DiM | “Feel It (ft. MrTalkbox)” by TobyMac

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

September 10, 2015. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Feel It (ft. MrTalkbox)” by TobyMac which currently sits at #18 on the 20theCountdownMagazine.

TobyMac is the Tony Hawk of Christian Pop Music. He doesn’t seem to age, and everything he touches seems to turn into Pop gold. We’ve had our run-ins with Team Toby in social media, so seeing this song pop up on the chart didn’t give me a great deal of hope for this DiM. As is my usual approach, the first thing I did was look up a lyric video to see how the song goes…

TobyMacVEVO Lyric Video

This was me… watching the music video before reading the lyrics…

About the Video

Truthfully, there isn’t much to discuss. This video has N.O.T.H.I.N.G. to do with the Gospel of Jesus Christ… or Christianity… or the Bible. This is a puppy-love video. So, the title of the song is “Feel It”… and the video is about puppy love… clearly, this song is going to be one of those “Jesus is my girlfriend/boyfriend” songs… /sigh.

Lyrics (via KLove)

Feel It (feat. Mr. TalkBox)

When I sit back and imagine
Life without You, I can’t fathom
How I ever thought I’d make it on my own
And there’s at least a million reasons
I’m still standing here believin’
You’re my comfort, You’re my healin’
This I know (this I know)

Well, you can’t see the wind, but it moves the leaves
From the bottom to the top of the tallest trees
You are everything I will ever need
And they can’t take that from me

Oh, I feel it in my heart
I feel it in my soul
That’s how I know
You take our brokenness and make us beautiful
Yeah, that’s how I know

Everybody talkin’ like they need some proof
But what more do I need than to feel You

When I sit back and imagine
Life without You, I can’t fathom
How I ever thought I’d make it on my own
And there’s at least a million reasons
I’m still standing here believin’
You’re my comfort, You’re my healin’
This I know (this I know)

Well, you can’t see the wind, but it moves the leaves
From the bottom to the top of the tallest trees
You are everything I will ever need
And they can’t take that from me

Oh, I feel it in my heart
I feel it in my soul
That’s how I know
You take our brokenness and make us beautiful
Yeah, that’s how I know

(Can’t take that from me)

Love came crashin’ in
Never gonna be the same again
Yeah, You came crashing in
You wrecked me, You wrecked me

Love came crashin’ in
Never gonna be the same again
Yeah, You came crashing in
You wrecked me
That’s how I know

Oh, I feel it in my heart
I feel it in my soul
That’s how I know
You take our brokenness and make us beautiful
Yeah, that’s how I know

Oh, I feel it in my heart
I feel it in my soul
That’s how I know
You take our brokenness and make us beautiful
Yeah, that’s how I know
That’s how I know

Everybody talkin’ like they need some proof
But what more do I need than to feel You

Everybody talkin’ like they need some proof
But what more do I need than to feel You

Publishing: © 2015 Achtober Songs (BMI) / Universal Music – Brentwood Benson Publishing / D Soul Music (ASCAP) (Admin. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com) / Castle Bound Music, Inc. / We Be Pawtying (SESAC)
Writer(s): Toby McKeehan, David Arthur Garcia and Cary Barlowe

Discussion

The point of the song is clearly made in the outro of the song: Everybody talkin’ like they need some proof, but what more do I need than to feel You

So, feelings is “how we know” what, Jesus? Is that the message of the Gospel? You shall feel Jesus and that feeling will set you free? Feelings is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen? Is our assurance of salvation based on feelings? Hold that thought.

So, if a teenager (like the ones in the Music Video) told you he/she was getting married, and you asked them “why?”… would you accept the answer, “because I feel it in my heart, I feel it in my soul, and he/she makes me feel beautiful!” If such feelings offer poor assurance in the selection of a spouse, a much less reliable should they be considered in matters of eternal significance? That was rhetorical.

The closest this song comes to anything even remotely pointing to the Gospel… is heavily coded in “youth-pastor-speak”. The phrase “you wrecked me” is supposedly a cool way of saying that God humbled the individual unto repentance… but it can also mean God broke down all of my defenses and just loved me despite my resistance. Youth-speak jargon holds to a rather fluid lexicon. But that’s the best we can find in this song… and it is woefully deficient. This song has nothing to offer the world or the Church that is in keeping with sound doctrine.

Let’s turn to the Word of God before closing out this DiM post.

Hebrews 11 (ESV) | By Faith

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

By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. By 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…[Read the Whole Chapter]

Okay, but are we born with faith? No. How do we get faith? I’m glad you asked.

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.

There is no mention of feelings here. Sure, the heart is mentioned, but the heart of a believer believes, while the heart of an unbeliever doubts the Savior and remains condemned. But more than that, we are not to trust our hearts; rather, we are to treasure the Word of God in our hearts, by faith, so that His Word will renew our hearts by the Grace of the Holy Spirit. We don’t really understand our own sinful hearts… let’s look at how Peter rebuked Simon in Acts 8.

Acts 8:9-24 (ESV) | Simon the Magician Believes

But there was a man named Simon, who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great. 10 They all paid attention to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the power of God that is called Great.” 11 And they paid attention to him because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic. 12 But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13 Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles performed, he was amazed.

14 Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, 15 who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 for he had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.17 Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. 18 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, 19 saying, “Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” 20 But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! 21 You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. 22 Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. 23 For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity. 24 And Simon answered, “Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.”

Please don’t play around with the false-convert flip… the text says Simon believed and was baptized… and then it says that his heart was not right before God in this matter. He was in sin… and it was dangerous for him. Simon was rebuked for the intention of his heart. The point I’m making here is simply this: even after believing in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, repenting of sin and transgression and receiving by faith the forgiveness of sin and the righteousness of Christ… we still cannot defer to our hearts, our feelings, our impressions, or our ideas as the assurance of our salvation. Assurance of God’s Grace must be by Faith Alone, in Christ Alone, as found in Scripture Alone, to the Glory of God Alone.

Conclusion

It’s a very catching song, with a lot of style. This song does not edify the saints. This song doesn’t preach the Gospel to the lost. It is a feel-good, tickle the ears, pop-song marketed under a “Christian” label. I can’t say this is a harmless song, because the lyrics and the video encourage our youth to rely on their feelings for the assurance of their faith… such horrible, horrible advice for today’s youth. This song is only slightly better than a Bruno Mars song, because Bruno Mars can be overtly sexual in his videos and lyric… but that’s where this song rates… Bruno Mars.

Jude 24-25 (ESV) | Doxology

24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

Amen.
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

DiM | “There is Power” by Lincoln Brewster

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

September 8, 2015. Today we’ll be taking a look at “There is Power” by Lincoln Brewster which currently sits at #4 on the KLove top 10.

Lincoln Brewster is one of the Integrity Music stars who cranks out a lot of music intended for houses of worship. He falls in the Chris Tomlin and Matt Redman category. This song is one such song aimed at corporate worship, intended to lift up the Name of Jesus. In some ways it is successful, though there is some stuff to look out for regarding how Scripture is being represented. In the end, there is just so little sound doctrine to be found in the actually lyric of the song, and the new-age Presence theology is so heavy-handed, that I find myself disapproving of this song entirely for radio airplay, much less for corporate worship.

Probably one of the biggest warning signs is that the song was a part of the NBC debacle known as “A.D. The Bible Continues”… which didn’t even remotely follow the Bible.

NBC’s A.D. The Bible Continues (video available until 9/20/2015)

http://www.nbc.com/ad-the-bible-continues/video/lincoln-brewster-there-is-power/2861047

Integrity Music Official Lyric Video

Lyrics (via KLove)

There Is Power

Where two or more are
Gathered in His name
He is there
For all who come
Who run to Him in faith
He is there, He is there

There is power
In the name of Jesus
There is power
Power in His name

No fear, no lie
Can stand against us now
He is here
The Word has come
To silence every doubt
He is here

One name, one name can save
One name breaks every chain
One name, always
One name, Jesus
One name, one name remains
One name, we will proclaim
One name, always
One name

Publishing: © 2014 Integrity’s Praise! Music/BMI & Worldwide Echoes/BMI (all adm by Integrity Music via CapitolCMGPublishing.com) & Sony/ATV Tree Publishing/Upside Down Under/BMI
Writer(s): Lincoln Brewster & Mia Fieldes

Discussion

Verse 1. The first verse is using the phrase “where two or more are gathered” in a manner typical of “Presence” theology… the idea that Jesus is present when two or more are gathered. This is to set the stage (in corporate worship) for the mindset that since we are gathered together in Worship, we can now expect Jesus to be in our presence.

Matthew 18:15-20 (ESV) | If Your Brother Sins Against You

15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.

Note: Which translation you are using will largely determine how you read this passage, simply by how it breaks up the paragraphs (ESV;NIV;NASB). The ESV keeps these verses together as one passage, keeping it all in within the context of church discipline. The NIV isolates verse 18 and further separates verses 19-20 as a third thought, while still maintaining all 3 paragraphs under the section heading “Dealing with Sin in the Church”. The NASB inserts a break before verse 18, treating verse 18-20 as a separate teaching on Prayer. Their heading for this passage is “Discipline and Prayer”. It matters which version you use, and it is important to remain consistent, but it is also important to take note on which passages have been interpreted differently even between good translations.

Since we now use the ESV here, I will continue with the view that the entire passage falls under Church discipline. For backing in this view, let us look to chapter 5 of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 5 (ESV) | Sexual Immorality Defiles the Church

It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife.And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.

For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.

Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.

Church Discipline. This is definitely not something you’ll find in the Precious Moments® section of Hallmark™. As for the “two or more gathered” part of the phrase, many point back to the Law of Moses.

Deuteronomy 19:15-21 (ESV) | Laws Concerning Witnesses

15 “A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established16 If a malicious witness arises to accuse a person of wrongdoing, 17 then both parties to the dispute shall appear before the Lord, before the priests and the judges who are in office in those days. 18 The judges shall inquire diligently, and if the witness is a false witness and has accused his brother falsely, 19 then you shall do to him as he had meant to do to his brother. So you shall purge the evil from your midst. 20 And the rest shall hear and fear, and shall never again commit any such evil among you. 21 Your eye shall not pity. It shall be life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

This is a strong case in support of the ESV’s treatment of the Matthew text. Now, as far as the song goes, are we saying the God is NOT present when the saints gather together? No. We know that believers are sealed by God the Holy Spirit and that He is with us always… even when we are alone. But we know this because Jesus promised us that He would not leave us alone, that He would send the Holy Spirit to be with us.

Matthew 28:16-20 (ESV) | The Great Commission

16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

Therefore, we do not need to invoke the presence of God the Holy Spirit by finding another Christian. It is good to fellowship, to gather together for corporate worship and for church discipline, but we don’t need to pluck this verse out of context to know the Truth of God’s Word regarding fellowship and assembly. I don’t think the NIV and NASB are mistreating the text with how they divide up the paragraphs; I think there is plenty of sound teaching to be explored in the efficacy of corporate prayer according to the Will of God that extends beyond the area of church discipline, but it has to be done carefully so as not to slide into the new-age “Presence” theology that tends to treat the Holy Spirit as some sort of wish-granting genie where 2 or more are needed to rub the magic lamp.

 Chorus. There is indeed power in the Name of Jesus. That is Truth. But we must guard against the new-age spirituality that treats the Name of Jesus as some sort of talisman that grants the invoker some sort of creative power… it isn’t the Force the Power that is in the Name of Jesus is the Gospel of Jesus. Let us look at how the power of the Name of Jesus is demonstrated in the Preaching of the Word in Acts.

Acts 2:37-39 (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.”

Acts 3:2-8 (ESV)

And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk! And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.

Acts 4:7-12 (ESV)

And when they had set them in the midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, 10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. 11 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

It is by the Name of Jesus, and by that Name alone, that forgiveness and righteousness is made available to us. Amen. Does the chorus of this song convey this understanding of the power that is found in the Name of Jesus? Nope.

Verse 2. Here the song cheers the congregation on about how they are overcomers. But here we see again a clever slight-of-hand inserting the new-age Presence theology. Jesus is indeed the Word made flesh (John 1:14) but this song is tying in the claim of the first verse that Jesus is present wherever two or more are gathered. Now that the song has built up, it is claiming the Presence of Jesus is now going to defeat every lie, every fear, and silence ever doubt. That doesn’t happen by proximity alone, for if it did Judas Iscariot wouldn’t have betrayed Jesus unto the cross. It happens by faith, not by proximity.

Rom 10:17 (ESV) So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

This is the biggest error in so-called Presence theology… you don’t gain faith by singing hypnotically repetitive affirmations and declarations inviting the presence of God. The Word of Christ must be preached for the eyes of the blind to be opened by the Grace of God.

Bridge Loop. It doesn’t say anything wrong… but repeating these lines doesn’t do what it is claiming to do. Preaching the Name of Jesus isn’t truly achieved by repeatedly saying “I will preach the name of Jesus”. It is at this point of the song where my head flips over to the song “Break Every Chain” by Jesus Culture (from the Bethel cult).

Conclusion

This song does not edify the saints. There is room for those who have never been exposed to the new-age teaching of Presence theology to at least focus on the importance of preaching in the Name of Jesus. However, I find the influence of Presence theology so overwhelming in this song that I cannot recommend it for casual listening.

Romans 15:13 (ESV) 13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Amen.
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge