DiM | “One True God” by Steven Curtis Chapman

ApprovedCCM Edition.

October 04, 2016. Today we’ll be taking a look at “One True God” by Steven Curtis Chapman which currently sits at #9 on the K-Love top 10 Songs.

It is such a pleasure to find a song on a top 10 CCM chart that we can place in the “Approved” category. This song does a great job of filling a void in current popular CCM radio, that being the clear declaration of the Deity of Jesus, God the Son. I wish the lyric addressed repentance and the forgiveness of sin, but I’m so grateful for the clear proclamation of Jesus as God that I just didn’t feel right leaving it in the “middle ground”. Let’s listen to the song and then work through its lyrics.

Official Lyric Video

 

Lyrics (via K-Love)

One voice in the dark
A song that lights up the stars
One breath that gives life

One sovereign in power
Who speaks with thunder and fire
One Lord, one King

There is no other that can compare to You

You are
The One alone in greatness
The One who never changes
Jesus, You are
The One who rose in power
The One who reigns forever
Jesus, the One true God

One man on a cross
One light of the world
One Name, one Word

One Way to be saved
One Lamb that was slain
One Love above all

There is no other that can compare to You

You are
The One alone in greatness
The One who never changes
Jesus, You are
The One who rose in power
The One who reigns forever
Jesus, You’re the One true God
You’re the One true God

We have seen the glory of
The One and only Son of God
Yes, we have seen the glory
The One and only Son of God

You’re the One true God
You are the One true God

Publishing: © 2015 Who You Say Music (BMI)/Be Essential Songs (BMI) (both admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC) / WorshipTogether.com Songs (ASCAP) sixsteps Music (ASCAP) Said And Done Music (ASCAP) (adm. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com) / Thankyou Music (PRS) (adm. worldwide at CapitolCMGPublishing.com, excluding the UK which is adm. by Integrity Music, part of the David C. Cook family. Songs@integritymusic.com). / Worship Together Music (BMI) sixsteps Songs (BMI) S.D.G. Publishing (BMI) (adm. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com)
Writer(s): Steven Curtis Chapman, Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin

Discussion

It’s so wonderful to have a CCM song so clearly proclaim the Deity of Jesus.

John 1:1-18 (ESV) | The Word Became Flesh

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

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

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

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

John 14:8-9 (ESV)

Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

This song is a great example of Praising the Name of Jesus. It does it so wonderfully and without a single instance of the phrase “sing Your praises”. So, without singing about singing His praises, the song simply sings His praises. I love that.

Now, normally what I’m looking for in the lyrics of these songs in determining its disposition (approved, disapproved, middle-ground) is a clear articulation of the Gospel. This one doesn’t quite reach that directly, though it does indirectly in the lines One Way to be saved, One Lamb that was slain. The missing element in this song is the call to repentance and the forgiveness of sin. The writers of this song all tend to push a revivalist (also known as Finneyism) version of the Gospel, one that relies on an act of human will to “invite Jesus into their hearts” or “make a decision for Jesus” or “dedicate your life to Jesus”… none of which is taught in Scripture. The particularly frustrating thing here is that given the synergism in their theology, since they treat repentance as an act of their will one might think it would be readily included in CCM. It isn’t. Sin is a dirty word in CCM. But if you aren’t willing to address sin, you cannot share the comfort of the Gospel, the forgiveness of sin by the Blood of Jesus Christ, shed on the cross for you.

Hebrews 10:19-25 (ESV) | The Full Assurance of Faith

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

The song does rightly proclaim Jesus as LORD and Savior. When we understand that He is the Word made flesh, we know that to see Him we look to His Word, not our own emotions or acts of the will. It is Christ who saves us, He draws us, He grants us saving Faith according to His Word. He who promised is faithful, indeed. Alleluia!

Conclusion

This is probably the best song on either of the CCM Top charts right now. I pray we see more songs clearly proclaiming Christ and Him crucified for our sin… the Gospel of forgiveness, mercy, and Grace. Preach the Word, call all men to repent and be forgiven in Jesus’ Name.

2 Corinthians 13:14 (ESV)The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

Amen.
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

DiM | “Something Beautiful” by Steven Curtis Chapman

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

June 02, 2015. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Something Beautiful” by Steven Curtis Chapman which currently sits at #18 at 20theCountdownMagazine.

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

I love Steven Curtis Chapman’s writing, music, and ministry. I don’t think this is one of his stronger songs. This is a song of encouragement generally based on the idea that for Believers everything that we think is “bad” will be turned into something “good” by God. This is based on a commonly held interpretation of Romans 8:28 that isn’t quite right. We’ll look at that later. There are some generically positive themes in this song, but the details are a little “off”.

Official Pseudo Video

Lyrics (Partial Lyrics from Air1)

Something Beautiful

I see you sitting over there with your head in your hands
And the mess life’s made of your best laid plans
You really want to shake your fist
But you don’t know who to blame
Well, you can blame yourself or the man upstairs
Or the guy on the screen who says he cares
But all the shame and the blame won’t change a thing
What’s done is done
But grace has just begun

And God says
I’m gonna turn it into something different
I’m gonna turn it into something good
I’m gonna take all the broken pieces
And make something beautiful like only I could
So put it all in the hands of the Father
Give it up, give it all over to
The only One who can turn it into
Something beautiful
Something really beautiful

We know the world got broke when it took the fall
And here we are living in the middle of it all
Longing, waiting for the day when everything’s restored
But the best of the beauty that we get to SEE
While we’re living down here in this “yet to be”
Is to watch God take the most broken things
And to hear Him say
“When I get through, you’re gonna be amazed”

‘Cause I’m gonna turn it into something different
I’m gonna turn it into something good
I’m gonna take all the broken pieces
And make something beautiful like only I could
So put it all in the hands of the Father
Give it up, give it all over to
The only One who can turn it into

Something beautiful
Something beautiful
Something beautiful
Put all the pieces in His hands
And watch Him turn it into something beautiful

God’s gonna turn it into something different
He’s gonna turn it into something good
He’s gonna take all the broken pieces
And make something beautiful like only He could
So put it all in the hands of the Father
Give it up, give it all over to
The only One who can turn it into
Something beautiful
Something really beautiful
Something beautiful
Something really beautiful

Publishing: © 2013 One Blue Petal Music / Primary Wave Brian (BMI) All rights admin. by BMG Rights Management. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Writer(s): Steven Curtis Chapman

I love Steven Curtis Chapman’s writing, music, and ministry. I look forward to hearing a new song from him on the radio. He has a signature style and is easily recognizable. However, the more I listen to this song, the bigger its problems seem. Is I mentioned in the intro to this post, the premise of this song is based on a common misrepresentation of Romans 8:28. Let’s look at it in its immediate context.

CTT | Romans 8:28

Romans 8:18-30 (ESV) | Future Glory

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

To what is the Apostle Paul referring when he talks of the glory that is to be revealed to us? Is he speaking of glory promised us in this life? No. Paul always points to the Resurrection in the Last Day, when Jesus Christ returns in Glory. Paul points to a creation that is subjected to futility, by the sin of Adam. Though we are individually made new by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, the whole of creation remains cursed. It groans for the day of its redemption, just as we (Believers) groan for the redemption of our bodies, when we will be given new and perfect bodies in the resurrection. This is all resurrection, return-of-the-King language. As long as sickness, death, plague, and calamity exist on this earth, in creation, we remain in the not-yet. Paul is pointing to the New Heavens and the New Earth, when all of Creation is finally made right again in Christ Jesus.

Revelation 21:1-8 (ESV) | The New Heaven and the New Earth

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

This is the “new” and “the good” that God is working all things for those who are in Him. That is the context of Paul’s writing in Romans 8:28. Does God give good gifts to us here in the temporary? Absolutely, but that is not where we lay our hope, and definitely not where we lay up our treasures. Therefore, whenever someone invokes Romans 8:28 as a blank check from God that every disappointment in this life will be converted into something awesome in this life, know that they are lifting the passage out of its context, twisting the scripture (whether or not they realize they are doing it). We have a wondrous and blessed hope of glory in the Resurrection… it is marvelous and magnificent and it is assured for all who are in Christ Jesus. This Promise is sealed by God the Holy Spirit as a gift to every believer. That is why Paul asserts so strongly that the suffering of this present time are worthless by comparison. Paul was well acquainted with suffering as an Apostle of Jesus Christ. Dear Christian, the focus of Scriptures and the heart of Prophecy is Jesus Christ, not us in this temporal life. Jesus is returning, and His return is our Hope.

Matthew 6:19-21 (ESV) | Lay Up Treasures in Heaven

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Discussion of Song Lyrics

Verse 1. The singer is addressing an individual who has either sinned or experienced hardship or both. It isn’t clear if this is a believer or an unbeliever. We’ll assume for now that Steven intends to address the believer. There is a glaring problem in this verse, though, in how the song deals with ascribing the source of the individual’s problem. Life’s made a mess of your best laid plans? What does that mean? Sin leads to death. Sometimes plans crumble due to sin. Sometimes they crumble because they were sinful in themselves, and sometimes God is the one doing destroying the sinful schemes. As the verse progresses, it seems to lean toward a sin that was committed “you can blame yourselfall the blame and shame won’t change a thing what’s done is done“. What is that? That’s not repentance. At best it is an acceptance that something bad happened, and there’s nothing I can do to change that. Let’s put a sin in there, and see if this logic holds as doctrinally sound. Say the man with his head in his hands has committed adultery and lost his wife and kids as a result. Is there anything he can do to fix any of that or undo any of that? No. Does saying, “I can’t change it, what’s done is done” pass as repentance? No. Does accepting the blame for having committed the adultery fix the marriage after the divorce? No. So, does that make accepting the blame for the sin of adultery a pointless act? Absolutely not. The Gospel of Jesus Christ isn’t that the results of our sins will be erased; rather, that the sins will be forgiven for those who rightly confess that they are indeed sinners in need of a Savior, repent, and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. I find this verse overly dismissive of the need to rightly confess our sinfulness. While I believe Steven is trying to convey, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1 ESV), you cannot simply skip over confession of sin and repentance from sin and work to alleviate condemnation… because prior to confession, repentance, forgiveness what you are really mitigating is conviction of sin. The purpose of the Law is to identify sin and convict us of our sinfulness. The Law isn’t to be mitigated, its purpose is to push us toward repentance and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Only way of Salvation. But in this verse, we minimized personal conviction and are jumping straight to Grace, without repentance. Not good.

Chorus. Does God say that He’s going to take everything we break, every sinful act we’ve committed and turn it into something good? Remember how we discussed the context of Romans 8, Paul is not limiting our Hope to this temporal life. If your sin leads to a wrecked marriage, a wrecked home, there is no guarantee that he’ll take that broken home/marriage and make it into something beautiful in this life. What the Bible does teach, is that for those who are in Him (penitent believers), God will use this life to grow you in Him for His Glory, and in the Resurrection you will definitely be free from all the pain and the hurt caused by sin (by your sin and the sins of this world). In this life, worms and rust will destroy and thieves will steal. Our hope rests in Heaven and the Great Day of Christ’s return. At the end of the chorus, there is a turn in the lyric that is true, and I do want to highlight that. God is the Only One who can turn our lives around, who can forgive our sins, and heal our brokenness. He will DEFINITELY do it when Christ returns, and He does it in many ways, by His Will and His Grace for us in this life, too. He blesses us every day according to His goodness and mercy. Please understand that we do serve a loving, caring, and gracious God. But that isn’t to say that everything will be made new in this life. God is growing us, molding us, and He is willing to use rebuke, reproof, and even hardship to work in us. As a father disciplines his son, so does our Heavenly Father discipline us.

Verse 2. I am disappointed again in the presentation of the sinful state of man. The first 2 lines in this verse present sin as something that happened to the Earth and man just finds himself living in the mess that was made. That is skirting the truth that Adam sinned, and we are born into that sin and bear the guilt of sin. It is our sin. We are simultaneously victim and culprit. We are unholy and unrighteous, deserving of death and destruction for our sin. Creation is cursed because of our sin. But God, in His Great Mercy and Grace, has made a Way for us in the sending of His Only Begotten Son, Jesus, to atone for our sin at the cross, so that by faith we might be made righteous in His Sight, washed clean by the Blood of the Lamb, clothed by His righteousness. If we held this verse in isolation from the rest of the song, I think we’ll see a better reflection of Romans 8… we can at least interpret it in the eternal rather than the temporal sense. Still bothered by the deflection of sin at the start.

The rest of the song plays out the “give it all to God and He’ll fix it” theme. As far as this temporal life goes, sometimes what is broken remains broken by His design for our benefit and for His Glory.

Conclusion

In general, the encouragement to take all of our hurts, fears, tears, sins, and failures to God the Father is true. The suggestion that God will fix everything we break in this life isn’t Scriptural. The fix would be to maintain a heavenly focus, a focus on the Great Day of the Resurrection in Christ Jesus. We need to be presented with the reality that sometimes our best-laid plans were sinful, and that God is the one who destroyed them. This song doesn’t leave room for that as it presents a sort of guarantee that whatever mess “life” has made for you, God will turn it into something beautiful. Vaguely positive, but problematic in its detail. While every good gift in this life and the next come from God, that doesn’t mean we can expect every good gift in this life. God is Sovereign and He is working to build up His Church for His Glory. We will face trials of many kinds, both from the enemy and from our own sinful flesh. We will also be disciplined by a loving Father, and the goal is repentance from a humble spirit and a contrite heart. All of creation indeed groans and awaits the return of our blessed Savior, Jesus Christ. In the meantime, we walk this earth in exile (as the Apostle Peter called in 1 Peter 1), no longer a part of the kingdom of darkness, not yet given our heavenly bodies. We walk by faith, keeping in step with the Holy Spirit, worshiping a Living God and serving our neighbors.

Amen.
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge