DiM | “Evidence” by Citizen Way

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

May 12, 2015. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Evidence” by Citizen Way which currently sits at #17 at 20theCountdownMagazine.

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

This song has no depth. There is a thin veneer of truth that is worth mentioning, so I haven’t completely disqualified this song, but it needs some work. The best construction on this song would be a reminder to Christians that Faith without Works is dead. We’ll discuss that in detail below, but this song also has some dangerous ideas running through it, namely the false-notion that our ability to Love people (Law: love your neighbor as yourself) is the only way the lost can find Salvation. That’s bunk, and it’s dangerous.

VEVO Lyric Video

[youtube https://youtu.be/zotmQph6xEc]

Lyrics (via KLOVE)

Evidence by Citizen Way

It’s not a flag on a field
It’s not a sign in my yard
Not a cause that I join
Not a phrase on a coin
It’s the change in my heart
Mercy and grace and compassion
They’re only words without action
I need hands that are open
Reaching out to broken hearts
Cuz’ that’s the only way this world
Will ever know who
You are Love is the evidence
Love is the evidence
Might be the pain that you share
Might be the time that you spend
Or the war you don’t fight
Backing down from your pride
After all in the end
My life wasn’t changed by an argument
That never would have been enough
My life was changed by the evidence of love
Your hands that were open
Reaching out to my broken heart

Publishing: Fair Trade Music Publishing (ASCAP) (admin. by Music Services); Meaux Hits / Bears In the Bowl (ASCAP) (admin. by EMICMG Publishing). All rights reserved. Writer(s): Ben Calhoun; Jeff Pardo

Discussion

Let’s start with the problem of the false evangelical premise of the song.  The false premise is that of the quote falsely attributed to Francis of Assisi, “Preach the Gospel and when necessary use words”. Preaching of the Gospel requires the use of God’s Word. You can’t “demonstrate” the Gospel to anyone without first speaking Truth. Without preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, your “good works” point others to you, not Christ. We’ll come back to this point in a moment. The first pre-chorus actually infuriates me: mercy and grace and compassion are only words without action. The context for this statement to be a valid one is extremely narrow, and really shouldn’t be driven into our heads in an ambiguous song on the airwaves. Who is the speaker of this song? There are phrases that identify the earthly individual as the speaker of the song, “My life”, “my broken heart”, “change in my heart”… so is the singer a Christian or an unbeliever demanding more evidence from the Christian who is sharing the Gospel with him? If the former, the assertion that mercy, grace, compassion are nothing without action is obnoxious. God’s grace, mercy, and compassion are the reason the Earth yet remains, and why we even have the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If we are talking only about earthly grace, mercy, compassion of believers… sinful, fleshly believers, the statement still falls flat. Restraint, the absence of self-seeking action (vengeance/judgement/vindication) is the predominant form of grace and mercy in our daily walks. Forgiveness isn’t always an action. Mercy and Grace are not always actions, many times they are exemplified by inaction. However, as we discovered in our walk through the Sermon on the Mount, even in the midst of practicing the good work of extending outward grace/mercy/compassion to our neighbor, our sinful hearts sully our good works. If the singer of the song is an unbeliever demanding proof from the one preaching the Gospel, then we are dealing with a red herring. The unbeliever is fully accountable for his unbelief.

Romans 1:18-32 (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. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. 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.

It isn’t up to you to provide evidence of the Gospel. Despite what any unbeliever demands of you or even swears to you, they don’t need anymore proof that God exists than what He has already provided. They need to die to the Law of sin unto repentance and the Gospel of Jesus Christ to New Life. Hands that are open… The open hands that we are in desperate need of daily are those nail-pierced hands of Jesus Christ, who perfectly fulfilled the Law of Righteousness and then gave up His life as an atoning sacrifice for our sin, so that by faith we might not only be spared the due punishment for our sin but that His Righteousness would be bestowed upon us at the Resurrection. Oh how I wish that this was the direction the writers of this song had taken… but it isn’t. The writers aren’t pointing to Christ, they are pointing fingers at Christians who “need to do a better job of obeying the second greatest commandment: love your neighbor as yourself”. Dear reader, these two themes don’t fit together. We’ll talk about the work of the Law in the Christian’s life, but for now we need to make a clear distinction: the unbeliever is not granted saving faith by the believer’s keeping of the Law, nor is it dependent upon the believer living a sin-free earthly life. If it were, no one would ever come to saving faith after Jesus ascended into heaven. The only person who could ever legitimately demonstrate the Gospel of Jesus Christ in that manner, was Jesus Christ, the only truly Righteous and Good Person, completely sinless. The rest of us rely on faith in the Word of God. Cuz’ that’s the only way this world will ever know who You are. Is that what the Bible teaches? No. There is buried here an allusion to something Jesus said:

John 13:34-35 (ESV) 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

It’s only an allusion to what Jesus was teaching. To suggest that this teaches the only way that we might evangelize unbelievers is to twist this text. This relates to the authenticity of their faith in Gospel of Jesus Christ designating them (and we also who Believe) as His disciples. All people will know that we are truly His disciples by our love for each other. Jesus doesn’t include the notion that this is also how unbelievers will suddenly start believing in Christ. That’s not in the text. The Apostle Paul clearly instructed how people are to come to saving faith in his letter to the Romans.

Romans 10:11-17 (ESV) 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 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. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 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? 15 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!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ must be preached… with words, specifically, the Word of Christ. The Law cannot be skipped in the Preaching of Christ, for His first purpose was to fulfill the Law on our behalf. Therefore, we are to preach both Law and Gospel, for that is the ONLY way that the unbeliever is granted faith. Sadly, not all who hear the gospel obey it… some will inexplicably continue in the condemnation of their sin

John 3:16-18 (ESV) | For God So Loved the World 16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

It is not up to you to “prove” to the unbeliever the Truth of the Gospel. It isn’t up to you to grant the unbeliever saving faith. That isn’t your part in their salvation. Your part is to preach the Word of Christ. It is the Holy Spirit that opens the ears, hearts, and minds of the hearers of the Gospel. The burden of the unbeliever’s unbelief isn’t yours to bear. Preach the Word. Now then, let us look to the element of truth in the general theme of the song. We are commanded to love one another as Christ loved us. Once we have come to saving faith, we are caught in the daily struggle between the sin that dwells in our flesh and the Spirit of God who fills us. Until the day we finally put off this flesh of sin, we will have to put to death our selfish, sinful desires and seek first the kingdom of God. We are commanded to Love God with all our hearts, souls, and minds, and to Love our neighbors as ourselves… and we will continue falling short of this Law until the Resurrection. Our hope remains fixed on Christ’s Finished work on the cross… it doesn’t shift to our ability to keep the Law, we are to remain humbly repentant of our sins. Give us this each day our daily bread and forgive us our sins (Luke 11)… Jesus taught us to pray daily. Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. The world sees your sin, and proposes the impossible test of “prove your righteousness and then I’ll accept your God”, as a red herring, a smoke-screen distraction from their own sin and need of a Savior from the Just Wrath of God. Jesus Christ, the righteous Judge sets the terms, not the defendants. God is faithful, and it was He who began a good work in you for it was by Him that you were brought to saving faith. Let’s look to James 2 for a moment.

James 2:14-26 (ESV) | Faith Without Works Is Dead 14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

Dear Christian, please don’t be scared of James, nor distracted by those who would use James to burden Christians under the works of the Law. James is pointing to a faith problem, not a conduct/discipline problem. Genuine faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ produces fruit in the believer, and as the believer grows in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, so will the fruit by faith. If there is no fruit, James is pointing to the problem of a lack of faith as the cause of the lack of fruit. So many preachers today flip it around, as though by some manipulating of good works of the law can instill faith. That’s not how it works, and that is not the focus of  James. If you have faith, the works will follow, for we are not saved by good works, we are saved by faith for good works (Eph 2).

Conclusion

So here’s the idea: as Christians, we need to be reminded daily of our need for a Savior. We need to hear the Law preached lawfully, so that our flesh, our sinful nature remain crucified, but we also need the Life of the Gospel of Jesus Christ preached so that our faith can grow and be sustained. When our good works fade, the answer is to return to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Repent and be forgiven, and in the same measure that you are forgiven forgive others. In the same measure that you are loved by Jesus, love others. We will fail, He knows this, and He is faithful and Just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us of our unrighteousness. We are commanded to love others as Christ loved us, and when we fail we are to repent of our sin. Preach the Word of God faithfully and humbly so that the lost might hear of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that by the Grace of God they might come to saving faith. If your life is not bearing any fruit, its time to examine your faith… most often what we find is we’ve gone dry from spending so much time under Law without Gospel, and we’ve allowed our focus to drift away from the cross and onto our own ability (truly inability) to keep the Law of Righteousness. We need to keep an eye on our brothers and sisters in Christ and lovingly stir each other up, by reminding each other of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

James 5:19-20 (ESV) 19 My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, 20 let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

Whenever this song plays on the radio, think on these things rather than what the song is pushing. Preach Law and Gospel to both the unbeliever (that he might be saved) and the believer (that he might be encouraged). Amen. In Christ Jesus, Jorge

DiM | “Impossible” by Building 429

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

May 07, 2015. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Impossible” by Building 429 which is currently being praised for having broken some airplay records.

Provident Label Group pop/rock band Building 429 has officially broken a radio record. Their brand new single, “Impossible”, received an astounding 95 radio adds on add date, making this an all time first for the band. This is also the highest number of adds its first week ever for a Provident Label Group artist. This radio feat hasn’t been achieved since “Free To Be Me” by Fancesca Battistelli in 2008.

“Everyone has that story of when something out of the ordinary happened in their career,” shares Andrew Patton, VP of Promotions, Provident Label Group. “The minute I heard ‘Impossible’ I knew it could be one of those moments. And as exciting as this record-breaking add date has been, I’m looking forward to even more exciting things ahead with this song and with Building 429.”

The GRAMMY-nominated and Dove Award-winning band debuted “Impossible” during the WinterJam Tour this past winter and spring playing to a record-breaking 600,000 fans over 47 dates. “Impossible” is the first single from their upcoming album slated to release September 25th. [ref CCMMagazine.com]

Since this song has yet to appear on the Top20 chart we currently use for DiM Tuesday, I thought we’d take a look at it today. With this much promotion behind this thing, it is only a matter of time before it appears on our charts. Is this song worthy of so much attention? No. This song is a fraudulent promise based on proof-text, vision-casting, and word-of-faith theology. This is going to be another long post, because we are addressing a major theological error. Making promises on God’s behalf, that He did not promise is blasphemy. It is one thing to have a “vision” or a “dream” of what YOU would like to see happen in your life, but quite another to claim that the vision or dream is from God. Dangerous, even. Let’s discuss this.

Official VEVO Lyric Video

Lyrics (via KLOVE)

Impossible
by Building 429

You got a vision
You got a dream
But it feels a million miles away
You got your passion
You got to believe
That this is why you were made

It takes a little time
Takes a little time
It takes a little time to see
I said it takes a little time
Takes a little time
It takes a little time to believe

We can rise above the typical
And be anything but usual
We know
We know
We know
That there’s no such thing as impossible

And nothing is unreachable
When we trust the God of miracles
We know
We know
We know
That there’s no such thing as impossible

We’re never given the spirit of fear
Only the power of love
We’ll keep on running and not grow weak
His strength is more than enough

It takes a little time
Takes a little time
It takes a little time to see
I said it takes a little time
Takes a little time
It takes a little time to believe

Rise above the typical
And be anything but usual
We know
We know
We know
That there is no such thing as impossible

That nothing is unreachable
When we trust the God of miracles
We know
We know
We know
That there is no such thing as impossible

There is no such, no such thing
There is no such, no such thing
There is no such, no such thing as impossible
Impossible

There is no such, no such thing
There is no such, no such thing
There is no such, no such thing as impossible

Rise above the typical
And be anything but usual
We know
We know
We know
That there is no such thing as impossible

Nothing is unreachable
When you trust the God of miracles
We know
We know
We know
That there is no such thing as impossible
Publishing: © 2014 Sony/ATV Tree Publishing / Havery Publishing / Jord A Lil Music (BMI) / Sony/ATV Timber Publishing / Not Just Another Song Publishing (SESAC) All rights admin. by Sony/ATV.
Writer(s): Jason Roy, Chuck Butler, Casey Brown

Discussion

Well, folks, what we have here is a Vision-Casting / Word-of-Faith anthem of empty promise cloaked in what seems to be truth (truism). This could very well be a CTT post. The phrase “with God all things are possible” occurs several times in the New Testament. When isolated, pulled from its context, it gives the notion that “nothing is impossible for God” is a valid ultimate truth. However, this isn’t the case. This isn’t a mathematical equation or Greek philosophy of possibility, the realm of possibility is defined by God. He has clearly stated certain things are impossible, such that we might have full assurance in His Promise.

Hebrews 6:13-20 (ESV) | The Certainty of God’s Promise

13 For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, 14 saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” 15 And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise. 16 For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation. 17 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, 18 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. 19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

All Scripture is God-Breathed. Some take this Truth to mean that if you can find any phrase in the Bible and apply a meaning to it, then it is infallible. That’s not how it works. You see, God’s Word is defined by God’s Word. One cannot simply pluck out a phrase from the Scriptures and apply it in whichever way seems beneficial and expect God to honor it. This song’s assertion that as long as you believe in God your “vision” or “dreams” will all come true is complete bunk. Let’s do a quick survey of the Scriptures to flesh out the limits of “possibility” for mankind.

With Man it is Impossible

Let’s look at what Jesus was teaching when He said, but with God all things are possible.

Mark 10:23-27 (ESV)

23 And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! 24 And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God. 26 And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”

Matthew 19:23-26 (ESV)

23 And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Luke 18:24-27 (ESV)

24 Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! 25 For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” 27 But he said,“What is impossible with man is possible with God.”

Salvation. It is impossible for man to save himself. Salvation is a work of God, so that no one should boast (Eph 2:1-10 ESV).  It is also impossible for man to please God without faith.

Hebrews 11:5-7 (ESV)

By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

Now, let’s look at what Scripture tells us of the nature of man after the fall. Let’s look back to the days of Noah.

Genesis 6:5-8 (ESV)

The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.

God chose to spare Noah to keep His promise to Adam and Eve, and He cannot lie. Nevertheless, all mankind is wicked and sinful. In fact, dead in their sins and trespasses (Eph 2). God spoke to Noah, and Noah believed God and became an heir of righteousness that comes by faith (Hebrews 11). Notice, we are using the New Testament to better understand the Old. Noah didn’t merit God’s favor, it was for His sake, for His Name’s sake alone that God spared Noah. We know this because Scripture has made it clear, but it can also be inferred from what took place after Noah.

Genesis 11:1-9 (ESV) | The Tower of Babel

11 Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar.Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth. And from there the Lord dispersed them over the face of all the earth.

Where they seeking after God? No. Were they seeking to honor God? No. They sought to make a name for themselves in the heavens, and that was only the beginning of what they would do. Salvation is impossible for them, we know this. They are dead in sins and trespasses. They do not yet have the Law, this is before the Abrahamic Covenant. Without God, it is impossible for man to do the right thing, to be righteous. Righteousness requires faith, and that faith comes from God. We aren’t “born with it”. Faith comes to us through hearing the Words of Christ. When God spoke to men, they were afforded an opportunity for faith, as we see articulated in Hebrews 11. Even Adam, who saw all of Creation in its perfection, and knew God, was expected to obey His word by faith, that he was not to eat of the fruit of that one tree. Adam lacked faith, and so he sinned, and by one man’s sin, death entered the earth. Only God could provide a way of atonement sufficient for man’s salvation. The Law was temporary, a guardian for the people of the Promise, until Christ could come and establish a New Covenant with mankind.

Hebrews 10:1-14 (ESV) | Christ’s Sacrifice Once for All

For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,

“Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
    but a body have you prepared for me;
in burnt offerings and sin offerings
    you have taken no pleasure.
Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God,
    as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’”

When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. 10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

And Now that We’ve Been Saved…

Okay, but once we’ve been saved by Grace through Faith, can’t we assume all things are possible for us? Is the promise of Salvation temporal or eternal? Who decides what miracle God is going to perform, man or God? Who decided to part the Red Sea, Moses or God? God did. He led Moses to that place, to that shore, and He instructed Moses to act, and He parted the Red Sea, and He saved Israel with His Mighty Hand, and He destroyed Pharaoh’s army when He closed the sea on them. Indeed, nothing is impossible with God… for He is the one who is Sovereign over all of Creation. This goes back to Soli Deo Gloria: to God Alone be the Glory.

You see, the biggest problem with this song that invalidates all of it, is that it begins not with a Promise that God’s Word makes; rather, it begins with the dreams/ideas/visions of mankind, the listener. Bruce Jenner has a vision of being a woman… that’s not God’s Will for him. Mankind will manipulate language, biology, chemistry, and religion to reinforce the illusion that it is possible for him to become a woman… but that simply isn’t possible. Man doesn’t have that power, and never will.

What About the Faith of a Mustard Seed

Let’s take a look at His teaching on faith.

Matthew 17:14-20 (ESV) | Jesus Heals a Boy with a Demon

14 And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and, kneeling before him, 15 said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. 16 And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.” 17 And Jesus answered, O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.” 18 And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly. 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” 20 He said to them, Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.

Is faith an emotion to be stirred up or some heightened state of consciousness to be reached through meditation or asceticism? No. Faith comes by hearing the Word of Christ. This isn’t a question of quantity of faith, but on the object of their faith. The Scripture doesn’t specify where their doubt had crept in, just that if they had the faith of a mustard seed to believe the Word of God they could do the Will of God by His Grace through Faith. With man, it is impossible to cast out demons… it is also impossible to walk on water. Let us look there for a moment because that is where I’m drawing some of my conclusions for this understanding.

Matthew 14:28-32 (ESV)

28 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.

By faith Peter walked on water in obedience to Jesus’s call. Yes, Peter prayed the Lord to issue the command, as we should pray for those things which are impossible with men. Jesus did issue the command, and Peter walked by faith… until he doubted. Notice the rebuke, O you of little faith, why did you doubt? 

Does scripture record anyone else walking on the water after this? No. The point was not to promise Christians water-walking powers, but to point to the deity of Christ. Does scripture (or history) record anyone literally commanding a mountain to be moved and it moving by faith? No. The point is to rest in the Word of God by Faith. Jesus came to set the captives free from the Kingdom of darkness, by faith. There is no worthy opponent or impediment to the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not even demon possession. The Word of God is mightier than any 2-edged sword, preach the Word, say to the mountain “be moved” that the Name of the Lord will be lifted up in praise. Let us not cheapen this truth with false gospels of prosperity or worse, turning the bible into some sort of spell book. The Apostle Paul faced many hardships, trials, tribulation, and was mightily used of God to spread the Gospel and build up His Church among the Gentiles. Notice the introduction of his letter to the Romans.

Romans 1:1-17 (ESV) | The Righteous Shall Live by Faith

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh 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,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, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,

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.

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you 10 always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. 11 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— 12 that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. 13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles. 14 I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. 15 So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

Amen. In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

DiM | “Holy Spirit” by Francesca Battistelli

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

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

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

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

Official (Audio) Music Video

Behind the Song

Lyrics (via KLOVE)

Holy Spirit
Francesca Battistelli

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

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

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

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

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

CHORUS

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

CHORUS

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

Discussion

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

Hebrews 11:1-3 (ESV) | By Faith

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

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

Taste and See

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

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

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

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

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

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

and

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

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

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

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

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

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

We Have the Holy Spirit

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

Amen. In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

DiM | “The Maker” by Chris August

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

April 28, 2015. Today we’ll be taking a look at “The Maker” by Chris August which currently sits at #17 at 20theCountdownMagazine.

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

This is an emotionally centered song of encouragement with a generally Christian theme, though not explicit. It is theologically shallow, save for one solid line in the bridge. It falls squarely into the category of “well, that’s a pleasant song”. Let’s look at the song and then look at some related passages of Scripture to help us ground our thoughts in the Word whenever this song plays on the radio.

Official Music Video

Lyrics (via KLOVE)

The Maker by Chris August

I see You in the sunrise
I see You in the rain
I see You in the laughter
I feel You through the pain

Everything that You have made is beautiful
Oh, my God, I can’t believe my eyes
But in all of this to think that You would think of me
Makes my heart come alive

CHORUS
Your love is like a mighty fire deep inside my bones
I feel like I could climb a thousand mountains all at once
And I never have to wonder if somebody cares for me
I love the Maker
And the Maker loves me

I see You, You are creation
I see the grandness of Your majesty
The universe is singing all Your glory
I can’t believe You live inside of me

Everything that You have made is beautiful
Oh, my God, I can’t believe my eyes
But in all of this to think that You would think of me
Makes my heart come alive

CHORUS

More than just some words upon a page
You’ve shown me in a million ways
But there is one that stands above them all
Hands of creation on a cross

CHORUS

Publishing: © 2015 Word Music, LLC (ASCAP) / Wondrous Made Songs a div. of Wondrous Worship & Llano Music, LLC (BMI) (Adm. by Music Services) Produced by Ed Cash
Writer(s): Chris August / Ed Cash

Discussion

The song doesn’t press beyond the emotional level of “wow, God’s Creation is awesome and He loves me!” Is that bad? Well, if you are looking for real encouragement it falls short, but if you’re just looking for a pleasant song that acknowledges God as the Creator then it’s fine. I’d like to really give this song some solid points, though, for the bridge. Were it not for the bridge making a clear reference to the Cross, my overall opinion of the song would have been panentheism. I didn’t catch the line when I was just listening to the song on the radio or when I was reviewing the music video, but it is clearly in the lyric and once I started looking for it I found it in the video, so it’s there. It really saved the song in my opinion. I read his biography on TCM.com, and recognized that he really is just a musician trying to make a living playing music but also wanting to make “more Christian songs”. I think we should expect more of church worship leaders, but for “good, clean entertainment” I think he fits the bill, and hope the best for his career. Truly, I’d like to see evidence of a more grounded walk with Christ in his music with a little less of the artistic appeal to emotional inspiration we see in secular music. The world is lost, unbelievers who reject the God of Creation and are left to empty words of affirmation for their “inspirational music”. We have Jesus Christ, the Bread of Life. We have the Truth of the Gospel preserved by the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures. That’s real, that’s deeper than any fleeting emotion or empty praise of men.

Psalm 95  (ESV) | Let Us Sing Songs of Praise
1 Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
2 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
3 For the Lord is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also.
5 The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.
6 Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
 let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
7 For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand.
Today, if you hear his voice,
8     do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,
as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,
9 when your fathers put me to the test
and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.
10 For forty years I loathed that generation
and said, “They are a people who go astray in their heart,
and they have not known my ways.”
11 Therefore I swore in my wrath,
“They shall not enter my rest.”

Compare the overall focus of Psalm 95 to today’s song and see how they compare and contrast.

The strong point of this song is that it connected “the Maker” to Jesus’ Death on the Cross. Let’s flesh that out a bit more.

John 1:1-18 (ESV) | The Word Became Flesh
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life,and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him.8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

Indeed, Jesus is our Creator. He loves us enough to lay down His life in payment for our sin. Repent, therefore, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.

John 3:16-18 (ESV) | For God So Loved the World
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

Amen. In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

DiM | “More Than You Think I Am” by Danny Gokey

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

April 21, 2015. Today we’ll be taking a look at “More Than You Think I Am” by Danny Gokey which currently sits at #16 at 20theCountdownMagazine.

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

We have another song of encouragement, with an extra shot of espresso. Danny Gokey’s voice is amazing, and this song was masterfully produced, but I cannot recommend this song to anyone for any purpose beyond practicing discernment. This song displays a theology along the lines of Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling. The real answers the Bible offers for the hurting, the questions, and the fears we face are far greater than any man-made philosophy, pep-talk, or song.

VEVO Lyric Video

Lyrics (via KLOVE)

More Than You Think I Am by Danny Gokey

You always think I’m somewhere on a mountaintop
But never think behind bars
You’d be amazed the places that I go
To be with you, where you are

So forget what you’ve heard
What you think that you know
There’s a lot about Me
That’s never been told

CHORUS
I’m more than you dream
More than you understand
Your days and your times
Were destined for our dance
I catch all your tears
Burn your name on My heart
Be still and trust My plan
I’m more than you think I am
More than you think I am

Rumor has it there’s a gavel in My hand
I’m only here to condemn
But let Me tell you secrets you have never known
I think of you as My best friend

So much has been said
Even done in My name
But I’m showing you now
Who I really am

CHORUS

Let me open your eyes to see
The heart of Me, differently oh oh
Come closer than you’ve ever been
Let Me in like never before
Bring Me every broken part
The wounds and scars of who you are
Hide in Me and you will see…

CHORUS

More than you think I am
More than you think I am
I’m more than you think I am

Publishing: © 2014 Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp./Goes Something Like THiS Music/Nichols’ Boys Music (BMI) © 2014 G650 Music, Pure Note Music, Songs of Universal, Inc. (BMI) © 2014 BMG Platinum Songs/Creative Heart Publishing/Admin by BMG Rights Management (BMI) Used By Permission. All Rights Reserved.
Writer(s): Danny Gokey/Bernie Herms/Tim Nichols

Discussion

The musical and vocal talent in this song is fantastic. The lyrical content is at-best drivel (on the order of Sarah Young) or at worst dangerous (like Bill or Beni Johnson of Bethel, CA). For the unbeliever, this song is absolutely dangerous because it falsely elevates the unbeliever to the status of God’s Best friend. To the Believer, it is still dangerous if it serves to reinforce bad theology. We will not be trying to put a good construction on this song. Let’s get to the major problems in the lyrics.

There’s a lot about Me, That’s never been told. Okay, so this is the point in the song where my head sort of exploded (not literally). It is one thing to tell someone they have been taught a false gospel, or have been deceived by false teachers, but to claim that God is telling the listener that He is going to tell them things about Himself that have never been told is absolutely treacherous. While one can make the philosophical (or metaphysical) argument that there is a lot about God that has never been told, whatever God hasn’t revealed of Himself to us in His Word is NOT for us to know or speculate on in the here and now. When we see God in the Kingdom of Heaven, we will stand amazed at all that He is, and still not fully know what He has not revealed, for we are the creation and He is the Creator. God is not revealing things about Himself to us individually that He hasn’t revealed of Himself in His Word. He simply isn’t. God’s Word is the standard by which we measure all things. If God were to reveal something of Himself that has never been revealed, we’d have no way to confirm it in His Word. Therefore, I know that God wouldn’t do it. What’s worse, if any claim to a revelation of God (Father/Jesus/Holy Spirit) is such that it cannot be validated in Scripture then we know that it isn’t of God; rather, it is a demon posing as an angel of light. There is also the lines invoking some sort of post-modern “forget what you know or think you know”. What is that? To whom is this song addressed, Christians? Forget what they’ve heard? like the Gospel? This actually reminds me a lot of Rob Bell and his nonsense.

But let Me tell you secrets you have never known, I think of you as My best friend. This is attempting to say a lot more than “God loves you”. This is intended to paint a picture of God wooing the listener, in much the same way as Sarah Young’s “Jesus Calling” mysticism. But notice the 2 lines before this one… “rumor has it there’s a gavel in my hand”… This line is intended to refute the idea that God is a Judge. When Jesus first walked this earth, it is true He didn’t come to judge, but to save. From what did He come to save? God’s Judgement. Oh, so there IS a gavel. Yes.

John 3:16-18 (ESV) | For God So Loved the World
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

2 Timothy 4:5-8 (ESV)
5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

But isn’t there a passage in John where Jesus does call the disciples His friends? Yes. Let’s look at it.

John 15:12-17 (ESV) 12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.

Still doesn’t reflect the context of this song, and even refutes the earlier points of some secret as-yet untold revelation of God. Nonsense. Jesus IS the revelation of God and He is returning to Judge creation.

But I’m showing you now, Who I really am. This stanza is horrible. Who is doing the showing? What is being shown? This song is designed to entice the listener to forget what they’ve heard about God, forget that the Bible is the Word of God, how He has revealed Himself to man, and to openly embrace some new secret that elevates the status of man to “best friend” of God, whose name has been burned into God’s very heart. This is mysticism. Just open up for something new and never before revealed encounter with god, and do so stripped of any discernment, whatsoever. Dangerous.

2 Timothy 4:1-5 (ESV) | Preach the Word
1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

Amen. In Christ Jesus,
Jorge