deliver the Messiah and protect Him, because He knows God’s Name. Satan understood that this Psalm was Messianic, which is why he tried to twist it to tempt Jesus in the wilderness (Luke 4)

Verse 2. Now we open up the floodgate of narcissistic eisegisis, purpose-driven style.  When does the Bible call us Lions? Jesus Christ is the Lion of Judah and the Lamb of God. We are sheep. Our strength lies in knowing the Good Shepherd, hearing His voice and obeying Him. To God be the glory.

Bridge. Again, we have another self-centered, purpose-driven song that declares forgiveness without mentioning repentance or confession or even of our sin. Remember the “less than perfect” from earlier? Might as well say “I’m human, but God has forgiven me for that shortcoming and now I’m a champion”. That ain’t the Gospel, Jack. There is only one way to God, only one way to being secure in the promises listed in this Bridge, and that is through Jesus Christ (not our name, or our inner champion).

Conclusion

This song is just self-esteem pop pushing purpose-driven narcissism. I’m all for reaching out to those who feel “less-than”, but the answer is to speak the Truth in Love, not pump people up with false notions of “the champion in side of you” or “you are famous just the way you are”. The end-state of hyper-self-esteem is lawlessness. We now live in a society that has been pumped so full of self-esteem-falsehood that it is now unconscionable to tell a child in public school whether or not they are a boy or a girl. Without a doubt, Francesca was blessed with a gift from God to sing. I pray that in the future her songs be more biblically sound and clear. As for this song, I cannot recommend it to a friend.

Acts 20:28-35 (ESV) 28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31 Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears. 32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33 I coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. 34 You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me. 35 In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

In Christ Jesus,
Jorge