DiM | “Guilty” by Newsboys

CCM Radio Edition.

February 09, 2016. Today’s song is “Guilty” by Newsboys which currently sits at #17 on 20theCountdownMagazine‘s top 20 chart.

I was really hoping the “guilty” was going to be a reference to our sin and that the point of the song was to preach Law and Gospel, Repentance and the Forgiveness of sin. I’m rather disappointed in what I found in the lyric. This song is the CCM equivalent to a pie crust promise, “easily made, easily broken” (Mary Poppins quote). It only works in a worldview where being told “you can’t say ‘Jesus’ because of ‘separation of church and state'” amounts to persecution. It doesn’t. Not even close. The song also suffers from a “cool-rebel” motivation for proclaiming the Gospel and Worshiping our LORD and Savior, Jesus Christ. What a stupid motivation to push. We aren’t motivated by rebellion, we are motivated by the Truth of the Gospel of Grace. Let’s get down to it.

Newsboys – Guilty (Official Music Video)

 

Lyrics (via Newsboys.com)

Verse 1
When did it become breaking a rule
To say your name out loud in school
When your names the only one that sets us free
When did it become incorrect
To speak the truth about life and death
When your life gave us all eternity

Pre-Chorus
Even if it gets me convicted
I’ll still be on my knees with my hands lifted

Chorus
If serving you’s against the law of man
If living out my faith in you is banned
Then I’ll stand right before the jury
If saying I believe is out of line
If I’m judged cause I’m gonna give my life
To show the world the love that fills me
Then I want to be Guilty

Verse 2
I’ll rise up and honor you
I’ll testify to all the good you do
cause your Grace and your Mercy have overtaken me

Pre-Chorus

Chorus

Bridge
Guilty by association
Guilty of being a voice proclaiming Your ways
Your truth
Your life
I’ll pay the price to be your light.

Discussion

Let us begin.

Verse 1. When did it become breaking the rule… quite early on, in fact.

Acts 4:13-22 (ESV)

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. But seeing the man who was healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition. But when they had commanded them to leave the council, they conferred with one another,saying, “What shall we do with these men? For that a notable sign has been performed through them is evident to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.” So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” And when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them, because of the people, for all were praising God for what had happened. For the man on whom this sign of healing was performed was more than forty years old.

The religious leaders of the day forbade preaching, speaking, and teaching in the name of Jesus despite having such a powerful sign of healing testifying to the Name of Jesus in their midst. So, Biblically, this song is already starting on the wrong foot. At best it is appealing to the American nationalist who believes America to be a Christian nation where the name of Jesus would never be considered illegal to invoke. From that misguided and short-sided perspective, it makes sense. Notice the caveats I had to employ.

Now it seems this song is being written to address “Christian-American Culture” with the first lines of the first verse addressing the current trend of ruling against Christianity in all cases of “1st Amendment Religious Freedoms”. It is worth noting that the only religion consistently being prohibited is Christianity. That’s to be expected since it is the only True religion. If the first couple of lines are regarding “freedom from Christianity laws” the next lines are probably an attempt to address abortion, euthanasia, and assisted suicide (truth about Life and Death). Society wants to hear nothing about what God’s Word says about life and death. The last line is supposed to connect what is being prohibited is connected to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the promise of forgiveness from sin and the Promise of eternal Life in Jesus Christ. The problem is that the lines don’t bear this out, I’m eisegeting into them my best construction. The other way this can be taken (and I think this way resonates more with its intended audience) is a build-up to rebellion, a pep-rally for cultural revolution… with an Evangelical flavor.

Pre-Chorus. Yep… rebellion is the motivation. Even if it gets me convicted… We haven’t seen anything yet in this country, but it’s coming. But is this the right motivation for sharing the Gospel? Nope. How much are you sharing the Gospel now that it isn’t literally against the law? Historically, the Church grows strong under persecution… but only after it has been culled to a remnant. Remember the parable of the soils? There are some who for a time bear fruit, but when persecution comes they are burned up for their roots are shallow. Others will be distracted by their own desires and are choked up by the weeds. Anyway, my point is that this line is purely motivational pep-rally fluff. The next line doesn’t improve upon it because it is one of those lines you sing where you say you’ll keep doing something that you aren’t currently doing… I’ll still be on my knees with my hands lifted… you may, you may not, but why make it a promise? Why proclaim something if you aren’t doing it, and what does staying on your knees with your hands lifted earn you? What does that do for God? What does it do for the Gospel? The line is an evangelical church-ism, where evangelicals just assume that these outward displays of piety indicate true worship. Jesus isn’t swayed by the external displays of piety…

Luke 18:9-14 (ESV) | The Pharisee and the Tax Collector

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 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. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 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!’ 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.”

Now, in the parable Jesus gives voice to all that is going on in their hearts. There is also a contrast in outward actions, yet, but even if the Pharisee were on his knees with his arms lifted in the air saying the same “prayer” would have yielded him the same results in the parable.

But there is another problem with boldly declaring how you will react should a situation arise of which you have no understanding… you make oaths you cannot hope to keep. You’ll sin, and have to repent of lying to boot. And we don’t need to go to the unbelieving Pharisee to make this point… we can look to the Apostle Peter.

Luke 22:31-34 (ESV) | Jesus Foretells Peter’s Denial

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.”

Jesus told him point-blank he was going to fall away, but that He had prayed for Peter so that after he has turned again he might strengthen his brothers. All of them were going to fail, but Jesus assured them that He would bring them back. Peter doesn’t get it and decides to prove his zeal by making lofty claims of what he would do. Friends, you can’t out-zeal the Word of God. Just can’t do it. So don’t do it. Confess the Word, don’t try to one-up it in your misguided zeal.

Chorus. Works. Law. No Gospel. Dear Christian, you do NOT want to be judged by your works. You’ll fail. We all fail. And this gets kinda weird in that it’s somehow making rebelling against an antichrist state is a good work. That’s not what defines a good work. Please, this is a twisting of a sense of rebellion into a zeal for righteousness… but it’s starting in the wrong place. We don’t start by countering the World. The Great Commission isn’t based on the world, it’s based on Jesus Christ.

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

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

There is no mention of whether or not we’ll be arrested, or imprisoned, or convicted by the courts here… nor should there be. The motivation is Christ, not works, not rebellion against the world. That counter-culture stuff comes from theology of glory, a theology of purpose-driven nonsense and of dominionism and it’s 7-mountain fantasy. It’s all rubbish. We preach Christ and Him Crucified because of what He has done for us.

Verse 2. The focus of this verse is the singer. It’s a continuation of the thought at the end of the pre-chorus, through the chorus about all of the great works I’ll do IF the world crosses the line and makes this stuff illegal. /sigh. I’m getting more frustrated by this song by the minute.

BridgeI’ll pay the price to be your light… I can’t even, right now. Tell me, what price will you pay for being Christ’s light, hmmm? With so much self-motivated works driving the lyric in this song, I’m left with no positive way to spin this line in the bridge. It still sounds like Peter defying Christ’s warning concerning his impending falling away and subsequent restoration. Stop boasting in your flesh. Stop trying to editorialize your good works. I mean, who wouldn’t like having a personal narration guy extolling your virtues and magnifying the hardships you’ve had to face and overcome…. by the Grace of God, naturally… and how you had to fight the good fight and blah, blah, blah, look at my good works. Vanity.

John 16:20-33 (ESV)

Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. “I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures of speech but will tell you plainly about the Father. In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.” His disciples said, “Ah, now you are speaking plainly and not using figurative speech! Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God.” Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

Conclusion

While one might be able to make an attempt at arguing in favor of the intent of the song, the song doesn’t stand on its own. It starts off on the wrong foot in the very first verse and never recovers. While I attempted to give the first verse its best construction, the rest of the song dives headlong into crushing legalism. Don’t make promises you can’t keep, and even if you did they don’t advance the Gospel in any meaningful way. Preach the Word. Proclaim Christ and Him crucified. Know that we will face persecution, and take comfort in the Words of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, “take heart; I have overcome the world“.

Romans 16:25-27 (ESV) Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.

In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

DiM | “Made New” by Lincoln Brewster

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

February 17, 2015. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Made New” by Lincoln Brewster which currently sits at #10 at 20theCountdownMagazine.

We’ll continue using this top 20 song list until I find a better list. Another option would be to devote 2 days a week to DiM and simply pull from different lists, maybe an East Coast/West Coast, or pulling from Billboard one day and a Christian site the other. Your feedback in this would be greatly appreciated.

This song is pitched as a Praise and Worship song by Integrity Worship Music. This song is being played on the airwaves. There is no outside context to frame the meaning of the song when it is being played on the air. This is why we look at the lyrics and we review the popular songs to see if they say what we think (hope) they say, and compare that with what the Bible says.

Music Videos

Lyrics (via K-Love)

Made New by Lincoln Brewster

You’re calling me over
You’re pulling me close
With love You surround me
You give me hope

You’re taking me deeper
You’re making me whole
With grace You redeem me
You restore my soul

Now I’m made new
Because of You

You hold my head up
You remind me who I am
You hold my head up
I’m alive in You again
I’m made new

You’re making me stronger
You’re healing my heart
With Your hands You hold me
And You set me apart

You are my salvation
I will not fear
You’re the strength of my life
I won’t fear

Publishing: © 2014 Integrity Worship Music/ASCAP & Integrity’s Praise! Music/BMI & Echo/BMI (all adm by Integrity Music via CapitolCMGPublishing.com) & Colby Wedgeworth Music/ASCAP
Writer(s): Josiah Meeker, Colby Wedgeworth & Lincoln Brewster

Positive Elements

If we are going with the assumption that the “You” in this song is Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, then we have some general themes we can acknowledge in this song. Beginning with the title “Made New”.

2 Corinthians 5:14-21 (ESV)

14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. 16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Anyone who is in Christ is a new creation by faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We hold onto this truth by faith, though we continue to walk in a fallen flesh. The curse of the Law was born by Christ (Him who knew no sin) on the cross, so that in Christ we might be forgiven and set free from the curse of the law. This is wonderful news… news we need to lay hold of every day. Our flesh still desires to sin, and will do so until the day when we are at last freed from this mortal body of sin and are resurrected in Christ and made perfect. By faith we hold onto the promise of salvation that is being kept in heave for us.

1 Peter 1:3-12 (ESV) | Born Again to a Living Hope

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

10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.

So, this is some of what the New Testament teaches about being “Made New” (born again) in Christ Jesus.

There are a couple other good themes in the song that bear some expansion (if indeed we are seeking to Worship the God of the Bible). The song says the Lord is our Salvation and the one who lifts our head up. A good place to look for a way to bring these phrases into the Light of Scripture is to look in Palms 3.

Psalm 3 (ESV) | Save Me, O My God

A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son.

O Lord, how many are my foes!
    Many are rising against me;
many are saying of my soul,
    there is no salvation for him in God. Selah

But you, O Lord, are a shield about me,
    my glory, and the lifter of my head.
I cried aloud to the Lord,
    and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah

I lay down and slept;
    I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.
6 I will not be afraid of many thousands of people
    who have set themselves against me all around.

Arise, O Lord!
    Save me, O my God!
For you strike all my enemies on the cheek;
    you break the teeth of the wicked.

Salvation belongs to the Lord;
    your blessing be on your people! Selah

If we keep these passages in mind, we can at least keep our heads in the right place should the song find its way into your Church service.

Concerns

The song isn’t a reflection on the Gospel of Jesus Christ or on repentance. While the song alludes to what God has done, it does so with a focus on ourselves. The anthemic praise/worship tunes are tough for me because they have a confused audience. Anthems are usually aimed at the congregants to stir them up… so when the personal pronouns are supposed to be pointed to God but the messaging is to tell the audience about God it creates confusion. Some anthems get it right, like We Believe by the Newsboys.  This song, doesn’t get it right. What is God actually being praised for? What is the audience (congregants) being taught concerning God? It ends up sounding like a serenade where the singer is telling the object of his/her affection what makes them special… but in the “I love the way you make me feel” realm.

 

Conclusion

For someone who is grounded in sound doctrine, this song is just empty. Singing Psalm 3 would be better. The self-focused, feel-good vagueness is a hallmark of the seeker-sensitive approach to worship. There is no clear acknowledgement of doctrine and it doesn’t really honor God for who He is or what He has done. This song is used to whip youth services into an “I’m loved for who I am” frenzy and emotional high but ultimately lacks substance. It doesn’t say anything patently false, but every statement is vague and lacks authority. I don’t recommend including this song in Sunday Worship… there are just too many other meaningful songs that can and should be song instead of this one. This song is to Sunday worship what Krispy Kreme is to a healthy breakfast.

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

We Believe | The Newsboys

newsboys-restart-reviewOkay, so I had planned to post the follow-up to yesterday’s post on Biblical foundation for Relationships, a look at the Marriage Relationship as defined in the Bible. However, on my drive in to work this morning, I heard a wonderful song on the radio. I just had to share it here. It’s been a while since I’ve been so excited for a Newsboys song… but… wow. I hope they don’t mind my posting this stuff.

If you’d like to see/hear the song visit the following YouTube link: http://youtu.be/9i9wtJzok4U

The following lyrics were pulled from their website: http://newsboys.com/

In this time of desperation
When all we know is doubt and fear
There is only One Foundation
We believe, We believe
In this broken generation
When all is dark, You help us see
There is only One Salvation
We believe, We believe

We believe in God the Father
We believe in Jesus Christ
We believe in the Holy Spirit
And He’s given us new life
We believe in the crucifixion
We believe that He conquered death
We believe in the resurrection
And He’s comin’ back again, we believe

So, let our faith be more than anthems
Greater than the songs we sing
And in our weakness and temptations
We believe, We believe

We believe in God the Father
We believe in Jesus Christ
We believe in the Holy Spirit
And He’s given us new life
We believe in the crucifixion
We believe that He conquered death
We believe in the resurrection
And He’s comin’ back again

Let the lost be found and the dead be raised
In the here and now, let love invade
Let the church live love our God will see
We believe, We believe
And the gates of hell will not prevail
For the power of God, has torn the veil
Now we know Your love will never fail
We believe, We believe!

We believe in God the Father
We believe in Jesus Christ
We believe in the Holy Spirit
And He’s given us new life
We believe in the crucifixion
We believe that He conquered death
We believe in the resurrection
And He’s comin’ back,
He’s comin’ back again
He’s comin’ back again
We believe!
We believe