DiM | “Broken Vessels (Amazing Grace)” by Hillsong Worship

disapproveEvangelical Worship Edition.

August 25, 2016. So, it’s been a while since we last took a look at an Evangelical Worship song. Today we’re taking a look at “Broken Vessels (Amazing Grace)” from Hillsong Worship. I pulled this song from the “popular songs” list found at WorshipTogether.com, a website that pushes a majority of the “contemporary worship” music to music leaders around the world. They promote all things Passion, Hillsong, Jesus Culture (Bethel), and those who mimic their style. None of these “ministries” preach sound doctrine, yet countless churches around the globe are using their songs in their services.

The theology coming out of Hillsong isn’t a theology of the Cross (though the cross gets mentioned); rather, it is a theology of glory. They preach the christian and the christian life rather than Christ crucified for our sins. We’ll see that in today’s song. We’ll also see that Hillsong avoids sin, repentance, and forgiveness. Hillsong doesn’t preach original sin Biblically, instead they preach of our innate potential for greatness that is broken, until we give ourselves to God and then He’ll put us back together and set us on our destined path to greatness that will itself shine a light to the broken people of the world, so that they, in turn, might also do what we have done to become what we can become. Theology of Glory.

Official Lyric Video

Well, the video runs through the lyrics of the song in under 4min. However, it’s a 9:28min video. What’s going on for the remaining five and a half minutes? Emotional manipulation. The Hillsong doctrine of worship is to “invite the Presence of the spirit” through emotional ‘worship’. Music is powerful, and moves the flesh like nothing else on earth.

Lyrics (via WorshipTogether)

All these pieces
Broken and scattered
In mercy gathered
Mended and whole
Empty handed
But not forsaken
I’ve been set free
I’ve been set free

Amazing grace
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost
But now I’m found
Was blind but now I see

Oh I can see You now
Oh I can see the love in Your eyes
Laying Yourself down
Raising up the broken to life

You take our failure
You take our weakness
You set Your treasure
In jars of clay
So take this heart Lord
I’ll be your vessel
The world to see
Your life in me

Writer(s): Joel Houston, Jonas Myrin
CCLI #: 7019974


Now, the song pulls from the hymn by John Newton called Amazing Grace. That song serves as a reminder of the Grace of God and the assurance of the Promise of the Resurrection in Christ Jesus, an eternity in the Kingdom of God. A reminder that God’s Grace is greater than our sin. The hymn doesn’t teach a lot of Scripture, it’s purpose is to remind the congregation of what they’ve already been taught concerning salvation and the forgiveness of sin. There are 6 verses to that song which bear out the theology. Our song today from Hillsong, only pulls the one verse and uses it as a pre-chorus. This verse of “Amazing Grace” doesn’t stand on its own. It really needs the other verses for clarity. Hillsong’s verses and chorus don’t add any clarity to the doctrine.

Verse 1. This verse is a mystically muddled mess. There is absolutely no clarity in these lines. Remember the point of Hillsong worship, it is to create mental imagery, to evoke a deeply felt emotion or sensation of feeling the Presence of the spirit… it isn’t clarity of thought or teaching they seek. The less they define, the less they have to explain and the more of the burden they can place on you. But knowing enough of Hillsong’s doctrine, we can attempt to fill in the thoughts they are aiming for. All these pieces Broken and scattered is Hillsong’s replacement for “born dead in trespasses and sins” in Eph 2.

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.

Hillsong doesn’t preach sin and repentance. Instead, they want to be as inclusive as possible, so instead of referencing the Law of God through which the Holy Spirit works to convict the world of sin, Hillsong will used coded language of broken pieces scattered so that those who reject the concept of sin can still play along, because everyone can relate to brokenness, no faith required for that. No repentance, either. You see, when you can cloak sinfulness as something we are a victim of, then you cannot lovingly make a call to repent. Now, are we broken? Yes. We are fallen. We are born dead in sins, and we actively pursue sin. Once we’ve been granted saving Faith in Christ Jesus, our flesh is still broken, and actively works against the Spirit. So, yes, we are broken, but not as mere victims of some external force. That brokenness is in the seat of our passions, from our fleshly hearts flow sinful desires, lusts, passions, of which we are to repent and die to, daily, in Jesus’ Name. By Faith in Him.

In mercy gathered, Mended and whole. What’s missing? Forgiveness. You can’t speak of forgiveness when you avoid speaking of sin. What is the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Forgiveness. Jesus didn’t preach “wholeness and a victorious life”, He preached “Repent! for the Kingdom of God is at hand” (Matthew 4:12-17). What we desperately need is repentance and the forgiveness of sin. Another glaring issue with this language, is that without the objective Truth of God’s Word of forgiveness of sins in Christ Jesus, we are left looking for our own mendedness and wholeness for the assurance of salvation. How absolutely horrible to bind someone to a pursuit of fleshly perfection for the assurance of his/her salvation.  Horrible. So this circles back to the goal of Hillsong worship music, to make you feel warm and fuzzy on the inside so that you can connect that feeling with being in the Presence of god (The capitalization I’m employing is intentional. They are worshiping an idol of an emotional experience, not the God of the Bible).

Empty handed But not forsaken. This seems like an attempt to offer something in the way of touching on the concept that we have nothing to offer God for our own salvation, which is absolutely true, we have nothing to offer for our salvation, except the sin that we need forgiveness for and salvation from. This thought is confused in this song, since later the song talks of giving our hearts, and Hillsong Church is quick to bind the conscience of the believer to give financially to them… sacrificially for those who are empty-handed, to the empire of Hillsong. But I digress… for now, this line is filler in the verse to get to the chorus. I’ve been set free from what? brokenness. But what if I still feel broken? Am I free?

Pre-Chorus. General pre-Chorus pulled from a popular and beloved hymn. We’ve already addressed its use in this song in the first paragraph, so let’s move on to the chorus.

Chorus. This chorus is the main thrust of the song, both in the song portion and in the extra portion at the end. Oh I can see You now Oh I can see the love in Your eyes… and here is where we get to the Sarah Young “Jesus Calling” modern mystic portion of the song. No one in the band, or in the congregation, or in ear-shot of this emotional song is seeing Jesus, nor are they seeing love in His eyes. No one. They might be imagining, or “visualizing” it, but none of them are seeing it. This is mystical nonsense. What’s sad is this is the central focus of the majority of the song (5:30min)… just keep singing and emoting until you can drum up enough emotional goo so that you can claim to (or even believe) you can see Jesus and the Love in His eyes. If you want to see Jesus, look for Him in His Word. For Christ is the Word made flesh. He is currently in Heaven and has promised to be found in His Word, in the waters of Baptism (we are baptised into Christ), and in Communion (this is my body… this is my blood). Even if you refuse to confess His presence in Communion and in the waters of Baptism, you still have Christ in His Word. Christ hasn’t promised to meet you in your emotions. Please stop looking for Him there. Laying Yourself down Raising up the broken to life. If the rest of the theology in this song were sound, I’d be tempted to give this line a pass. Christ described His death and resurrection as lying down His life and taking it back up again (John 10). But there’s the vague language of “broken” rather than “dead in sin”. If the song elsewhere connected brokenness to sinfulness, this line would get a pass.

Verse 2. Again we see stand-ins for sin, namely “failures” and “weakness”. You set Your treasure in jars of clay. What treasure might that be? The Gospel of Jesus Christ is what it should be. We’ve been given the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the mystery of the Gospel is what we’ve been given. Is that where this song is headed? So take this heart Lord I’ll be your vessel The world to see Your life in me. Nope. Theology of glory. Rather than preach the Cross, the song aims for a glorious life of example that others will see and desire for themselves. So what happens when we don’t live up to this life? We are left to question whether or not we are truly saved, whether or not we are in Christ. There is no assurance here. Such bondage. Such a crushing weight to bear. This isn’t the Gospel, this is the Law… and it is crushing.

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. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Here is where we find the assurance of Salvation, in the Written Word of God. It is by Grace, through Faith in Christ Jesus. Not a result of works… no one may boast. Whether or not you feel it, is irrelevant.


If you’re aim in selecting song which proclaim the Gospel, or teach sound doctrine for the assurance of salvation in Christ Jesus, I don’t recommend this song. I don’t recommend this song for anything other than elevator music in the Mall… maybe in that environment folks will get Amazing Grace in their heads (hopefully they know 2 or 3 verses). As for Church worship, this song doesn’t point to Christ or His Word, it points us to ourselves, or to those around us who are clearly more spiritual than we are… at least they seem to be really feeling the Presence more than I am.  Preach the Word. Sing the Word. Repent and be forgiven of your sin in Jesus’ Name. In closing, let us look to Romans 10 to address the error in the final part of this song lyric, concerning the treasure of the Gospel.

Romans 10:11-17 (ESV)

For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 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. For“everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 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? 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!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

Amen. Share the Gospel and speak God’s Word for the world to hear.
In Christ Jesus,

DiM | “Though All Our Life Is Like a Scroll” by Rev Karsten

ApprovedWorship Edition.

June 30, 2016. This month has been extremely busy for our household. It’s been both wonderful and exhausting. We attended our first IssuesETC conference, and this past week we took a special trip to have our kids baptized. Next month will be equally busy, so currently we are trying to get to August. I will be attending the PCR conference in August, but that should mark the end of our crazy summer of travel. I didn’t get a chance to research a CCM Edition of DiM for this week. But we have a special treat today to share a new Hymn written for Worship.

A recurring critique, or comment, about this DiM work is the question of whether or not the standard being applied is fair, or whether or not any song or hymn or even Psalm could earn an “Approved” status. When it comes to Hymns from the major, orthodox churches, we don’t normally look through those because their very presence in the official hymnals means they were scrutinized and approved by governing church bodies for their worship. Here, we are primarily concerned with what is coming out of an industry that mass-produces songs and declares them “Christian” for either radio airplay or even worship services without any oversight or scrutiny.

Karsten named winner of Reformation hymn competition

The Rev. Dr. Wilfred Karsten, pastor at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Moline, Ill., is the winner of a hymn-writing competition held by LutheranReformation.org — the official website for the Synodwide celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

The lyrics of Karsten’s original hymn, “Though All Our Life Is Like a Scroll,” are available to view here, along with two musical settings of the hymn (including accompaniment and congregational pages).

Judges for the competition included the Rev. Dr. Stephen P. Starke, pastor at St. John Lutheran Church, Amelith, Bay City, Mich.; the Rev. Dr. Jon Vieker, senior assistant to the LCMS president; and Peter Reske, senior editor of music/worship at Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis.

The announcement came June 17 that Karsten was the winner of the hymn for the Synod’s anniversary celebration, which has the theme of “It’s Still All About Jesus.” [Read More]

So we have a brand-new hymn to examine. It was already awarded and praised within the LCMS, but I thought we could take a look at it together. Does it only pass a Lutheran test or is this indeed a sound, Christian, song? Let’s give it a listen.

Concordia Publishing House Music Video


In the interest full disclosure, I struggle with the operatic singing. A lot, actually. I find it masks and obscures the lyrics such that I cannot comprehend the point of the song, much less the details of the doctrine, without reading the lyrics directly. Are the singers’ voices lovely? Absolutely. Can I understand what is being sung? Nope. The hymn writer only wrote the hymn, someone else composed the music… which is tough to sing along with at parts. Now, I’m no stranger to classical music, and overall it is a beautiful sound. I don’t care for organs (that’s putting it rather mildly, in fact) but in this tune the organ is not overpowering and it is in-fact supporting the singing rather than drowning it. The organ was nicely done. What remains is a pretty tune, classically sung… but if we don’t read the words we’ll have no clue what we just heard.

Lyrics (via LutheranReformation.org)

Though all our life is like a scroll
Unrolled with blemished pages;
Though sin has shredded what was whole
And death is now our wages;
Yet here we stand in confidence,
With Jesus as our sole defense,
For He alone still saves us.

Though pompously we try to dress
In costumes of our making;
Though fig leaves of self-righteousness
Are futile and heartbreaking;
Yet filthy rags Christ gladly wore
So we would perish nevermore.
His grace alone still clothes us.

Though earth’s deep waters foam and roar
As surging waves are rolling;
Though all the nations rage with war
While bells of doom are tolling;
Yet God gives peaceful fortitude,
He nurtures us with Heaven’s food.
True faith alone still anchors.

Though critics cut out Scripture’s claims
And treat them with derision;
Though they conduct their hostile aims
With scalpels of suspicion;
Yet how the living, two-edged sword
Proclaims the dead and risen Lord!
God’s Word alone: still truthful.

Now sing a high doxology
To God who gives salvation.
Both here and in eternity
Let this be our vocation.
To Father, Son, and Spirit raise
A symphony of grateful praise,
For He alone is worthy.


Hymns don’t generally follow the popular “verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, refrain ∞…” instead you usually get a tune that carries the singer through several verses that build a doctrinal statement or teaching. This one has 5 verses or stanzas.

Verse 1. Here we have the Law presented, that our lives are shredded by sin and we are deserving of death. We aren’t left there, though, because it turns to the Gospel, our hope of salvation, Jesus Christ.

Verse 2. Interestingly, we first address self-righteousness and the pompous act of presuming to be made righteous by our works, and then we see it rooted in the actions taken by Adam and Eve after the fall… they tried to cover their nakedness when they heard God walking in the garden. We are getting theology here, good sound theology. In the Genesis account, once the punishment has been declared as well as the seed of the Gospel prophesied, God then clothes them temporarily by the first animal sacrifice. The song doesn’t dig there, but jumps directly to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Promised seed. On the cross, Christ became sin in our place, wearing our filthy rags (sins of the world) upon that cross, so that we would not perish. Christ clothes us in Grace. Amen!

Verse 3. This verse centers on the hope of Christ in the midst of the storm, the earthly struggle. We’ve been given a spirit of peace, even when we cannot see peace around us. Our Hope is in the LORD, not in princes of earth. Lutherans will see the Lord’s Supper in this verse, but not in such a way that the Reformed should recoil. For we know that the heavenly food is God’s Word.

Matthew 4:4 (ESV) But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Faith in Christ Jesus is our anchor through the storm of this temporal life. Faith comes by hearing the Word of Christ (Rom 10:17).

Verse 4. Here we proclaim the enduring Truth found only in God’s Word. The world, and the wolves in many pulpits of the visible church will assail, twist, and mutilate the Scriptures to teach their own dreams and visions and lead many astray. But God’s Word Still truthful, and it is effective and it is powerful. Those who twist and attack God’s Word will face judgement… the two-edged sword executes judgement as well as granting saving Faith. The two words of Scripture are Law and Gospel. Those who reject the Gospel will find themselves condemned under the Law.

John 3:16-18 (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.

Verse 5. Now sing this high doxology, is saying “now sing Praises to the Triune God of the Bible”. This is our prayer of thanksgiving to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit for our Salvation by Grace alone, through Faith alone, from the Word of Christ alone. We will pursue as our vocation both in this world and in eternity the praise of the Triune God. To the Glory of God Alone.


This hymn sets a high watermark for Worship songs. As for our CCM DiM reviews, if a song could cover in 2 verses, a chorus and a bridge what this song covers in a single verse, it would probably get an Approval rating. What is sorely lacking in today’s CCM is a clear Gospel as an answer to the Law. We are sinners. Not merely “people who make mistakes”. Sinners. And the only answer is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We who bear the name of Christ (Christians, the Church) are stewards of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. CCM has become completely engrossed in pagan entertainment and has become derelict in their duties as stewards of the Gospel. What we pump out into the airwaves should serve the Gospel, and the ministry of reconciliation.

2 Corinthians 5:11-15 (ESV) | The Ministry of Reconciliation

Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 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.

In Christ Jesus,

DiM | “At Your Feet (Surrender)” By Dan Bremnes

disapproveEvangelical Worship Edition.

April 7, 2016. Today we’ll be looking at a song that was pushed by Worship Together YouTube Channel back in December 2015. The song is worthless, but it does give us an opportunity to discuss the mystical movement called SOZO.  Today’s song is called “At Your Feet (Surrender)” by Dan Bremnes.


Music Video (via SOZO Playlist)


Lyrics (via Genius)

[Verse 1]
My eyes are on the Cross
Where You gave it all
I worship You, I worship You
I see the One who saves
The Light of heaven’s grace
I run to You, I run to You

And I, I surrender
I lay my life down at Your feet
God of mercy, You are worthy
I give You every part of me

[Verse 2]
The things that I have done
The things that I will do
I give to You, I give to You
Holy God above
How could I resist Your love?
I run to You, I run to You

And I, I surrender
I lay my life down at Your feet
God of mercy, You are worthy
I give You every part of me

With every breath
With all I am
Oh Jesus, I surrender
My heart is Yours
I trust You Lord
Oh Jesus I surrender
Jesus I
Through You, Jesus

I, I surrender
I lay my life down at Your feet
God of mercy, You are worthy
I give You every part of me

Written By: Scott Cash, Ed Cash, Dan Bremnes, Katherine Langridge, Ben Fielding
Release Date: June 9, 2015
Produced By: Ed Cash, Scott Cash


The focus of the song is the singer. What the singer will do, what the singer is doing, what the singer is pledging. If the object of the “You” is truly the God of the Bible, then we can find some small phrases that are indeed true, like “You are worthy…”, “God of Mercy”, and “On the Cross is Where You Gave it all”. But these are not the focus of the song, nor are they even remotely explicated.

The song is filled with mystical promises bereft of meaning. What does the singer mean by “I run to you”? We don’t know. The only valid, Christian understanding is that we turn to God’s Word and the Lord’s Supper for grace and forgiveness. Mystics have a lot of false meanings for this turn of phrase. What does it mean to “surrender all to God” or to “give every part of me to God”? It’s a purely abstract, emotional, mystical promise of doing something for God, but it has no meaning. It’s like making a vow to keep the Greatest commandment without understanding that to do so according to the Law would necessitate keeping all of the Law, which necessarily includes loving neighbor as ourselves.

Matthew 22:36-40 (ESV) “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Jesus Christ is the Only One who kept the Law. And He laid down His life on the cross, bearing the wrath of God against sin, so that by Faith we might be clothed in the Righteousness from God, forgiven of our sin, and adopted as Sons of the Most High. Salvation had nothing to do with any of our “surrender” or “works”; therefore, our worship should focus on what He did for us, not what we claim to do for Him.

Ephesians 2:8-10 (ESV) 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. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Your relationship with God is all His doing. Thank Him for that. God doesn’t need your good works, your neighbor does. Preach the Word of God, love and forgive your neighbor as an outflow of your understanding of the immeasurable Grace He extended to you at the cross. This song is off-mission, off-target, and completely out of focus.

Before we close out, let’s look at the artist behind the song and then we’ll examine the Sozo movement.

Dan Bremnes

I wanted to see what the artist’s doctrinal foundation might be, so I checked out his Facebook page.

It was a six-month missions trip in Australia with Youth With a Mission (YWAM) that would help re-shape his perspective: “While I was there, something happened in my life, and God started working on my heart. I started to go a lot deeper in my faith,” Dan shares. “Something sort of clicked in me. I’ve always had these opportunities to lead worship and share about my faith, and I started thinking about making music that was really intentional about reaching people on a spiritual level. I wanted to come right out and speak about God and my relationship with Him.”

Sharing “about our faith” or “about our relationship with God” isn’t the same thing as Preaching the Word of God, or Sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Sure, it could just be a wording issue where he means the right thing, but he also leads Christian worship. What is he really leading, who is he leading, and where is he leading them? That’s the question that really needs to be asked and answered. Look at how he describes his understanding of Faith.

“In my town we go cliff jumping in the summer. I’m always the guy to round up a group of friends to go jump off cliffs. But when I get there and stand on the edge of the cliff, I realize that I like the idea of cliff jumping more than I actually like cliff jumping,” Dan shares. “Faith is similar for me. I like the idea of being brave and jumping out in to the unknown, but when it actually comes to putting faith into action, I think I like the idea of it more than the actual act. But I know that God is always calling us out into the unknown, and He’s faithful to catch us anytime we take a leap.”

That said, leaps of faith are still intimidating, even scary, but for Dan, stepping out and pursuing music led to a tremendous sense of purpose and joy. Like the majority of artists, his journey began humbly—playing local churches for the cost of his gas. But as he shared his songs with anyone who’d listen and continued to hone his songwriting craft, it wasn’t long before people took notice.

Risk-taking isn’t the same thing as Faith. Scripture doesn’t call us to take “leaps of faith”, like what this artist is describing. This isn’t Christianity. This isn’t sound doctrine. Humanists and mystics talk this way about their own beliefs, too. How does the Bible define Faith? I recommend reading through the book of Hebrews, but here let us pull some portions from the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11.

Hebrews 11:1-16 (ESV) | By Faith

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

By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. By faithNoah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.

 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland.If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out,they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city….

Hebrews 11:29-40 (ESV) By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned. By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies. And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises,stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV) | Jesus, Founder and Perfecter of Our Faith

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

What the Bible records isn’t a blind leap of faith like jumping off a cliff or embarking on a music career… Faith is trusting in the Word of the Lord. They trusted in the Word of the Lord despite their circumstance, and what’s even more important is that many cited never received their promises while in this life, for they were trusting in an Eternal God who gave Eternal Promises. Christ is the fulfillment of these promises, and He is now in Heaven at the right hand of the Father, where all of our Promises wait for us who are in Christ Jesus… by Faith.

Is this man a gifted musician and singer? sure. Should he be leading Christian worship? No.


Let’s talk about SOZO for a moment. It is one of the fruits of the heresy house, Bethel Church in Redding, CA. Now, the theology taught there by Randy Clark spurred on a mystic in Argentina who then developed Bethel SOZO. From their “history of SOZO” page:

In 1997 Randy Clark, a healing evangelist, held meetings at Bethel Church. At that time, Pastor Clark would send a team to train a congregation how to be prayer servants. A small portion of that training was a model of “deliverance” from Argentina. This model became our first tool “The Four Doors”. Dawna DeSilva, the leader and founder of the Sozo Ministry, attended this training at Bethel. Afterward, Dawna began to use the concept of “The Four Doors” when she prayed for people. Seeing a miraculous difference in people’s level of freedom, the “Sozo Ministry” was birthed. As the Sozo Ministry developed, the Lord introduced other tools that have aided in people being healed and released from the wounds and lies which have hindered those individuals from the Godhead and their destiny.

From their “overview” page:

There are six tools that the SOZO team uses:

  • Father Ladder
  • Four Doors
  • Presenting Jesus
  • The Wall
  • Trigger Mechanisms (Advanced Tool)
  • Divine Editing (Advanced Tool)

As you can see, this isn’t even remotely Biblical Doctrine. I think the folks at GotQuestions.org summarized this “ministry” well here:

Sozo prayer, or Sozo ministry (from the Greek for “save” or “deliver”), is defined as “a unique inner healing and deliverance ministry in which the main aim is to get to the root of those things hindering your personal connection with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” Sozo was created by a group of people from Bethel Church in Redding, California, and modeled after spiritual practices observed at revivals in Argentina. Sozo is strongly mystical in its approach and relies heavily on ideas about God and the Holy Spirit that are not based on biblical fact.

Sozo prayer requires the presence of a mediator or guide who is trained to walk participants through a time of prayer and reflection that is supposed to facilitate intimacy with God. Intimacy with God is definitely something to be sought; however, the method of attaining intimacy via a journey through the subconscious is questionable at best. Intimacy with God is achieved by Bible study, prayer, regular church attendance, and obedience, not by a mystical “journey” through our past. The Bible warns us to be discerning and wise, and not to be fooled (Hosea 14:9; Hebrews 5:14). The Bible and the Holy Spirit—not our subconscious thoughts or a fallible human being—are our connection to the counsel and the voice of God (John 17:17). Many types of ungodly mystical practices include the presence of a “spirit guide,” but the Bible tells us that our connection to the Father is a direct connection, mediated by Christ (1 Timothy 2:5) and guided by the Holy Spirit (John 16:13). No other spirit guide is necessary.

The methods and practices of Sozo are of human invention and require human instruction, without reference to Scripture. In fact, Sozo is much closer to new age mysticism than to Christianity. Participants are encouraged into a mild trance state, while being “led” into a series of mental/emotional rooms or stages where, by connecting to their own deeper feelings and thoughts, they believe themselves to have a new experience with God. Whatever participants feel has happened to them, the Bible tells us it is dangerous to open ourselves up to something that has not been sanctioned by God (Ephesians 4:11–14). Preaching and teaching, evangelism, and the practice of anointing a person with oil or laying hands on him, for instance, are all shown in Scripture to be spiritually safe and useful. But Sozo prayer does not have that kind of backing. (Read More)

This SOZO ministry is garbage mysticism posing as “christian”. Avoid it. Today’s song is presented as music conducive to such mysticism, avoid it also. This is not sound doctrine, it is false teaching… doctrines of demons.

1 Timothy 4:1-5 (ESV) | Some Will Depart from the Faith

Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.

1 Timothy 6:3-11 (ESV)

If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.


This song is worthless. It would be better to pray the 10 Commandments and then immediately asking forgiveness for failing them than to make the vaulted oaths to God about all that you are doing for Him in this song. Dear Christian, read the written Word of God (in context) or listen to it being read or rightly preached as your act of worship. Find music that is truly Christ-centered, be it hymns or Psalms set to music, but don’t chase every mystical wind of music being put out there under the label of “christian ministry”.

Jude 24-25 (ESV) | Doxology

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

In Christ Jesus,

DiM | “Cornerstone” by Hillsong Worship

Presentation1Evangelical Worship Edition.

February 25, 2016. Today we are taking a look at songs we’ve not yet covered on the Popular Songs list at WorshipTogether. We’ll be looking at “Cornerstone” by Hillsong Worship. It’s not a new song, but it’s probably going to be one of Hillsong’s most enduring songs. Once we’ve rounded out the list of Popular songs on this site, our Evangelical Worship Edition will start looking at the “New Songs” list.

Hillsong Worship. Hillsong church is a house of heresy. It is an enemy to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Brian Houston is a false teacher, a wolf in the pulpit. Brian and his fellow preachers twist the Scriptures for shameful gain. Everything that comes out of this “ministry” is suspect. Having said that, this song is salvageable in that when the proper theology is applied to the song, there is some merit in its lyric. This song being played in a Hillsong affiliated church? Not good. This song being played in a doctrinally sound church for corporate worship? Potentially beneficial.

Music Video (Live at RELEVANT)


Lyrics (via WorshipTogether)

Verse 1
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and  righteousness
I dare not trust the  sweetest frame
But wholly  trust is Jesus’ name

Christ alone, Cornerstone
Weak made strong in the Savior’s love
Through the storm He is Lord
Lord of all

Verse 2
When darkness seems to hide His face
I rest on His unchanging grace
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil
My anchor holds within the veil

Verse 3
When he shall come with trumpet sound
Oh may I then in Him be found
Dressed in His righteousness alone
Faultless stand before the throne

Writer(s): Edward Mote, Eric Liljero, Jonas Myrin, Reuben Morgan
Ministry(s): Hillsong
CCLI #: 6158927
Scripture Reference(s): Psalm 118:21-23, Isaiah 28:16, Matthew 21:41-43


Let us begin by taking a look at the cited Scripture References.

Matthew 21:41-43 (ESV)
41 They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons.”

42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:

“‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
this was the Lord’s doing,
and it is marvelous in our eyes’?

43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits.

Here Jesus is referring to a couple of Scriptures. I want to expand the references a bit for the sake of context. These are clearly pointing to Christ.

Psalm 118:19-24 (ESV)
19 Open to me the gates of righteousness,
that I may enter through them
and give thanks to the Lord.
20 This is the gate of the Lord;
the righteous shall enter through it.
21 I thank you that you have answered me
and have become my salvation.
22 The stone that the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone.
23 This is the Lord’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Isaiah 28:14-17 (ESV) | A Cornerstone in Zion
14 Therefore hear the word of the Lord, you scoffers,
who rule this people in Jerusalem!
15 Because you have said, “We have made a covenant with death,
and with Sheol we have an agreement,
when the overwhelming whip passes through
it will not come to us,
for we have made lies our refuge,
and in falsehood we have taken shelter”;
16 therefore thus says the Lord God,
“Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion,
    a stone, a tested stone,
a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation:
‘Whoever believes will not be in haste.’
17 And I will make justice the line,
and righteousness the plumb line;
and hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and waters will overwhelm the shelter.”

These passages are being cited in context. That’s impressive to me. These passages point to the work of Jesus Christ in His first advent. These were not purely prophetically pointing forward, but we have also what the Apostles taught regarding Christ as the cornerstone. We’ll get to the song lyric in a bit, but I want to discuss the picture of Christ as the Cornerstone and a Firm Foundation.

Cornerstone and Firm Foundation of What?

That’s the big question. In the Old Testament they would have assumed a new Temple of God, maybe even a New Kingdom. We who belong to the New Covenant understand that all of these are true and they find their fulfillment in the Person and Work of God the Son, Jesus Christ. The writer of Hebrews goes to great lengths to flesh out how the Old Covenant foreshadowed pointed to, was fulfilled in, and replaced by Jesus Christ the Messiah. There is no longer a physical Temple in Jerusalem, so this isn’t a work being made by man. Instead, the foundation and cornerstone refer to the Church, the Body and Bride of Christ.

Ephesians 2:11-22 (ESV) | One in Christ
11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

Amen! We are the Body of Christ, we stand on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets (the Divinely Inspired Scriptures, the Written Word of God) with Christ as its cornerstone. And in Christ we are being joined together and growing into a holy temple a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. Notice how this New Testament teaching in no way undermines the prophetic passages in Psalms or Isaiah… everything points to Christ and His Person and Work.

The Lyric of the Song

There are several lines in the song that convey parts of the Gospel for those with eyes to see and ears to hear. It isn’t clear enough (in my opinion) for the unbeliever to hear the Gospel, but as I said earlier when sung within the context of a biblically-sound church, it can be profitable for encouragement.

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness…
I rest on His unchanging grace…
may I then in Him be found dressed in His righteousness alone…

These lines put together a picture of the Promise of Salvation because of Christ’s penal substitutionary atonement for our sin. When we stand before the Throne of God, by faith we will not be standing on our own righteousness, but we will be dressed in His righteousness. Praise the Lord!

Another line I really love in this song is “My anchor holds within the veil”. In its best light, it’s an artistic reference to Hebrews 6. Let’s take a look.

Hebrews 6:13-20 (ESV) | The Certainty of God’s Promise
For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise. For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation. So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

The Person and Work of Jesus Christ is the assurance of our salvation. Praise the Lord.

A call to discernment

Now, with all of the good found in this song, why didn’t it earn an approval? Because for all of the good that can be found in the song, it has to be properly aligned with Scripture for the message to come out clearly. Hillsong doesn’t preach a christocentric Gospel. Hillsong preaches man-centered false theology. Hillsong doesn’t hold to the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Hillsong promotes, encourages, and blesses modern-day false prophets. They don’t rebuke self-appointed apostles. Hillsong promotes a form of christianity that circumvents the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets and preaches a different christ, a different cornerstone, a different spirit, a different gospel. Their Presence theology encourages a mystical and emotional direct connection to the spirit apart from the clear teaching of Scripture. So in that sense, they aren’t singing the same confession of scriptures we’ve just worked through.

Edit: I completely dropped the ball in this review when I failed to search for these lyrics in hymnals. “My Hope is Built on Nothing Less” by Edward Mote, 1797-1874. The Lutheran version doesn’t have the refrain added by William B Bradbury’s “Solid Rock” (reference). So that is why this song is so much better than most of what Hillsong puts out… Hillsong didn’t write it so much as repackage it, dropping a verse and changing the Refrain into a full chorus.


This is lyrically the best song I’ve reviewed coming out of Hillsong Worship. It’s vagueness is salvageable by sound doctrine, and exploitable by heretical teaching. This is a bit of an anomaly for music coming out of one of the major heresy houses (Hillsong, Bethel, IHOP, etc). That doesn’t mean we should be okay having it looped ad finitum to whip the congregation into an emotional frenzy, but it can be properly used for Biblical Worship. Please exercise discernment in how this is used, and ensure the congregation understands the connection of the Temple to Jesus Christ.

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

In Christ Jesus,

DiM | “Shout Hosanna” by Passion feat. Kristian Stanfill

Presentation1Evangelical Worship Edition.

Februrary 08, 2016. In this edition we are going to be taking a look at the final song on the top new song list for 2015 found at Worship Together. Today’s song is “Shout Hosanna” by Passion featuring Kristian Stanfill.

This song is better overall than the last few songs we’ve covered on this list. There is still a problem of focus, but at least the lyrics bear the Name of Christ, His work on the Cross, and the forgiveness of sins.

Passion VEVO Lyric Video


Lyrics (via Worship Together)

Verse 1
To the King of glory and light, all praises
To the only Giver of life, our Maker
The gates are open wide; we worship You
Verse 2
Come see what love has done, amazing
He bought us with His blood, our Savior
The Cross has overcome; we worship You
Shout Hosanna Jesus He saves!
Shout Hosanna He rose from the grave!
Come and lift Him up, Hosanna!
Verse 3
Now let the lost be found, forgiven
Death could not hold Him down, He’s risen
So let the saints cry out, we worship You
The same power that rolled the stone away
The same power a-live in us today
King Jesus we call upon Your name,
No other name | 2x |
Writer(s): Brett Younker, Kristian Stanfill, Chris Tomlin, Ed Cash
Theme(s): Adoration & Praise , Call to Worship
Ministry(s): Passion
CCLI #: 7038016
Scripture Reference(s): John 12:13; Matthew 21:9


The cited Scripture References are not bad, but they aren’t great. Let’s look at them.

John 12:13 (ESV) So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out,“Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!”

Matthew 21:9 (ESV) And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting,“Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”

These verses are plucked from the Triumphal Entry narratives in the Gospel According to John and According to Matthew. Did the crowds understand who Jesus is? No. The words they sang were true, they just didn’t understand what they were saying. They couldn’t understand. These were likely the same folks who would cry out “crucify Him” later. I think this is a misstep here, and I am in no way convinced that this song of praise, a call to worship, was in any way written with the triumphal entry in mind. Although, if it was, I must say it would make this song coming out of Passion ironically appropriate. The call to praise, the words being used are correct, but the ones singing them and the ones being called to join them are completely oblivious to the One they are Praising… and they are praising Him without knowing Him.

Okay, but most of the lyrics in this song are good lyrics.

Verse 1. A call to praise the King of Glory, the Creator (our Maker), and the Giver of Life. Praise the LORD. I am, however, confused by the intended referent of The gates are open wide. What gates? The gates to Jerusalem? The gates to the auditorium? Just an odd line here. It is not uncommon in triumphalism or theology of glory to allegorize the gates of Jerusalem into the doors of the local church… sometimes even pushing to the gates of Heaven, though there are not multiple gates to the Kingdom of Heaven, there only One, that is Jesus Christ.

Verse 2. An invitation to the Gospel, come see what love has done, provided the Gospel is truly preached. The strength of this lyric hinges upon the faithfulness of the local church to preach Law and Gospel. Houses that preach only Law and principles or tips on how to keep the Law better, don’t follow through on this line. At least the next lines in the verse contain Gospel nuggets, Christ bought us by His blood on the Cross, thus becoming our Saviour. By His finished work on the Cross we are forgiven of sin.

Verse 3. Let the lost be found, forgiven. Yes, Praise the LORD for His Mercy and Grace in sending His Son to make a way of Salvation, for forgiveness of sin. However, the Gospel of forgiveness isn’t limited to “the lost being found” and it shouldn’t just be assumed for the saints. Sinner and saint need to hear the Gospel of Forgiveness proclaimed. This is a major problem in modern-day evangelicalism’s soteriology (theology of salvation) in that they think “getting saved” to be the primary goal of the Gospel and once “saved” it is the duty of each Christian to worship God and steadily progress in sanctification and “fulfilling your divine purpose” in this earth. The Gospel is left behind as a “conversion experience” and the rest of their “christian walk” is law-keeping. A plain reading of Galatians will correct such ideology. We never graduate from the Gospel of Jesus Christ, repentance, and the forgiveness of sin while we walk this corrupted earth. Evangelicalism reduces the Gospel to a sort of “reset button” that we choose to push whenever we realize we are in sin. The Gospel of Jesus Christ IS our life. We have nothing apart from the Gospel. The Law kills us, the Gospel gives us faith and Life and forgiveness. The Christian walk requires BOTH Law and Gospel.

Chorus. The chorus is short and sweet. A call to praise Jesus Christ with a shout of Hosanna.

Hosanna [N] [B] [E] [H](save now). “Save, we pray!” the cry of the multitudes as they thronged in our Lords triumphal procession into Jerusalem. ( Matthew 21:9 Matthew 21:15; Mark 11:9 Mark 11:10 ; John 12:13 ) The Psalm from which it was taken, the 118th, was one with which they were familiar from being accustomed to recite the 25th and 26th verses at the feast of tabernacles, forming a part of the great hallel. Ps. 113-118.

[N] indicates this entry was also found in Nave’s Topical Bible
[B] indicates this entry was also found in Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary
[E] indicates this entry was also found in Easton’s Bible Dictionary
[H] indicates this entry was also found in Hitchcock’s Bible Names


Bridge. I think the bridge is a departure from the rest of the song. It’s like an off-ramp taking focus away from Praising Jesus Christ our Lord and directing it more on the Power of God living in us. It falls short of identifying God the Holy Spirit and sort of sits in that odd treatment of Him as a force or source of power rather than the third Person of the Trinity. I find it unsettling, personally. I had the same issue with Jeremy Camp’s song, “Same Power”. For those churches with solid doctrinal foundations, this bridge is probably not a big deal, but for the vast majority of the visible church that is awash in triumphalism and theology of glory, prosperity, and Presence… this bridge can distract from the song’s stated goal of calling us to Worship the Triune God.


I think this is one of the better songs on this 2015 list, though it doesn’t quite earn our approval because the Gospel isn’t quite clear. It’s a bit blurred in this song. There are indeed several Gospel nuggets, but the song doesn’t explain anything. Then there is the dubious citation of the Triumphal entry. I’m convinced the “citations” on these songs are the results of shallow word-searches rather than expressions of what is being taught by the writers of these songs.

Jude 24-25 (ESV) | Doxology

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

In Christ Jesus,