DiM | “Chain Breaker” by Zach Williams

disapproveCCM Edition.

August 23, 2016. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Chain Breaker” by Zach Williams which currently sits at #20 on 20theCountdownMagazine.

This song presents a sales pitch of sorts for a “He” who is the remedy for your circumstances and your hurting. The “He” is never identified. We are left to assume the song is pointing to Jesus Christ, but is it? Is this how the scriptures present the Gospel of Jesus Christ? As an option out there that folks should try instead of trying all of the other stuff? hmm… doesn’t sound like the Gospel. Let’s give the song a listen and then look for the Gospel in the lyrics.

Zach Williams VEVO (Official Lyric Video)



If you’ve been walking the same old road for miles and miles
If you’ve been hearing the same old voice tell the same old lies
If you’re trying to fill the same old holes inside
There’s a better life, there’s a better life

If you’ve got pain, He’s a pain taker
If you feel lost, He’s a way maker
If you need freedom or saving, He’s a prison-shaking Savior
If you got chains, He’s a chain breaker

We’ve all searched for the light of day in the dead of night
We’ve all found ourselves worn out from the same old fight
We’ve all run to things we know just ain’t right
When there’s a better life, there’s a better life

If you’ve got pain, He’s a pain taker
If you feel lost, He’s a way maker
If you need freedom or saving, He’s a prison-shaking Savior
If you got chains, He’s a chain breaker

If you believe it, if you receive it
If you can feel it, somebody testify
If you believe it, if you receive it
If you can feel it, somebody testify, testify
If you believe it, if you receive it
If you can feel it, somebody testify

If you’ve got pain, He’s a pain taker
If you feel lost, He’s a way maker
If you need freedom or saving, He’s a prison-shaking Savior
If you got chains, He’s a chain breaker

If you need freedom or saving, He’s a prison-shaking Savior
If you got chains, He’s a chain breaker


Okay, so If you need freedom or saving, He’s a prison-shaking Savior. If? We’ll get to this point in a minute, and we’ll try to give it its best possible construction, but first let’s discuss the song lyric as a whole before trying to examine individual lines.

Every line of this song in every stanza but one begins with the word “If”, and stylistically that’s cute. But what’s on the flip-side of the “if”? In computer programming, we use “if-then” statements to execute a line of code based on positively identifying a particular condition. However, when programming an “if-then” statement, you also have to capture the conditions that don’t match, so we use an “if-then-else” statement. Without the “else”, the program will just run straight through the code and never execute the “then” since the “if” never panned out. This song has no “else”, so it’s assuming it’s covered all of the “if” scenarios. So, for applying our best construction on this song, we have to assume that the “else” of the song is the unbeliever who is absolutely clueless of his sinful condition, isn’t aware of his chains, enjoys the miles and miles of same old road, believes the lies, and is unaware of the holes in his life. Basically the sinner unaware that he’s a sinner. Such an individual needs the Law of God preached, so that the Holy Spirit can convict the world of sin.

John 16:7-11 (ESV) Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

Incidentally, in this passage we see the Trinity: God the Son (Jesus) is speaking to His disciples concerning His sending God the Holy Spirit (as a Helper or Advocate) and God the Father. Notice the focus here, it is to convict the world of sin for not believing in Christ, that by the Grace of God they might repent and believe in Christ Jesus and be saved. Our song today doesn’t address the need for repentance. Not even remotely. It avoids sin and repentance completely via the unresolved “if”. That’s a problem.

Another problem is in it’s intended audience. If the goal is evangelism, then you’ve failed in not proclaiming the need for repentance. Also, the “He” is never identified in the song. We have to assume the song is pointing to Christ Jesus, but it doesn’t really, it’s pointing to someone who’s aim is apparently to give the listener a better life now and change his/her circumstances. Eternity isn’t mentioned, and that’s the focus of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

If the intended audience is believers, now we have a different problem… one of false promises. There’s a better life? When? Everything in this song points to temporal circumstances, so trying to rescue this line by saying it points to eternity is quite the stretch, particularly given the “if you need saving”… eternally speaking, there’s no room for “if”, it is a declared fact of the Scriptures that all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God.

Romans 3:20-26 (ESV) | The Righteousness of God Through Faith

For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

So if you’ve got pain, He’s the pain taker is another promise that can be correct if viewed through the lens of eternity. Christ is our great physician, and our diagnosis is: dead in sins and transgressions (Eph 2:1-10). He heals us of death and grants us eternal life by His Grace through faith. This is an eternal removal of pain, suffering, heartache, and death. In this life, however, we’ve not been promised a complete removal of pain. God is still able to heal us and He certainly does so according to His Will, but He hasn’t promised us earthly lives free of pain. He hasn’t promised us lives that are “better” in this life, either. The fruit of the Spirit, of faith, most assuredly grants us better lives anchored in the Hope that is kept for us in Eternity, that’s true, but without the lens Eternity our temporal lives are hard. The world hates those of us who are in Christ Jesus because it first hated Him. Let’s take a look at Peter’s encouragement in 1 Peter 1:

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

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

The message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ isn’t merely an option out there, an alternative to worldly living that people should try so that they can find fulfillment… the Message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is one of salvation from eternal damnation, the Wrath of God against sin. Presenting the Gospel as merely an option to consider is dangerously untrue. This is part of the Pelagian heresy, the idea that people are born essentially neutral to the things of God, not saved, but not condemned. That’s patently false.

John 3:16-20 (ESV) | For God So Loved the World

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 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. 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. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.

We were all born into the sin of Adam, born in unbelief, condemned already for that unbelief. “If” you need freedom or saving? Not if, it is certain. You need saving. Jesus Christ saves.

Now, back to that “He’s a prison-shaking Savior” line. This is likely a reference to Paul and Silas in a Philippian jail. Such a great story. Let’s take a look at it.

Acts 16:25-34 (ESV) | The Philippian Jailer Converted

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.

Such a beautiful passage of the Salvation… not of Paul and Silas being let out of jail, but of the jailer and his entire family being set free from their eternal condemnation of unbelief, rescued by the Gospel of Jesus Christ as their LORD and Savior. To point to this passage as some sort of promise that God will rescue you from your temporal situations is a lie and a distraction from the true point of the Gospel. Paul closed out his earthly ministry in a Roman prison… eventually beheaded under the Emperor of Rome. False promise is false, and should be rejected wholly. Now, the best construction is the acknowledgement that God is capable of doing anything He wills, but that’s not how this song is presenting the message. The song is fixed on the temporal, on circumstances.

The song winds down in that “whip the audience into a frenzy” of the somebody testify. Testify to what? Well, their experiences. Certainly that’s the proof we need that God is good, right? Our experiences will prove it to ourselves and to our neighbors, right? Such pep rallies do offer temporary excitement and emotional pick-me-up, and they also get many to engage in “positive affirmation” hoping that confessing the positive stuff will lead to positive stuff via some sort of spiritual quid-pro-quo mechanic. But once the emotions wane, and the adrenaline subsides, there is only empty words, false promises, and nothing of substance to carry the listener on through the trials that are coming. They’ll be chasing the next emotional high, when what they need is the Word of God, both Law and Gospel rightly distinguished, convicting of sin and comforting with forgiveness and the eternal Promise of Salvation.


I expect this song to get a lot of play. CCM is filled with a lot of sweet-sounding promises of temporal gifts, the “better life”, and relief from pain. That’s how the celebrity preachers get rich, they keep selling those tropes… all the while distracting listeners from the true beauty and Promise of the Gospel… Eternal Life in Christ Jesus.

Hebrews 13:20-21 (ESV) Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

In Christ Jesus,

DiM | “In Christ Alone” by Keith & Kristyn Getty

Modern Hymn.

February 04, 2016. As a bonus for today, we’ll be taking a look at “In Christ Alone” by Keith & Kristyn Getty. During a phone call with my brother last night, he mentioned Keith & Kristyn Getty, but didn’t specify a particular song, so I grabbed the first one I recognized and liked.

As with the DiM we posted earlier today, this song earns our approval for bearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ plainly within the lyrics. It is a modern hymn in that it was written this century (2001). It follows the hymn format with 4 verses, no chorus or bridge. Let’s listen to it, read through the lyrics and then I want to highlight some controversy surrounding this song and a decision by a hymnal approval committee decided to drop it from their hymnal. I think the discussion is fascinating and worth noting regardless of which side you take on the matter.

Keith and Kristyn Getty Music Video

Lyrics (via WorshipTogether.com)

Verse 1
In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
this cornerstone, this solid ground
firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My comforter, my all in all
here in the love of Christ I stand
Verse 2
In Christ alone, who took on flesh
fullness of God in helpless Babe
This gift of love and righteousness
scorned by the ones He came to save
‘Til on that cross as Jesus died
the wrath of God was satisfied
For ev’ry sin on Him was laid
here in the death of Christ I live
Verse 3
There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
then, bursting forth in glorious day
up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
sin’s curse has lost
its grip on me
for I am His and He is mine
bought with the precious blood of Christ
Verse 4
No guilt in life, no fear in death
this is the pow’r of Christ in me
from life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man
can ever pluck me from His hand
’til He returns or calls me home
here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand
Writer(s): Keith Getty, Stuart Townend
Theme(s): Peace & Hope , Easter
Ministry(s): ThankYou Music
CCLI #: 3350395
Scripture Reference(s): Philippians 3:7-11


I really like this song, and was frankly very impressed to learn it had been written so recently. If I’m missing an older hymn upon which this version is based, please message me or leave a link in the comments below. As I was searching for the background of this hymn, I found an interesting report in USA Today entitled “Presbyterians’ decision to drop hymn stirs debate” by Bob Smietana, EDT August 5, 2013.

The committee putting together a new Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) hymnal dropped the popular modern hymn “In Christ Alone” because the song’s authors refused to change a phrase about the wrath of God.

The original lyrics say that “on that cross, as Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied.” The Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Song wanted to substitute the words, “the love of God was magnified.”

There are a couple of things I find fascinating about this. Firstly, that there are still denominations working through their hymnody ensuring that every song approved for corporate worship is in keeping with their confessions and doctrine. That excellent. That needs to happen. There needs to be a process in place for ensuring that every song, sermon, teaching, doctrine, and tradition is examined against God’s Word for Truth and soundness. This is something that should be a strength of being part of a denomination, that as a body of believers we confess the same faith. This is something that the “non-denominational” movement explicitly avoids. They refuse to accept a system of examination of doctrine and refuse to be identified by specific confessions. I think that’s an error, because no denomination of Christianity can come ex-nihilo for we have already the faith once and for all delivered to the saints (Jude). Your doctrine had to come from somewhere. Every denomination claims their doctrine comes from God’s Word, the key is in knowing how, where, and whether or not it can be faithfully exegeted from the text. A church can avoid having a label for a while, but its doctrine has origins, and those origins are either from the Spirit of Truth or spirits of error.

So, regarding this Presbyterian Church committee, they opted to drop the song for the refusal of its authors to allow the phrase “the wrath of God was satisfied” found in the second verse to be changed. As we read later in the article, it wasn’t due to the word “wrath”; rather, it was due to the word “satisfied”. Please understand, dear reader, that to suggest that the song was dropped because of a single word is to over-simplify what is taking place. It wasn’t merely the word, it was the theology being expressed in this wording that the committee took issue with. Whether you agree or disagree is a next step, but please don’t trivialize the matter by oversimplifying it. The author of this article did well to include comments both for and against:

The Rev. Chris Joiner of First Presbyterian Church in Franklin agrees with that move. He said some of his church members are fans of the song and will be disappointed that it was dropped.

But the words of the song don’t work, he said.

“That lyric comes close to saying that God killed Jesus,” he said. “The cross is not an instrument of God’s wrath.”

But the Rev. Scott Sauls, pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville, disagrees. He said the word “satisfied” means that Jesus paid the whole price for sins.

“There’s no more work to be done,” said Sauls, whose congregation is part of the more conservative Presbyterian Church in America. “It is finished.”

There is more discussion in the article regarding blogger responses, but they are generalities and engage in ad hominem and strawman attacks (to be expected in a section dedicated to “controversies”). The quotes above are substantive differences of interpretation of the theology being expressed in the wording of the song. What do you think about the issue?

Now, regarding the scripture reference cited by WorshipTogether… I’m not buying it on this song. Which now makes me wonder, “who’s putting those scripture references on the website, the artist or someone else”? Let’s look at the passage cited, and then let’s look at the passage Kristyn Getty reads at the beginning of the YouTube Music Video.

Philippians 3:7-11 (ESV)

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

While it fits with the ascribed theme of the song, it doesn’t seem to me that this song was written with this specific passage in mind. I could be wrong, of course, but I’d like to move on to the passage being read in the video. Actually, I’ll highlight what was actually read, but I want to show its immediate context, because I really think this to be a better citation for this song.

Colossians 1:11-20 (ESV)

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.



Personally, I love the song and struggle to see the problem in the line as written. I’ll chalk it up to my not being Presbyterian. I commend the committee for doing the work of evaluating their church’s worship, despite my disagreement with their conclusion on this particular song. Theology matters. What you sing and pray matters (Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi). Soli Deo Gloria.

Romans 16:24-27 (ESV) | Doxology

25 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 26 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— 27 to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.

In Christ Jesus,

DiM | “Glorious Things of You are Spoken” by Emu Music

Updated Hymns (Reader Submission).

February 04, 2016. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Glorious Things of You are Spoken” by Emu Music which was recommended to us via Twitter.

The past couple of weeks have been a bit frustrating with regards to our DiM posts both for CCM Radio songs and Evangelical Worship songs that were most popular in 2015. We have one more song on that second list, but I thought today we’d take a break and review an updated or modernized hymn. I enjoyed looking up the history of this hymn. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is on full display in this song. The focus is on the Kingdom that is to come, of which we who believe are already members, adopted by Grace through Faith, and the have the Hope of Salvation in Christ Jesus. There are several promises in this song that we look forward to in the day of Resurrection, and we would do well to resist the temptation to claim these promises for this temporal realm before Christ’s return.

Emu Music Video


1. Glorious things of you are spoken
Zion city of our God;
He whose word cannot be broken
Formed you for his own abode;
On the Rock of Ages founded,
What can shake your sure repose?
With salvation’s walls surrounded,
You may smile at all your foes.

2. See the streams of living waters
Springing from eternal love,
Well supply your sons and daughters
And all fear of want remove.
Who can faint while such a river
Ever flows their thirst to fade?
Grace, which like the Lord, the Giver,
Never fails from age to age.

3. Blest inhabitants of Zion,
Washed in the Redeemer’s blood!
Jesus, whom their souls rely on,
Makes them priests and kings to God.
Ne’er again will be a barrier;
All the guilt and stain are gone,
Free to walk beside the Saviour
In the glory of the Lord.

4. Saviour, since of Zion’s city,
I through grace a member am,
Let the world condemn or pity,
I will glory in your Name.
Fading is the worldly pleasure,
All its weak pretence and show.
Solid joys and lasting treasure
None but those of Zion know.

© Words: J. Newton (1725-1807)
Music & additional words: © Luke & Vicki Woodhouse, 2009
CCLI song no. 6190404


A good resource for the history of this hymn can be found at Hymnary.org.

Glorious things of Thee are spoken. J. Newton. [Church of Christ.] First published in the Olney Hymns, 1779, Bk. i., No. 60, in 5 stanzas of 8 lines, and entitled, “Zion, or the City of God,” Is. xxxiii. 20, 21. It has attained to great popularity in all English-speaking countries, and ranks with the first hymns in the language. It is used, however, in various forms as follows:—
1. Original text in Snepp’s Songs of Grace & Glory People’s Hymnal.
2. A cento composed of stanzas i., ii. and v. This appeared in Cotterill’s Selection, 1819, from whence it has passed into a great number of collections. It is by far the most popular arrangement of the hymn in use, and may be found in fifty or more hymnals, as in Hymnal Companion, No. 234, and sometimes with Cotterill’s slight alterations, as in the Rev. F. Pott’s Hymns, &c, 1861-67.
3. A cento composed of stanzas i., iii. and v., given in Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge Hymns, 1852, but not popular.
4. A cento, stanzas i., ii. and doxology in four lines, not by Newton, in the Cooke and Denton Hymnal, 1853.
5. A cento, in 4 stanzas of 4 lines, beginning, “Glorious things of old were spoken,” is given in Isaac G. Smith’s Hymn Book, 1855-57. It is thus composed: stanza i., Newton altered; ii., I. G. Smith; iii., Newton; iv., dox. from Cooke & Denton. This is the least successful of any arrangement.
6. The whole hymn revised by J. Keble for the Salisbury Hymn Book, 1857, and included therein, as No. 130, with the four-line doxology from Denton. This, with slight returns to the original in two places (stanzas i., v.), and the omission of the doxology, was repeated in the Sarum Hymnal (broken into two parts, pt. ii. beginning “Blessed city, holy nation), 1868; and a cento therefrom again altered, in 6 stanzas of 4 lines in T. Darling’s Hymns, &c, edition 1887. Another cento, also with alterations, is given in the Hymnary, from which it passed into the New Mitre Hymnal, 1875.
7. Cento of stanzas i., ii., iv., v., unaltered as in the Book of Praise Hymnal, Thring’s Collection, and others.
8. In the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge Church Hymns, stanzas i.-iv. with slight alterations in stanzas i., ii., and iii.
In the American collections the same diversity of use prevails as in Great Britain. Sometimes the hymn is broken into two parts, with pt. ii. beginning, “Blest inhabitants of Zion.” In addition other arrangements of minor importance are given in collections of less importance; but in most cases the original text is maintained. Stanzas i., ii., v., have been rendered into Latin by the Rev. R. Bingham, and included in his Hymnologia Christiana Latina, 1871, “Dicta do te sunt miranda.”

–John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)

One of the greatest strengths of traditional Church Hymnology is that it was not taken lightly or flippantly in days past. Not just any song was added to a Church’s Hymnal, it was a pain-staking process, for the role of the Hymns was to teach sound doctrine, confess Scripture, and to build up the Church in the Faith once and for all delivered to the Saints. It wasn’t merely a “mood setter” or a seeker-magnet. Since so much work has gone into these hymns, there is little I need to add to the discussion. Let’s look at some of the commentary available on this Hymn.

The title of Book I of the Olney Hymns, published in 1779 by John Newton and William Cowper, is “On Select Texts of Scripture,” containing hymns written on specific Scripture passages, arranged in biblical order. “Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken,” written by Newton, is number 60 in this book. It is written on Isaiah 33:20-21, but there are plenty of clear references to other Scriptures, which Newton cited in footnotes, such as Psalm 87 (the first two lines of the hymn are nearly a direct quote of Ps. 87:3) and Isaiah 4:5-6 (which is closely paraphrased in the third stanza). This hymn has been called one of Newton’s finest hymns, and it is certainly one of his most popular, along with “Amazing Grace” and “How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds.”

So, let’s take a look at these references.

Psalm 87 (ESV) | Glorious Things of You Are Spoken
A Psalm of the Sons of Korah. A Song.

87 On the holy mount stands the city he founded;
2     the Lord loves the gates of Zion
more than all the dwelling places of Jacob.
Glorious things of you are spoken,
    O city of God. Selah
4 Among those who know me I mention Rahab and Babylon;
behold, Philistia and Tyre, with Cush—
“This one was born there,” they say.
5 And of Zion it shall be said,
“This one and that one were born in her”;
for the Most High himself will establish her.
6 The Lord records as he registers the peoples,
“This one was born there.” Selah
7 Singers and dancers alike say,
“All my springs are in you.”

Isaiah 4 (ESV)

And seven women shall take hold of one man in that day, saying, “We will eat our own bread and wear our own clothes, only let us be called by your name; take away our reproach.”

In that day the branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and honor of the survivors of Israel. And he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem, when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning. Then the Lord will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory there will be a canopy. There will be a booth for shade by day from the heat, and for a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain.

Isaiah 4 is very short. Notice that every mention of Zion is in that Great Day of Christ’s Return. The imagery in this hymn can by hijacked by dominionists who insist that the church will build Zion in order for Christ to Return and take His throne… that’s garbage. No, Zion is God’s City… in the New Heaven and the New Earth that He makes. Jesus prepared it for us.


I like that the English has been modernized without sacrificing the doctrine in the lyric. I’d like to see more of this sort of thing from Christian Musicians. Most importantly, we need to return Music to its proper place in Corporate Worship.

Romans 16:24-27 (ESV) | Doxology

25 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 26 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— 27 to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.

In Christ Jesus,

CTT | Addressing the Sin of Abortion

To deny that Abortion is murder is to suppress the Truth of God’s Word. We expect such fruit from unbelievers born dead in their sins and trespasses. The struggle comes when we discover professing believers struggling against this truth. Abortion isn’t merely a way of erasing a mistake; it is stacking on the sin of murder on top of whatever sins led to the unwanted pregnancy. As Christians, we should really stop using “mistake” to describe sin. The Sermon on the Mount doesn’t leave room for “oopsies”.

There’s more to Abortion than Murder

There are several para-church groups fighting to end Abortion in the US and to strip Planned Parenthood of federal funding. The courts are in Planned Parenthood’s pockets, the Politicians, the Media, Hollywood,… the false god of this world has re-created child sacrifice and sold it to this nation under several misnomers such as: reproductive health; women’s rights; choice. There are various street ministries who picket/demonstrate outside of Abortion centers pleading with pregnant women not to commit murder, not to sacrifice the innocent child on the altar of selfishness. But there is more to Abortion than the sin of murder. Many of those mothers, boyfriends, parents, friends are themselves dead in their sins and trespasses.

Ephesians 2:1-3 (ESV) | By Grace Through Faith

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

Let’s pause our reading in Ephesians, to expand on what we once were as dead men/women in the trespasses and sins… before the Grace of God regenerated us to new life. The best place to do that is in Romans 1… I humbly ask that as you read “they” in the following verses, understand that we were once included in this group… and have only been saved by the Grace of God.

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.

This is the unbeliever, and such were each of us… Like the rest of mankind… 

Ephesians 2:4-10 (ESV)

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

Who judges the sin of the unbeliever? God. They stand condemned in their unbelief… they are by nature children of wrath. We do all that we can to end legalized abortion and to save every human life we can… and there is more to the problem of Abortion than trying to stop the murders.

The lost need to hear the Word of God preached

I pray that the government returns to the proper understanding that abortion, in all cases, is murder and that there is no justifiable reason for killing an unborn baby. None. But the legalization of the murder is only a symptom of the problem. The problem is sin. All of the illegal murders that happen, still happen, despite their being illegal. Murder is against the Law of God. But that Law is incapable of granting the ability to do what the Law demands. Having the Law doesn’t make a person righteous, it exposes the unrighteousness in the one breaking the Law. As Jesus pointed out, the Law of Murder is broken in our hearts before it has been committed by our hands. None can stand innocent (Righteous) before this Law except for Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God. Let’s look at how Paul expands on this thought in Romans 10… but he’s not just referring to the Law against Murder, but all of the Law.

Romans 10:5-17 (ESV) | The Message of Salvation to All

For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 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 Christian needs to hear the Word of God preached, also

With the rise of “missional” church movement, and the notion that good works are the means of evangelism comes a dreadful ignorance regarding the need to preach the Gospel both to unbelievers and to believers. We preach the Gospel to “them”… “those people” who are wicked, lost, depraved, and slaves to darkness. Once they’ve made a confession of faith in Christ and been baptized into the local church… we quickly “put them to work” outside of the church to them, those people who are wicked, lost, depraved, and slaves to darkness… so that they can live out the Gospel. What of the sin that still remains in their flesh? Is there not forgiveness for the sin they commit? Do they not still stumble? Will they not still fall? In some cases, their sins are lorded over them as a sign of doubt to the authenticity of their faith, their sanctification is called into question… they are beaten down by the Law… because, after all, they already heard the Gospel and were already made new creatures, right? No. Let’s look to Galatians 3.

Galatians 3:1-14 (ESV)

By Faith, or by Works of the Law?

O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?

Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

The Righteous Shall Live by Faith

10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written,“Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” 12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.”13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

In this life, we’ll not ever graduate from the Gospel. Our Sanctification will not be complete in this life. Why are we talking about this and how does it relate to Abortion? The death of Abortion is the wages of the sins that precede it. The hard truth is that there are believers falling to temptations of the flesh, or being made victims of the sins of others, and in their shame they are turning to murder to hide their sin.

King David killed a man to hide his sexual sin. There are believers today still resorting to murder to hide their sin… society is different, but the victims of these murders are no less innocent than Uriah. And these murders are no less guilty of sin than was King David. Repentance and forgiveness was available to King David… and it is no less available to everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord.


Closing Thoughts

I’m grateful for the faithful Brethren who faithfully preach the Word of God outside abortion clinics. My wife and I work closely with a para-church Adoption agency. But there is more to the problem of Abortion than its murderous conclusion, the heart of the matter is sin. The sin of adultery, the sin of murder, the sin of covetousness, the sin of idolatry. Christians are committing these sins… daily… and they need repentance as much as the unbelievers. We need to hear the Gospel of Grace flowing from the pulpits… in equal measure with the full-power preaching of the Law. I’m not lobbying for lawlessness… on the contrary, we need to hear the law, unsoftened, unmitigated, and unwavering… but the Law does not grant the obedience it requires… we need to hear of God’s unmitigated Grace in Christ’s finished work on the Cross.

Pastors, if I may, I’d like to draw your attention to a truth that is not often discussed in the open. In your congregation:

  • there are folks addicted to pornography
  • there are youth engaging in sexual immorality
  • there are married men taking advantage of lonely women
  • there are married women seducing foolish men
  • there are unwanted pregnancies being hidden and aborted in secret

They need repentance and the forgiveness of sin. It isn’t enough to simply rebuke the sin and wonder why some stop attending. Preach both Law and Gospel… allow God the Holy Spirit to do the rest. We need elders and deacons who hold each other accountable to the LORD. We all need God’s Grace on a daily basis.

Galatians 6:1-10 (ESV) | Bear One Another’s Burdens

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load. Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

The body of Christ needs to be a place where we gather together to receive the Grace of God for the forgiveness of sin. We are to forgive our neighbors as we have been forgiven by God. The Church of Jesus Christ is a place for believers to find Rest in Christ Jesus.

DiM | “No Longer Slaves” by Bethel Music

CCM Radio Edition.

January 26, 2016. Today we’ll be taking a look at “No Longer Slaves” by Bethel Music which currently sits at #16 on the 20thecountdown Magazine.

This comes from the heresy house known as Bethel Church of Redding, CA. Led by the false-teacher, Bill Johnson and his wife the false-prophetess Beni Johnson. This is undoubtedly designed as one of their worship songs… how it’s found its way onto the top 20 CCM radio charts breaks my heart, and makes me mourn for the visible church. For some background on the problems with Bethel check out PirateChristianRadio.

The voices are incredible… seriously… gifted vocalists. The song is garbage. We’ll look at the lyrics.

Bethel Music Video

Lyrics (via KLove)

You unravel me, with a melody
You surround me with a song
Of deliverance, from my enemies
Till all my fears are gone

I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God

From my Mother’s womb
You have chosen me
Love has called my name
I’ve been born again, into your family
Your blood flows through my veins

You split the sea, so I could walk right through it
All my fears were drowned in perfect love
You rescued me, so I could stand and sing
I am a child of God

Publishing: ©2014 Bethel Music Publishing (ASCAP). All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.
Writer(s): Brian Johnson, Jonathan David Helser, Joel Case


As with most successful cults, Bethel has mastered the art of cloaking their false theology in “churchinese”. The song hits a couple of key terms: slavery, deliverance, womb, chosen, child of God… but how it gets put together is the problem. Nothing in this song points to Christ. It points to “me” being a child of God directly. From what is the singer proclaiming he has been set free? fear. Not sin, death, and the Wrath of God… fear. How are we set free from fear? We just are, in our being, because God’s blood flows in our veins… see how the Gospel of Jesus Christ is just being skipped over here?

It is true that in having been forgiven of our sin and having been set free from darkness, death, and the Wrath of God we no longer have anything (or anyone) to fear. But that fear isn’t because the problems are all gone… sin still exists, death still reigns in our mortal flesh, and the Wrath of God will be poured out when Jesus Christ returns to judge the living and the dead… the difference is that Jesus Christ is the Hope of our Salvation. For we who are of the household of faith are baptized into His death and resurrection. In His death, He bore the full wrath of God against all sin, and His resurrection silenced the enemy and secures for us everlasting life in Him.

Verse 1. First 2 lines are throw-away lines. Those who’ve dabbled in mysticism long enough will key into the emotional/mystical/spiritually-sensual vibe of these first two lines and will likely close their eyes, maybe throw their hands out, possibly start weeping,… because the atmosphere is being filled with the Presence…. these folks don’t need the rest of the song, or any of the churchinese… they’ve moved beyond Christianity, beyond doctrine. The rest of the song is for the unitiated… for the Christian who still needs some indication that Bethel is somehow connected to the Bible. So they mention deliverance… from my enemies. Not from sin, no… that’s too legalistic… it’s more their speed to personify a purely external enemy, the devil, demons, scoffers, discernment bloggers… anyone who’d dare question the authenticity of their “spiritual/mystical experience”, or claim that the familiar spirit is God the Holy Spirit. The point of this mysticism is to numb out… mentally, spiritually, until all fear is gone… and all discernment… and all truth and reality. This is not how the God of the Bible instructs us to worship Him. Bethel records a lot of their live “worship experiences”… this is how they employ this song:


Chorus. Nothing more than a bold (I think the singer actually encourages the crowd to sing more boldly) declaration of self. Entitlement. Absolutely no credit to the One who bought us by His blood.

Verse 2. This verse has some more churchinese, with a reference that will remind orthodox Christians of their doctrine of election, but that’s not what Bethel teaches. And that’s not really what is being said… it’s a spiritually-sensual reference to being begotten of God. I think that’s why KLove knew to capitalize “Mother” in the lyric… or maybe Bethel gave it to them capitalized. who knows. The point here is that it’s pointing to us, not to God the Father, God the Son, or God the Holy Spirit. The verse also super-spiritualizes Jesus. Bethel has very poor Christology… well, they preach a different Jesus altogether. God the Son (Jesus) still has a body, a perfect body, but still an actual body. His blood does not flow through our veins. When we receive communion, we are given His blood and body by Grace… yes… but still His blood is not flowing in our veins. We are indwelt by God the Holy Spirit, sealed by Him for the day of Judgement for the Resurrection in Christ Jesus.

Bridge. Yeah, another hyper-sensual spiritualization of the Red Sea crossing. By this point you are either in, going with the flow, or you’ve left the auditorium. Rescued me from what? Well, according to the song “fear”. Why? So I can stand and sing I am a child of God. Yeah, that ain’t the Gospel.

I’m done with this song. But I think we need to remind ourselves of what the Scriptures say regarding the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Let’s turn to 1 Corinthians 15… the full chapter.

1 Corinthians 15 (ESV) | The Resurrection of Christ

15 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

The Resurrection of the Dead

12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. 28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.

29 Otherwise, what do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf? 30 Why are we in danger every hour? 31 I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die every day! 32 What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” 33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” 34 Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.

The Resurrection Body

35 But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” 36 You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. 38 But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. 39 For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. 40 There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another.41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.

42 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. 47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.

Mystery and Victory

50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?
    O death, where is your sting?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.


The song is worship created and used by the heretical cult of Bethel Church in Redding. This should not be playing on Christian radio, let alone be in the top 20. Bethel preaches a false gospel, a counterfeit spirit, and a different Jesus. It doesn’t point to Christ, doesn’t preach repentance and the forgiveness of sin.

Romans 16:24-27 (ESV) | Doxology

25 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 26 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— 27 to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.

In Christ Jesus,