Let’s Stop Singing These 10 Worship Songs

Some of the most popular songs churches use each Sunday aren’t worth singing.

Worship through song can be one of the most powerful, moving ways in which a Christian responds to God. But have you thought enough about the words you’re singing?

Some of these songs on this list are theologically questionable, others are merely uncomfortable — and some sound like thinly disguised teenage crush songs. But all of them are really popular. If you’re invited to sing these one Sunday soon, it might be better to improvise: 

1. “In the Secret”

Problem lyric: “I want to touch you, I want to see your face, I want to know you more.”

It’s tough to sing lines like these when the song never mentions who you’re singing to, and this one never does. The vague lyrics could easily suggest a plan to sneak around and make out in the bushes or a desire to encounter Jesus.

It’s a safe bet to do away with any song that might make, say, that first-time church visitor (or your grandmother) squirm about relating to God.

2. “Draw Me Close”

Problem lyric: “Draw me close to you. Never let me go.”

This song also makes no mention of God or Jesus. Who do you want to draw you close? Could be the Lord. Could also be your middle school crush. It’s unclear. On top of that, this song is empty of any real substance.

I quite like what Chuck Colson wrote: “We’d been led through endless repetitions of a meaningless ditty called ‘Draw Me Close to You,’ which has zero theological content and could just as easily be sung in any nightclub. When I thought it was finally and mercifully over, the music leader beamed. ‘Let’s sing that again, shall we?’ he asked. ‘No!’ I shouted, loudly enough to send heads all around me spinning while my wife, Patty, cringed.”

3. “At Your Name (Yahweh, Yahweh)”

Problem lyric: “Yahweh, Yahweh, we love to shout your name, oh Lord.”

Jewish people don’t write or say Yahweh to refer to God out of respect — instead writing the name without its vowels, YHWH, or using the alternate Adonai, meaning “Lord.” So, to sing a song that not only uses the name Yahweh, but emphasizes the shouting of it seems . . . odd.

The Vatican agrees — in 2008, it removed/replaced the name in all of its songs and prayers, and the Christian Reformed Church removed every occurrence of Yahweh and Jehovah from its Psalter Hymnal.

I understand songwriter Phil Wickman’s sentiments when he says, “We wanted to talk about the power of the name of God . . . . Now we see who Yahweh is in the person of Jesus.” But I tend to fall more in line with Carol Bechtel, Western Theological Seminary professor, who says, “[T]he most obvious reason to avoid using the proper and more personal name of God in the Old Testament is simply respect for God.”

4. “Lord I Lift Your Name on High”

Problem lyric: “ . . . from the cross to the grave from the grave to the sky . . . ”

First, this song essentially just repeats a short chorus over and over — meaning there’s little substance to work with in the first place. On top of that, what it does speak to is such a small fraction of the fullness of the gospel story. It leaves out the resurrection, Jesus’ teachings, the coming of the Kingdom — new heavens and new earth — just to name a few things.

And, come on, the idea of heaven being in “the sky” is just theologically incorrect.

5. “Above All”

Problem lyric: “Like a rose, trampled on the ground, you took the fall and thought of me above all.”

This song is rather beautiful, until its last line — which is utterly man-centered. Pastor John Piper took that line to task: “He thought of his glory above all on the cross . . . . God always thinks of himself above us. He is always more important than us.” While the Bible does say Jesus had his people in mind — i.e. Galatians 2:20, “And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” — we were certainly not “above all.”

Worship should be God-exalting rather than self-exalting. In that vein, John McArthur’s Grace Community Church changes the last line to “were glorified above all.”

6. “Burn for You”

Problem lyric: “I’ll go anywhere, I’ll do anything, at any cost for you my King.”

This one is demonstrative of the many Christian worship songs that overpromise on what we undoubtedly under-deliver — essentially, a willingness to trust God with abandon. Addie Zierman writes about questioning hyperbole in worship songs. I side with her. Often I’ve caught myself singing along when suddenly I’m struck by a question: “Wait, would I?” Would I really go to the ends of the earth? And then I feel like I’m making false, outlandish statements to the God who knows my heart — my prideful, arrogant, selfish human heart.

Maybe a more accurate rendering of these (and similar) lyrics would be something to the effect of “I’ll try to go anywhere, I’ll try to do anything.” Because, really, that’s the best we can offer. (See a similar argument against singing the popular Hillsong United song “Oceans.”) 

7. “One Thing Remains”

Problem lyric: “Your love never fails, never gives up, never runs out on me.”

It’s not necessarily that there’s anything wrong with this song, but it provides so little in the way of theological depth. It’s not that every song should spell out the gospel in its entirety, but there’s something irksome about songs that seem intended to make us feel, to simply incite that euphoric worship experience, that spiritual high. It almost seems cheap . . . or fake.

Dan Michael Cogan writes, “[C]ontemporary songs engage our emotions more often, where the hymns engage our hearts by way of the mind.” Yeah, bring back the hymns.

8. “Jesus, We Celebrate Your Victory”

Problem lyric: “ . . . And in his presence our problems disappear.”

It’s unfair (not to mention incorrect) to sing a song that suggests life as a Christian is easy, without problems, an all around good time. Yes, I understand that in the ultimate sense these things are true — that Jesus frees his people from death to a relationship with God. But as the Apostle Paul writes to the church in Corinth, “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.”

And of course, he suffered greatly — being beaten, imprisoned, and finally killed for his faith.

9. “You Are Mine”

Problem lyric: “Do not be afraid, I am with you. I have called you each by name.”

Really, I’m just not fond of this type of song in general — the ones sung from God’s point of view. There’s something off to me, something that feels like we’re taking on God’s greatness and goodness and glory by singing as if we were God himself.

Rather, worship should be our response to those attributes of God, a corporate praising of him, to him — not us singing for him, on his behalf.

10. “How He Loves”

Problem lyric: “So heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss . . . ”

This one lyric is so awkward that worship teams have been known to change the line to “like an unforeseen kiss.” Definitely less uncomfortable. I don’t have any real qualms with the rest of the song, but . . . sloppy wet kiss? Sounds like something dogs or teenagers with raging hormones do. Something my worship could do without. That’s not to say the whole song should go — just that one line.

But for a take on why he stands by that lyric, read this piece by the songwriter, John Mark McMillan.

Image courtesy of Han Lee.

Corrie Mitchell
Written by

  • Sonia Spooner

    I’m not a fan of this article. I get where the person is coming from but it just seems really judgey and like they are using this venue to spout their personal views on things that offend them personally. I think there is a place for all these songs in their season and the right context. Singing ‘In the Secret’ in the context of a worship service with lots of other worship songs that say his name makes it unproblematic for me that a name for God isn’t specifically mentioned in the song. I repeat similar feelings for another song mentioned ‘One Thing Remains’. There are lots of deeper thoughts in that song and once again everything we sing doesn’t have to be meat in it’s substance if their are other more theological songs sung during the service. Some songs in a worship service can be meaty and others can be milky 🙂 Sloppy wet kiss… has the church ever read the Song of Songs, besides most churches just change that lyric anyways. In grace I’m saying – bad form. I really don’t like articles written openly like this with really direct and specific criticism. It just doesn’t come across in a spirit of love at all. Critical feedback like this is what causes so many people to burn out, quit and feel shut down. – end rant 🙂

    • gondolin25

      “seems really judgey.” Sonia. Corporate worship is prescribed by God himself. It is kind of a big deal and as such is worth being “judgey” about. Let’s be clear: worship is a dialogue. The songs we sing should be God’s thoughts repeated back to Him, not our own vapid emotional indulgence. This is also why extended sequences of worship music are wrong as well, because they don’t give God the space to speak to us through his Word, nor time for us to respond to it in other ways, like in repentant prayer.

      • fromoverhere

        Gondolin …That is your opinion, right? There is no real way for you to make that an absolute, right?

      • Tim

        Hey Gondolin, can you cite your Biblical sources for your point of view?

        There are plenty of examples of people rejoicing and worshiping the Lord, even in “silly” manners. The clearest example is likely King David in 2 Samuel 6, who was doing a celebratory dance. “Leaping” and “dancing with all of his might.” He was criticized by a lady for worshiping God in an undignified manner. As you may recall, it appears as though it was the lady who was punished by the Lord rather than David. David goes unpunished, and explains “I will celebrate before the Lord. 22 I will make myself yet more contemptible than this, and I will be abased in your[g] eyes.”

        I feel that it is very important to avoid putting words into God’s mouth, and so we should not claim that certain things offend Him when He has not told us that it is so.

        • Rae Marie

          Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”
          Hebrews 12:28-29

          Please also taken to account the images of worship in heaven which are described in Revelation, much bowing down and incense.

          • Tim

            Hey Rae, I am completely aware that we are to worship God “acceptably” and with “reverence and awe.” No problems there. I’d never suggest anything different. I also know about worshiping God in Heaven, and I have no problems with that. I never suggested that we *can’t* worship God completely formally and without emotion, I just don’t see where the Bible commands that we keep emotional songs out of our worship services.

            If that is the problem I’m asking about, then your first point does not appear to be relevant, unless you’re suggesting that “general praise” does not have to be done “acceptably with reverence and awe.” I hope that’s not what you mean.

            Moreover, the second point is not so much an answer to my question as another way of asking it. You expanded on the issue that I was asking about, but you didn’t respond to it with the Bible. Could you please help me see where the Bible instructs us to keep emotional praise for our Almighty Father outside of worship services? The problem is that I simply can’t imagine God being angry at us for singing, with all of our hearts, praises for Him. Isn’t it true that God weighs the heart?

            I hope that makes sense. Once again, to clarify. I’m not saying that the “goal” of the worship service is to get us emotionally involved, I just don’t understand why people try to actively remove emotional involvement from the service. Were I singing from the psalter in church and a song was really moving to me, should I stop singing because I’m somehow making the service about my feelings? Specifically, I’m making the service about my strong feelings of love and admiration for my God and Father, rather than just about God himself? Why do we actively need to separate liturgical and individual praise? Is there no room for overlap?

          • bonnebelle1

            Not responding to you Tim…..just where my reply got ‘fitted’ in 😀
            I just have two thoughts here……and let me make plain that this is coming from a 59 year old who also loves hymns, has sung in choirs and also served on a contemporary worship team for years.
            1. There needs to be a distinction made between (what you guys are seemingly concerned about ) ’emotionalism’ and the presence of the Lord, which will evoke all kinds of emotions, in my experience. At my age, I’m not one to be drawn to something for the ‘feel good effect”, but sometimes a song is simply a declaration to Jesus about how we feel about Him or a response in song confirming how He feels about us. While I love the hymns, many of them are sung ‘about’ God (as declaratory statements to the public, i.e. “A Mighty Fortress” and not as worship directed to Him. In my personal prayer time I will repeat over and over to the Lord that I love Him. My prayers aren’t ‘theologically deep”, they are a conversation with someone I love, and yes, revere. Worship and prayer isn’t a business meeting.
            2. In my experience in denominational churches that used a traditional type of service which included a lot of those theologically deep or correct in your estimation, hymns, I found that no matter the lyrical content, one could just as easily sing them without thinking on jot or tiddle about the meaning of the words. Just because you feel these hymns are deeper doesn’t mean that they have a more profound effect on the congregation. Many of them, as has been stated, were protested by the church of the day because they were sung to the tune of common bar songs. You also forget that, even though you may not care for the lyrics of a song like “He Loves Us” (or He is Jealous for Me) and you feel that it could have been written to a lover (and well, it sort of is), it is always sung in the context of a church worship service or meeting where Jesus is being proclaimed and taught….thus the “He” in “He is jealous for me”. (which is scriptural, by the way…..also, I agree with the statement one person made about reading Song of Solomon) Everyone is entitled to their likes and ‘don’t’ likes. And, while I agree that there are some songs I would like to see taken off the list, both contemporary and hymn-wise, I suspect that this is mostly born out of personal preference and not whether or not God is pleased with our worship if it is only in a particular form. There is certainly legitimacy in the supposition that there can be a certain amount of ‘celebrity creation’ in contemporary worship bands. However, I have seen just as much of it in denominational churches with Ministers of Music and Special Singers and Pastors…..it can be anywhere at any time that people are involved. The bottom line is this: Do we feel the presence of the Holy Spirit and sense the Presence of God in our meetings regardless of what ‘style’ music we use in worship?? I certainly have in both types of service and I, for one, can’t tell you, nor can you tell me, whether God is please with the other person’s worship. I believe God looks at, as the song says, the “heart of worship” and the heart of the worshipper as to whether we are worshipping Him in Spirit and in Truth. If it contradicts the truth of the Word, throw it out. If it doesn’t, could it possibly just be your preference in music?? Just something to think about.

          • VLee

            I agree with you bonnebell; you could not have said it better; worship is a matter of the heart and if you are sitting and judging all the worship songs in “God’s seat” then I think the heart needs matters worked on. hymes are good and sing about God but the contemporary is about the emotion of Lov singing to God, God is my partner and Love so when Im singing a love song to him , yes, it should be emotionl!!

          • bonnebelle1

            Thanks VLee!

          • Keith Brown

            Where does it say don’t sing hymns? EVER. And only write songs on a first grade level which is where churches have been for a LOOOONG time now.

          • Michael Dodd

            Where I do agree that we should sing Hymns, when the bible mentions “Hymns” it’s not referring to the Hymnal. The Hymnal came way after the Bible Was written. The meaning of the word Hymn is simply a song written by man. By this definition even the newest songs we sing are Hymns. However, I agree we should sing Old and New, Simple and Deep. I also want to point to some new “Hymns” such as Townsend’s In Christ Alone. This is a beautiful new hymn for the church today.

          • HeLovesUsSo

            I feel that this woman is just takingthings the wrong way. I’m sorry but I’m no scholar so I couldn’t make an argument sound good but I feel that Satan is in your ear. How could you turn a song someone wrote to give God glory and praise into something sick and perverse. That’s a war going on in your own spirit and mind. I never took these songs as perverse or left them in question and I don’t really even attend church. As a matter of fact, I’ve just recently started recognizing the existence of God again. Now, you want to question some songs, question the band “skillet”. No one of God gets billboard list songs. Perhaps you should question that. I’m not judging anyone here but I feel you should be careful as to how high and mighty you’re becoming on account of the devil in your ear. “Hiissss, my child, these songs are perverted and wrong, hiiissss tell people to take them away from worship because they are wrong” … Those songs are the MOST played in every church today, of course Satan would want them removed. I bet his ears bleed when he hears it. I bet his whole being hurts when he feels the power of God in the souls of man because we are born of sin. When that sin within us is exposed to the Holy Spirit, Satan and his minions can feel it. Why would you trust in a calling such as this. I would question where that idea came from because I feel it wasn’t God speaking.

          • HeLovesUsSo

            And I was trying to reply to the general conversation and idk what went wrong… Dumb smart phone user

          • gondolin25

            Amen.

          • UsAndRufus

            “A priest or a pastor stands in the person of Christ”. No one stands in for Christ. Christ is Christ, we need no priest other than him. Please read Hebrews, the idea that we need clergy to facilitate is worship is damaging and patently unbiblical.

          • kktex12

            You are correct. However, the pastor is the shepherd of the local church and is charged by God to take care of that local church.

          • UsAndRufus

            I get that yeah (Timothy), but I also think it’s quite a limited view of church and perhaps only one of a few models. It’s great to have a full time leader who can head everything up, but they also need a huge support network around them of elders and others. See the other passages (Ephesians?) about elders, and a lot of Acts. When the pastor becomes “Pastor Dave”, the wonderman leader who does everything, it really doesn’t work. I mean, look at the whole Mark Driscoll controversy.

          • Paul D. Posey

            Scripture reference where the pastor is referred to as the shepherd?

          • Concerned One

            Check out what Paul has to say in Acts chapter 20 to the Ephesian Elders.

          • Jordan Jolly

            Does the priesthood of the believer have any place in this? Pastors are shepherds. Grace, grace and more grace. Corporate worship, praise, general worship or any other form is a cross bought gift. It’s wholly and completely about ascribing worth to the ONE who is worthy. There should be great joy and awe in every form of worship. God made us for His glory and is greatly glorified when His church unites in ascribing worth to Him in a spirit of thanksgiving, reverence, and joy; recounting to Him the great works He has done.

          • k8

            Luke 19:37-40

        • Ralph A Jansen

          That lady was his wife. It is shortly thereafter that he got involved with Bathsheba. Cause and effect. The end of that relationship was the death of his child. King David may not have come through unscathed. There appears to be a lot more need of study. As for David, he was leaping with all of his might in the Old Testament version of underwear. Should one be surprised that his wife went a little overboard, seeing her husband dancing virtually naked in front of the servant girls?

          • Tim

            Hey Ralph. No problem, I never said that we can’t sympathize with David’s wife. I can understand why she’d be upset. I feel as though you missed my point, however. King David’s spousal problems isn’t what I was drawing on, although that may have led to further sin. The shouting and dancing is what I’m addressing, and David does not seem to be rebuked or punished for worshiping God in this way at all, as far as I know. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

          • Ralph A Jansen

            I am not saying whether David was punished or not, but there is a line of belief that shows that there were consequences. (Bathsheba and the death of Nathan, his son). Not to mention the murder of Bathsheba’s husband. So while his actions may have been acceptable to God, the audience, and public nature of his actions may not have been. (He danced to God, but, as a consequence to being out in public…two people died. That parallel has been drawn by some.) The question also becomes whether God punished David’s wife, or if it means that David shut her out.

          • Heath

            Michael his wife was punished she was cursed by God and became barren.

          • zmster

            Heath, thank you for the correct conclusion. I’ll say this: to take what Orthodox teaching of this passage has always taught that, by way of her curse, that God was displeased with Michal,not David, then turn it around that He was displeased with David,which possibly lead to his sin later with Bathsheba, is FAR more serious and failing than to sing some “sloppy” worship lyric.

          • D’Arcy Watsham

            Nathan … you really believe that David’s adultery with and then murder of Bathsheba’s Husband, and then the death of Nathan was due at all to the fact that David ‘worshipped God improperly’? There is NO direct correlation there. David was a sinful man and wanted Bathsheba. He then didn’t want to get caught so he killed her husband, and then God punished him for that. That is the line of consequences.

          • kktex12

            No. His dancing in public did not cause the deaths of two people. What caused the deaths of two people were the sins of lust and adultery. Instead of being with the warriors, David was in his palace looking over the city. He saw Bathsheba and lusted after her. He sent for her and they committed adultery. David wanted her to be a wife or part of his concubine and found a way for her husband to die without him being fingered. However, there were three besides David who knew about the murder. The army general, the prophet, and God. His sin was not without consequence. An innocent baby died and David’s own son turned against him (Absalom). He also died as a result of the sin and his rebellion. Even with this, God still used him and still uses him today with the writings of the Psalms contained in the Word of God.

          • Guest

            “David wanted her to be a wife or part of his concubine and found a way for her husband to die without him being fingered.” This isn’t exactly correct. Bathsheba had conceived with David’s child, and King David was searching for a way to cover up his transgression. He sent for Uriah in hopes that he might persuade Uriah the Hittite to lay with Bathsheba his wife and thus not be found guilty in the eyes of men. However, Uriah rather nobly refuses saying that it would not be right for him to do that while the army of Israel and the ark of the lord were out at battle (where he felt he should be, and where David should have felt it his responsibility to be also). It was only after this refusal of Uriah and inability of David to cover his sin from the eyes of men (not God) that David sent orders to Joab to make sure Uriah died in battle. This is when he took Bathsheba as his wife, but that was not his original intention.
            Furthermore, where did y’all get that the child’s name was Nathan? Scripture never gives a name for the child, but the prophet of God who revealed God’s knowledge of David’s sinful error to him was named Nathan. Anyway, even after all of this God still loved David and spared him, even blessed he and Bathsheba with another son (you may have heard of him, his name was Solomon).

        • gondolin25

          Where did I say anything about manners? I only addressed the content and order of corporate worship. Scripture is very prescriptive about this. Some things have changed, as Jesus said they would. We don’t go to Jerusalem. Yet we do still respond to an authoritative (from Christ’s overseers) call to worship in decency and good order. That is where He commands his covenant blessings as He always has and always will. You offer whatever proof of your worship “style” you like. Except that you already took David out of context, since our new covenant church service corresponds to temple worship. David in no way intended his skillful individual expression of praise to be prescribed for temple worship. If you want to see what innovative worship looks like in the Old Testament, ask Nadab and Abihu.

          • Tim

            Hey Gondolin, I still am not sure that I understand your points. I’m sorry if it’s obvious to you. I may just be slow to understand, but I genuinely appreciate all of you trying to explain your point of view to me!

            I don’t think I said anything against worshiping in decency and good order. In fact, I’d be appalled if my church began to operate in an indecent and disorderly way. I value both of those things very highly in a worship service.
            I’m also not entirely sure what you mean by my ‘worship “style,”‘ or what you think it is. Or how you think you know what it is, for that matter. All I’ve mentioned, as far as I know, is that I don’t mind emotionally-moving songs being sung in church.
            That said, I’m sorry if I took David out of context! I just referenced a story of worship in the Bible where God is praised with great emotion!
            I’m just a young man, and I’m studying to be a pastor. I’m very interested in knowing where in the Bible there is a strong distinction made between liturgical and individual praise in which emotional songs are banished from public worship services and confined to settings of, for lack of a better word, “non-formal” worship. I’m not in any way trying to be “innovative” – actually I’m actively trying to seek the truth straight from the Bible! I don’t see how that’s innovative at all, and I certainly don’t see how it warrants a comparison to Nadab and Abihu!

            Honestly, I’m not really trying to argue for my personal opinion. My general conception of worship has, up to this point, allowed for emotional music in church services. I have never taken issue with it. I’ve come upon an article where that belief is being challenged, and I’m seeking to learn more about that point of view! Please don’t think that I’m arguing against your beliefs, I’m actually just interested in them. I want to reach the truth just as much as all of you do, I’m sure! And please don’t believe that I think my intuitions are necessarily correct. I’m used to being wrong.. somewhere between “a lot” and “constantly,” actually. I don’t think that my opinion is weighty simply because it belongs to me.

            All that being said, will someone please give me some texts to suggest why emotional songs can be sung outside of church, but ought not to be included in regular worship services? I understand that our songs of praise ought to be respectful, and I understand that our worship services are formal, ordered, events of corporate worship. However, I do not see why respect for God and the formality of worship services are mutually exclusive with personal emotions.

            I don’t think any of you must be wrong, I’d just like to hear why you think the Bible shows that you are right! Preferably with Biblical texts, so that I can read it right from God’s Word!
            Not an unreasonable request, I wouldn’t think.. Certainly not one that needs to be responded to by vaguely insinuating that God ought to burn me with fire from Heaven!

          • kktex12

            Tim, the whole gaol for emotional songs is to control the emotions of the crowd. Not worship. You say you are studying to be a preacher. Does your school allow for any version of a bible to be used for reference or to preach out of? There is but one preserved and inspired Word of God in the English language. It is without error and that is the 1611 King James Version. It is not in any of the new versions that were transliterated by unrepentant sinners. Changed and wrestled to make what God’s Word says to fit mans unrepentant manipulation of his belief. There were 47 scholars who could read, write, and speak Aramaic, Greek, and Hebrew involved in the translation of the Textus Receptus and the Masoretic texts into the 1611 King James Bible . They ALL had to agree as to the exact translation, punctuation, etc. There is no other bible that people died for at the stake by burning or beheading. No one has died for the asb, rsv, nkjb, or the niv. If you are attending a college that allows these books written by the minions of satan, you need to find another college.

          • Tim

            Hey kktex12. I’m pretty busy, so I’m going to have to be brief. Thanks for your response, though!

            So, first of all, your statement that “the whole goal for emotional songs is to control the emotions of the crowd. Not worship.” appears to be little more than your (very strong) opinion. You may be able to argue that all emotional songs do is control the emotions of the crowd, but I don’t think you have the authority to say what the “whole goal” of every emotional song ever is. Instead, shouldn’t we ask the author what the goal is? And, perhaps, even ask individual singers what their goal is when they sing the song? Alternatively, you could give an argument for why your opinion must be right, in spite of the fact that authors and singers of emotional songs would disagree. That certainly isn’t self-evident, though.

            Secondly, to clarify, I’m in university. I’m working to get my honours BA, which is a requirement to get into my church’s seminary.

            And our churches, and our seminary, primarily use the ESV. So you may not want to talk to me, seeing as I am being taught by, and I am seeking to become, a scholar who uses a book that you claim was written by “the minions of satan.”
            That’s more than a little ridiculous though, kktex12. Saying that one Bible edition is closer to the original text of the Bible may make sense, and may even be true, but to say that, therefore, all of the rest are written by people who were trying to translate God’s word, but were actually working for satan, is outrageous.

            And, finally, your post seems to become a (somewhat terrifying) advertisement for the 1611 King James Bible, and didn’t really address the issue at hand at all. I still haven’t been given any guidance as to where the Bible banishes emotional, moving songs from the worship service!

            Wow, even when I try to be quick I still end up writing a novel…

          • kktex12

            I have every right to critique music that belongs in the night clubs and bars and are not a sweet savour unto the Lord’ ear. Apparently I respect and will do every thing I can to honor and please the Lord. Apparently that is not your way of life. Why don’t you do an OBJECTIVE visual survey of a crowd listening to the 7/11 so called contemporary worship music. Go to a “contemporary” concert and do an OBJECTIVE visual survey. You might come away with an education. You are right. Your professors are minions of satan. Why is it outrageous to call a hoe a hoe and a shovel a shovel? There is no reason for anyone to transliterate God’s Word into a “new” version. None of the people involved had the education and abilities of the 47 men chosen to translate the Textus Receptus and the Masoretic Text into English. They are dedicated to denying the Deity of Christ, the virgin birth, and above all, to make money. You check into the copywrites of all the satan inspired versions. There is only one that has a public copy write and that is the 1611 KJV. When is unrepentant man going to stop trying to manipulate, twist, and wrestle the Word of God into saying things it never said? When is unrepentant man going to stop introducing errors into God’s Word?? Just exactly what defense do you offer when a muslim says all these bibles say holy bible on them? Which one is God’s Word? We muslim’s only have one bible, the quran. Just exactly what do you say????? What do your professors say? What is their defense????

          • Tim

            Hey again, Kktex.

            You certainly do have every right to critique music! However, I don’t know why you believe that you have a right to determine what music is and what music isn’t a “sweet savour unto the Lord’ [sic] ear.” I have been asking for, and will still happily receive, any Biblical support for a specific type of song that is meant to be sung in worship services, if you have one to offer.

            I’m very happy to hear that you will do everything that you can to honour and please the Lord! I’m not sure what brought your harsh criticism towards me, though. Why is it that you think that I don’t do everything that I can to honour and please the Lord?

            As for contemporary concerts, I’ve never been to one. All I’m speaking about is singing repetitive, emotional songs in a formal worship service. As I’ve already said, I’ve been to them and I see nothing wrong with them, biblically. If you have an issue with them, again, please reference God’s word in telling me why! Please don’t be rude or patronizing about it. So far all you’ve done is tell me to think really hard and I’ll agree with you, but, as I already mentioned before, it is not self-evident that you are correect.. at least not to me. So please, give me some biblical arguments so that I can see where you’re coming from and, perhaps, even agree with you!

            Again, you’re making a whole lot of claims and I don’t see a whole lot of supporting evidence. Can you please show me specific problems that you have with the ESV so that I have some idea of what you’re speaking about? Because I genuinely believe that the people who wrote the ESV did it to glorify God. Can you show me why you believe otherwise? Because my professors, pastors, elders, etc. all seem to agree with me, not you. Please, show me a major difference between the teachings of the 1611 KJV and the ESV.

            Now, regarding “Which one is God’s Word?” Why must there only be one accurate translation? As I’m sure you know, words and phrases change meaning over time. It can take only a few decades for the meaning of words to be completely different. Some obvious examples would be “gay,” “decimate” and “awful.” There are plenty more, and you can look them up! Language changes, pure and simple. It’s an undeniable fact. And, as such, we occasionally need revisions! For this reason experts have to analyze outdated works and change certain words and phrases so that the meanings can stay the same, and so that the word of God can be available to common people, and not only to scholars. Doesn’t that make sense? Try reading some old English literature. It is easy, at least for me, to completely misunderstand what the author was trying to say. New versions help with that immensely. Sure, they change the original words, but they preserve the actual meaning! Isn’t that significantly more important?

            Now, please, if you wish to have a discussion with me do not refer to myself, or to any of my friends, family, or professors, as “the minions of satan.” That is absurd. We may be mistaken. Actually, I’m sure that we’re mistaken in many regards. But we’re genuine Christians and we’re genuinely attempting to serve the Lord our God with all of our hearts, souls, and minds. And, if we’re not, that’s not for you to decide. God judges the heart (Luke 16:15). God judges our motivations, but humans are commanded not to even attempt to do so. (1 Cor 4:5) All you can judge is actions, and you are commanded to do so with reference to God’s Word. (2 Tim 3:16) The Bible doesn’t say that you can judge the hearts of men, and it doesn’t say that you can do it without reference to scripture, as far as I know. If it does then please, PLEASE, cite your sources.

          • Toni Manna Scott

            You are being ridiculous, kktex. wow. Your post, in my opinion, would not honor and please the Lord. And you still have not provided scriptural backup.

          • Pastor Chris

            Wow. This reply of the KJV has got to be the farthest away from the original post. But let me address it here: 1) God didn’t write the Bible in English, 2) do you agree that the 1611 KJV is NOT the one most often preached out of (since the Ws are Vs and the Ss are Fs, etc. Most KJV only churches are using the 7th edition of the KJV), 3) the Textus Receptus while having 3,000 copies was not the oldest known manuscriptsand were localized to the surrounding area of Jersusalem. The oldest known manuscripts were widespread all over the larger area. Most scholars believe that since they were older and more widespread, that the Textus Receptus must have had layer edits (which don’t change the intent or meaning of the text, Acts 8:38, e.g.), 4) how do you resolve taking Biblical text to nations that don’t speak English? Particularly speaking of indigenous people who speak bizarre and unknown languages. Do you propose to give them the KJV, or do you recommend getting a translation into their language as it existed 400 years prior, or does it make more sense to translate it into their current language?

            As far as the worship article goes, as a pastor I must say this. God is worthy, period. He does not NEED our worship or praise. He does not need US. Rather, out of His great pleasure, He created us to being glory to Himself. He chose our existence. It is US who NEED to worship and praise Him. In so doing, we bring honor to the One who deserves our best. Listen to this, our best does not include arguing over music. Read 1 Corinthians and understand the message of eating meat/not eating meat. This comes down to a spiritual maturity issue. I refrain from calling oNE side or another more spiritually mature because both sides include those who elevate arguments instead of promoting peace. The intent of the Corinthian passage is to challenge the spiritually mature to defer to the preferences of the spiritually weak foe their sake and their conscience sake. However, if you can worship God with others who are like minded with a song that has 1 line out of 45 which could be misinterpreted, then sing away. If it bothers you, then don’t sing it. If singing the same words over and over again seems theologically shallow and inferior, then defer to the weak minded who cannot understand the deep theological truths written in the old hymns.

            It comes down to prooting peace and not division. This article and much of the debate to follow it are destructive and unhelpful to preserve unity in the body of Christ.

          • Michael

            Amen!!!!!!!! Someone who finaly understands the need we have as a body to unify and work together for the common growth of the church! We argue over so many things, where as one man posts his problems with songs that in his opinion arent worthy of Gods attention, then we should just continue on for the sake of those who need them, or we over which bible was printed first when we should be arguing over how the enemy has held captive the body of Christ over simplistic debates that do not further the kingdom of God!

          • Toni Manna Scott

            As far as I know, Tim, there is no such text.

          • Mike McCann

            “I only addressed the content and order of corporate worship. Scripture is very prescriptive about this”. Gondolin, would you please give specific references in correct context for the order of corporate worship prescribed in Scripture?

            Also: “our new covenant church service corresponds to temple worship”. Would you please reference where in Scripture this is expressed? Would you also please indicate where in Scripture it even refers to a church service? I understand passages such as 1 Corinthians 14 and Hebrews 10:24, 25 (both passages which, by the way, refer especially to edifying the body of Christ, encouraging one another, and stirring one another to love and good works), but where do we find a service such as we might see in the 21st century western church…or such as what you seem to be describing?

            I respect your position, but it appears to me you are reading a lot of your own culture into the Scriptures. I am open to your explanation, though. 🙂

          • Joanna Bain

            im pretty sure scriptural Christian gatherings were very small affairs where everyone brought something to offer. One to teach, one to prophesy, one to speak in tongues, one to interpret etc. in this setting it would not be unfitting to present a heartfelt song to our God. Most of these songs being discussed here are songs written by one person to be sung by one person to God, like a performance piece perhaps. They are used in church because they become popular through people relating to them and being touched by them. I doubt most of them were written with church gatherings in mind. In saying that though, church is made up of plenty of individuals who are more than capable of assessing in their own hearts wether these songs ring true to them or not.
            The sad thing is, why is someone’s heartfelt expression of worship to their God being judged by someone who didn’t take the time to make their own song to Him? I doubt God heard their song and said “no I can’t accept that song, it’s emotionally inappropriate !” More likely He loved that someone loved Him that much to create it.
            Perhaps the author of this article could write their own doctrinally correct song and see how well they do?

          • Joanna Bain

            And btw the way , mr author, whoever u are, the sky is described in the bible as the heavens. There are three, and the atmosphere of earth is one of them. And to mike McCann, sorry to reply after your comment, I got sick of scrolling down so just put my 5cents in where it fell . I doubt anyone’s gonna read my opinion anyway lol

          • Edward Hum

            Hey Joanna, I read it. And right below your 5 cents is my comment which said the exact same thing about the sky being called heaven in the Bible! Confirmation, baby!

          • Sonia Spooner

            I LOVE this response Joanna!

          • rissa

            Well if God didn’t find anything wrong with David’s praise that’s all that matter. Plus while all this debating about the word is going on you are missing the point anyway. We are to worship God in spirit and in truth. If God wanted robots with no feeling or emotions we would all be the same. If I feel like shouting or taking a lap around the building who are you to tell me I can’t . Praise and worship is a personal thing between you and God. Nobody has the right to tell you how to do it. You don’t know why they are praising like they do. You don’t know their story what they’ve been through. The bible says more than once to make a joyful noise unto the lord. He says to sing and dance just like the battle of Jericho. God gave them instructions on how to win that battle it was through their praise and worship. And also the levities the ones who went before the armies singing praises the were loud and boisterous. And Jesus was emotional at times too. Worship is not only God’s words to us but our words to him. He wants to know who he is to us he wants to hear it too. He wants to hear who he is to us in our good and bad times. And also praise and worship is a tool to minister those that are in need. So the words this person is attacking may not minister to them but is drawing others closer to God. Remember Jesus didn’t Minster to everyone he came in contact with the same way because everyone is different and receives things differently. God does the same thing even today he hasn’t changed. So I encourage who ever is reading this article don’t take as word from God you praise and worship him however the holy spirit leads you. And don’t allow anyone to make you feel condemned for how you worship God and what worship songs you sing. Remember they are not God and it’s him only that you need to please. God bless!

      • Sonia Spooner

        Gondolin – I don’t think you and I (or quite frankly the author and I) are quite so far apart on our views of worship as you might think. In genuine effort to understand you better can you elaborate on what you mean by “The songs we sing should be God’s thoughts repeated back to Him, not our own vapid emotional indulgence. This is also why extended sequences of worship music are wrong as well.’

        • gondolin25

          Thanks for the concise question Sonia. I wish my answer was concise as well. But I can’t help but note that views on worship really do have to start with a unified view of scripture. If we truly do see Christ in all of the bible, then we also see his covenant faithfulness to his church in all ages. Yes, Abraham was “called out” of the world to be holy (set apart). God cut a covenant with him and passed through the animal pieces, not with Abraham, but alone — in other words, He swore by himself to keep the covenant. This was dramatic revelation of the covenant already established with Adam after the fall. With every passing generation, God reveals more of his plan — Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David et al. With every renewal, worship is the response from God’s people. Mind you, praise is part of it, but not all of it. True worship is to respond to God as he has revealed himself. The psalms are terrific and inspired examples of worship music music that does all of the above. They reflect the richness of that continued covenant of grace, they prophesy of Christ, they help us toward repentance, they repeat the greatness of God in very specific terms. I’m not an exclusive psalmedy kind of guy, but I can’t help but think that if worship music doesn’t strongly reflect the tone and content of the psalms, they can’t possibly be fit for God, who himself inspired the psalms.

          To my last point, what are we doing when we sing a half-dozen songs in a row during corporate worship? Keep in mind, this is the moment in the week when we get to do what the church has done since ancient times: covenant renewal. Instead, of a full tapestry of worship, a dialog between God and man, we instead choose to dominate the conversation. The first thing we should do when we worship is acknowledge God’s call to worship. In my church that means reading one of the many passages of scripture that do just. We are welcomed into his presence and praise him (often in song) as we come. We acknowledge God’s law and our sin and misery and we repent of our sin both in prayer and in song. We hear the good news of salvation proclaimed in all of God’s word through the all important preaching of the gospel. We respond in faith to that gospel, often in song. The sacraments provide visible signs and seals of God’s covenant love to us — they are the gospel made visible to our eyes and sweet to our tongue. And on and on. Assurance. Blessing. Benediction. If we don’t make room for all of these things, we will forget the vital role they play in strengthening our faith and teaching us to know the Father as the Son knows him. Why would we stop our ears to all that the Father has to say, just so we can have time to sing OUR songs ad nauseam. If we are truly the bride of Christ, surely there is nothing more disrespectful to our husband than to speak more than we listen.

          I hope that makes a little sense.

          • Sonia Spooner

            It does make sense. In our last church (before we moved) we actually embraced a liturgical worship service. We opened with a planned reading and the worship leader picked songs in line with the text being preached on that allowed a variety of worship responses in line with the progression through the tabernacle as a guide (The gate – call to worship. The brazen alter – reflecting not he sacrifice of Christ (as part of this communion was taken monthly corporately but was also available during each worship service to be taken as part of worship). The brazen laver – songs of reflection allowing Christ to convict of sing and cleanse and so on with the lamp stand, shewbread, veil and ark of covenant. We tried to follow the progression of worship as revealed through the Living Tabernacle – Jesus. Is this the type of thing you are speaking about?
            The article I responded to, however wasn’t on encouraging a different approach to worship, modern liturgy or the like instead it was picking apart particular songs based on problematic one lines that could have easily been misunderstood but the writer of the article or simply that she didn’t like the sound of them or the narrative voice they were written in. A few of her points I could see where she was coming from but about half of them I felt where applicable, even to a liturgical form of worship. Perhaps my main difference from the author and many that wrote was that I don’t think each song on it’s own needs to resolve the full message of the gospel but rather that the worship service as a whole needs to do this (i.e. – One song reflects on what Christ’s sacrifice did for us, another allows us to confess our need to Him, another speaks about the cleansing power of Christ, Still another speaks about the intimacy that the torn veil provides which is intimacy, friendship, communion with Christ.
            I would agree that a worship service full of ‘I – this’ and ‘I – that’ songs would be incomplete but ONE of those songs aside of a song like ‘In Christ Alone’ does still provide all pieces of the beautiful artwork of the gospel. If the beauty of the gospel, the sacrifice of Christ doesn’t demand an emotional response, then I don’t know what does!?
            But I DO hear what you are saying and your heart for some of the missing language from many current worship services and would share your concerns.

      • Rae Marie

        Agreed. Sadly a lot of Christians have forgotten the concept of liturgy.

      • veronica

        “Vapid emotional indulgence” – love that expression. When I attend evangelical churches I usually skip the first 20-25 mins as I am not in the marketing demographic they are trying to reach with that stuff and can’t deal with much of it. I once read a response on a blog regarding it that said yes, the 7-11 songs (7 words 11 times) are actually designed to function more or less as a mantra in the charismatic churches. Repeating them 40-50 times it seems is supposed to lead to charismatic states of worship, ecstasy, tongues, etc. Many other evangelical churches shorten them somewhat to just get emotionalism or happy clappy tripe the kids like. And in reading these posts I see we’ve been pretty good at teaching the next generation to say “that’s just your opinion” when meeting criticism. Many who have responded, included many who claim to be worship leaders who write and perform these songs, do not even begin to question their decisions. Today Criticism of everything from vapid self indulgence, to bad music, to gay theology, to profanity in church is met with “well that’s just your opinion.” The American church is in a dreadful way. It’s only the grace of God that it survives at all. It’s certainly not because we are good stewards of what we’ve been given; but then of course, that’s just MY opinion.

        • Tim

          Hey Veronica,
          You’ve got some interesting points, but nothing to back them up.. but you know that already, that’s why you ended with “that’s just MY opinion.”
          But still, you’re arguing against songs that “the kids like” in favour of the songs that you like. Why should we give precedence to what you like over what I like, or over what the kids like? It’s tough to decide, but I think that any decision we make should be based on God’s word. I think that’s probably something we all can agree on. Can you give me any texts saying why we should stick to your music preferences?

          “We’ve been pretty good at teaching the next generation to say “that’s just your opinion.” That’s a great observation, Veronica! You really have, and thank you for doing so. Questions, like the one I posed above, should absolutely be discussed with reference to God’s word, rather than simply to opinions. That’s very important! Who cares about opinions? Everyone’s got one. What we need to do is find well-justified opinions which are based on something that we can all get behind: God’s word. Still with me so far?

          It’s true that many people don’t question their decisions, but I don’t think that’s specific to this generation. As you mentioned, many people in this young generation tends to want real justification for their beliefs, rather than just opinions. Simply believing your opinions are right? That’s not questioning your decisions. Asking for reasons when someone criticizes your beliefs? That’s questioning your decisions in order to ensure that you’re as close to the truth as possible, and that’s something that we can ALL improve in, don’t you think?

          Lastly, I’d have to agree that “the American church is in a dreadful way.” Though, to be fair, it IS full of sinners, even while many of them are striving to discover and follow God’s will.
          You seem to suggest (but correct me if I’m wrong) that part of the church’s problem is that it’s full of people who go to the worship service and enthusiastically sing songs of praise to God, but that those songs are too emotional and enthusiastic for your tastes.
          On the other hand, someone who likes singing praises to God, even repetitive, emotional songs, may be more tempted to say that the church’s problem is with people who skip the first 25 minutes of the service because they don’t like the songs.
          It makes me wonder… if the church sang only songs that you, and those who think like you, preferred, would you sympathize with people who skipped part of the worship services because they didn’t appreciate your song choices and felt as though they weren’t worthwhile?

          Honestly, I think it all comes back down to God’s word. We ought to pick what songs we sing, not based on individual preference’s, but based on what God’s word says. God’s word seems to include songs that are both historical as well as ones that are emotional songs of praise. We shouldn’t put our emotions at the centre of the worship service, of course, since the Bible has plenty of examples of people letting their emotions get the best of them, but there’s seems to no reason to banish emotions altogether! (Unless, of course, someone has a text that tells us this and is simply refusing to share it, in spite of my repeated requests!)

          • gondolin25

            Tim you are very passionate on this thread. It tells me that you have a very specific image of your naysayers. Some of your questions to me haven’t really had anything to do with what I’ve posted. The result is a lot of strawmen. Let’s get this straight. The writer of this article didn’t say we should banish emotions from worship music. Music is, by definition, an artistic endeavor and a gift of God. ALL of it is inherently emotional. To demand substance in the music or lyric isn’t to be down on emotion. (Why the false dichotomy?) But it’s emotional properties means that it should be handled carefully. It should augment the content, not supersede or overshadow it. Personally, I feel assaulted when someone strings together six songs in a row during worship — like I’m being manipulated. If you want me to cry in the worship service, just read Isaiah or John. And if this discussion is really about God’s Word then why is it so hard to identify the Word of God within much of modern worship music. That’s something you should think with the author of this article about instead of tilting at the various commenters here.

          • Tim

            Hey Gondolin. I’ll try to keep everything on point. Sorry about the irrelevant questions. Would you mind answering whichever ones you deem relevant? Again, preferably with at least one text to support your point of view.

            I know we shouldn’t banish all emotion. I want to see where a line is drawn in the Bible. In the Bible, you can see where passion and emotion lead people to act contrarily to God’s word, and we are commanded Please show me, with the Bible, why you believe the songs mentioned above to be guilty of this.

            I disagree that “ALL music is inherently emotional” but that seems irrelevant to the issue at hand in the article, and you hate irrelevancy, so I’ll leave that alone.

            “Corporate worship is prescribed by God himself” and ” I only addressed the content and order of corporate worship. Scripture is very prescriptive about this.” On these two points, please point me towards a relevant text regarding worship songs in the context of corporate worship to support your view.

            “Let’s be clear: worship is a dialogue. The songs we sing should be God’s thoughts repeated back to Him, not our own vapid emotional indulgence.” Again, please provide some texts.
            Specifically, I genuinely want to know where the Bible says that worship is supposed to be a dialogue, but not just any regular dialogue, but a peculiar sort of dialogue where God tells us His thoughts and we tell God His thoughts.
            I’d also appreciate a definition or description of songs which are no more than “vapid emotional indulgence,” and where the Bible banishes them from worship services. It would be even more useful if you could also show me why they’re allowed in “general worship,” as others have claimed that they are.

            “This is also why extended sequences of worship music are wrong as well, because they don’t give God the space to speak to us through his Word, nor time for us to respond to it in other ways, like in repentant prayer.” Speaking of false dichotomies, I’d also like a text to back up this claim, if you don’t mind.

            I’m not sure if I understand what you mean when you say “if this discussion is really about God’s Word then why is it so hard to identify the Word of God within much of modern worship music”? I’d appreciate if you’d explain it to me! Because how it is worded right now it not only sounds like a false dichotomy, but it also seems to beg the question. It sounds like an argument, though, and I’d appreciate if you could flush it out a little, especially if you could do so with texts!

            And now, in order to stop wasting the time of everyone involved, I’m not going to discuss any responses unless they address the issues relevant in the article. Specifically, saying why the author’s criticisms are valid or invalid. More importantly, I’m not going to get involved unless the position has a Biblical basis, since i never intended to get into an argument about opinions. I wanted help discovering what the Bible says about the songs that are to be sung during worship services.

        • phishing4men

          Spot on veronica.

          • Mike Morris

            “The thing we [Christians] disagree about the most is the importance of our disagreements.” – C.S. Lewis

        • James Douglas

          Well said, Veronica.

        • Mary Abdelbaset

          I agree with you 100% Veronica. And the first thing people want to throw out there is “that’s judgmental!” These days its all about people and not much about God.

      • Jordan Jolly

        Any expression of worship is a cross bought privilege. It is wholly and completely about ascribing worth to the ONE who is worthy. True worship is always a pure and sincere expression of thanksgiving and praise to our Redeemer and King.

      • Chandra Beth Hodges

        The Lord simply says make a joyful noise.He gave us free will and that is included in worship.He does not require us to repeat is words back to him.We should be able to speak to God on a personal bases.This article really made me angry.I was away from the Lord and several of these songs have helped me to build up my faith in God.Take your judging somewhere else.

        • gondolin25

          Chandra. There really is no need for anger. This article is focused on the corporate worship which is something that God himself regulates with his Word. Every child desires to know and commune with his father. Every bride longs to know and commune with her husband. The church, as the bride of Christ and you and I as children of the Father, must always want to know God. His word is the only way to know Him. If you are going to commune with and worship God in spirit and truth, why would to pick a different language than what He has revealed in scripture? There is nothing free about that.

          • Edna Schlegerfield

            I understand Chandra’s anger. When Jesus became angry, which was rare, it was always at the “religious” people. The Pharisees made it a point to appear godly, and then looked down on those who they felt didn’t meet their standards. Jesus loved sinners, even ate with them, but he called the Pharisees “a brood of vipers.” The criticism and derision that the author of this article expresses towards the writers of modern worship seems to me to border on that of a Pharisee.

      • jsun

        You outcho mothafuckin mind

      • phishing4men

        True gondolin, you hit a nerve with Tim who does not do a very good job proof texting his argument, he misses the point of 2Sam

        • Tim

          No nerves hit, sir! I’m here trying to understand 🙂
          Please, do explain!

      • John Michael Gastador

        “Vapid emotional indulgence” gondolin, remember how God dealt with David’s wife when she despised the king’s act of worship.

      • Andre

        mmmm….extended worship actually does exactly that…give room for God to speak His Word to us, and for us to respond, and to pray. None of these things only happen in the context of a traditional invitation or by the provocation of a speaker or preacher. Sometimes God conveys all of these things without the preaching of man, during worship when we find ourselves utterly embraced by His presence, having purged self by worshiping God. I am a pastor and preacher, so I know these things come through teaching and preaching the word also….but not exclusively.

    • Paula Coyle

      ‘judgey’ lol here you are judging the article for being ‘judgey.’ priceless.

      • Sonia Spooner

        LOL touche Paula! … and that’s all I have to say about that.

      • Seth

        That is a cheap response to a well thought out one. Calling this article “judgey” is right on. As Christians, who this article is aimed to, we are well within our right to call out a very foolish and judgmental article. If anything, judging the acts of our brother and sisters in the Church is healthy. Iron sharpens iron. Judging non-believers…now that is a different story

        • kktex12

          God does tell us to come out from among them.

      • Dee

        Well, when the article is seemingly anti-Christian, it is called standing up for Jesus.

    • Lars Hellmund

      Could you be persuaded to respond to the theological issue, which is at hand in the article, instead of an emotional outburst?

      And pointing to the spirit of love as an argument is a poor move so avoid the point of something being true.

    • Betty Frank

      Do you think it matters to God if a worship song is Biblical correct? Isn’t
      Worship expression of love and adoration to the Lord! What matters is
      heartfelt Worship to God! God looks at the heart! Why criticize Worship songs??

      • kktex12

        Yes I do. Do you think it matters if a unrepentant sinner or sin will be in heaven? God says there will be no sin in heaven. That sin is an abomination before him. Therefore that means an unrepentant sinner will not be there either. So does He care? I would say so. By the way, most of the “worship” songs written today are nothing more than 7/11 chants. 7 or 11 words sung 7 or 11 times. Used to control the mood of the crowd and not worship of God.

        • Matt

          How great thou art…at getting it right! It’s nice to see someone else is not happy with the 7/11 chant fad. I too am tired (emotionally and physically) from standing for 30 minutes straight to a hypnotic trance of fa – la – la – la- falling asleep to the repetition of the modern worship service. Have you seen the attempt at some worship bands to try and combine a new song with an old hymn like Amazing Grace? can someone say bi-polar??? Are Americans so attention-deficit that they have to be entertained and constantly try to re-invent the wheel? I mean, there is an obvious effort among church leaders to be non-traditional that their effort to be “new” is getting “old”. I cannot remember the last time I stood in a church and sang every verse to “A Mighty Fortress is Our God”, does anyone? Seriously, I want to hear some responses to my rant, and my Mighty Fortress question. Am I on to something here?

          • Sonia Spooner

            I love ‘A Mighty Fortress Is Our God’. I grew up singing hymns and still use them in congregational worship. However what we are all commenting on is not whether the modern worship songs of 200 years ago are better than the modern worship songs of today or which translation of the Bible is better we are commenting on whether these songs or doctrinally incorrect. It seems that most of the songs listing here are in a grey area of it you looked at them one way they COULD have issues but if you look at them another way they don’t. There is no great biblical argument or case made for what the author considers errors.
            Do I think it matters to God if a song is Biblically incorrect?? – I think if a new Christian sings something untrue, God can handle that. He’s not going to plug his ears or withdraw his presence. But I do think worship leaders should have a desire when leading the people of God to sing truth and lead them in Spirit AND Truth.

          • Pastor Chris

            I suppose that you will not be happy to find that the angels in heaven have been singing the same song since creation and will for eternity (Is. 6, Rev. 4). Won’t you be utterly disappointed to stand for a million years singing the same song…..do you people not even understand the magnitude of God ? Your arguments scream that it’s all about you!

    • Dee Trope

      I agree with what you are saying. I would add that the song, “Jesus, We celebrate Your Victory” the line“ . . . And in his presence our problems disappear.” means that when we fully enter his presence in worship, we forget about our problems for a while. Not that they completely disappear forever. And I believe that I can say Yahweh and Jehovah while still having the utmost respect for God.

      • Sonia Spooner

        I thought the same thing about that line Dee. With Yahweh and Jehovah – If we are going to start following Jewish tradition, then there would be a host of other things to lump in along with that of rules to follow and if we start doing that we defame what the Christ did on the cross to both save us from sin but also from what the law could not do.

        • Dee Trope

          Absolutely!! My brain was just screaming, “WHAAAAT???”, the whole time I was reading this article. I mean I love a good hymn but I also love modern worship songs. There have been many times when God has spoken to me through the worship service and then confirmed that word in the message. If a verse in a song seems awkward to me, I usually figure that I need to adjust the way I’m thinking about it. I’m sure the song writer wouldn’t have meant to write anything that would be blasphemous or disrespectful to the one we are praising.

    • http://www.GlobalTruthMinistriesInc.com Torbert Trio

      Not sure if anyone has googled the TRUE LYRICS ….its not written…”sloppy wet kiss”…
      The ACTUAL LYRICS are…And Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss,…..
      & just for the record…. We sing okd hymns &chorus….
      THOSE, you never have to question! They werd BIRTHED out of TRIAL!

      • Sonia Spooner

        To answer that question, the song was originally written ‘sloppy wet kiss’ and was not released on a ‘worship’ album (first release The Song Inside the Sounds of Breaking Down’ by John Mark McMillan). When the song was re_released by Integrity alternate lyrics were provided because the song had become such a popular worship song but the alternate lyrics are not the original lyrics.

        • http://www.GlobalTruthMinistriesInc.com Torbert Trio

          I stand corrected. My apologies! I had no idea it had been REWRITTEN….. after ‘digging’…..I DID FIND THE ORIGINAL LYRICS…. And yes…. They were…”sloppy wet kiss”. How VERY SAD…. Someone would pen this as “Christian”! That’s about as CLOSE TO THE WORLD….as one could get. And after looking up & reading his bio….. Where he ‘classifies’ himself as “soft rock”…. It’s NO WONDER….he doesn’t feel convicted of first using that wording. Thank you again!
          Lord Bless!

          Sent from Bren’s iPad

          • Sonia Spooner

            The song is written after his best friend and fellow youth leader was killed in a car accident. It refers to when Jesus comes to visit his friends Mary and Martha after Lazarus dies and he sees and it says he wept and the people around him looked at him crying and said ‘see how he loved him’.

            If you feel ok about judging someone as not even being a Christian because they use the word ‘soft rock’ in their bio that equates to them having no power of conviction of the Holy Spirit in their lives, then that’s your business. But is the answer that we are giving the world that power of Christ is only evident in hymns tested tried and true methods of the past. The sounds of modern are of the world and that in order to be saved we not only have to deny ourselves but also deny a list of other things … a list that is NOT in the Bible-ie. being friends with people that are ‘in the world’, listening to any music that has a rock sound to it, loud drums, any song that repeats more than once etc. If we think these things, then we truly have become ones who sit and judge. We judge a persons salvation, we judge the contents of mens hearts that we do not know. We add to the simplicity of the gospel by creating a list of extra rules and I can’t help but wonder if Jesus wouldn’t say some of the same things to us as he did to the pharisees in Matthew 23. That we ‘tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger.’ Knowing Jesus is not a list of rules or a list of terms that we are and aren’t allowed to use. Jesus is the God man who calls us into relationship with him and there is no where in my Bible that says that that in order to have a relationship with him, I can’t play music that sounds like soft rock.

    • Edward Hum

      I agree with you. This writer is a hater. But we are called to love him anyway and pray for him to repent and spread love instead. And his critiques are actually inaccurate though he thinks he is right. For instance, for #4 Lord I lift your name on high he says that it is theologically wrong to say that heaven is in the sky, but if he actually did some studying he would realize that there are three levels of heaven as expressed by Paul and in the Greek and Hebrew languages, especially in Genesis, the Bible does call the sky heaven too. With all due respect and love, the writer is very hateful and ignorant. IMHO.

      • Sonia Spooner

        Lots of angry Christians on this board 😉 but I’ve had a chip on my shoulders about things in the past and been guilty of having an us vs. them attitude so I don’t take it personally. I do know where they are coming from and some of the biting words are misplaced zeal for God. We all need to put more effort in DOING rather than Debating, CREATING rather than critiquing and PRAYING rather than ranting. Amen?

        • Edward Hum

          Amen, sister.

      • compguy83

        “But we are called to love him anyway”

        I mean, if you’re going to talk about ignorance let’s start with the rather obvious fact that this article was written by a woman. A “her” not a “him”.

        • Edward Hum

          OMG! Thanks, man!

    • Jan Ram

      Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

      there’s no verse in the Bible that we can sing those kind of songs. But if the songs is to address to the Lord as Praise And Worship, the lyrics for me should emphasize the greatness of God. And it would be more better if the lyrics are biblical. Because when we lead worship we are actually not just worshiping God but also Teaching the congregation about the greatness of God. we have to worship God with our feelings but we should remain focus on the purpose of Praise and Worship. It is to Adore the greatness of God….that’s my opinion as I can relate with the message. If like the song IN THE SECRET “I want to touch you, I want to see your face, I want to know you more.”… It is very general and more private. It may mislead the congregation specially the young generation… while singing this songs, instead of singing to the Lord, because of the lyrics they might think of other people…sort of boy friend girl friend. So it wold be much better if our songs during praise and worship in the congregation is biblical as we are teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spirital songs…..

      • Sonia Spooner

        So if I hear you correctly – everything in the song is OK except that the name of the Lord is never addressed directly so if the song had been written:

        In the Secret (Psalm 139:15)

        In the Quiet Place (Luke 5:16)

        In the stillness Christ is there

        In the secret in the quiet hour I wait, Lord for You (1 Kings 19:12)

        Because I want to know You more (Jer 24:7; Jer 31:34)

        I want to know You

        I want to hear Your voice

        I want to know You more

        I want to touch You

        I want to see Your face (Exodus 33:18-19) (Psalm 27:13)

        I am reaching for the highest goal

        That I might Christ as my prize (1 Cor 9:24)

        Pressing onward pushing every hindrance aside

        Out of my way

        Because I want to know you more (Themes for the whole verse (1 Cor 9:24); (1 Tim 4:7); (Heb 12:1)

        First of all Christ made us creative people and gave us language and within our language we have the ability to speak about him or to him; in the first person or second person. It seems a little ridiculous to me that writers should only feel free to write songs in a certain voice so that they can inject His name. Here is my point – this song is full of scriptural lines that can be drawn.( I’ll put them in brackets next to the lines). Also with this song being around a long time, I have NEVER heard of someone stumbling over the lyrics thinking of their girlfriend or boyfriend because the song is written in direct language so to disqualify it on that account, to me, seems overly cautious.

        Secondly, if it was a concern a simple teaching done explaining the lines would remove any confusion.

        Thirdly, Being that this article is a addressed for songs being sung in the church I doubt the question marks as to Who the song is written would exist but perhaps it would not be the best choice for an evangelism service.

        I do think that this article may have been far more accurate if it suggested we stop singing some of these songs cause they have been over sung. We need to be challenged to expand what we are saying in worship whether we do that by pulling out a new song or pulling out a hymn that hasn’t been sung in a while. – Just some thoughts, and I did appreciate hearing yours – look at all the Bible study you made me do 🙂

      • Ogutu

        I was delivered from sexual addiction,porn and masturbation while in college, and among the first groups or worship leaders I encountered in my walk of faith are Hillsong and almost all the ones responsible for the songs listed in this article,”In the secret in the quiet….” Now, sometimes visual stuff tickle the abandoned desires but never,ever in my new life has this song made me imagine of a girl or a bush which by the way being in Africa is plenty. My experience as a human being, theology no withstanding, is that anyone can make anything look or feel bad if they put their minds to it…..”How then do u pursue to make me repent of the very thing for which I thank God”.

    • phishing4men

      “Critical feedback like this is what causes so many people to burn out, quit and feel shut down. – end rant :)” If feedback causes you “feel” burn out or want to shut down your weak, and the reason may be your so shallow, which is indicated by your preference for these shallow songs. These garbage songs bring a holy righteous God down when He should be exalted, humanity is too concerned about me myself and I. “: I really don’t like articles written openly like this with really direct and specific criticism.” I suppose you do not like to be reminded of your sin either.

      • Sonia Spooner

        Wow you certainly have made a lot of assumptions about me. I have no idea how that last comment has anything to do to my response to personal sin. To simplify there is a spirit that is missing from his article and from many of the subsequent discussion posts. When we correct someone the Bible doesn’t just say – go ahead and give it to ’em – you’re right, they’re wrong… Instead, it tells us how we should go about:

        1Brothers, 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.2Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.3For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.4But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbour. Galatians 6

    • TheLordsServant

      i soooo agree

    • Matt

      I could not agree with you more, Sonia. I’m clearly not alone; there’s a a reasom why your comment has 318 up-votes. Not only does this article sound judgemental, it’s also extremely trivial. Ok, so these songs might not be “perfect,” but who really cares? I’m sure the enemy would love for us to argue all day about how these songs are or are not up to par. It’s a waste of time. There’s so many better things the author could have done with her time to advance the Kingdom, aside from writing this article. This article might actually hurt the Kingdom! Observing the authors viewpoints, she seems to be the kind of Christian who has the “my beliefs are right, yours are wrong” mindset. I see this primarily in the conservative fundamentalist camp. Their die hard adherence to a narrow view of the Gospel really hurts Christianity corporately. Jesus had a thing or two to say about folks who claimed to have all the answers, who “knew” their beliefs were correct. Funny how the author quotes the Vatican to support her views; I’d bet money that she would just as quickly bash the Vatican to support other viewpoints. These songs do not resonate with the author, it’s clearly a personal issue rather than a theological one. My advise: get over it and get on with your personal relationship with God, emphasis on PERSONAL.

      • Sonia Spooner

        Thanks Matt. I do think what we sing is important. I couldn’t lead the congregation in a song that said things that are untrue to scripture but this is so not the case for most of these songs. If we were meant to have a very prescriptive, exclusive or restrictive dialogue for worship that would be made clear and laid out plainly in scripture. Rather we are given a book of beautiful truth, doctrine, poetry; containing emotions, colour, me focused language, God focused language diversity in prayer and told to worship using songs hymns and spiritual songs, to sing new songs, to sing scripture but to always sing the truth and glorify God in all things. That’s the benchmark here.

  • http://brandoninman.com Brandon Inman

    I don’t necessarily agree with the whole list or all of the reasons, but I do commend her for questioning worship songs that don’t quite seem theologically sound. We often observe sermons this way. Worship songs shouldn’t be any different.

    • Black Eyes

      Eh, while I agree that worship songs should be theologically sound, much of what the author stated above doesn’t fall into this category. It falls into the category of personal opinion.

      • fromoverhere

        Black Eyes, you are so right!

        If you wanted to, you could find a problem with a lot of songs in our trusted hymnals that (according to this person and Piper) would normally make the cut.

        The author trashes some cuz the name of Christ is not mentioned. But aren’t they sung in services that are designed to honor Christ? We can’t do everything we do “in case a visitor is there.”

        What’s more, I dont believe the books of Esther and Song of Solomon mention God either, but there is no mistake made there.

        The one that says we dont say Yaweh “out of respect for God”? I would have to see Scriptural reference for that.

        The author says some are bad because they repeat. Almost the very definition of a hymn implies that it comes back to the chorus over and over. Does the author also detest the partly Latin song …Glo-oooooo-ooooooo-ooooo-ooooria….en exchelsis deo…..Glo-oooooo-ooooooo-ooooo-ooooria….en exchelsis
        de—eeeeee—-o….? Very repetitive.

        Then the author says this…

        “And, come on, the idea of heaven being in “the sky” is just theologically incorrect.”

        What?
        “I lift my eye to the heavens…to the skies….to the clouds”…..must be in the Psalms —what, hundreds of time.

        The “above all” one is not a problem either…….”Above all the pain, the crowd….the agony” . It could mean that without compromising that it was for His glory.

        Later this person really shows what he/she thinks.

        “It’s not necessarily that there’s anything wrong ….there’s something irksome about songs that seem intended to make us feel, to simply incite that euphoric worship experience, that spiritual high. It almost seems cheap . . . or fake.”

        Just cant quite put his/her finger on what is wrong—-except —-“oh well I just prefer hymns.” Please….go to a church that sings hymns! But dont tell everyone to stop singing these songs. Is that arrogance?

        This person just sounds angry at anybody who wants to worship differently than he/she sees as best. Not a good idea. It’s like the guy who say “people should not dance and clap when they sing songs to God —– but the Bible is full of dancing and clapping in praise to God. Hard to justify.

        • Ralph A Jansen

          If you look at a love song from the world, and look at some praise and worship music, it is solely because God is not mentioned that they look identical. (Apparently South Park did a whole episode making fun of this.) As for repetition, the idea is that by repetition you stir up emotions. It makes worship vapid because you are stirring the emotion through music, not through any actual thought of God. The music gets louder, more intense, a driving beat solely to stir emotions. Our focus should be on God, not on music.

          As for choruses like you mentioned, most hymns that have choruses are recent. During the old convention periods, there was a song leader who came up with this version of hymn where it isn’t so much a hymn anymore as it is a worship song. The hymns of old were written by pastors and theologians, not songwriters. They did not seek to entertain, but to derive deep meaning in the things of God. Now, many songs are written to be entertaining, creative, and not spend much time with actual truths of theology. (not to mention catchy…)

          • Krissy

            Ralph,

            All music is going to sound identical because times have changed. Men no longer walk around wearing robes and just the same they don’t write songs to harp and lyre anymore either.

            I am a songwriter, and know many songwriters that write for the church. When you are writing a song of worship or a song of praise your goal is to completely honor God, meet with him and help lead others to him through lyrics and yes the music itself. When you go to a worship service whoever is leading the service doesn’t just say hey lets sing.. they prepare the way – through prayer – inviting the holy spirit and inviting the congregation to open their hearts to God.

            If you are singing a worship song and just singing the words mindlessly then yes it would seem like there is no emotion outside of the ‘loud, intense, driving beat’.

            However, if you are focusing your heart mind and spirit on God while singing (actually worshipping) then absolutely there will be emotion.

            I have never sang even a hymn without feeling emotion. Which by the way were written by SONG WRITERS/poets/musicians. (Ex: Carl Gustav Boberg – who wrote How Great Thou Art in 1885), if you think as a song-writer he did not put just as much into the chord progressions, arrangement of the song and the emotion as he did his theology and lyrics then you are not doing him any justice as a brilliant song writer.

            There is a reason these songs have become so popular and have moved people to Christ and it is the very same reason the hymns written by people like Carl Gustav Boberg, Isaac Watts & John Newton are still around and that is because God can and will use anything to glorify himself.

            Also, I do not watch South Park – so I cannot relate to that example but I do know that it is really easy to make fun of Christians – it always has been and it always will be. That in no way means that the writers of South Park are correct in their assessment.

        • Tim

          I think you have some really good points, fromoverhere! Really well thought out. To expand on the idea of repetition being fine, in spite of the fact that it may bother some people, I would point to Psalm 136. That’s got to be just about the most repetitive thing I’ve ever read!

          • fromoverhere

            Tim that is a good point too.
            Since there are examples in Scripture to counter most of what the author said….. we need to stick with simple outlines:
            If you dont like repetition, do something different, but dont trash-talk others.
            If you dont like certain styles of music, use different styles….
            If you cannot show from Scripture that such-and-such is forbidden (or mandatory) then, grace in all things is best.
            We homeschool, but we do not enjoy hearing people say “you MUST homeschool”
            Personal convictions are important….. but they are just that….personal.

  • RV

    Let’s stop telling the church what’s wrong with the church. Every time I read these articles of what THE CHURCH are doing wrong, I think of this: The Devil wants people to pick up irritations and offences from their church and use them as a reason not to attend. The reason for this is because it is in church that you find good teaching, good fellowship and are encouraged by other people who have the same values and beliefs as you. It is the place where we too can be a blessing to others who come there seeking some comfort and to feel a part of a group of fellow believers. As for the content of the article, some of these songs are so special to me and other people I know because they allow for intimacy with Jesus. Intimacy makes a lot of people uncomfortable, but for those who experience it in church, it’s very powerful. The upshot of this: lets stop criticizing stuff that we don’t really make much of a difference in ourselves. If you are a worship music composer, go ahead and compose some stuff that means something to you. But don’t knock the stuff that is composed by people who love the Lord. Some of my compositions are, I truly believe, put into my head by God and I just transcribe them to paper.

    • http://www.IndyChristianReview.com Zack Lawrence

      Unfortunately, many churches are severely lacking in good teaching and good fellowship. With an entire generation leaving the church in droves, we seriously need to reevaluate how we’re “doing church,” figure out what’s broken, and fix it. Articles like these are necessary for the Church to wake up to all the areas we’ve let ourselves drift away from Biblical Christianity. I think that music is a great indicator of the spiritual and doctrinal maturity of the Church. Vapid, emotion-driven songs reflect a vapid, emotion-driven Church.

      • fromoverhere

        Zack, That is your opinion, right? There is no real way for you to make that an absolute, right? Who then becomes the song-police? Who says it is vapid songs (ones that you deem vapid) that have caused the youth to leave the church?

        • http://www.StandingSun.com/ Zack Lawrence

          If it helps you feel better, yes that is just my opinion, based on my observations of church culture as the son of a pastor. 😉
          “Who says it is vapid songs[…] that have caused the youth to leave the church?”
          *Re-reads own comment* Well, not me, lol. All I said was that it was a good indicator of the state of the church in general.
          We can argue over song choices all we want, but if nothing changes in the Church as a whole to make it more effective in spreading the gospel and maturing disciples, then it’s as futile as arguing over pews vs. chairs. 😛

          • fromoverhere

            Zach…..there is no one way to “do church”. Certainly if you prefer
            hymns and prefer to raise your kids with that—-by all means you have
            that choice! Why does the way someone else sing worship songs infringe
            on your way of doing it? We certainly are not all going to “do church” exactly the same way.

          • leadturn

            If it doesn’t exalt the NAME of Jesus then it is a waste of time.

          • phishing4men

            Exactly what is “do church”?

          • kktex12

            As a 56 year child of God, I completely agree with you.

        • Amanda Thompson Jones

          There’s this thing called the Bible. It’s pretty clear about what is and is not acceptable worship. So. Yes. There is a “real” way to make it absolute.

          • fromoverhere

            Amanda, who then decides what the Bible says on this matter? You?

            It sounds like you want to make your opinion an absolute. How would you know you are interpreting Scripture correctly? Aren’t differences like this part of what makes up the mosaic of the body of Christ?

          • Amanda Thompson Jones

            I haven’t given my “opinion” one way or the other. Not to mention that my opinion doesn’t matter anyway. But God’s opinion does. And His IS absolute since He is the One the worship is for anyway.

          • fromoverhere

            Amanda, you said “It’s pretty clear about what is and is not acceptable worship. So. Yes. There is a “real” way to make it absolute.”

            Can you please share with us where it is so clear in God’s Word.

          • Ralph A Jansen

            Read Paul. He makes it pretty clear. I Corinthians and such. (Oh wait, many churches have thrown out some of those passages.)

          • fromoverhere

            Ralph….once again….vague, vague.

            Not sure where the clear directions are. So do we just go to “1 Corinthians and such” and check our worship songs against that? Which part? All of 1 Corinthians? All of “and such”?

            I am trying to get some specifics that Amanda, now Ralph say are so clear. References and verse quotes please.

          • Ralph A Jansen

            Women are not to speak in church…or did you not bother reading the book? It is pretty specific. One should not speak in tongues in the church unless one has an interpreter. That is far from vague. Paul has all kinds of things to say that should be, and has been used to shape worship today. (I Corinthians was written to correct problems in that church. If there is no specific way of worship, why was correction required?) Did you know that if you take part in communion and you are in sin, God may kill you? Or make you really sick? Paul says so. (You wouldn’t know that unless you read the book.)

          • fromoverhere

            Woah…..women, tongues, communion?

            I thought we were talking about what gave this author (and others here) the right to pick and choose songs, words, styles, and impose these on others.

            Ralph….that is the topic here. Not the other instructions in Scripture.

          • Ralph A Jansen

            OK. I see a problem here. First of all, words are important. The article says nothing about styles, and they aren’t imposing anything. (Unless the definition of the word impose has changed.) So are you really just protecting your preferences and your likes and are afraid that someone will take that away from you…in church? (You can listen to whatever you want, sing whatever you want in the privacy of your own heart. God can hear you.) Do you believe that God will accept *anything* as worship?

          • fromoverhere

            She is definitely talking about styles ….saying “some sound like thinly disguised teenage crush songs.”

            So I will take out the work “impose” and state again….

            I thought we were talking about what gave this author (and others here)
            the right to pick and choose the criteria by which all songs intended for worship should be judged.

          • Ralph A Jansen

            Lyrics are not a style, but more a genre. I’m pretty sure that if Beethoven wanted to, he could have written a teenage crush song that would be more effective then those of today. But his “style” was classical. Frank Sinatra had his own style, but they were still love songs. The author of the article is speaking of lyrical content, not the music.

            As for the criteria, I thought God demanded that we be discerning about everything? Is there anything wrong with some of the criteria the author chose? Deep, not a love song sung to a teenager, etc. It’s supposed to be praise and worship, not two teenagers falling in love. (South Park did an episode making fun of this aspect of Christian music, and it wasn’t that difficult for them to do.)

          • leadturn

            opinion dude… opinion

          • kktex12

            Keep on trying to force interpret God’s Word to fit your view. You are just as bad as the unrepentant sinners who bastardized the Word of God for the new versions of today.

          • leadturn

            you must be a south pole elf… angry…

          • kktex12

            I let the Bible interpret scriptures for itself. It does you know. I would no accept your interpretations as apparently you are a rebellious one.

          • phishing4men

            Wholly agree with you kktex, but these folks who are gorging themselves on these contemporary shallow things they call worship songs, have no ears to hear you. But more power to you for trying. as for me I’m outta here. God Speed brother.

        • Jim Via

          It’s really simple. If we continue to feed our young milk instead of meat they’ll come to prefer milk. When they reach the age they can get into other venues they will find that the world does a much better job with contemporary music. Are we really surprised they’re leaving? If all they’ve had is subjective to their tastes and feelings, they’re going to continue to look for it.

      • Cyndy

        yeah the Vatican is soooo Biblical based.

      • Rachel Ramey

        And yet there’s not even an *attempt* here to make Scripturally-based arguments for the items on this list. It’s a list of someone’s opinions — some of which actually contradict the Scriptures.

        Sound doctrine is not established or restored by emotional arguments not rooted in Scripture. In fact, a number of the songs on this list of “songs so awful we just shouldn’t sing them” are actually more biblical than the article itself.

      • Southern Dreaming

        Well said, Zack.

      • kktex12

        Why is the generation leaving the current church? Satan has made the world so desirable and the church has went wishy washy on the Word of God. They no longer preach against sin. They let the music of the world into the church and call it worship music. It is said that 90 percent of the pulpits of America should be vacated because the person standing behind the pulpit is not called of God to preach but are using it as a job. Therefore, the congregations of these churches are not being taught the Word of God, but that God is a God of love, and whatever you do is alright because God will not deny you entrance into heaven even though His Word plainly calls sin sin and does not sugar coat it.

      • David McElroy

        I’m with you Zack! I see a lot of emotionally driven feel-good church music that lacks sound theological content. The modern music does indicate the churches’ spiritual maturity, or lack thereof.

      • Matt

        Amen.

    • gondolin25

      The church is always reforming itself based on the Word of God. We are “called out” of the world and yet and as such always need to evaluate the church by this standard. It’s not about irritations. And btw, at risk of “irritating” you, let me just point out that that you are claiming that your music is divinely inspired. You do realize that Scripture alone (according to Scripture) is divinely inspired and the only revelation and rule for our life? You need to think harder about what you think and believe.

      • kktex12

        There has been no revelation since the canon was closed with the end of Revelation.

    • Paula Coyle

      “Let’s stop telling the church what’s wrong with the church. ”
      Are you saying the church is wrong to do that?

    • Beverly

      Amen!! Did the person writing this article have nothing better to do than write a long detailed article of what is wrong with worship songs that he doesn’t approve of. How very arrogant to tear down writers and songs that have lead people to the throne and created an intimate worship environment that exalted the Lord. This article is why a lot of the world looks at Christians and wants nothing to do with us, we can’t stop tearing one another down… ridiculous!

  • kent lee

    I
    think this article errs in taking passages out of context and
    misinterpreting or over-interpreting them; and so the writer seems to
    miss the metaphorical senses here. I do feel that these songs are
    inspired by the writers’ personal encounters with God, as well as
    biblical poetry and metaphor. In that sense, used properly, these songs
    can lead us into God’s presence. In fact, an advantage of contemporary
    songs is the focus on the personal relationship with God, that is
    lacking in traditional American/British hymns — which can come across
    as a bit mentalistic or rationalistic.

    But I do share some sentiment with the writer, I would suppose. There
    is a serious problem in the church with excessive repetition and focus
    on entertainment. While I like contemporary songs, the way that
    contemporary worshp is generally done seems emotionalistic and
    entertainment-driven. Repeating the same choruses over and over.
    Excessive, unpleasant volumes. Repeating the same songs every month, so
    that the worship sets sound like a sanctified top 40 playlist. Over and
    over. Why can’t we have a break? Some variety. Turn off the amps for
    once and go acoustic or unplugged. Please. I feel frustrated when I go
    to church services. I want meaningful worship, and I come away dry every
    sunday.
    Worst examples (at different churches): [1] Christmas services
    with contemporary songs, no traditional (Christian) carols at all – I
    leave feeling cheated of a meaningful holiday worship experience; and
    [2] an Easter morning worship, where I expected something joyful but
    reverent, and instead got a long, extremely loud,
    electric-guitar-jamming contemporary worship set, where I could not
    focus on worship; had to go home and listen to some Gregorian chant. I
    seriously wanted to become Lutheran or Catholic. Ugh.

    I need something else to commune with God in a different way other
    than just the emotional / enthusiastic channel. My heart yearns for a
    good, meditative, liturgy, or something more reverent and contemplative.
    Can we please have more balance and
    depth in our worship? Something for those of us over 18? (I’m 46.) How
    about going unplugged/acoustic sometimes? Some liturgy? Carols? Is that
    too much to ask? Pleeeease…..

  • bakabomb

    While agreeing with the substance of Mitchell’s comments, I had to chuckle at the line “Bring back the hymns” — indeed, I wonder if perhaps Mitchell had tongue in cheek when writing it.

    First, what distinguishes a “hymn” from a “worship song”? Its age (and if so, what’s the scripturally-ordained cutoff point)? The fact that it’s printed in a hardcopy book of songs, as opposed to projected on a screen above the lectern? It being more suitable for rendering on a pipe organ rather than by a praise band?

    Second, the notion that hymnal songs don’t contain bad theology. “Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war” — Constantine at the head of his rapacious legions, with a Chi Rho and “In Hoc Signo Vinces” inscribed on their banners? US snipers in Afghanistan with Bible verses engraved on their receivers? The Prince of Peace might well take issue with the appropriateness of bellowing these sentiments in worship of Him.

    I recall when our denomination revised its hymnal. One that was left by the wayside exemplifies both the good and bad in just one verse. It starts out “By the light of burning martyrs, Jesus’ bleeding feet we track…” Grisly, gory, and not exactly in keeping with the Beatitudes, eh? Yet that very same verse ends with a caution that “New occasions teach new duties; time makes ancient good uncouth / We must upward still, and onward, who would keep abreast of Truth.” A challenge every new generation of Christians needs to hear and heed.

    Typically, blanket assertions of the type like “Old songs good, new songs bad” don’t stand up very well when we start to examine the given issue in detail. Thus, we should be cautious of accepting them uncritically.

    • Chuck_Wnj

      backabomb—The classic definition of “hymn” is that it is a prayer to God. A “worship song” or anything other than a hymn isn’t. That leaves the question open as to how often the term “hymn” is used correctly.

      • bakabomb

        Thanks for providing that explanation. Hmmmm, kinda makes me wonder if God is clear on the difference between them.

        • fromoverhere

          Bakabomb is right.

          Many “vetted” hymns would not be approved if scrutinized by the authors criteria. They may be retitive, without mention of Christ, vague, use gory or “vapid” “irksome” words.

          Even Amazing Grace in its original form (without the added verse of “when we’ve been there 10,000 years), has no mention of God or Christ, and only has “Lord” in it one time…when it says “The Lord has promised good to me.” So…..that looks pretty me-centered.

          It does have “I” “me” “my” about 15 times in it though.

          So……hummmm….. do we chuck it?

          • SamandMeg Spear

            Yep, chuck it. Sing Psalm 116.

          • fromoverhere

            SamandMeg
            Did you notice how many times “I” “me” and “my” are in that Psalm —-and it even starts with
            I love the Lord, because he has heard
            my voice and my supplications.

            So…..we only love Him because he hears and heeds us. Watch out….the song-police will call that me-centered!

          • Ralph A Jansen

            Not really, because it put God in His place…WAY ABOVE me. There is a difference.

          • Ralph A Jansen

            Are you sure? If I recall Amazing grace actually has over 100 verses. Perhaps if you researched it you may find God mentioned quite a few times. (I understand that there are some really good verses there.) God is clear of the differences. Hymns are steeped in theology and thought. Then there is praise music which Paul would say are spiritual songs, our songs of praise to God that comes from the spirit within. (Paul said that we should sing hymns and spiritual songs, so there really is a difference.) The problem is when people fail to do the first part….

        • Amanda Thompson Jones

          Yes. I think He is. Eph. 5:19 specifically mentions psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. If there wasn’t a differentiation, there wouldn’t be a list.

          • fromoverhere

            Perfect….then we can sing them all, right? No song-police.

          • bakabomb

            Thanks for your helpful comment. Ephesians 5:19 is an interesting verse in the original Greek. The Greek action verb that precedes this list is λαλοῦντες (lalountes, “to talk, chat, prattle, babble”) — the “lalo” part is what gives the last two synonyms their relevance. Using that translation, Paul is clearly saying these are to be spoken, not sung.

            A bit further on in the verse, it’s true, we have the verbs ᾄδοντες (adontes, “singing”) and ψάλλοντες (psallontes, “making melody”). But Paul specifies those are to be done τῇ καρδίᾳ ὑμῶν (tē kardia hymōn, “in the heart of you”). That means silently, not aloud.

            So, based on a literal interpretation of this verse, the key question really has nothing to do with the nouns: psalms, hymns and spirituals. It relates, rather, to how these are actually used in worship. And
            here Paul indicates that if aloud, they are to be spoken. And if sung, that’s to be done silently in the heart. This may seem odd, but can’t easily be interpreted otherwise.

            Both statements make it clear that Eph. 5:19 offers no option for singing aloud. That also means no musical accompaniment to singing — no pianos, organs, choirs, soloists — and certainly no praise bands. In light of this, perhaps only those Quaker meetings who practice unplanned (waiting) worship have it right. 😉

          • Pastor Chris

            For the record, according to the Greek language, Psalm = the playing of instruments, hymns = songs sung to deities (it is a secular term used by the people of the day. These songs were considered sacred and were used to sing worship to their gods), and Spiritual Songs = an ode, a song. The exegesis of this word refers to the songs the Israelites sung when leaving Egypt and the songs sung to honor God in heaven. It appears that Scripture approves of any music if it is aimed to God

      • craigstace

        All the songs contained in a ‘hymnbook’ are not hymns. Most denominations designed hteir ‘song’ books to be general use service manuals. Thus, the Apostles creed, a pacel of responsive and unison readings, etc.

    • chamragnar

      I’m sorry, but I have to point out… Jews didn’t leave the vowels out of the word Yahweh out of respect, they left the vowels out because the written form of ancient Hebrew LACKED VOWELS!
      I don’t know how this misconception got started, but it has become astonishingly pervasive for something that is so easily debunked.

      • Ralph A Jansen

        I thought he was talking more how they didn’t write Yahweh or speak that name out of respect. (Outside of scripture.) Even today you will find G-d in some places. They have all kinds of rules about using God in print. When technology came about that brought typing, word processing on a computer, they came out with new rules stating how God’s name could (well could not) show up in print. It is out of respect for God. (Found this when doing a research paper on Judaism.)

        • fromoverhere

          The point of the author was simply that because some people (in this case the Jewish people) do not say Yahweh out of respect….and because this song has it——-Ziiiiing—– the song-police buzzer goes off and it is disqualified. No other reason. Just that.

          But we have lots of songs with God, Lord, El Shaddai, Elohim, Jehovah Jirah, etc. So who came up with the rule that we cannot say Yahweh? Scripture? No.

    • GGPelon

      Sure, What about the line from “My Jesus I Love thee” The line says “if ever I loved thee my Jesus tis now” Really! I always refrain from singing this line because I am not sure that I can sing it with integrity.

  • Martin Hughes

    None of these particular songs seem to have made their way into the Church of England. I certainly think that there’s an element of over-promising in these and other hymns, if taken with absolute literalism, but then we could not always say what we mean if we stuck to the most careful and literally defensible words all the time. As to theology hymns are often quite dodgy but to a degree that is a welcome departure from theological strictness. I rather like ‘Alleluia, sing to Jesus’ which includes the idea that Jesus has ‘entered the veil, robed in flesh, our great high priest’, where the robe of flesh amounts, I’ve heard, to the Apollinarian heresy.
    There’s a hymn called ‘I the Lord of Sea and Sky’, very popular in the CoE, which purports to be based on Isaiah’s Call Vision. I’ve rarely seen an interpretation of a biblical text which misrepresents its original so drastically, since it turns a terrifying vision into incessant reassurance. But it’s all part of the rich texture of modern Christianity, I suppose.

  • Chris Crawley

    I know exactly where the author is coming from, as I remember having a conversation a few months back with a friend on her same view. And while I can understand her perspective, I have to side with Sara on this one. IMO, it’s a bit harsh for the author to slander / debase such powerful Christian worship songs because the lyrics seem “romantic” and some of them do not explicitly reference God in the song. I COMPLETELY get that! But at the end of the day lol who were these songs written to? When the writers of these songs came together to develop them, were they writing them in a romantic intent for their spouses, or to express the overwhelming, inexpressible, incomparable feeling they had for their God, for their Father, for the love of their lives? To me, this is just a BIT much. ALL of these songs were inspired through Spirit-led / inspired revelation, written to express their love for God, and dedicated WHOLLY and COMPLETELY to Him. I mean, to say Phil Whickam’s song should no longer be played / is heretical / is disrespectful because He mentions God’s name in the song?! That’s completely outrageous lol I feel that the author of this article is focusing on too much of the law and “remaining 100% theologically accurate” in every action / deed / word, rather than focusing on God as our Father and what how incredible, incomparable, and incomprehensible His great love is for us. I know my Daddy is happy when I’m crying out His full name, on my knees, in complete awestruck wonder of who He is, in contrast to how I could still be, lost in my sin and in the world, doing God knows whatever else (and I’m not saying God loves us based on performance. His love IS unconditional but I believe personally that He would rather have us loving Him and pursuing righteousness than our sin and selfishness). At the end of the day, we have to remember what we are thinking about when we are singing these songs, and we have to try – as feeble an attempt as it may be – to think about what our Daddy thinks when we are crying out these songs in overwhelming gratitude and wonder to Him for His love. When we sing these songs, does not God receive them as a sweet aroma? Have these songs not transformed, brought spiritual growth, and surely prompted a need for / repentance salvation in the countless believers who have sung them? We have to look at the overall effect of what these songs have done and how they have transformed countless lives, rather than get choked up because someone from outside the church may think of their significant other upon first hearing the song. After all, if someone from the world is coming to a service and that is the first thing they think about while being surrounded by believers singing these songs crying out to God, it attests to 1 Corinthians 2:14 that those without the Spirit will not understand those things that come from [and are consequently dedicated to] the Spirit of God.

    Also, Song of Solomon and Esther don’t mention God (explicitly) even once.. Should we remove them from the Bible? Lol nah, we shouldn’t. I love these songs!!

    • bakabomb

      As a part-time organist for my church, I have to agree with your points. Every once in awhile I’ll take something from “secular” music that has a spiritual message but isn’t the kind of music usually heard in church — change the arrangement a bit to make it work on a pipe organ — and drop it into the service at some appropriate point. It’s funny when people come up after the service and say, “hey, wasn’t that…?” (Why yes, that was indeed Bob Marley’s “I Wanna Live In Your House”.) Sometimes they laugh, sometimes they shake their heads, sometimes they say “Why did you choose that?” — and then I explain why it fit. Hey, at least they were paying attention! And nobody’s ever made a stink about it.

    • Ralph A Jansen

      So you can listen to those songs whenever you want. This does not mean you have to bring it into church. This is the realm of God, and if you insult Him… This is what some people do not understand, this is the church. A gathering of people to worship God. Who gets to choose how God is to be worshiped? Us or God? Isn’t what God thinks about our worship important? If so, then why is there any counter argument here. This person says we need to look at how we worship God, and what we use to worship God, and you are upset because you happen to like those songs? If it is God who is important, why does it matter that you like it? This is the same argument that had that one church allow beer into the church to get people to go to church. (The church supplying the beer) Isn’t that going a little too far? (But it is getting people into church. Does it matter that Paul says not to be drunk? Well, it doesn’t matter so much that we are going to be getting drunk in church now, now that the novelty of a rock concert in the sanctuary has worn off.)
      There is a great lack of discernment in the church. This comment section kind of proves it.

  • craigstace

    I also have a serious misgiving about many current ‘praise’ songs. Misgivings from a musical standpoint and misgivings from a theological point of view. First Far too many current ‘song writers’ are rank amateurs who only write three chords and use repetition to cover lack of creativity. The ones we call 7-11 songs.. the same seven words sung 11 times! Many evolved from the Charasmatic genre intended and designed to evoke emotion. They contain very little, if any, theological meat. They are like spiritual ‘fast food, most with no redeeming ‘spiritual’ calories. They are ground out for commercial value and/or egotism. They have succeeded in seducing the Christian radio disc jockies who have secuumbed to their glitz. They have created schisms between denominations and more thoroughly educated musicians who also want to worship and praise God and Jesus but with music of substance. And those who will howl the most at all this are the most amateur. YES, the Little Drummer Boy has a right to offer his talent. But he didn’t intend it to become everyone else’s gift. There are certainly highly trained musicians throughout the land who also want to offer their talents to the Lord but who are overlooked and spurned by the shallow disc jockies and Christian media in favor of pablum. It is difficult to find a congregation today that encourages a mix of all genres. They are usually either/or; Charasmatic-Praise or High church-hymns. Let’s hope the pendulum swings back toward the center, retain the old with through-composed theology AND contemporary impulsive burst of praise.

    • tbonedawg

      So using your theory, Amazing Grace was/is inferior because it only has three chords?

      • craigstace

        I did not say ALL songs written in three chords were bad, I said MOST of the current songs are only three chords. Silent Night was written spontaneously for a guitar. It has lasted. ONE major difference, through-composed, that is, a story line from verse to verse. Not 7 words repeated like a drone. Amazing Grace is also a story, through-composed, written on a ship. It is the story, the theology, that has lasted, not the three-chord progressions.

        • tbonedawg

          I think you painted a lot of music, secular and religious, with a very broad brush. A few of the most enduring songs in the last half century have three chords. Think Louie Louie or Shout. But I was mostly poking fun at you for speaking in generalities. It seems to be running rampant here. My church does not include many three chord in our repertoire. And we certainly don’t do any songs that might qualify as “7 words repeated like a drone.” I’d love to hear some examples.

          Music is designed to evoke emotion. Lyrics are designed to generate intelletual activity. When those two things combine, you get PASSION. To suggest that this comes from new versus old or three chords versus chord changes that may have been written by Thelonious Monk, is being a bit presumptuous.

          As to DJ’s and record labels, it’s all about $$ and algorythms these days. Accept it. That’s a different argument than the assertions made in this article.

          • Ralph A Jansen

            The issue he brings up is that it is these songs that are popular, that are worthless, that wind up being sung in church.

  • Marilyn Gardner

    As an Eastern orthodox Christian I humbly invite you to our Divine Liturgy where you will weekly hear the Beatitudes, the gospel, and experience the mystery and beauty of the Eucharist …

    • Richard Wozniak

      Amen, Marilyn, you are correct in my opinion. Nothing is as reverent and beautiful as the sung Divine Liturgy in an Orthodox or Eastern-Rite Catholic Church. It is truly Christ-centered and requires the involvement of the whole person in the worship experience … sight (beautiful icons), sound (continuous chanting), feeling (standing, bowing, gestures–triple cross of oneself), scent (burning of incense) and taste (the Eucharist under the forms of bread and wine). The traditional Catholic solemn Tridentine High Mass sung in Latin, celebrated with deacon and subdeacon–as well as with acolytes and full choir, celebrated ad orientem (facing the East) at a high altar comes very close to that ideal.

      • fromoverhere

        I am happy that this form of worship meets the need that you have to worship God. It does not however exclude the possibilty of other forms of worship. I was privileged recently to attend a service in a very old Orthodox church in St Petersburg Russia. The next Sunday I was standing and clapping in a guitar-led, power-point filled worship service. both ministered to me and were glorifying to God.

        • tbonedawg

          I agree completely. As classically trained musician, some of my most favorite moments of worship in God’s presence were quiet midnight masses with organ and a brass quintet. But I’ve also toured with a contemporary Christian band, written and arranged horn charts for songs that went on to be recorded, and currently play either drums or keyboard/synthesizer at my church. As both a professional musician and a Christian, I cherish contrast. I appreciate loud and soft, bright and dark, quiet introspection and praise with a “loud voice” and “cymbals”. But I’m very disturbed by those who question the faith or sincerity of someone who chooses to worship differently. God gives very little instruction on how to worship in the Bible. We have choices. That doesn’t entitle us to question what is in the hearts of those who chose differently than us.

          • Richard Wozniak

            The Lord speaks to everyone of us in different ways–ways that we as individuals can appreciate and respond to … For me, I find His presence in solemn. high-church, traditional forms of worship–especially in the music. I need the bells and smells. That which speaks to me might not inspire you. The reverse is also true.

          • tbonedawg

            Very true, Richard. I think I’m fortunate to truly enjoy aspects of all types of worship. My choice is to attend (and participate as a musician) a contemporary service. That hasn’t always been the case as churches and my tastes have evolved. What baffles me is the battle lines that have been drawn around how we worship. Some of the comments by the author and in these posts are very pious (in the negative sense) and somewhat insulting. I’ve always bristled when someone questioned my faith or my worship intent because of the way I play or sing. And I truly hate the argument over worship versus performance. How dare you claim to look into my heart and judge me.

          • Ralph A Jansen

            How dare you claim to look into their heart and judge you (in the same way you judge them). You should (for the love of God you say you have) be reflecting on yourself and on God when people make such comments. Do you like it simply because it keeps you doing something you like to do? (Hey man, we can break out our guitars in church, we don’t have to give it up for God.) Paul tells us to work out our salvation in fear and trembling. In such a way, when criticisms come up, you need to self reflect (in said metaphorical fear and trembling).
            You have a pride issue if you bristle when someone questions your faith or worship intent because of the way you play or sing. (Very self focused.) Worship versus performance is probably the most important argument, but you don’t seem to want to reflect on it. Will you wait until you stand before God to find out he may have been insulted by you in church, or will you reflect upon what people are saying?

          • tbonedawg

            Ralph, your posts are distrurbing. You seem to enjoy throwing around criticism and analysis of others. IT IS NOT YOUR PLACE TO QUESTION THE FAITH OF OTHERS! You seem to have an arrogant peity about the form of worship you prefer and enjoy tearing it down with select Bible verses. You flipantly belittle those who volunteer their time to lead contemporary worship with comments like, “hey man, we can break out our guitars in church.” Do you realize how insulting that is? Do you have any idea how much time, talent, dedication, and commitment it takes to lead contemporary worship? I doubt you care. Because you have convinced yourself with your interpretation of scripture that it is an evil thing. God didn’t say “don’t play guitars and drums in church”. You did. I offer up Psalm 150:4-5 “4Praise Him with timbrel and dancing; Praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe. 5Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with resounding cymbals. 6Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.” You refer to the musical offerings of people you have never met as “worthless”. Perhaps those are the only offerings they had for Him. Shame on you.

            I truly have to wonder about your church. Does everyone sit around and tear down each other? Do you question everyone’s faith for their benefit? Do you often remind the women there that they aren’t allowed to speak or worship out loud because Paul said it based on ancient law? It must be lonely on your pew.

            I leave you with this thought. It comes not from me, but from Romans 14:1-13:

            Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. 2 One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.

            5 One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. 6 Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. 8 If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.

            10 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister[a]? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written:

            “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
            ‘every knee will bow before me;
            every tongue will acknowledge God.’”[b]

            12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. 13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.

          • Amy Robillard

            best comment on the whole thread

          • fromoverhere

            I find it ironic Ralph that you say “how dare you claim to look into their heart and judge…..”

            That appears to be what you do in everyone of your posts. You seemto be quite harsh toward others.

          • Ralph A Jansen

            You missed the (in the same way you judge them). It is fine to judge, if you yourself do not have that issue. (You were quite harsh in your post as well. (The one I replied to) No one is perfect.

          • fromoverhere

            I do not wish to be harsh and am sorry if I have been. I dont know which post your are referring to.

          • Ralph A Jansen

            Everyone can be harsh. Unfortunately I tend to be straightforward when it comes to some things, and apparently people see that as harsh at times. I try not to attack people, but beliefs and opinions are not people. It is also something that should not be taken personally. If it is, then you have to much self involved. It’s about a topic, where the author says that through discernment, there are some songs that we should probably not sing in a worship service. It is not an attack on preferences, because this has absolutely no affect on what you listen to on your own time, or how you worship when you are by yourself. Now if your aim is for your preferences to be popular and accepted by everyone…that is not discernment. I am always overjoyed to find churches that fit my preferences, but if they don’t, I don’t try to make them change. That’s the pastor’s job.

        • Ralph A Jansen

          Which was more EMOTIONAL?

  • Jw

    Well that was a waste of time…If you’re making a statement you gotta come better than that. Sounds like the author is fresh from the John MacArthur school of let’s-bash-everything-and-bask-in-the-perfection-of-the-sinless-puritans

    • Ralph A Jansen

      Sounds like you are also from that school? (Bashing on MacArthur like that…) Do you know anything of what he believes?

    • Pastor Chris

      I disagree with the story but I actually adhere mostly with MacArthur’s understanding and interpretations of Scripture, so where does that put me? Lol

  • John Hutchinson

    The vacuity of modern “hymns” are a direct barometer of the vacuity of modern “believers”.

  • Bob Stith

    This is just another “what I like is good” what I don’t like is bad. Certainly some small part of theological criticism is accurate and a couple of these I’ve never heard of but I’ve also seen people in a conservative Baptist church spontaneously move to the altar, some in tears, while singing some of these “bad” songs. As for repetition I wonder if the author has ever read the Psalms – for instance Ps 136, 148, etc.?
    We visited a church once which sang a chorus over and over. Later I commented to my wife that it went on far too long. She responded that she was glad because at first her mind was on other things and it took a few choruses before she could focus on the words. Once she did, it really spoke to her. Perhaps had we sung first, second and fourth verses of an “acceptable” song she may have sung from memory and missed the message.

    • fromoverhere

      Well said Bob…..from one “older guy” to another!

    • Ralph A Jansen

      Isn’t crying from an emotion? Are you sure there is any actual mental component involved? Does this somehow prove that the person walking up has had a mental/spiritual change? You do understand you just proved one of the author’s points?
      Emotions are a powerful thing, but we are not saved by emotions. (Actually emotions tend to betray.)
      Perhaps you should actually do some deep research on the subject. How we worship is very important. Just because you like to listen to contemporary worship music does not give anyone the right to bring it into church. These things should be done carefully for fear that one may water down worship, or even insult the very God they say they worship.

      • Pastor Chris

        “Emotions tend to betray….” yet we find that Jesus was expressing emotion in many different passages. He was angry, he was troubled in spirit, he was saddened at grief. I’m not sure what your hang up is on emotion. Emotions were given to us by God to spark a committed decision. If someone breaks into my home and threatens my family, I will spark the emotion of anger which is to cause me to commit to act on that emotion. Emotions are not sinful. If they were, then you are guilty of blasphemy against Jesus

  • KAS

    I’ll go one better: let’s ditch the entire “worship song” genre. Many (most?) of the songs are musically incompetent and in general seem to be designed for performance or to make the singers feel good about themselves, neither of which is the point of worship.

    In full disclosure, I write as a Catholic who is dismayed that this piffle is so entrenched in many parishes – that is, I am criticizing my own communion as well.

  • redpill2010

    The “praise” vs. traditional “worship” language is no accident. “Praise” has become the code-word for electric base, hollow lyrics, and the transformation of a humble worship service focused on God into a self-centered lite rock concert where your personal experience trumps theology. None of this kitschy pulp could ever hold a candle to a real hymn. I’m never sure which will be more cheesy, the song title, or the name of the publishing house in the copyright that then has to be printed at the back of the bulletin.

    • tbonedawg

      Wow. I’m sure glad I don’t go to your church. Is everyone there piously judgemental? I believe you are unfortunately allowing some horribly conceived stereotypes and a complete ignorance of intellectual proprety rights law to color your opinions. Were you to actually listen to a few contemporary Christian lyrics, I believe you would find that a large percentage are direct scriptural quotes, something I rarely encounter in hymns. Do you often find Psalms to be “kitschy pulp”? Is music somehow better because it’s printed on paper or filled with “thus’ and “thee”? To throw philosophical or theological rocks at something you don’t like, don’t understand, or feel threatened by is one of the things driving people away from our churches. But that’s just my opinion. And it’s probably suspect since I often play drums at my church, albeit as humbly as possible.

      • fromoverhere

        Well said. I was gonna say “you rock tbone!” —but didnt wanna get folks all riled up.

      • Ralph A Jansen

        When you don’t bother reading hymns, of course you are going to rarely encounter it…

  • jimbo

    Before you critique worship songs shouldn’t you know something about worship? This article is laughable. Don’t quit your day job Corrie. You’d be better off pursuing something in the Sociology field and writing about that. At least in a field like that, a worthless opinion can be respected. Better yet, take your own advice, “Let’s stop publishing inane opinions about worship when you don’t know what you are talking about.”

    Faithstreet isn’t capable of doing heavy lifting, but this article ranks with the “Muhammad was like George Washington” nonsense.

    • Paula Coyle

      “Before you critique worship songs shouldn’t you know something about worship? This article is laughable. ”

      Well then, if you say so, it must be true!

      “Faithstreet isn’t capable of doing heavy lifting, but this article ranks with the “Muhammad was like George Washington” nonsense.”

      Speaking of being incapable of doing heavy lifting…perhaps unless you should stop publishing inane opinions until you know a little something about the Bible. Just a thought.

      • jimbo

        Well Paula, lets start with Corrie’s first song, “In the Secret.” Corrie decries it because it doesn’t mention who you’re singing to. Really? Is she that stupid that she doesn’t understand who is being sung to, in church? Or, is does Corrie believe that newcomers who are in a church to worship God, are so stupid that they might get confused as to who is being worshipped or sung about? Paula, do you have to refer to your husband by name every time you say something nice about him to your friends? Perhaps they might think you’re having an affair with an un-named stranger! Unfortunately that’s the level of Corrie’s thinking here.

        The church doesn’t need dim people like Corrie in ministry. I’m sure she’s a fine sister but she should fine a ministry or job where she can make a valuable contribution and help people. Making stupid stuff up like this is counter productive.

        2nd, take a look at the “In the Secret” lyrics. “I want to know you, … I want to hear your voice, … I want to see your face, I want to touch you…” All of these are attributable to intimate Scriptures. Paul wanted to know Christ (Phil 3. David in the Psalms wanted to behold the beauty of the Lord. All of this is about intimacy with Christ. I suspect Corrie’s faith is too shallow to understand that type of intimacy. Also, “in the secret, in the quiet place” talks of spending time alone with Christ. Again intimacy is meant here.

        I would think fledgling Christians would easily grasp and appreciate the beauty of this song. Unfortunately Christians like Corrie don’t get it, and Faithstreet is desperate to publish tripe articles.

        If Christianity is going to grow in spiritual strength it will have to do better than the make up of this dimwitted article.

  • Bruce Chowning

    While I understand this angle, I think she’s a bit too harsh. There is one thing that is never taught in the bible. HOW to worship. We are commanded to worship….and we are commanded to do it in spirit and in truth. But no one anywhere says: “this is the way to worship.” I think that is very wise. The God who loves us all with “an everlasting love,” is the only one qualified to say whether our worship is right or not. I think most of this article is very ticky tack. The problems are overblown. Now….having said all that I do commend her for taking a critical look at our songs. This is important. However….calm down a bit…aye?

    • Ralph A Jansen

      Did you skip the whole part of the New Testament where Paul was writing. (You know, like I Corinthians, which is a solid hit on how the Corinthians act in church? I know many people actually do ignore what Paul writes on how church should be, but does that somehow make this not God’s word?)

      • Bruce Chowning

        Ralph….your own statement disproves your point. My statement was….and still is…No scripture in the bible tells us HOW to worship. Your statement to me was that 1 Corinthians tells us how to ACT in church. That means how we are to present ourselves to the folks in church. This, my friend, isn’t worhip. If you can find a verse that specifically teaches God’s people how to worship…..please quote it. The God who created all of us DIFFERENTLY evidently loves variety….no? If I worship in spirit and truth then God accepts it. God is the judge of this….let’s let Him be the determining factor.

        On another issue, you stated that “Women are not to speak in church.” Does your church practice this? Are women allowed to pray? To sing? To teach? To speak at meetings? To give reports? Sometimes if you take one scripture on the surface without reviewing other scriptures then you come out with a ridiculous doctrine. Yes, Paul did say this. And yet, the same author: Paul also commended women for their roles in the church: “I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church in Cenchreae.” Rom 16:1 Please explain to me how Paul can commend a woman for her work in the church…that was in HER house, but she didn’t speak? Didn’t Paul approve of Philip’s daughters who were prophetesses? Acts 21:8-10 Did you think they didn’t operate their God given gifts in the church? You see, Ralph, context means something in scripture. The context of that verse in Corinthians was important in understanding why Paul said what he said. In the early church, the men and women did not sit together in the church. This is a part of their Jewish culture. The women in this church (and notice it was only in THIS church where Paul made this charge) were interrupting the service by calling out questions to their husbands. Paul didn’t want women to never speak in church. He wanted them to stop interrupting with their shouts. He even clarified this: “If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home” 1 Cor 14:35. Now, I could go on and on about this, but I think these examples should suffice.

        • fromoverhere

          Bruce, your points are well made. Often people that say “women should not speak” (using it in a way they want) do not realize that most often women actually DO speak in church (announcements, prayer requests, etc) even in the most conservative of churches. I will say no more since this discussion is really about who can condemn certain songs.

        • Ralph A Jansen

          Paul did not say that men could not ask questions during service. I don’t think Paul was being sexist. He didn’t say that they should wait until after church to ask the pastor. (If the husband is sitting next to the wife, why would she cry out questions to the husband?) Paul didn’t say that they should ask questions to just anyone after church, but to wait until they got home and then ask the husband.
          Phoebe was a deacon (deaconess). Their job was not to speak in church, that is the pastor’s job. The deacons job was to take care of the poor, the widow, and the orphans. The original reason for the department was so that the apostles could get on with their job of teaching and witnessing. So did she talk during the worship service in her house…if we look at the situation from a self-centered point of view, then, hey it was HER house. If you look at it from God’s point of view…she very well may not have spoken up in church.

          • Bruce Chowning

            I clearly defined the custom of the day in churches and synogogues. Women did NOTsit with men. Never. That is exactly the problem of that one church. The women were interrupting the service with questions and Paul said don’t do that. How do we KNOW? Because we study the context of the passage and that includes the culture of the folks who were to receive the teaching. We must also remember the context of the type of people receiving this text. The Corinthians were BABIES. (spiritually) They were always infighting they were getting drunk at the Communion table…etc See 1 Cor chapters 1-6. Isn’t shouting out during a service consistent with being a baby?

            So, if you wish to defend your point you need to address the issues it raises. So, I will repeat myself: Does YOUR church practice this idea? In other words are you being a hypocrite or not? If you are not a hypocrite and you adhere to your claim, then you can NOT let a woman teach in your church. You can not let a woman sing. You can not let a woman pray. You can not let a woman speak in any manner, in any way. You might say, this is ridiculous. Yes, it sure is. But It is the LOGICAL conclusion of what you demand is the proper biblical interpretation of that ONE verse. You say a deacon’s job is not to talk in a worship service. Fine…I find that equally illogical. How can you MINISTER to folks without talking to them? Did they use hand held flash cards with questions and answers? How silly…yep but that would be one way to get around this “doctrine.” Please tell me how a prophetess can prophecy without speaking. Prophets in the NT were gifted “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ. Eph 4:12 The body is the church. No? Where does the church meet?
            Please don’t try to tell me that they only did this one on one in the streets.
            Now, I grant you that this doesn’t mean they can’t minister one on one in the
            street, but exclusively? Are there other biblical passages that show women teaching men? Yep… Aquila and Priscilla. These were some of Paul’s missionary journey helpers. Acts 18:25-28 show them both teaching Apollos who was a Christian but didn’t have a full grasp of the message. They corrected him. If Paul “did not allow women to teach men,” then why was this acceptable? You have a problem. Either Paul didn’t know what he was talking about, or he lied when he wrote that….or there is a better interpretation of those statements.(both the I do not allow women to teach men and the one about women speaking in church) Of course you know which one I support. What say you?

          • Ralph A Jansen

            I Corinthians 14:34b-37 “As in all the churches of the saints, the women should be silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak, but should be submissive, as the law also says. And if they want to learn something, they should ask their own husbands at home, for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church meeting. Did the word of God originate from you, or did it come to you only? If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, he should recognize that what I write to you is the Lord’s command.”(HCSB)

            I Timothy 2:11-14 (One of Paul’s pastoral letters) “A woman should learn in silence with full submission. I do not allow a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; instead, she is to be silent. For Adam was created first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and transgressed. (HCSB) (–To clarify, Adam ate the fruit because he loved Eve, not because he was deceived.)

            As for Aquila and Priscilla, Aquila was a man. (Priscilla was his wife.) They took him home, and explained the way of God to him more accurately. (vs. 26 HCSB) I see no contention or issue between this and the other passages. (It wasn’t church, and being helpers of Paul and mentioned in a positive note in the Bible, they obviously followed any command of God they knew.)

            It is true that what happens in the church is what the church allows to happen. Just realize that if it is wrong, the pastor takes the blame from God. (Pastors are held to a higher standard than anyone else.)

            (And yes, there is only one case where I went to a church that didn’t follow these verses. I didn’t know at the time, and I never went back. (Besides the actual content of the service wasn’t exactly biblical.)

            (there is another comment to answer more of your post, so this isn’t too incredibly long.)

          • Ralph A Jansen

            From your post–“So, I will repeat myself: Does YOUR church practice this idea? In other words are you being a hypocrite or not? If you are not a hypocrite and you adhere to your claim, then you can NOT let a woman teach in your church. You can not let a woman sing. You can not let a woman pray. You can not let a woman speak in any manner, in any way. You might say, this is ridiculous. ”

            You are right, it is ridiculous, and it actually isn’t logical. As for the churches I have been to, they did practice that idea to a point. Usually EVERYONE is silent during the service, and during teaching. (The pastor is obviously the only one who speaks.) Everyone sings, women can sing (that isn’t teaching, it’s singing), women can read scripture (that isn’t teaching, it is only reading a passage), women can pray (I would believe that this isn’t instructing, it wouldn’t be an issue, though this never really happened much in my church), and anyone can speak if the pastor allows it. (The pastor is held accountable for what he allows to happen in his church, as well as for what he teaches.) Times have changed, but the basis of the passages on men, women, and the church will never change. So just because a church allows something to happen does not mean God is pleased.

            A deacon’s job is not to talk in the service. That is the pastor’s job. The deacon takes care of the community (well at least at that time that was their job. Today they focus on the church itself…) You do not have to give a sermon or speak up in worship service to take care of the community. You talk to people after it is over. (Or before it begins.) The passages are speaking of an order of how things are done. (Also, I don’t notice anything much about prophetesses in the New Testament church?)

          • Bruce Chowning

            Since this web site is not about women in the church, I will be brief and it will be my last post about it. Ralph, if you wish to resume this topic, my email is: [email protected]. You are welcome to email me.

            You said that anyone can speak if the pastor allows it. IF there is a biblical injunction against women speaking or teaching men in the church then the pastor of said church has no disgression (biblically) in this idea.You said, singing, praying, and reading scripture isn’t teaching. Correct, but it IS speaking. So your point isn’t valid. Since you admit that women do sing, pray, read scripture in your church…or churches, then we can see your hypocrisy.
            As for prophetesses in the bible. You can’t call “I don’t notice anything much about prophetesses in the New Testament church,” an answer to my question. Either they prophecy in church or they don’t. And since we KNOW that NT prophecy is directed toward believers it makes perfect sense that Philip’s daughters prophecied in church and thus you’re still stuck with a conundrum: did Paul lie? Was he wrong? Or is there a better interpretation to the passage?

          • Ralph A Jansen

            I did a little research, and the word silent used in the verses does not mean that they could not speak. (It is a different greek word then absolute silence. It is being subdued, not completely silent.) So, because we both misidentified the true meaning of a word, we are off on a tangent. Paul didn’t lie, so someone misunderstands prophetess.

  • Tony

    Unbelievable. These are a great deal worse than the worst songlets that have littered Catholic hymnals for the last 40 years. Dreadful, Jesus-is-my-boyfriend garbage. A far cry from the solid old revival songs, like Washed in the Blood, never mind the twenty centuries of Christian hymnody. How any man can sing this stuff without puking a little into his mouth, I don’t know. Doggerel, vapid, emotion-driven, theologically thin if not heretical, celebrating MY feelings; mantra-like stuff that doesn’t cause you to meditate upon the meanings and the connections in Scripture. If anybody thinks that this stuff is going to hold up against what a kid will meet in college, when he’s got a smart-aleck professor who knows a little art or history, you’re nuts. You want to fight the gates of Hell with serious artillery, not pink squirt guns.

    • fromoverhere

      Tony, please do not feel led to sing songs that make you vomit. I dont think anyone who sings these newer songs is angry (like you sound) at you for preferring songs that use “ye” “thee” and “thine” and are sometimes taken from tunes used in the beer halls of the 1800’s.

      That is a preference. That is your choice. Other have other preferences. Certainly many, many of David’s psalms are based on his feelings about how great God is (or on just what a miserable state-of-mind, or situation David is in).

      I think that Scripture itself (not hymns or worship songs) is what we fight the gates of Hell with.

      • Tony

        Yes, Scripture. Now, I have a challenge I’d like you to take up. Find a hymnal printed before 1950 — almost any of them will do, though the best in English will typically be Episcopalian, Methodist, Presbyterian, or Lutheran. Now read the texts of those hymns as theologically and Scripturally informed poetry. Pay very close attention to what the authors are doing; to the many passages from Scripture that they are alluding to, and how they are drawing connections from one to the other. LEARN about the history of Christian hymnody. Be humble.

        See, in our time ALL of the arts have suffered a breathtaking collapse. It isn’t just painting or sculpture or poetry or opera or prose fiction or drama for the stage. God deserves our best art, not slop. And please do not give me that business about “preference.” A painting by Michelangelo is not a paint-by-numbers picture of Lassie. The tradition of Christian song is broad and cross-cultural and it embraces many kinds of styles and poetry. Some of it was great, some of it was only workmanlike. But none of it was stupid.

        • fromoverhere

          Do you say the same about Bible translations? That leaves you with the King James, right?

          Certainly there are a lot of people who are KJV-only along the lines you just used. That does not make them right.

          I remember when the NIV and NASB, etc started coming out. My dad said “None of those ever got anyone saved.” Huh?

          Of course not! They dont have 300 years of history. But that fact does not make them right or wrong.

          The beaty and usefullness of the hymns you refer to does not make anything else right or wrong…..it just means they have beauty and a longer life than other things. They are not the Word of God.

          • Tony

            You’re avoiding the issues. What made the hymns in the old hymnals great was not that their language was this or that, but that the poets knew what they were doing, both poetically and theologically. The poems are rich in interconnected allusions to Scripture. They have behind them many centuries of Christian thought. They didn’t have to be written in the year 1000. Some of them were written pretty recently — see For All the Saints, as a great example. The point is that to sing them or even to read them was itself a highly concentrated lesson in Scripture. And the art, as art, was at least good, and sometimes excellent.

            New translations of the Bible are needed for only two reasons: Our language changes so that the old translation is impossible to read or is misleading; New scholarship reveals that a certain word or sentence might have been misunderstood. That’s it. The NKJV and the RSV are the best English translations out there. Many of the other translations are pretty bad — politically “correct,” banal, insipid, awkward, ungrammatical, dumbed down, etc. Nobody until our own time ever thought that that was a thing to do to the Word of God.

          • fromoverhere

            Tony, I am not avoiding any issues and I still dont see your point. You love those hymns and understand and proclaim their beauty. That is fine. Likely lots of people love them—-and I would too.

            That does not make everything else “wrong” vapid, heretical (and all the other angry sounding words you used).

            You promoted new translations because “our language changes” and “they might be misleading”

            You gave one example, saying “some of them were written pretty recently”—-so the others would be even older, right? The one you mentioned was written by an Anglican bishop in the UK in 1864 (nothing wrong with that), and is full of “thee” “thou” “thy” “wast” (nothing wrong with that)……and all 11 verses end in alleluia, alleluia (nothing wrong with that but the song-police might say is a bit repetitive).

            I am not sure why you feel that you can say that people should study old hymns and these ‘recent’ hymns (I did not Scripture used in the 11 verses) and why studying them and singing them is inherently better to singing other kinds of wongs of worship.

            I understand that you like them. That is great. But I see not Scriptural basis for saying all other things are wrong.

          • Tony

            Of course not everything else is vapid. Only vapid things are vapid, and only heretical things are heretical. It is perfectly possible for somebody to write a good hymn now. Possible — but almost nobody is doing it. Richard Wilbur did, a few years ago. You have to have poetic talent to write a good hymn, and you have to be steeped in Christian literature and art, and in Scripture. That’s just for the lyrics. The music is another story. I didn’t say that other things were wrong. I said that wrong things are wrong. I don’t call the bad stuff stupid because I don’t like it. I don’t like it because it simply is stupid, and stupidity is always a vice.

            If you look at For All the Saints — whose music was composed for the hymn by Vaughan Williams, a “modern” composer — you will see a very fine poem proceeding from Scripture to Scripture, and all organized around the important idea of the Church as a fighting Church, as Saint Paul reminds us all the time. If you sing hymns like that all the time, you will be drinking in some pretty sophisticated meditations upon Scripture, all of it, without your having to go to a Bible study. See for an excellent example what the poet does for Psalm 23 in The King of Love My Shepherd Is. THAT is the sort of thing that our writers have to do. They don’t have to use the same language, but they have to do the same sort of thing, and not write ditties about Jesus the Boyfriend.

            When evangelicals throw those treasures overboard, for the sake of doggerel and drivel, they aren’t doing the cause of the kingdom one bit of good. We need BETTER artists than the secular world produces, not worse.

          • fromoverhere

            Tony

            I see that you are well versed in hymnody and older hymns minister to you. That is great.

            Here is a verse from the one you just mentioned.

            Thou spread’st a table in my sight;
            Thy unction grace bestoweth;
            And O what transport of delight
            From Thy pure chalice floweth!

            I have two graduate degrees, live overseas, and speak a few languages, so I “get” what you are saying is beautiful here. But I am not sure that my college or junior high kids do. Should they invest a good amount of time to study Chaucerian language and terms so they might be able to enjoy this (when they hear it done well with organ and choir)?

            One would have a hard time making a case for that. Better to spend that time reading the Scriptures in a language they understand I would think.

            Speaking of living overseas and speaking other languages. No other language in the word has the rich history of Christianity like English. When we plant new churches in, say Senegal, W. Africa (Wolof, Serer, Diola, 13 other languages) or Pakistan (Urdu, Balouche, Kachi-Koli, 40 other languages) should we let them write praise songs that work in their culture or should we teach them Chaucerian English and hymnody?

            If they are allowed (or even encouraged) to write songs to worship Christ in words they are familiar with (modern words) and music they are familiar with (their modern music) why is that different than letting young Americans do the same?

          • Tony

            Well, it is a shame if what is MODERN English — Chaucer wrote in Middle English, which is much different from what you have there — cannot be understood by high school kids. That stanza above is great. Do you know what is going on in it? It “translates” the verse from the Psalm, “Thou spreadst a table in the sight of my enemies; thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.” Pay attention to what the poet has done there. There’s a whole theology of grace and sacrament in that stanza. You are here INEBRIATED by the wine of the sacrament — the 23rd Psalm has been transposed into the key of the New Testament.

            I am not saying that these are the only songs to sing. I am saying that if people want to compose hymns, THESE are the sorts of standards they have to come up to. And the slop that was referenced in this article doesn’t come within a thousand miles.

            And the differences between nineteenth century poetic diction and twentieth century colloquialism are not many and are not great. Are we all dummies?

          • fromoverhere

            Tony and Ralph:

            This article is not about how to write a proper hymn. It is says which songs should NOT be sung.

            What was the author’s reason the song (below) should never be sung?

            “It leaves out the resurrection, Jesus’ teachings, the coming of the
            Kingdom — new heavens and new earth — just to name a few things.”

            “And, come on, the idea of heaven being in “the sky” is just theologically incorrect.”

            1. It should be CLEAR to all of us that not every song / hymn whatever, has to have all the items in the author’s list……so we should all take issue with that criterion.

            2. Jesus did go “up” (Luke 24, Acts 1) (the author never said “Heaven was in the sky”—so a serious miquote just to malign a song)….so this nit picking about saying a song is NOT singable since it says he went up into the sky is so silly.

            Look at the lyrics below…… Tony has lumped everything that author says…..and all modern worship into a “Jesus-is-my-boyfriend” group and used angry, harsh words (no such “boyfriend” here).

            It is just amazing to me that you would defend this author’s right to be the song-police and tell the entire church of Christ that certain songs (based on his own reasons) should never be sung.

            Lord I lift your name on high
            Lord I love to sing your praises
            I’m so glad you are in my life
            I’m so glad you came to save us.

            You came from heaven to earth, to show the way
            From the earth to the cross, my debt to pay
            From the cross to the grave, from the grave to the sky
            Lord I lift your name on high.

          • Tony

            Dear Fellow Christian:

            Some of those songs above are Jesus Is My Boyfriend songs. The one that you cite above isn’t. But this one is pretty poor stuff. I don’t mean that the sentiments behind this one are wrong. But you have to judge art as art. If you have a bad painter cover your church walls with cartoons of Jesus, it doesn’t matter that his heart was in the right place. It matters to God, sure, as far as his soul is concerned, but it can’t matter to the people who in the future will be worshipping there. If you hire a carpenter to build cabinets for your kitchen, you want the guy to be able to make them straight and sure, and you want them to look handsome. You don’t want particle board, you don’t want hinges that won’t line up, you don’t want moldings that are too big or too flimsy or that don’t match. You want a real craftsman to do really good work. You can’t say, “Well, I’m hiring him, even though the doors of his cabinets fall off within a year or two, because his heart is in the right place, and he INTENDS to make good cabinets.” Intention gets you nowhere.

            Now, that song that you cite is not very good. It’s emotion-driven doggerel. There’s no substance to it; no structure; there’s hardly any grammar to it. Beyond that, yes, it is a problem for Christians to be yapping about “Yahweh,” since we are never instructed by Jesus to call God by that name, and if we respect our elder brothers the Jews, we won’t do it even if it is permitted. And yes, it is kind of Star-Trek silly to say that Jesus went from the grave to “the sky” — English “sky” means that blue area above us. “Skies,” plural, can do double duty as a poetic synonym for “heaven” or “the heavens.” “Sky” can’t.

          • Franklin Morais

            When I read articles like this, yes, I can see where the author is coming from. And I also can see the need to encourage and exhort believers to focus on Jesus as center (now, that’s another song to talk about!). At the same time, songs fall into the poetic and analogy of analogies. Let’s have more of the grace that we sing of, even in our discussions on the type of songs? I do agree with Sonia that the article does come across a ‘little’ arrogant, regardless of the names of famous reformed pastors and theologians quoted. Those who preach grace, and write about grace, should continue to live in grace, especially when writing articles like these. Good article, but bordering on being faulted with what it faults these songs with – a tad too much of emotion?

          • Tony

            We’re living in a time when any attempt to hold people to high standards — of behavior, of artistic excellence, even of grammar — is going to be criticized as “arrogant.” We’re too thin skinned. If we can’t speak man to man about matters of importance, we should fold our tents and give the world over to the madness that has taken it over. Now, if you sing stuff that is slovenly and that has the intellectual strength of wet noodles, you are going to raise kids whose faith will be dangerously dependent upon a “high” that can’t be sustained. That’s why we have two thousand years of Christian hymns that are rich in Scriptural reflection and theology, and that can stand up as excellent works of art. Everybody can’t be a Bach or a Milton, but that doesn’t mean that we should use stuff that is just plain dumb.

          • fromoverhere

            Tony, I appreciate that you want to have high standards.

            There was a time when no one would get behind a pulpit without having studied Hebrew and Greek. That is a high standard.

            I studied Hebrew and Greek and got degrees in them, but by all means I do not think they are obligatory for a person to be a good expositor of Scripture.

            I could insist on them as necessary for the true “art” of exposition. But I have no Scriptural grounds to do so. If a person prefers that the main teacher have these tools, he can choose to go to a church where that is the case. But he cannot mandate that for all believers.

            We cannot (with Scriptural authority) mandate that all songs sung as worship to God be what we personally consider “art”. Your “high standards” and “art” criteria for hymns is perfectly fine for you and your family. I applaud you. Your condemnation of all that you do not deem as “art” is inappropriate.

          • Tony

            Of course we are talking about art. Composing music is an art. Writing good poetry instead of ungrammatical slop is an art. Rarely can the same person be really good at both forms of art at once. I don’t insist on any particular form of education for either kind of artist. The point I am making is about the quality of the work that is produced. It can be classical and be great, and it can be folk art and be great.

            But it has to be at least good — and for the same reasons why the painting on the walls of your church, if they are painted, have to be at least good and not sloppy, awkward, silly, incoherent, and so on.

            As for the idea that all judgments about beauty and clumsiness or silliness or ugliness in art are mere personal opinions, that’s just one little step away from saying the same thing about human actions. If the Church gives in on matters of beauty, she’s conceded half of the battlefield against the world.

          • fromoverhere

            Tony, Nobody is talking about “art” except you. I am trying to discuss what gives this author (or you) the right to say what is acceptable poetry, music for a believer and worship service.

            The same could be said about Sunday sermons. “More Hebrew and Greek and alliteration!” —someone might say, but the factory workers in the pews were blessed by the pastor’s simple exposition of the Word. Was it artistic? Not to the man trained in Hebrew.

            It is allowed and did it minister? Yes.

            One man puts poetry to the Lord on paper and puts music to it, and it blesses, say, tens of thousands of people…..but it is not allowed according to you, since it does not meet your criteria for “art”.

          • Tony

            Come on, let’s be realistic here. The old hymnals are full of melodies and texts that come from all kinds of sources. There are folk melodies from Wales, Scotland, Ireland, England, France, Scandinavia, Germany, Poland, Greece, Italy, Appalachia, and on and on. There are texts that come from the early Church, from medieval Europe, from the Methodist revival in America, from everywhere — composed originally in Latin, Greek, Aramaic, German, Welsh, French, Swahili — you name it. They have a couple of things in common. They are solid musically, poetically, and Scripturally. They aren’t sloppy or stupid. “I wonder as I wander” is a great folk carol from Appalachia. It is haunting, and simple, and Scripturally sound, and beautiful. It isn’t junk.

            You talk about “blessing tens of thousands of people.” I don’t doubt that some of this sub-grammatical my-feeling stuff is popular. But I do doubt its staying power in the lives of young people. As I said, when these young people go from the lame and silly stuff whose “blessing” is mainly emotional and not ALSO intellectual, when the “high” subsides, they will be easy prey for the world out there. You aren’t equipping them well enough for the battle, which is going to be ferocious.

          • fromoverhere

            Why do you say

            “You aren’t equipping them”??

            I am a member of a very liturgy, high-church, organ, old-hymnal church. I am not equipping these people at all. I am just trying to find out why this author and you think you can decide what are the right songs for others.

            Not one thing that you have said is based on Scripture, but only on what you think is beautiful or “art”. You can trash it all you want, but that is simply your opinion, not inherent truth.

          • Tony

            Madam — We must stop meeting this way. 🙂

            Scripture doesn’t tell us what is a good painting or a bad painting, but that doesn’t mean that there is no difference between a great artist and a competent artist, or between a competent artist and a poor artist. I have been teaching young people in college for 30 years. You’re wrong if you think that an emotional high, without solid intellectual foundations, can sustain the fierce attacks by the so-called “rationalists” that they will meet in the world. We need BETTER artists than the world provides. The world has artists and composers who put great talents in the service of evil. We need REAL poets to write the lyrics of hymns, and not people who toss out a couple of lame pieties, without coherence or even grammar. The poets can work in any number of styles, but they have to be REALLY GOOD at what they do.

            Now, there aren’t any verses up there in those songs that couldn’t have been “written” by anybody. They could have been written by an inattentive middle schooler. They just are not good. The sentences sometimes don’t make sense. The images don’t fit with one another. There are no deep meditations upon Scripture. It’s embarrassing. That is NOT how Christians have worshipped these last 2000 years.

            Again — you can have great folk art, or great “classical” art, or great art of any number of styles, but it has to have the characteristics of great art — coherence, complexity, beauty, profundity, order. If it’s not great, it has at least to be GOOD art. Sloppy, makeshift stuff won’t do. Those “lyrics” up there could have been written by anybody in ten or fifteen minutes.

          • fromoverhere

            Tony this is all so ….repetitive.

            Of course the hymns are better “art”—-if that is one’s goal. That is not everyone’s goal in singing a praise to the Lord. Some of David’s songs are beautiful, complex, artistic; others are short and simple.

            Of course the crafted “art” of a sermon might be better if the person has degrees in Hebrew and Greek and Homiletics….but not everyone does. And we have no business shutting down preachers who do not.

            You have no idea how many times I have felt after a sermon that the teacher did this-or-that poorly (as I mentioned I can be picky having several advanced degrees in languages and biblical languages) ….and yet one, two, three people will say to me “that was a great sermon and ministered to me!”

            Oh really? Okay…..I guess everything does not have to be “art” the way I see art.

            Your criticism above that anyone could have written XY song in fifteen minutes, has no bearing whatsoever. It is just purely a subjective way for you to judge “art” and has no scriptural weight at all.

            By the author’s criticisms above ….many of the psalms would not make it into worship.

            Why does she (or you) get to decide what the criteria are to say which songs are fitting for worship for all the church?

            Not “art”….

            Does not have all the aspects of the resurrection….

            Too short…..

            Too repetitive….

            Not “complex” enough or “beautiful” enough.

            Sounds like a love song on the radio….

            These are not biblical criteria to eliminate a song.

            Of course you have the right and privilege to prefer hymns and attend a church that uses them uniquely. But establishing a list of criteria by which all songs should be judge is a different thing.

            Again….when we plant a new church among the Uzbeks of Turkmenistan, who do not speak Turkmen, Russian, and (certainly not) English, how do we tell them to write songs of worship to God?

            Like 11-verse hymnodically crafted works from the 16th century?

            There is no reason to justify such a difficult paradigm shift on them.

            There is just nothing inherently more “right” about the hymns you mention. They are what you say, beautifully crafted works of art, that are appreciated by some (albeit few) even today. That, in no way makes them the template for what must be taught to the Uzbeks, Uighurs, Mayans, Thai, Indonesian —or young Americans.

          • Tony

            OK, my last reply.

            You aren’t paying attention to what I’ve said about the wide variety of kinds of hymns and the wide range of styles that make for good art. All of that applies to sermons also, and it is of course no more certain that somebody who has studied Greek is going to be a good homilist, than it is that somebody who has looked at Greek art is going to be a good sculptor. It requires talent, in the first place, and, for sermons, absolute fidelity to the word of God, a lot of thinking, and some personal presence.

            But that doesn’t mean that sloppy sermons aren’t sloppy sermons.

            A song can be simple and profound — I mentioned “I Wonder As I Wander,” the folk carol from Appalachia. It should never be stupid, embarrassing, incompetent, clumsy, sissified, etc.

            You are mistaken if you think that other peoples do not crave good art. All people — until our own day, in the west — have their native traditions of poetry. We don’t, not anymore, so we put out a lot of doggerel and garbage. The others you name still have those traditions. And they would no more want to sing slop in their languages than I want to sing slop in mine.

            If you sing a song that makes it sound as if you’re necking with Jesus on the couch, that’s garbage. If you sing a song that is just a lazy list of exclamation points, that’s garbage. The Psalms are not like that — they are great Hebrew poetry. You want to write a hymn, that’s fine with me. Learn how to write really good poetry, and meditate deeply on Scripture.

          • fromoverhere

            Tony, I appreciate that you can see all that art in fine poetry and hymns. That does not mean that another man does not see art in something you do not like.

            One man’s junk is another man’s treasure. We do not all prefer the same things. We can easily find an artist that trashes something (art, poetry, music) while another artist will praise it.

            The point being simply that this author (and others) has no authority to say “That song is silly, so no one should sing it.” Fine. The words can be said, but they have no Scriptural authority.

            And don’t forget what I said above…..this “what is right” discussion is all about English.

            What about the rest of the world?

            People groups around the world are coming to Christ. They have no heritage of hymns in their language (or the main language of their country). Wolof, Serer, Diola, Urdu, Balouche, Kachi-Koli, and 100’s more languages do not have European standards of hymns and liturgy.

            Should we let them write praise songs that work in their culture or should we teach them 16th -19th century European hymnody?

            Are they allowed (or even encouraged) to write songs to worship Christ in words they are familiar with (modern words) and music they are familiar with (which most often does NOT match European music, using local instruments, not organs)?

            The author (and others) seem to have the position that their values of music, poetry, art are elevated to the level of Scripture and should be imposed on others. Should we impose these song-police values universally? Are they inherently right? …or just “best” in one man’s opinion?

          • fromoverhere

            You said “But you have to judge art as art”

            We are not discussing “art”.

            If many hymn-loving Westerners were to listen to worship songs written by Chinese Christians from the 1800s (or now), with a different pentatonic scale, chord progressions, and cadences, they would most likely not consider them “art”.

            The article does not discuss art. The song I copied above is not about “art”. It is one man’s wording of praise (set to music) that another man finds useful in his worship to God. If you (or others) choose to say it is “not art” has no bearing on that matter.

          • Ralph A Jansen

            I read an article from someone else who has issues with the direction music has taken in the church. He says that the reaction of youth today (not yesterday’s turn up the volume and play it loud group) find a lot of excitement in learning what the old hymns are actually saying. (What does this word mean? Really, WOW.)

        • veronica

          Well I’m late to the party here, but agree with you Tony. Love the comparison of michaelanglo to a paint by number kit! Some may prefer dancing and hand waving with the 7-11 songs (seven words eleven times) but that doesn’t mean the song Is in any way equivalent to Wesley’s great Love Divine, All Loves Excelling. Or Crown Him with Many Crowns. When was the last time you heard the word “potentate” or “ineffably sublime” in this stuff some churches sing now? If the kids can’t get it then we have problems more basic than church music, we have reading comprehension problems. They also taught doctrine, I’m thinking of The Church’s One Foundation (is Jesus Christ her Lord. She is His new creation by water and the Word. From heaven He came and sought her to be His holy bride, with His own blood he bought her, and for her life He died.)
          Part of what’s been lost, what’s hard to convey to those who prefer simplistic, repetitive dance music is that the church used to display great art, used to take you someplace your car radio didn’t. Some of us grieve the passing of that part of the experience- that the church was different from the world, somehow unique, mysterious and deep. Perhaps that attitude will come back someday, everything comes back around eventually. I think we are living today at the apex of “low church” times, where its uncool for the church to aspire through depth and beauty to proclaim the glory of God; it’s instead supposed to reach into and focus on gritty, adolescent street culture.

      • tbonedawg

        Well said.

      • Ralph A Jansen

        You do realize that next to the last 20 years or so of praise and worship music, you have 20 centuries of other writing, yet somehow you believe that the last 20 years or so can even begin to hold a candle to all that? (Also your weak attack on beer halls. There is a difference between that and songs taken from a style of music whose name means having sex.) That is a great way to worship God, in debauchery and immorality? (Sex, that is.) This is why so many people are adamant against such music in the church.

        As for your bit on David, you don’t seem to understand. No matter how much it appears that he starts with, oh woe is me…it always ends with How great you are. Not something you see often in today’s music.

        Understand, we worship a God who has basically told us what he expects. Worship God in spirit and in truth. Come let us reason together. (etc.) We do not get to choose how God gets worshiped. Psalms is a good start. Paul’s writings are another great place to start. The focus should be on God, not our emotions, but our minds.

        • fromoverhere

          I never said they could hold a candle to hymns.

          I just said that this author does not have the right to tell the church which songs should be sung based on criteria that is not found in Scripture.

          I dont have a problem that a lot of the 1800s hymns used music that was common in the day. fine. Beer hall songs for not. There is no Scriptural condemnation of such a thing.

          • Ralph A Jansen

            There is a slight one. (Depending on whether you care about other people, or are willing to court sin.) There are people who don’t want these songs in church because they see it as evil. By forcing them to partake in such a service with these songs present, is to force them to worship against their conscience. They sin, and you by leading them there puts you out front in that sin. (You make them stumble.) No one talks about that anymore though.

            Also, you will notice in churches that go for the worship music side, shut out the hymns from the past as though they are worthless. If today’s music cannot hold a candle to centuries of music and writing, why do they shut out hymns?

          • fromoverhere

            Ralph,
            A “slight one”? I did not know Scripture has “slight” condemnations.

            I appreciate that you want to protect people from sinning. That is good

            I imagine that all of us have been sitting in a church service and had someone announce, say, pray, sing, or preach something that we did not agree with. I dont think that means we are sinning. By God’s grace, we have time to move to a fellowship that does not do things we disagree with. That is the beauty of the mosaic of the church.

            Certainly if you prefer hymns and feel that other things do not “hold a candle to them” you are free to go to a church with hymns. Why churches “shut out hymns” I do not know. But we have no Scriptural basis to mandate hymns on them.

  • Black Eyes

    I do not disagree with all of the points made by the author, especially the those related to lyrics that could be misunderstood as a the latest love song from a teenage pop-star or exaggerated claims of what we’ll do for the Lord, but in the end my gut tells me this is nothing more than a veiled slam on Christian music that is not found in the Book of Hymns. It is sad that the author would violate their integrity by not just being honest that they prefer hymnals (not counting the offhanded comment made midway through the article) over contemporary worship music.

    • Ralph A Jansen

      You say this without asking if he likes Rich Mullins? There are those who do prefer hymnals, and there are some who don’t want hair bands in their sanctuary. Then there are just those who prefer songs that truly praise God with the focus on God and not on us. A big part is that they want something that engages the mind and not solely bring us to some emotional state devoid of thought.

      You put a lot of words in someone’s mouth. I don’t have a big issue with contemporary worship music, as long as when it comes to worship in church, the songs actually mean something. (What you listen to on your own, that is up to you. What you do in church, that is you worshiping God, and it doesn’t matter whether you like it or not, because if God doesn’t like it…Or do you think you are more important then Him?) This is one of the biggest arguments I heard in our church when growing up. How do you shape the order of worship so that the things of this world (announcements and such) does not detract from the purpose of being in church, which is the worship of God. Everything should be tread upon softly so as to not degrade the worship of God, who should be our sole purpose to worship. (Not the drummer…)

  • John S.

    I’ve quit singing in church (many are very happy) and have learned how to tune out the over amped, silly songs. I simply don’t hear them anymore.

  • Steve Graybill

    Us as western Christians with our individualism, in my opinion, need to move away from the “I, me, my” paradigm and should begin to make a shift back the Judaistic paradigm, the paradigm that Jesus operated in, to an “us, we, our” paradigm. More than half the songs listed here should be abandoned for the simple reason that they are sung from a selfish focus on self rather than an outward focus on community and I am sad to see that this article does not touch on that.

    • fromoverhere

      Wow…I was reading Psalm after Psalm the other day…the ones from David… and thinking the same thing….all so “me” and “my situation” and “why dont you help me” and “woe is me”….

      And yet people say modern songs have a selfish focus. Have a look…..it’s all over the place in the Psalms.

      What if some modern writer put music to this…..would you criticize him? and call him vapid and me-centered?

      How long, O Lord? Wilt thou forget me for ever?
      How long wilt thou hide thy face from me?
      How long must I bear pain in my soul,
      and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
      How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

      Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
      lighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death;
      lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him”;
      lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.

      It is possible that he would be roundly criticized (“it is all about me, me, me”) until it was discovered as directly quoting Ps 13.

      Dozens more examples like this.

      Lighten’ up.

      • Ralph A Jansen

        Perhaps if you wrote the whole passage you would see where the true focus was. (Such as writing the whole passage, that shows that even through this his focus was still dead set on God, not himself.)

        “But I have trusted in Your faithful love; my heart will rejoice in Your deliverance. I will sing to the LORD because He has treated me generously.” (The part that you left out.) The focus here is obviously on God’s faithful love, on God’s deliverance, and who he is singing to. It is no longer a me thing. Many of today’s songs are just me me me. There is no focus on God. David always focused on God above Himself.

        And yes, there are dozens more examples like I just said. When it comes to a Holy God and proper worship, if you lighten up, you will be lit up. When it comes to God, Paul says such things as to work out your salvation in fear and trembling. Don’t lighten up. God is not to be taken lightly. (Note, I speak of worship and being in God’s presence. If you want to listen to this stuff in your free time, that is on you. Now for worship on the other hand, it matters what you do. You may be insulting God to His face without realizing it.)

        • fromoverhere

          He is very exacting and I am still waiting for the exacting verses (like “do not touch the ark”) about worship songs.

          Ralph….there are plenty like Ps 26 where David just sings about how good he is.

          • Ralph A Jansen

            If you are waiting for exacting verses on anything, you may sin all your life. The main point of the question is worship of God, not whether a song is bad or not. Is it the kind of worship we should want to, or we should offer God? Is it the best we can offer in our worship? Does it stir the mind, or does it only stir the emotions? God tells us to worship in spirit and in truth. Are the songs really “truth”? He also tells us to come and reason with Him. That is the mind and not emotion. There seems to be a focus on the mind and thought in worship. The difference between David and some (many) songs today, is that we focus on ourselves to the detriment of God, while David always has His focus on God even when speaking of himself.

          • fromoverhere

            Ralph, I am trying to stay on topic here.

            I am waiting for the Scriptural principles and verses that give this author (and others) the right to say we should NOT sing certain songs.

            Your points about the “kind of worship” “is it the best” “stir the mind” “are they really ‘truth'” are fine for you to have as personal convictions. They are personal, and vague. One man’s “best” is not another man’s “best”.

            And Ps 26 mentioned above (and others like it)?

          • Ralph A Jansen

            So, should we sing “Sexual Healing” or “Sex Machine” in church? There is nothing in the Bible that says we can’t. There is an understanding that principles found in the Bible says we should not do that because God may get just a little upset and take action.

          • fromoverhere

            I am afraid I dont know what you mean. Are those songs?

            I see your point….we are not allowed to do whatever we want if it not prohibitied in Scripture. That is true and on that we agree.

            But that is not what this author (and others) is saying. He/she list some specific criteria (repetitive, not enough theology, doesn’t say God’s name) that has no real Scriptural backing. Many Psalmist (remember 26 above?) talk all about the Psalmist, are repetitive, don’t use God’s name (and let’s not forget that Esther, Song of Solomon dont mention Him either).

            By the above criticisms…..many of the psalms would not make it into worship.

            My point is, and has been……why does she get to decide what the criteria are to say which songs are fitting for worship for all the church?

            Not “art”….

            Does not have all the aspects of the resurrection….

            Too short…..

            Sounds like a love song on the radio….

            These are not biblical criteria to eliminate a song.

            David probably used his harp and his talent to sing to some of his 7-8-9-10 wives. It is very unlikely that he used a completely different genre of playing/ stumming/ singing to his wife.

          • Ralph A Jansen

            I can say nothing on David because, well, I wasn’t there. (Also, to me, it has no effect on the discussion simply because we do not know.) For instance, Solomon wrote some of the Psalms (a small number, may have been a couple, don’t remember exactly), yet I believe Song of Solomon is quite…different then that.

            If David was a masterful musician, he probably knew more then one style from the time. He may have made up his own. We do not know. (There is more then one style in the Psalms.)

            I believe the big concern is that the lyrics of many of today’s songs (as it also was with some in the past) are watered down, emotion centered, self-centered, and in some cases, straight up heresy. (I do not know any off the top of my head, but “The Eagle Song” by the Imperials is so wrong that I would consider it heretical. Didn’t stop Christian bookstores from handing out many copies of that song.)

            *An aside* I also don’t remember the last time we sang Song of Solomon in church. Or Esther.

            Also, the point of this article is to say that the author believes that there are some songs that we probably shouldn’t sing in church, not that we should throw it all out. I’m pretty sure more then 10 songs have been written in the last 30 years. You do realize that this is not an attack on your preferences, but an attempt to show that we as a church may need a little discernment? We may need to reflect on how we are worshipping, to ensure it is in the mind and spirit, and not completely based on emotion and being carried away by music. <- to the point that we don't care about the lyrics, we want the emotional high.

            *So how is your day today?

          • fromoverhere

            My day is cloudly and cold. Far away from home. Thanks.

            Yes we need discernment, but I believe in the local church.

            I dont think the elders of a local church need to have a gal saying that they should not sing a song in church because it says the name Yahweh. What?

            Sure she can say it all she wants. It just carries no weight.

            By her above criticisms…..many of the psalms would not make it into worship (repetitive, dont have the “full” story, too about “me”).

            Remember Ps 26? David is “I do this and I do that….” and the Lord He mentions is Yahweh.

          • Ralph A Jansen

            It is quite possible that many of the psalms didn’t make it into the service. As for David mentioning Yahweh, I don’t remember Lord being in capital letters all the way across. (Which is how some translations delineate whether it was Yahweh or not. There are a few words that are translated as Lord.) It could be, I don’t have it sitting right here right now.

            Besides, it isn’t the elders choice, it is ultimately the pastor’s choice. After all, before God it is the pastor who has his head on the block, not the elder’s. The pastor is the final word on what goes on because God holds the pastor accountable, no one else. Discernment is important.

  • Cody Rogers

    90% of this article is about how certain songs aren’t deep enough or invoke too much emotion. This article also takes some lyrics out of context just to criticize them. I think the comment on “One Thing Remains” wraps up how useless this article is.

    It is our job as worship leaders to take our people on a journey from gathering, to remembrance, to pure ascription (as God’s people did when they ascended the hill towards the temple). Songs such as “One Thing Remains” are great songs of remembrance. Every week, hurt people walk through church doors. The need to be reminded that someone is bigger out there and he never gives up on us is great. The fact that some of these songs don’t say Jesus or God in them is fine because they should be in the context of a worship service, where songs surrounding them contain those things and where we as worship leaders are tying those things together to bring our people to truly worship him. When people walk into church, they know they are in a church. Even the unsaved know that we are singing to God when the music starts on a Sunday morning. The fact that this article mentions vagueness and how it can be taken as “wanting to make out in the bushes” is just useless criticism when you put these songs in context of how they will be used. Worship music isn’t like walking into a starbucks where you get to choose what you want and criticize the choices you didn’t like. God works across all his churches in different ways to suit his unique creations.Get off your pedestal and serve your people, not yourself.

    • Ralph A Jansen

      The last person on earth that we need to hear a response to such an article is a worship leader. Who is the first person that goes if such things are removed from the church…the worship leader. (Good job keeping up the job security.)

      (Yes that was a little sarcasm, but everyone should know that the last person you should go to for comment is someone who is directly affected by criticism.) They are going to fight to keep what they like, or to keep their job… When it is a discussion on theology and the proper way to worship, that is the last thing you want to hear.

      • Keshia Kan

        way to go in dismissing opinion! so kind of you.

      • Cody Rogers

        If the subject was related to the teaching of doctrine or the preaching of God’s word, would the last person you go to be a Pastor? Certainly not. This article has nothing to do with removing worship from the church, in fact it is talking about how to regulate certain styles of worship within a church (nothing to do with job security). The first person you want to read this article is the worship leader of your church, and certainly it should be the person you are most anticipating to hear feedback from. God has appointed them to shepherd there people in that area of ministry. What would the point of this article be if everyone but the person choosing songs read it? I’m sorry to see that you have such a low opinion of how your worship pastor/leader affects the people of the church. When it is a discussion on theology and the proper way to worship, the first person that should be contacted is the one shepherding your people in that area. Gordon Fee once said “Show me a church’s songs and I’ll show you their theology.” Worship matters, and what your worship leader is feeding your people certainly matters as much as what your Pastor is feeding them. Truth is truth whether in the form of a song or a monologue.

        • gondolin25

          Ralph is reacting to a title that is a bit superfluous. Acts shows only a few specific ordinations in the church. Apostleship, which has passed away, Overseers and deacons. Elders and pastors fall under the category of overseer. Where does “worship leader” come in. I respect some of what you said because I rejoice to hear you compare the church in worship to Israel ascending Zion. That’s a great redemptive historical perspective. But I do believe, a little more charitably than Ralph perhaps, that you are still hampered by the framework of your own experience. Keep up the good work and while your at it, pick up a copy of Michael Horton’s “A Better Way”

      • Cody Rogers

        If the subject was related to the teaching of doctrine or the preaching of God’s word, would the last person you go to be a Pastor? Certainly not. This article has nothing to do with removing worship from the church, in fact it is talking about how to regulate certain styles of worship within a church (nothing to do with job security). The first person you want to read this article is the worship leader of your church, and certainly it should be the person you are most anticipating to hear feedback from. God has appointed them to shepherd there people in that area of ministry. What would the point of this article be if everyone but the person choosing songs read it? I’m sorry to see that you have such a low opinion of how your worship pastor/leader affects the people of the church. When it is a discussion on theology and the proper way to worship, the first person that should be contacted is the one shepherding your people in that area. Gordon Fee once said “Show me a church’s songs and I’ll show you their theology.” Worship matters, and what you worship leader is feeding your people certainly matters as much as what your Pastor is feeding them. Truth is truth whether in the form of a song or a monologue.

      • Sonia Spooner

        That’s a ridiculous comment. Most worship leaders are volunteers. They are leaders in the same capacity as small group leaders, Bible Study leaders and Sunday School teachers. If they are in a paid position most often they went to seminary to study both music and THEOLOGY. If they aren’t in a paid position the same standards in scripture about – watching life and doctrine, being called to a higher standard and being judged more harshly apply to them. Worship leaders should love theology because theology precludes doxology which is the very nature of the role of worship leader to – to lead the people to glorify God in song. The reason so many worship leaders are commenting here is because the article is pretty much aimed at them, it’s critiquing songs they lead, songs their pastors like etc.
        I’ll give this article one really, REALLY good thing. It’s caused me to pause and think again about the depth of what we sing and the importance that the songs we sing do glorify God. I may disagree with most of the list but the truth of the article remains. What we sing DOES matter. I commend Corrie for that.

      • Pastor Chris

        Are worship pastors incapable of understanding theology?

  • Tracie Holladay

    OK so we know what songs are not wanted. Which ones are better ones? Name some songs that would be far better to sing.

    • Dempy

      I can think of plenty. “Jesus With Thy Church Abide,” “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” “Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah,” “In Christ Alone” (there’s a contemporary one for you), “And Can it Be?” “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” “Grace Greater than Our Sin,” “The Sands of Time are Sinking,” the entire Book of Psalms (which can be found in hymnal editions), and pretty much everything in the Trinity Hymnal.

      And if you think they’re too old-fashioned for millennials, the university I attended has a Reformed University Fellowship chapter that packs 400 students into an auditorium every week to sing the old standards. They do so in a contemporary style, but the lyrics written before the days of alter calls and charismatic theology do not bore young people as you might think.

      • Ralph A Jansen

        I think they meant modern songs. There are a few that are good, like Awesome God by Rich Mullins. Of course, you have to sing the verses too or you lose the complete meaning of the song. Rich Mullins wrote some REALLY good worship music, and if you want something a little deep, try Steve Camp’s album Mercy in the Wilderness. (A good contrast to what people today call worship music. “Christ Died for God” and “We Stand in Grace” are really good. Though I am sure these people would rather not sing those.

    • Ralph A Jansen

      Reasonable Service by Terry Taylor…look that one up.

  • Ross Walters

    I can’t even read that. I just skimmed some of his viewpoints on each song. This post will completely backfire. God is going to protect His prophets. There was a purpose for those songs being written and released into the earth. Im offended by this.

    • Ralph A Jansen

      I can’t even read that. You should read it. The purpose of the article is to speak of worshiping God. What if the purpose for the songs being released was evil? Not everything is good. Wolves in sheep’s clothing and all.

      (In other words, you should consider studying this topic of feelings towards this kind of worship music IN THE CHURCH, before being offended, or you may find God offended at you at the end of time. The issue is not music today, but what is being permitted through the doors of the church and into our worship. Is God pleased, or does it give Him an earache? Does God believe He is your boyfriend/girlfriend?

  • Ross Walters

    I bet his wife Patty cringes a lot. Grow up.

  • Trinity Bernhardt

    I disagree with most of these. Many of these songs were the ones I sang when I was first building a relationship with Jesus and are some of my favorites. Even as a visitor I never questioned whether “In the Secret” was appropriate or wondered who I was singing about. Songs like “All that Remains” and “Above All” remind us that God loves and values us. Lyrics like “and in His presence my problems disappear” speak to the fact that whatever we go through its nothing compared to His power and glory and we needn’t fear. It doesn’t mean life is perfect. It’s poetic like most music. Even the Bible engages in poetic verses. Songs that declare “I will go” or other promises are trying to teach us to say yes. I dont think God is branding us all liars because we fail to live up to it. If we sang only based on what we could or would do corporate worship would become depressing. Not every song has to be theologically perfect or just perfect period. While I do believe the church needs to self evaluate I believe most of these criticisms are based on a religious and critical Ideal that is harmful in many ways. Some of the concerns are somewhat understandable though, like the song about His name. To do something that so many see as disrespectful in an attempt to respect God seems backward and the “sloppy wet kiss” is just plain awkward.

    • Ralph A Jansen

      This goes back to Uzziah and the Ark of the Covenant. God told the Jews exactly how to handle the Ark of the Covenant. The Philistines captured the Ark, and saw it as a religious item, worthy of respect. (Especially after people were dying and such) They sent the Ark of the Covenant back to Israel on a cart drawn by oxen. They didn’t know any better. Nothing happened. When King David went to have the Ark taken to Jerusalem, they used a cart drawn by oxen. The Ark appeared as though it was going to fall, so Uzziah moved to straighten it out…and God struck him dead. Why did it happen? Because the Jews were told exactly how the Ark was to be moved from place to place, and they did not obey. Someone died. With God, everything is serious. So the question is, do these songs belong in the worship service in our church? There is no issue if it is on your personal play list, but does it belong in the church service? Could it be an insult to God, us not giving Him our best? If corporate worship becomes depressing, you are not focused on God but yourself. You just said in His presence my problems disappear. Depression is a problem, but apparently if worship isn’t how you like it, God isn’t strong enough to make it disappear. Your focus is too much on yourself, and not enough on God.

      • Trinity Bernhardt

        You have a point and for those who have a healthy relationship with God it probably wouldn’t matter, but look at the only reason the first two songs were put on the list; because visitors could misinterpret or misuse the songs. In fact the song about problems disappearing in His presence is the same argument. Those who know the Bible or have lived the Christian life know that it doesn’t actually erase the problem yet this line is still Biblical. The Bible states that God delivers those who call on Him from all their troubles; without understanding that verse alone might make a visitor draw the conclusion that the Christian life is trouble free. It is always about context. A worship song alone cannot explain the entirety of the gospel or capture the greatness of God. It cannot reach the depth with which we want to follow Him, nor reveal fully the weakness inherent in us all. It is why we have preaching and teaching as well. All that truly matters is the heart of the writer and the one who sings it. You share a valuable story, but it also a story from the time when only the High Priest could enter into His presence. A time when every action was weighed against us. Jesus came so we don’t have to fear His presence and if we maintain an atmosphere where we are constantly critical of how people express that love and the slightest variance from true, theologically correct worship matter is condemned we risk trampling on that Grace. I have no doubt this was written from a good place, but most of these objections have more to do with personal preference than biblical standard.

  • Kevin Peterson

    I agree with all 10 of these for the reasons stated, and there are 10 more that could easily be added.

  • Palmer

    silly young girl. When I was a young seminary student had a professor that said the same sort of things. I was foolish enough to follow his advice at my first church. The “people” admonished me. The songs she mentions speak to the heart of many. As she grows up she will realize that. what moves people is not the head theology that she so obviously attached too.

    • Ralph A Jansen

      The heart is the seat of the EMOTIONS. You just told the author she is right. God is worshiped in spirit and in truth. The MIND, the head as you say it, not the emotions. Come let us REASON together. It is in the mind. Use a little discernment.

  • Paula Coyle

    Even if you change “sloppy wet kiss” to “unforeseen kiss” the rest of the song still sounds like a woman getting ravaged in the field, like every poorly written trashy romance novel I’ve ever read. Gag me.

    • Sonia Spooner

      Paula I beg you stop. Please stop and think about how and why that song was written before you continue to bash it. In light of the fact that it was not written as a worship song but a testimony of God’s faithfulness in the midst of grief. It was written as the authors way of grieving the loss of his fellow youth leader and best friend in a tragic accident …he wrote ‘How He Loves’ The scriptural thought referenced is when Jesus comes to Mary and Martha after Lazuras dies. He sees his friends grieving and weeps and the people around him remark ‘see how he loved him.’ The author is singing about God’s love for his people even in the midst of their grief and unbelief and your comments seem so insensitive in view of that. I certainly hope that no one remarks ‘gag me’ or ‘a woman getting ravaged in the field’ about a song written for my funeral. We jump on a chat forum and suddenly nothing about preferring one another or acting in love applies. I’m assuming you didn’t know any of that or you would have phrased your critique a little more gently.

  • sb

    Well, the same could be said for many hymns. I can’t truthfully sing the line, “years I spent in vanito and pride caring not my lord was crucified” because I grew up in a home where we loved Jesus. “And He walks with me, and He talks with me; and He tells me that I am His own. And the joy we share as we terry there; none other has ever known”. No one else had ever had fellowship with Jesus? “Savior, Savior,
    Hear my humble cry; While on others Thou art calling, Do not pass me by.” Huh? Jesus might pass me by while I am calling on him? Need I go on?

    • Ralph A Jansen

      No, you should star over. When you are not saved, those years are spent in vanito and pride. By not being saved you are saying you do not care that Christ was crucified. You cannot look at hymns like today’s worship music. They are not that shallow. They are actually very deep. The next hymn you have is actually not a good hymn because it is more a sloppy love song, but if you look at it right, no one knows what joy YOU share with Jesus. Everyone is different. (Notice again, the hymn is A LOT deeper then some of today’s incredibly shallow music.) The final hymn is an entreaty. Let’s see if you can use your keen mind to understand the depth of it.

      • sb

        WOW. Did you realize that I was speaking about me for the first song when I said the following: “I can’t truthfully sing the line”. As far as new songs being shallow, sure, there are some that are but for every new song which people painfully shred, there is a hymn that fits the bill. I don’t favor one over the other. We sing both at my congregation, so no big deal. I just don’t like people hating something because it’s new or they just don’t like it or we’ve never done it that way before. Isaac Watts denounced people who used to get up and leave when these “new” songs were sung. Here is the story. “Should we sing psalms or hymns in our church services? This was the controversy stirring many congregations during the 17th and 18th Centuries. Isaac Watts was the life-long champion of the ‘humanly composed’ hymn while the majority of the English-speaking churhes insisted on the traditional psalm settings. Tempers frequently flared, and some churches actually split in the heat of this decidedly unharmonious musical conflict. In some churches a compromise was reached. The psalm setting would be sung in the early part of the service with a hymn used at the close; during which time the parishioners could leave or simply refuse to sing.

        Isaac Watts’ ‘Come, We That Love the LORD’ was no doubt written in part to refute his critics, who termed his hymns “Watts’ Whims”, as well as to provide some subtle barbs for those who refused to sing his hymns: ‘Let those refuse to sing who never knew our God; but children of the heavenly Kings may speak their joys abroad.’ The hymn first appeared in Watt’s Hymns and Spiritual Songs of 1707 and was titled ‘Heavenly Joy on Earth’.

        I hope we aren’t so rude when someone writes a song to God and sings it with all their heart. As far as the personal insult, I wouldn’t resort to such when discussing things of this nature. It ruins credibility.

        • Ralph A Jansen

          Personal insult? There are none in what I wrote. (I actually took the time to reread what I wrote.) As for favor, I would favor hymns (those that are tried and true) over new. One does not toss out the new, but given centuries of better songwriting (a few decades is not going to ever trump centuries), one must show discernment when it comes to how we worship. (What we sing.)

          Psalms will always be the gold standard for praise and worship music though. Paul tells us to sing both hymns and spiritual songs. He would be an expert on things that God wants from us in worship, and daily life. Another issue that people have is that the old hymns were written by pastors and theologians, not someone who just wrote a poem. That is why many of the old hymns we sing are so heavy on theology. As you wouldn’t want to choose a serial killer to give a speech on pacifism and the sanctity of life, someone who doesn’t have a full understanding of theology and the Bible should not be considered a gold standard when writing something that is used to worship God. What would God’s reaction be to what He knows is outright heresy? Would it just fall on the person who wrote it, or on everyone, including those who dared to sing it as truth?

          God is not a figurehead, He is active. Paul told the people at Corinthians that it is because some of their members partook of communion with sin in their hearts that some of their members had died or were sick. When it comes to God, worship, and salvation, everything must be done with discernment, reverence, and with much reflection.

  • chamragnar

    I’m sorry, but I have to point out… Jews didn’t leave the vowels out of the word Yahweh out of respect, they left the vowels out because the written form of ancient Hebrew LACKED VOWELS!
    I don’t know how this misconception got started, but it has become astonishingly pervasive for something that is so plainly nonsensical.

  • mtelesha

    <— Sharing Time (I always am honest when I ask anyone to clarify why they said something) I HATE this article and it is LINK BAIT (AKA to get people to click on a article for money AKA make money off of people being mad or self. There is plenty of songs to call to question Theologically and they never hit one of the top 200 problem songs.

    LINK BAIT

    My Problem with the article Personally
    You said
    “One Thing Remains” is theologically shallow. That was the song that A) carried my son to heaven B) Carried my wife and I through that time. C) One of the deepest theological songs ever is "Jesus Loves Me' and that is NEVER theologically deep? THe deepest part of our belief is that God loved us and sent his son.

    I would LOVE to sit down with the author and talk about how this is 100% link bait. It actually tramps on some songs that some people hold dare. I don't think she would like me to say she called me Theologically shallow when I say that "One Thing Remains" helped my son (at 12 with bone cancer) and my family through his death. Also helps that I have degree in Theology. Maybe I should go through her articles and correct herwhen he is shallow or wrong???? That isn't right and I find this very sad and self serving.

    SORRY!!!

    Also when I learned to read Hebrew (2 years) I did not use YHWH but no where in scripture does it say not to use the name. It is a tradition and well a pretty neat tradition to remember to honor the LORD, but that tradition also does not allow the writing of G_d or saying of that word.

    LINK BAIT ARTICLE

    • Ralph A Jansen

      (quoted from you)
      “My Problem with the article Personally
      You said
      “One Thing Remains” is theologically shallow. That was the song that A) carried my son to heaven B) Carried my wife and I through that time. C) One of the deepest theological songs ever is “Jesus Loves Me’ and that is NEVER theologically deep? THe deepest part of our belief is that God loved us and sent his son.”

      Did you read the article? They speak of emotion, and that the song seems given more into emotion then theological depth. (Which may explain why the song fit perfectly into your emotional event.) The author then says that this makes it appear fake. (The emotionalism it brings up, is it due to the mind being fully engaged, or is it fake and solely emotion with no thought.) Your emotional event does not make the song theologically deep, not so much as it makes it an emotional song that seem to have balanced out your emotional event. Now, does Jesus Loves Me evoke the same emotional response in you as One Thing Remains? How well would Jesus Loves Me have gotten you through your emotional struggle. Could Jesus Loves Me have carried you the same way? If not, then perhaps the author was right? It does not make the song a bad song, it just brings into question as to whether it should go from personal listening likes into the worship service. You can listen to it all you want, sing it to yourself all you want, but should it be a part of the worship service that worships God, if it is emotionally based?

      • mtelesha

        There is nothing deeper then the emotion of love and theological that God loves us even though we have always fallen short. Unless your theology is that God chooses the redeemed and then His love does come just as a lottery pick and you won. That lottery win love seems kind of like he is just lonely a little bit????

        • Ralph A Jansen

          You say you have a degree in theology, but you seem to have it all mixed up. God chose the redeemed (he doesn’t choose, because He has already chosen). We cannot save ourselves. Only God can save us. There are none that seek God, no not one. All have turned and gone their own way. God comes to us, and it is by His Spirit’s stirring and regeneration of our Spirit that we are saved. A surprise reaction to seeing and understanding Spiritual truth. We cannot hope to understand things of the Spirit, unless we are of the Spirit, and that doesn’t happen until after regeneration. (So how are we regenerated?) As for talking about it as lottery win love, are you sure you have a degree in actual theology? Theology is VERY deep, and that is quite shallow. (John Calvin was anything but shallow. Even Arminius had only great things to say about Calvin’s commentaries.)

  • Bear Lemke

    In my personal experience, it’s usually the religious church-ianity people that are the most uncomfortable and offended by songs and lyrics such as these. Best part about this article: the links to the worship songs on youtube 😉 -Brother Bear

    • Ralph A Jansen

      Actually it is those who believe the worship of God is important. They don’t say you can’t listen to this music, it is evil. They are saying that we need to be careful of how we worship God. (Would you care if a song you sang in church was considered an insult to God, by God?) It is more a call to discernment, something that is much lacking in the church today.

      • Bear Lemke

        I kinda see your point. However, there is a grand difference between “discernment” and “concernment”. What this article proclaims is that these songs aren’t “worth” singing in worship to God. It addresses “problem lyrics” in which it would appear more that the writer is personally uncomfortable singing such intimate lines to her god. Not so much that she is worried about insulting him (as if god could be insulted by man in the first place…). I understand your heart in that you desire to bring him pure, true, and sincere worship. Thats beautiful! But fussing over song lyrics because they make the singer uncomfortable (which honestly, is most likely the weird fallen nature stuff being called out by holy spirit, who only desires to make us new by bringing us into deeper union with himself – love) surely isn’t the way to go about it. Always promote a “pro” campaign, never an “anti” campaign.

        • Ralph A Jansen

          The issue is do we need it in church? Your own personal playlist…no problem. But is it something that should be present in our worship service? We have a hymnal, but if we were to gather all hymns ever written from the beginning of the Church Age, I’m not sure how many warehouses you would need. There have been songs throughout the ages that have not been accepted to be used in worship for many different reasons. Some of those reasons are present in the article. (Not theologically deep, down right wrong, emotional, etc.) Why do people not want to exercise the same level of discernment with are star studded rock songs? It’s popular, let’s sing it in church. Yes, but does it have any actual value in our worship, when our worship has God as its focus, not us or our emotions?

          • fromoverhere

            Once again your question is relative “but does it have any actual value in worship?”

            I am afraid that if you cannot find Scriptural parameters for measuring “value” then it will always be your preference over someone else’s.

            I certainly encourage you on a personal level! You are so RIGHT that each person needs to deal with these questions on a personal level (and a father for his family). But your assessment of value imposed on others is another matter…..

          • Ralph A Jansen

            How does discernment have anything to do with personal preference? There is truth in scripture. There is heresy and non-truth in songs. There are songs that are vapid, which means something you really shouldn’t be bringing forward as your best to the King of the Universe in worship. Your own personal song, your own personal playlist, no problem. But showing up to a royal wedding in cutoff shorts and a tank top, while it is clothing, is far from proper. (In a parable, Jesus said the Master told his servants to throw out the person who was not dressed properly for the wedding into the darkness.)

            We must use discernment, prayer and reflection before allowing just anything into our worship. (I like some praise and worship, and there are songs I think are perfect for worship, just not that many.)

          • fromoverhere

            Ralph, I see that you like some praise and worship songs…..but I am afraid that what you like, allow, and think appropriate would be considered “vapid” by many in this discussion.

            Which is why grace is always a good idea.

            Imagine you are driving with your family to someone’s house after church, and all of you (wife and kids) are in agreement that the worship was beautiful, appropriate, and God-honoring. You are basking in the majesty of God and His love.

            You arrive at your host’s house (who attends church with you), and he does nothing but rant at how “vapid” and childish ….and “love song-ish” the worship was today.

            Which one of you has a problem?

          • Ralph A Jansen

            Here are two songs I think are good for church: (First is country rock)
            (written by Terry Taylor of Daniel Amos, Swirling Eddies, Lost Dogs, etc.):

            In every soul an altar stands, there on dwells all in the heart of man, oh consuming fire lay waste the dross, upon this table purge us, though the sacrifice we fear, forsake us not Lord draw us near, for we never fail to find You here, in our reasonable service.

            And the least that we can do, is the least that you require, living sacrifices on the sacrificial fire, cleanse these earthen vessels Lord, of every false desire, and when we fail to do the least, help us in our unbelief.

            And in the measure of our faith, let our minds keep on renewing, not conforming to this world, until this world’s undoing, and by your tender mercies Lord, your perfect will pursuing, we become an offering, made holy through our suffering.

            And in the servitude of love, drifts a fragrant scent well pleasing, as the strength of grace compels us on to worship without ceasing, to count as loss all we hold dear, is Christ in us increasing, and through the fire gold will remain, to live is Christ, to die is gain.

            Christ died for God
            (written by Steve Camp)

            Christ died for God and God was satisfied with Christ, pure, unblemished sacrifice, oh Son of Grace. For who are we to boast not of works that we have done, but by faith in God’s own Son we are saved

            And we cry Holy, Worthy is the Lamb, God’s love revealed to man in the earth, And we cry Holy, Glory to the King, Through Whom salvation brings the new birth.

            Christ died for God and God has made Him Lord of all, for he drank the bitter gall, the cup of wrath, but he rose in majesty that grace might reign through righteousness, Blessed obedience, our Sabbath rest.
            ——–
            As for your situation, the host may have a point. Time to rethink how one worships God. It is not about basking in the majesty of God and His love, but about bringing glory to God and praising Him. (It’s not about us, it’s about Him.) Hence…discernment. If everything is on being able to bask in the majesty of God and His love, even heresy would be okay if afterwards you were basking in the majesty of God and His love. Except that you have just replaced God with a God of your own making. Hence…discernment.

  • aaron lopez

    John Mark Mcmillan explains the idea in the lyric, “Heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss”
    The idea behind the lyric is that the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of earth converge in a way that is both beautiful and awkwardly messy. Think about the birth of a child, or even the death of Jesus himself. These miracles are both incredibly beautiful and incredibly sloppy (“gory” may be more realistic, but “Heaven meets earth like a gory mess” didn’t seem to have the same ring). Why does the church have such a problem with things being sloppy? Do we really think we’re fooling anyone on Sunday morning, especially God? Are we going to offend him? I mean, he’s seen us naked in the shower all week and knows our worst thoughts, and still thinks we’re awesome. What if we took all the energy we spent faking and used that energy to enjoy the Lord instead? That could be revolutionary!

  • aaron lopez

    John Mark Mcmillan explains the idea in the lyric, “Heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss”
    The idea behind the lyric is that the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of earth converge in a way that is both beautiful and awkwardly messy. Think about the birth of a child, or even the death of Jesus himself. These miracles are both incredibly beautiful and incredibly sloppy (“gory” may be more realistic, but “Heaven meets earth like a gory mess” didn’t seem to have the same ring). Why does the church have such a problem with things being sloppy? Do we really think we’re fooling anyone on Sunday morning, especially God? Are we going to offend him? I mean, he’s seen us naked in the shower all week and knows our worst thoughts, and still thinks we’re awesome. What if we took all the energy we spent faking and used that energy to enjoy the Lord instead? That could be revolutionary!

  • krfoshay

    I believe that every church has a unique fingerprint of God and they do not all look the same. I attend a church that proclaims the gospel and worship is vibrant. Yes, some of these songs are used and because they were put on the heart of our worship leader by God I’m fully confident that they are what He wants us to use in worshiping Him. They are always in the context of the gospel and His great love for us. In other settings I have found these songs almost meaningless because it isn’t the message God is speaking to His church. I think these songs were written by people who love God with everything they have and this article is kind of judging what God was putting in their spirit about Himself

  • Jesse

    how about the real problem with Church is Jesus never had a building
    where he preached Wed. night practiced for worship Thurs. night and had
    service Sun. morning. Church is not a building worship is not songs and
    true preaching is not a pastor preaching to believers but rather to non
    believers. We need to get away from the Church being a building and
    understanding it is the body of Believers, and understanding that
    worship is not music we sing to God but a lifestyle of sacrificing to
    Christ. We as Christ followers got more time to be critics than to be
    Jesus to hell bound lost sinners. Lets all agree —— lets all wake up
    and stop marketing our business calling it a “church” and go just do
    what Jesus did…….. The American church is failing for this simple
    reason Church is more of a business than it is a body of believers
    seeking the lost. If by chance you can show me in the Bible where Jesus
    Christ had a building called a church and that he had worship at every
    Sunday morning and Wednesday evening then please respond. if you can not
    find that then lets change this problem together. Lets Stop being
    critics take your Sunday mornings away from your shopping mall church
    mentality and go share the gospel with the lost and continue to live in
    worship giving your life as a living sacrifice to Jesus Christ. God
    bless

  • Danika Reid

    I think that if you apply this reasoning to more than just the 10 songs, we wouldn’t have anything left to sing. And i feel like a lot of the reasoning loosely translates to “this song is too deep for the first time church – goer.” I don’t think we should be shy about our worship just so first timers feel comfortable. There’s nothing comfortable about your first church service. But I think a few of those songs are the reason many people stay in the church. It’s the passion behind them. They show the relationship with God that people in the church should have. If we were to only sing about the resurrection and everyday Christian life, those songs would be very repetitive, boring, and passion – less. I think we need deep songs, passion filled songs, because they are meant to be sung out of a love or a yearning for being close to God, and to feeling him.

  • Jesse

    how about the real problem with Church is Jesus never had a building
    where he preached Wed. night practiced for worship Thurs. night and had
    service Sun. morning. Church is not a building worship is not songs and
    true preaching is not a pastor preaching to believers but rather to non
    believers. We need to get away from the Church being a building and
    understanding it is the body of Believers, and understanding that
    worship is not music we sing to God but a lifestyle of sacrificing to
    Christ. We as Christ followers got more time to be critics than to be
    Jesus to hell bound lost sinners. Lets all agree —— lets all wake up
    and stop marketing our business calling it a “church” and go just do
    what Jesus did…….. The American church is failing for this simple
    reason Church is more of a business than it is a body of believers
    seeking the lost. If by chance you can show me in the Bible where Jesus
    Christ had a building called a church and that he had worship at every
    Sunday morning and Wednesday evening then please respond. if you can not
    find that then lets change this problem together. Lets Stop being
    critics take your Sunday mornings away from your shopping mall church
    mentality and go share the gospel with the lost and continue to live in
    worship giving your life as a living sacrifice to Jesus Christ. God
    bless

  • Seth

    There are ways you could have written this article that could have sparked a healthy conversation. Instead, you made this seem aggressive and condemning, which leaves more room for anger and frustration.

  • Heidi Kortman

    I am not fond of the lyrics of Cohen’s Hallelujah (the tune is beautiful), which turn out to be a mashup of two Bible stories. I prefer a version by Cloverton, which at least keeps a set of Christmas lyrics straight. Another song that has irritated me for years is Broken and Spilled Out, by Gloria Gaither. Jesus blood was not used up and wasted.

  • Zach R

    Can’t anyone worship God in the way that they want? If you want to jump and dance and run around in church, go ahead (if it’s doesn’t bother the other members) as long as you’re doing so with the idea of worshiping Him. If you want to sing these songs, as long as you’re doing so in the mindset of praising Him, go ahead. If there’s biblical proof to refute the idea that any sort of worship is acceptable so long as it is made about God and not yourself, please share, because I’d be curious.

    That said, somewhat interesting read, I don’t agree with many of them, because I feel like no song is perfect (except maybe Who Am I. That song’s pretty great XD) someone somewhere is going to have a gripe with some song. If you don’t like it, deal with it, because there are tons of people out there who do like it.

  • icedragon101

    As a read this article I could not help but see the obvious theological bias, the author has bought into one side of the theological debate, God’s Transcendence (sovereignty) vs. God’s immanence (personal closeness). He come down very clearly on the side of the transcendence of God, most of these people who come take this postion, hate the personal relationship side of theology, this was very evident in his comments about the song “Above All”. He said that Jesus was motivated by personal greed to come to earth and that it is completely selfish act on the part of Jesus to come die on the cross. This is the great news about Jesus in Christ the sovereignty & the Personal closeness have met. When you Get Jesus you get BOTH. These two are not opposed.

  • mrsgayle

    There are to many teen camp songs in worship with not much meaning to them…just a lot of repeating over and over.

  • David Stair

    How about The Psalter and the Hymnal and not instruments. Bet you can’t even fathom the thought.

  • Anne Stroud

    I get where you’re coming from, and I’ve been there. But God has taught me that I have no right to judge worship songs that I don’t particularly like, because they are WORSHIP songs. It’s not about making me happy, it’s about praising God for who He is and thanking Him for what He has done. There is not a single song on earth that could fully contain all that God has given to us. And not a single one of these songs contradicts the Bible.
    Articles like this don’t accomplish anything good. They just cause division, hurt and judgement in the Church.

  • Anne Stroud

    “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. ” -John 17:20-21
    We disagree, that’s fine. We all see things from different perspectives, and that’s part of the reason why being a part of the Body of Christ is so awesome!
    But let’s have unity in the essentials and tolerance in the non-essentials. We’re family, and a public page on the internet isn’t a good place to discuss family matters 🙂

  • Russ Wilder

    There are a bazillion worship songs and hymns, if we start to sensor the ones “without a lot of theological depth”, we’re gonna be in trouble. Does God need us to say His name in a song for Him to know to whom we’re singing?

    • Striker10

      Yes, we have to verbally address God because God is not omnipotent enough to know who we are otherwise talking about.

  • Elder Greg

    I agree with the criticism of songs that are akin yo pop love songs. And I agree that dongs should be theologicaly correct. However to he critical of a song because its not “deep” enough is like criticizing a daily Bible verse ap. Its not meant to be be! Something stated simply is sometimes the most successful. Also I’ve notice that evey blog or post like this is glaringly absent of one thing… criticism of black Christian artists, psalmists and song writers who’s music and songs are filled with repetitive lyrics. Though I’m not black our church is very diverse (60% white 40% black). Our church history I’d filled with the songs of black hymnists. They tent to be theologicaly simple and very repetitive. However they are st the same time powerfully spiritual. My point is that modern worship music’s real problem is a lack of spiritual depth. Just my opinion.

  • Si Apit

    The writer of this article is a self centered, judgemental asshole… yeah I said it … let God’s people enjoy what they like, let them enjoy the true freedom that God has given unto them. Who cares about theology? If proper theology can cure the sicknesses that’s found inside churches, then America wouldn’t be the shape that she’s in right now. God deals with His Own People with His Own Ways and it always takes this theologically trained dumb-ass to criticize everything… it’s better for a Christian to sing a theologically incorrect song instead of singing worldly song…

  • Cesna

    I’m sorry I don’t to be rude but what this article seems to me is that you just over think those lyrics or song because it is almost bordering to being legastic. Yes I get the point that worship song should be able God and that is right and isn’t that what worship is but a worship cannot encompass everything about God, particularly it focuses on a specific nature or divinity of God. May these songs may lack “theological depth” if that what you want but it doesn’t mean that they are entirely wrong because the lyrics cannot be seen directly in the Bible. Trty to look at the principle first behind the song that is important in making judgments. Thank you and I hope you’ll be open in this kind of suggestions.

  • Kevin Huntsinger

    This article is a bit shallow to be honest. We have to understand that it is completely ok to have songs with deep theological depths and songs that insight the child in us as we worship the father. There is something to be said about simplicity. Hymns can be extremely wordy until the chorus or refrain. Saying Hymns is the answer is like saying the KJV is the only bible we should be reading from

    • Amy Robillard

      Someone did actually say that in these comments, Kevin. This discussion has gone completely off the rails. It has made me sad, angry, ashamed, appalled, and confused… sometimes all at once. No wonder the world isn’t beating down the doors of the church to get in!

  • Joshua Nevelizer

    I agree with the argument against Above All; Christ was primarily living for the glory of God. Yes, He thought of us as He was dying on the cross, but He was first and foremost obeying the will of the Father (look at Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane). But for Lord I Lift Your Name On High, I think it’s nice to have a song that’s repetitive once in a while. Additionally even though heaven is not specific to the sky, it’s an image of how high God is above us and is not meant to be taken literally. Not sure about “skipping” the Resurrection though; I’d always assumed it was the assumed in the lyrics but I could be wrong. Thirdly for Jesus We Celebrate Your Victory, I always thought the point of that line was to say that compared to the joy of knowing Christ these problems are so minute. Perhaps the wording there could be better. All the other songs I’m not familiar with.

  • Mark Young

    I could not disagree any more with this article.

  • http://quickanddirtyworshipleader.com/ Nathanael Schulte

    I have no problem with questioning the theological content of worship songs, but for the most part, I saw no criticism of substance in this article. Instead I saw many instances where lyrical simplicity was equated with lack of theological substance. Full disclosure, I lead worship in a Vineyard church, and I happen to be personally acquainted with the authors of many of these songs. Even the ones I’ve never personally met, I consider family, and I have a great deal of experience with the types of relationships with Jesus these songs were born out of.

    The intent of the article may not have been simply to offend and alienate, but I’m sorry to say I don’t think it’s done much else, especially based on the the nature of most of the comments I’ve seen in support of it.

  • Striker10

    Seems like the author has too much time on her hands. I’m glad Christians don’t have any bigger matters to tend to than the tunes sung for 20 minutes every Sunday morning.

  • James Marler

    There are problems with this song, yes. But I’d like to address “How He Loves.” When giving workshops or classes on songwriting I use this song often to demonstrate what I call the principle truth of songwriting: “Great Songs Are Not Written. They Are RE-written.”

    Yes, “sloppy wet kiss” is dumb. I get the point. We’re trying to demonstrate the wonderful passion of God’s presence. But, there is a lack of maturity in the lyric that is frustrating, ESPECIALLY when an alternative is so easy. I HATE “unforeseen kiss” even more than “sloppy wet” because it has the connotation of unexpected (maybe unwanted?) and not desired. And, honestly, have you ever had an “unforeseen” kiss? No. Maybe an unexpected kiss, but nobody would EVER call it an unforseen kiss. Normal people don’t talk like that.
    And what of that “easy fix” I mentioned? Try this one on for size: “So Heaven meets Earth like a passionate kiss…” Same number of syllables, it scans and percectly conveys the point.

    But it doesn’t end there. The line I REALLY hate is “when all of a sudden I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory.”

    No.

    No. NO. NO!

    You are not “suddenly unaware” if you are talking about it.

    How about instead “When all of a sudden, it all fades away, these afflictions eclipsed by glory.”

    It scans, it works, and its grammatically correct.

    Let’s try a little harder, people. God deserves better than your first draft.

  • johnpatterson

    this article is the worse form of judgmental better-than -thou
    christianity…. down here with the rubbish Christians like me i know
    many people whom God has deeply helped through this blessed
    songs…please tell me about Kingdom.. not how to whitewash my tomb..
    john

  • johnpatterson

    on the other hand..(see prev comment)..Corrie has gathered together videos of many of my favorite songs in one handy place so you have to be thankful for that! c;

  • Stephen Johnson

    These types of articles always seem to miss the mark. At it’s simplest, these songs (most of them at least) were written by people expressing something important to them about or to God. Millions of people have found them helpful for their own worship. The claim of the article is that since the author doesn’t like them (for various, mostly subjective reasons), then they should be done away with.

    In particular, each song can be defended and has it’s merits. The lack of mentioning God is a problem? Then throw out the book of Esther from the Bible. Uncomfortable lyrics that sound kind of gross and mistakable for teenage escapades? Throw out Song of Solomon, and many passages from the Pentateuch and the Prophets (English translations often “neuter” those embarrassing Hebrew idioms). Jesus vaguely going to the sky is unacceptable? Get rid of Acts 1. A Gospel rendition that isn’t complete and full in all it’s aspects? Get rid of almost every Gospel presentation in Scripture, including (and maybe especially) those proclaimed by Jesus himself.

    At some point, these complaints all fall on their faces when applied to the Bible itself.

    Not only that, but the vague cry of many to “bring back the hymns” is a joke. Many hymns are vapid. Many are theologically incorrect. Many have horrible music. On top of that, in many churches the hymns never went anywhere; they can’t come back.

    What might be more helpful would be the author sharing how she approaches the critique of songs in general (a necessary process…remembering that God is the one who prescribes what acceptable worship is) and what qualities she looks for. It also would be helpful for her to show some humility before the Body of Christ, which collectively determines what songs are most useful for her worship.

  • Jemelene

    “Really, I’m just not fond of this type of song in general ”
    This sums up the author’s point of view in this very telling line. It’s all about what does or does not make him comfortable.
    Sometimes coming before God isn’t comfortable. Sometimes it doesn’t cause us pleasure or the poetry doesn’t always make sense to an unpoetic mind.
    These songs have brought many into a place of worship and calm. They’ve been used to prepare hearts and minds to receive. They aren’t intended for instruction or teaching.
    It’s okay for us to have our own song preferences. Not everything is going to speak to everyone in the same way. It’s when those preferences get twisted into mandates that the Holy Spirit gets stifled.
    That’s what we could do away with.

  • matt nall

    This is hilarious.

  • Oddleiv Sandtorv

    I am a worship leader myself, and I could have added a number of songs to this list…
    Still…Have you tried to actually write some worship songs yourself?

    Please do try, and ask if you can start to use them in your church.
    I am sure you can come up with some God-centered, God honoring lines, that the rest of the Christian world would love to sing!
    I wish you all the best.

  • Substance22

    This article is just opinion. Everyone has one. I don’t happen to agree with the author or even the premise. And there is no need to have biblical basis for disagreement, since there is no real biblical basis to the article. “Open hand” issues.

  • Benjamin

    Although we don’t use any of these songs at our congregation, I do take issue with the rationale behind #3 for the following reasons:

    Psalm 22:22
    Ancient Hebrews used God’s name in their worship, it wasn’t until much later human tradition began to replace it with titles “out of respect” rather than His personal name.
    Jesus later reprimanded the religious leaders of his day for invalidating his Father’s law with their man-made traditions at Mark 7:13

    Psalm 148:18
    How could one praise His name without using it?

    Matthew 6:9
    The honoring of his name was of first and foremost importance in Jehovah’s sons eyes

    John 17:6, 26
    Jesus himself used and promoted others use his Father’s name

    Hebrews 13:15
    Using his name publicly is a form of praise

    Joel 2:32 and Romans 10:13
    Using his name, not a title such as Lord or God essential for redemption

    Replacing God’s name with “Lord” also leads to confusion in certain scriptures such as Psalm 110:1:

    “The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” – KJV

    Who is referring to who? It’s no different than replacing all male/female names with masculine/female or gender neutral pronouns.

    The Great Bible (1539) renders Jehovah in Psalm 33:12 and Psalm 83:18

    The Geneva Bible (1560) translates the Tetragrammaton as Jehovah in Exodus 6:3, Psalm 83:18, Jeremiah 16:21, and Jeremiah 32:18

    In the Bishop’s Bible (1568), the word Jehovah occurs in Exodus 6:3 and Psalm 83:18.

    The Authorized King James Bible (1611) renders Jehovah in Exodus 6:3, Psalm 83:18, Isaiah 12:2, Isaiah 26:4, and three times in compound place names at Genesis 22:14, Exodus 17:15 and Judges 6:24.

    Ultimately the Divine name is found nearly 7,000 times in original Hebrew manuscripts of the Old Testament. When would it be acceptable to remove an author’s name from their own work 7,000 times?

  • Al Kita

    This article is pretty sad. All that time spent telling people what not to listen to. “The songs are not theological enough or don’t always use God or Jesus in them.” Not all songs need to mention God or Jesus by name for someone to know who the song is being sung about. If you know the background or character of the person writing the song that should also shine some light onto who the song is being sung about. This article seems childish and petty, written by someone who is only interested in attracting followers to promote her own name. There is freedom in Christ to listen to whatever music one wants to listen to. Trying to censor what others listen do based on your own misunderstanding of these songs is more of a bondage. Try writing a good song for us with all of the attributes that you think all of these other songwriters are missing in theirs.

  • John Steven Dutton

    I find this article extremely strange. I am not going to make much of a comment but we worship God with our lives by how we live and how we respond to His Love. Some of that may involve singing in a church (a group of believers), some of it may be singing in the privacy of our lives. My favourite Worship Song is “I worship you almighty God; there is none like You.” King David was a man after God’s heart and God loved Him just as He loves us all who “were” or “are’ a bit lost in this journey through the world. Worship songs originally come from the heart. You only have to listen to the songs from Andre Crouch to realise that music is a gift from God and he worshipped in a big way which blessed and uplifted many because he always pointed everything back to God. Saying that “from the grave to the sky” is unbiblical is to me ridiculous. The sky is a metaphor for heaven and when I sing that song I know exactly what I am singing about. If Christians are not of this world the “sky” is a good analogy. Anyway, as someone who grew up immersed in a vibrant church, I am totally bemused by all this theological nonsense. Jesus came to liberate us and give us an abundant life which we celebrate through worship. He did not come to put us in chains and destroy our freedom of expression.”Whatever is pure and lovely etc. If the music and the lyrics exhibit that; I can see no problem. There is a very strong analogy between our human sexual relationships because Christ is portrayed as the bridegroom and the church as his bride. We do not live under the law; we are free to move towards perfection by the indwelling of His Holy Spirit. He promises to give us a new song and our true worship comes from the heart as we are thankful through His grace for His every day mercies. I don’t get why we are still singing the tunes of old-fashioned hymns. They were the pop songs of the day and they really do bore me. I don’t mind other people singing them and am not judging but just saying that singing “thou and thee” and so forth which are not even in my English vocabulary seems to me meaningless. God is bigger than the traditions and rituals we continue to perpetuate. He wants to do a New Thing because He makes all things new. And I am 54 years old next year, by the way but would still prefer so-called modern worship than the antiquated hymns.

  • Ta-da Kim

    Haters gonna hate.
    Isnt it the heart of worship that God sees?
    The heavy metal band Korn sings and plays songs with so many vile words but their hearts are completely devoted to God.
    I guess it is important to think corporately but no matter how corporate a worship may be, worship is still personal because we have a personal relationship with God. What’s the point of worship if you’re going to stand there worrying and judging whether if this song is acceptable or not and whats the point of personal relationship with our Father if we all need to feel and see and understand God in the same manner? You may not like all those songs but they speak strongly and some of those pieces of music would have definitely drawn some people closer to God.

  • Kayla Thomas

    This is the most pretentious, judgmental, and arrogant thing I have ever read. Yes, some of these lyrics could be twisted to mean something else, yet so could everything that’s been written. Only someone cynical and self-righteous would think, during worship, that these lyrics were talking about anything else but our love for God. God isn’t listening to hear his name, he’s looking at the heart of the person worshipping.
    If a new person hears, “I want to touch you, I want to see your face, I want to know you more.” and thinks it sounds like a love song, are we going to cut the song just because it makes them uncomfortable? What about certain verses that make people uncomfortable? Should we cut those too?

    And besides, isn’t that what these songs are—love songs from us to God? Why should we edit the words that pour out of our hearts for God—from God? These songs were written to praise God, everyone in the church knows that—we all know who we’re singing about. And when listening to the newest love song from someone like Taylor Swift, we all know she isn’t talking about God, even though the lyrics only mention ‘you.’

  • Dillan Agpoon

    theological depth? I agree with some of these arguments and some of the points on the list, but the songs without theological depth and lack of substance are songs sung from the heart by people truly in love with their god. The song “Draw Me Close” was written with nothing but good intention and speaks of drawing closer to God.

  • Dean Letfus

    It has to be said that this article is an insult not just to the men and women who God gave the songs to but also to a generation who has discovered daddys love and passion for him through most of these songs. This is almost a top ten intimate fall in love with God set.
    Tragedy that this has even been published. Grieves His heart when He just wants us to be consumed by His sloppy wet kiss. The groom longs for intimacy with His bride.

  • Interesting

    It’s a shame that our current culture has twisted how we imagine lyrics. Perhaps we should be questioning why people have such an awkward view of sloppy wet kisses – surely it is not from God.
    For me it evokes a powerful image of a deep love and desperation for union, apt for the metaphor the lyric is going for. Is everyone else just too immature to take it that way? :/

  • Ian Vanzant

    No idea why im throwing my two cents in on this one but its like 2 am, what the hell. As big of a fan as I am of theological accuracy, Im generally one to give a worship song the benefit of the doubt when it comes to Interpretation as long as its biblically accurate. A penny for anyone who can tell me what exactly will change by eliminating these 10 songs specifically. And here is a personal bit, get over yourselves with the sloppy wet kiss thing. Its an artistic raw expression, you don’t have to get it. Please Corrie Mitchell, do explain how the church is better off not reminding ourselves of the love of christ in the midst of pain through this song because of a line that you have a distaste for. Overall summary, its not a big deal, thank you kindly for the suggestion to stop singing these songs, my answer? Two words… No. 🙂

  • davidforeman

    This is a ridiculous, very religious, legalistic article. The author likely still attends an institutional club-meeting falsely called “church.” If ever there’s been an example of “straining at gnats while swallowing a camel,” this is it!

  • Dee

    I think this article is ridiculous. If people are praising God, who cares if the songs aren’t Oscar worthy. Author, are you sure you are a Christian?

  • Substance22

    Strange. I stumbled on this site, which seems to be about faith, sort of. It says it is “OnFaith”. Browsing, I see it has an atheist writing for it. Other articles are very wishy washy. Like mushy baby food. I guess it’s more for folks who don’t have faith.

  • Thetruthhurts

    Ick. Would you like some judgement with your legalism and religious combo?

    (1. and 2.) Who actually sings these anymore? Did you get confused when you heard them at church? Have you ever heard them in a club? Why were you in a club?

    (3.) Jewish people are…Jewish. Google it. They don’t know the correct vowels or pronunciation of YHWH. Neither do you. Should we also never speak the name of Jesus (or Yeshua), out of respect? What about “The Bible?” Shouldn’t we respect it? What about each other? We were made in, uh….That Guy’s image. Do I get to say my own name? Shouldn’t you at least spell Phil WhickHaM’s name correctly?

    (4.) Wow. Someone needs to go back to Sunday school. Heaven sure isn’t beneath us. Oh, I think you might have missed a few songs in your listicle.

    (5.) Ok, fine. He thought of me beneath His glory, but above all the tremendous pain of His passion, you don’t think He was thinking of mankind?

    6.) ‘“Wait, would I?” Would I really go to the ends of the earth?’ If God called you to do such a thing, you wouldn’t do it? Maybe you *should* think about that. Maybe we all should.

    7.) “Your love never fails, [it] never gives up, [it] never runs out on me.”
    If you fail to understand theological value or depth to this line, you need to take a long, hard look at yourself, and go back to the Gospel. Then, go back to the Gospel. After you’ve mastered that, go back to the Gospel. 30 years down the road, you should still keep going back to the Gospel. I mean this with absolute sincerity.

    8.) Never heard it. Read the lyrics, and learned that it was written in 1987. Yes, 1987. What were they thinking 28 years ago, that we should be generally happy about being free from our sin? Oh, the HARM!!! Good thing there aren’t any hymns like that…wait…

    9.) How presumptuous of the lyricist, right? Speaking FOR God. I’m sure God hates us all. /sarcasm

    10.) “Worship teams have been known to” perform the Crowder version. I’m so glad that you found the awkward part of the song that has influenced thousands or even millions of lives, which was written hastily by a grief-stricken man. No one else noticed that! Would you like a sticker?

    This article is shameful, unhelpful, and counterproductive. I have a feeling it was intentionally written that way. Not cool.

  • qwerty

    John Mark Mcmillan’s song was not written to be sung in church worship services. It was a response to the things that were happening in his life at that moment. I love the lyrics and the imagery in that song. Maybe you should criticize the leaders who use it in their services and not the song itself. There’s nothing wrong with it.

  • Coburn Ingram

    Tantezegger Corrie —

    I ran across this article when I was searching for “best new worship songs.” It bothered me, because it was one of the first search results. A lot of people are reading what you’ve written.

    And I’m not sure you’re going to be proud of writing it, later on. Instead of seeing worship as “one of the most powerful, moving ways in which a Christian responds to God,” people are seeing it as something people love to tear each other down about. The impression we’re leaving is of an army that can’t stop fighting among themselves.

    I’m as critical of certain songs as you are. But God has put me in a position where I can’t say much about it. And I’ve gradually come to see that as a good thing. Yesterday, as I was thinking about this, one of the most derivative, insipid pop worship songs of the last 40 years came on the radio. And you know what? One of the lines in it healed my heart just where it was hurting. Talk about a sloppy wet kiss.

    I’m so glad I never emailed the station to ask them to stop playing that song. I’m learning that this kind of criticism is not coming from the same place in my heart as my worship comes from. It echoes my own insecurity and unsettledness. I’m criticizing because something didn’t meet my need, whether that was for love, or for attention, or validation, or something else. Now, those needs are good, and God meets them in healthy ways. But I don’t think criticism is a means of grace for me.

    So, back to the army. My daughter and I were talking about this in the car yesterday. She laughed when I told her about what John Piper said (“He thought of his glory above all on the cross . . . . God always
    thinks of himself above us. He is always more important than us.”) And her response was classic. “I suppose that’s because it says in John 3:16 that ‘God so loved himself that he gave his only begotten son.'” Yeah, he’s not listening to himself speak.

    I really have trouble with men like Piper and McArthur, whom you quote in more than one article. They have a lot of respect in the Body of Christ, but they say many things that to me are ill-informed, illogical, and hurtful. Please don’t be offended if I use something you said as an example. You take exception to the use of the name “Yahweh” in a song. But, like those men, your logic is humanistic, not Biblical. Yahweh says, in Exodus 3.15, “This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.”

    It’s not a case of beautiful worship songs with rough edges. I fear that these guys are causing the name of Christ to be ill spoken of. If you take an informal survey, “Who’s the most judgmental preacher out there?” their names are going to come up often. And what are you doing in this article? Passing on their harsh and nit-picking attitude; God help us all.

    And does criticizing and condemning other Christians do any good? Paul says God gave him the authority “to build up and not to tear down. (2C 10.8, cf Jr 1.10)” In Ephesians, he says that God gave us apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,”

    Did that come out clearly? It says that one day we will “all attain to the unity of the faith.” Calvinists and Charismatics, Catholics and Coptics, Congregationalists and Quakers. My reading of Scripture says that will happen when we decide to “not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. (Rm 14.13)” Is that what we’re doing here? Is that what the teachers you are listening to are doing?

    Remember that even though God gave us these apostles and prophets and such, they are still human. Filter out the unloving and man-centered things they are saying, if you would.

    I feel like the two most important things you can do in response to this conversation are to learn to enter into worship yourself, and to go out of worship correctly when you are done. Don’t let criticism stick to your new self. Let it roll off you like water off a duck’s back. You, as a believer, are baptized in the Holy Spirit. Experience God in worship, and let the voices of petty criticism fade away. Don’t turn off your mind, but don’t turn off your emotions, either.

    And secondly, remember that worship isn’t the end of the story. Remember what Amos said (5.23f) “Take the hubbub of your singing away from me. I’m not listening to the plunking of your strings. Just let fairness roll in like waves, and integrity like a year-round stream. (my translation)” If we get back to what the Bible says about worship songs, it is really clear that God doesn’t even like them, if, as Psalty says with tears, we’re “not singing from the heart.” That is, if we don’t go out from worship and love each other and love a hurting world.

    This has a kind of personal poignancy for me. Yesterday I was also reading about the Wobblies, the labor movement in the early part of the last century. There is that famous song, “Pie in the Sky By and By,” which is a parody of a hymn. There is a line in there about the Jumpers. They take your money, it says, and they promise you that God can heal anything. They are “angel food” preachers, telling you that God will meet your needs with miracles, and meet them in the afterlife, but they don’t do anything useful for you now.

    My grandparents were part of that small but important movement, the Jumpers. They worshiped intensely, and they preached door to door and sold Scripture calendars, and joined a Christian community, and were sent out as missionaries. Now, they as a family also cared for the poor and needy, so I feel OK about that. But they — my family, my forebears — were part of a group that got a bad reputation, because they didn’t translate their vertical worship into horizontal love.

    Bottom line? I hope you can do something about this, because this article has a first-page ranking on Google, and it’s pretty damaging. You have criticized some excellent music for some pretty petty reasons. But it’s criticism, and it’s going to stick unless you do something. I as a Charismatic appeal to you, apparently a Calvinist. Let’s pull together on this. Let’s improve the reputation (let’s promote the glory) of Jesus Christ together.

    Thanks

  • GGPelon

    No. 7- I am so glad our Creator gave us emotions because life would be really boring without them! I John 4:19 “We love because he first loved us” If we don’t seek to understand his love we are going to have trouble loving him back.

  • beartooth777

    without a doubt this is one of the most idiotic, stupid and meritless things I have ever read; so wrong, so warped, so biblically illiterate, its breath taking

  • beartooth777

    In Isaiah God tells us forcefully “Yahweh” is His name. “I am the Lord (Yahweh in Hebrew) that is my name! I will not give my glory to another. Isaiah 42:8. The bible is for all mankind not just jews.

  • Les Mcc

    BOGUS. the author is just nitpicking for the sake of…Hmm….being nitpicky?

  • Russell Shields

    For the vast majority I agree with your points. There are a couple of the reasons you give I personally don’t have an issue with but ultimately worship is supposed to bring us closer to God, not put up barriers, and worship leaders need to recognise and respect that.

    Good on you for highlighting the need to think about what and why we sing!

  • Shawn McLaughlin

    The only problem I have with this article is that “I Could Sing of Your Love Forever” isn’t #1. Talk about a self-serving song. It is far more about the singer than anyone he/she is singing to.

  • Cyndy

    WOW. Talk about critical. What would Jesus say? HE would say he loves to hear those HE loves sing songs of praise, worship and adoration. Talk about legalism and making people walk away. Now we are going to get judgmental about worship music?

  • Joem

    Hello everybody, why there are christians chriticize christian? What motive do they have? Are there any command for christian to destroy other christian faith? We all are living by Grace! The command of Jesus was to love… Our neighbor and even our enemies, does this shows wat Love is? We don’t know the heart of other people and give judgement on them, these songs have change many youth life and they get to know God throgh it, i suggest, i think the better way is to consider what it is, if seems like you don’t wnat the lyrics, then don’t critic, instead make your own way to advance Gods Kingdom because we are all commissioned by Him ( JESUS CHRIST) check you own motives, check your heart, check your teachings. If your a conservative, considr others who are not, if you are old, consider those who are young and vice versa. We are here for others, not for ouselves or against fellow christians. Disciple other or win other by that way you are gifted at… Please stop critics, instead Grow in the Faith and help those who are weak. Don’t be to high if you have your phd or master degree of theology, remember we are all under Gods mercy and grace, judge uorselves instead of others.

  • archidude

    After reading Corrie Mitchell’s piece, I am tempted to think we (Christians) are a petty group offering no real value to a broken world. Those who are unchurched can deal with this kind of religion in any belief system. There is little truth and grace in this article, and the complaints registered reflect a profound lack of loving imagination. The article is worth a bit of push-back.

    Could it be we have lost the idea of intimacy with the Father? We are so caught up in a hermeneutic (how we read the bible) of the mind, that we have forgotten the LOVE that fills our hearts. Poured forth by the Spirit Himself. Have settled for a petty religion of the mind devoid of the passion of a bride awaiting her Lord, her groom, her Jesus?

    Perhaps this as an alternative:

    In the Secret: Have you ever longed for God to so invade your life that his presence was palpable? Obviously this song writer (Andy Park) has. It is rare to see men who know how to open themselves as the bride to Christ. We (men) are a squirrelly bunch when it comes to emotion, but I digress. Our culture has turned sex into a high school sport, and the author would deny intimacy with Jesus because it might offend grandma? And really? You don’t know who is being sung to in the midst of worship?? Really? Oh and yes, I want a first time visitor to experience the intimate touch of Jesus!!

    Draw Me Close: Again, you don’t know to whom we sing? Really? The book of Ruth never mentions God, but we seem to know who is faithful. This song does suggest an intimacy with Jesus, and cognitive religion has little patience with passion.

    At Your Name (Yahweh, Yahweh): The temple curtain was torn in two to open the holiest of holies to all. That place is Jesus . . . or maybe we should just call him Jss out of respect? It seems to me Spirit is a better arbiter of this than we.

    Lord I Lift Your Name on High: Rick Founds was probably using the Apostles Creed as a model. It too leaves out most of Jesus’ life: birth to cross.

    Above All: How theologically rude for Lenny and Paul to thank Jesus for what he has done for them. I have always thought the religious spirit tends to want us to have a distant Jesus. That way our decorum is practical and peaceful.

    Burn for You: We can confess the power of our prideful, arrogant, selfish human heart or the power of God – I’ll take the later. I wonder, is that “new heart” thing in the New Testament hyperbole also?

    One Thing Remains: I find it interesting that while our religion has sought to engage the mind, the culture engages in a search for passion – have you read the hymns? Hast thou studied context? They were written for the times, their time not ours. I love a rich lyric, but not one I have to decipher first.

    Jesus, We Celebrate Your Victory: Again, go ahead and confess what you want. Paul wrote we are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus. Jesus said we would do greater works than He. Peter said if certain things abide in us, we would not stumble. Perhaps the writers were merely expressing that the love and presence of the King eclipses all other issue – but that could mean we would have to be emotional attached to a very, very big God.

    You Are Mine: If God is a mere proposition, then I get this critique. However, Peter and Paul seem to think this God now dwells in us. Paul wants the Corinthians to prophesy. It’s a testimony . . . perhaps even to ourselves. It is scary to expect the Spirit in us to actually have influence over us especially with a scary phrase like, “Do not be afraid, I am with you.” I can see how that can freak us out.

    How He Loves – The climax of the covenant is found in Christ. That climax flows from the ascension to the people of God . . . Spirit pours the love of God over us; we are the bride that longs to be kissed by our King. The purposed intimacy between the dimension of God and earth is initiated in Christ, but oh how I long for the consummation . . . while others long for safer metaphors.

  • Sobesobe

    In my opinion, some people don’t satisfy with their own worship, so they criticize other people worship. Blame each other and they say “Hey I am right and you are wrong” and seeking the bad of other worship rather than improving their quality or focusing in the worship itself. I want to told you that all of us forming one body of Christ, so why we judge the way of other worship. And the worship itself just not what we sing or way of worship but the way of our life, how we use our life to worship him, do the right things and his Word. Thank you

  • Elisha Baker

    Wow, lighten up. If someone else worships God and He touches their heart while they’re singing I’m a Little Teapot, then who are you to judge.

  • Elisha Baker

    Wow, lighten up. If someone else worships God and He touches their heart while they’re singing I’m a Little Teapot, then who are you to judge.

  • RobE

    While I agree that we need to think about what we sing both as worshippers and worship leaders (or worship song choosers), it seems to me arrogant, judgemental and bitter to criticise 10 songs that were written from people’s hearts for the Glory of God, in a public list titled ‘let’s stop singing these 10 worship songs’. To me it’s an awful title with an awful concept. Yes we need to think about what we’re singing and make our own conclusion on whether we want to use those words to honour our Creator, but we are not called to criticise each other’s offerings – that is for God alone to do.

    There are times when I do criticise songs, there are times when I criticise other worship leaders, there are times when I am jealous of writers that have had songs published when I haven’t had any of my songs published, but one thing I am aware of is that when I do these things, it does not honour or please God, so I try not to do them (Praise God for his grace and mercy!)

    We’re meant to be the body of Christ, we’re called to love each other, so let’s stop criticising each other, let’s stop criticising each other’s offerings.

  • Mark Dyar

    Have you ever even read Psalms? Or the Song of Solomon? By your ridiculous legalistic, literalist standards a substantial portion of both would be gone. You seriously need to get over yourself. Who died and made you arbiter of theological correctness?

  • Joey Heshion

    The first five songs are all what… 15 years old – at least? If your church is still singing them even in occasional rotation, then someone needs to sideline (I didn’t say clothesline – LOL) the worship leader. Instead of singing tired, 20 year old songs, just opt for a hymn, and everyone will probably thank you. I agree on sloppy wet kiss, but unforeseen kiss is a fine & usable substitute – so the song’s fine otherwise, no? But other than that, not seeing the real need for this article. Let’s stop splitting so many hairs and being so uptight, and try using a wider diversity of positive thoughts that magnify and glorify the name of Jesus in whatever way we can. And they will know that we are Christians by our love, by our love. Oops, I just quoted a praise song from my childhood. 🙂

  • Andy

    Let’s not get high and mighty about the theological faults, whatever they are. The real problem is that they are just terrible lyrics, in a songwriter type of way. They lurch between sickly and banal, pausing at lame and baffling. And for anyone who hasn’t spent their entire life at some Christian Youth Camp they bear no relation to real experience. If you’re going to do music for congragations, make it good music, and that means cut out the faux bitter sweet jesus is my boyfriend syrup.

  • Faith Ferrell

    I am with Sonia. I think this guy is looking WAY to deep into these songs that have ministered to thousands of people across the world. I understand that everyone has a different opinion on music and theology but sometimes sharing those opinions can be very offensive. God wants us to constantly have a positive state of mind, so if I constantly walk around speaking outloud about how truthful I am (not bragging) then over a period of time it will become very difficult for me to tell a lie. Same as in the song lyrics that talk about how we will do things for God that we as humans cannot. Its simply a profession of how much we would like to do those things for Him and strive for it even though we might not reach them. I feel as though the author of this article struggles with forgiving himself for the things he has done wrong and also is very conservative when it comes to religion. Different things minister to different people.

  • Faith Ferrell

    And worship should not be looked at as “corporate” and “theological”.

  • Cheryl Hoyopatubbi

    No one has any right to presume what someone else is thinking while praising God and lifting HIM up in worship. Thankfully, God is the only one who can judge our hearts and I believe it pleases HIM immensely when we worship HIM in song. What parent wouldn’t be moved when their beloved children honor them with their voices.

  • Steven

    Hey guys, just my two cents worth on this issue

    Generally, I agree with the author on some of the songs that should not be sung but I feel that the more important thing about worshipping God is our attitude rather than the lyrics than we sing.

    Songs are essentially made up of words that convey certain meaning, but many of the meanings are up to interpretation. (For example, some of us think of a cross as an actual wooden cross while some of us think of it as a tree, but, it does not take away the fact that Jesus died on the cross for us). This means that even though we are singing the same worship songs, different imageries can flash in our heads and hence, different thoughts and emotions.

    It then does not necessarily mean that any is better or worse than the other. I think what is more important is our attitude behind our songs of praise. For example, when I sing the song “above all”, I don’t think of it as a moment of self-exaltation, rather, when I think of how God would die for a sinner like me, what I think of is gratitude and the mercy of God’s love. Therefore, I think it is very narrow minded to just assume that when everyone sings of the same song, everyone would be just thinking of self-exaltation

    Furthermore, I disagree with one of the author’s point about how the song “Jesus, I celebrate your victory” is only about suggesting that the life of a Christian is easy. I think that worship songs should not be just restricted to the gospel story, rather, there can different themes, like celebratory, repentance, awe. Songs of different themes can be sung on different occasions to reflect or encourage the congregation in a particular situation. Wouldn’t it be good to sing “Jesus, I celebrate your victory” after a sermon about Jesus’ resurrection from the dead?

  • Shane Goh Ghee Gin

    Our faith is difficult enough without fellows of our own faith berating us for how we worship. If Christians wish to sing nothing but “Lord Jesus” for hours on end, that is their right as worshippers of the most High God. If other Christians wish to remain silent and contemplate the Word for hours instead, that is also their right as followers of Christ. Articles like these show divisions in the Church, an embarrassing thing especially since Jesus Himself once noted that a Kingdom divided against itself cannot stand. Leave others alone to contemplate the Lord in their own capacity and keep your own opinions to yourself, since you will be called to account for them whether or not you speak or publish them.

  • Patrick

    Pure bull quash on the article.

  • patricklmitchell

    Completely with you on singing songs from God’s perspective…seems strange. The bones I would pick are with #7 and 10. God’s unfailing love isn’t theological? Really? Moreover, How he Loves is a torrent of affection stirred by God’s presence and faithfulness in the most difficult of times. Sure, there’s no echo like in It Is Well, but give me a break.

  • Ryan Krishnan

    What are your thoughts on the popular song by Hillsong: Oceans? This is one that many people in my church have requested that we do, but I have been hesitant to add to our rotation. I haven’t quite been able to put my finger on why, but it just doesn’t seem to have the substance that I typically look for. Am I alone on this one?

  • Fiao’oilemalooleatua Fonoti

    Yeah I can see where this person come from but not everyone especially these days that would understand the interpretation of the bible. For our young people is the best way for them to understand God more and seek God in that sense. Draw me close to you is one of my favorite, I truly believe what matters is what your heart feels and your relationship with God. What I think about this article It is not what you said is what you do, and perhaps you should become a song writer and write your own songs then maybe your message will be cleared to the world instead of talking about it. Faith without work is dead, Actions speaks louder than words. I’m just thankful and grateful these people are willing to sacrifice their time to show their expressions and emotions and how they feel about their relationship with God. So why Go if you already know what’s going on. Maybe you should do some work first and then you can see what’s going on the mind and the hearts of these song writers.

    James 2:14-26

    Faith Without Works Is Dead

    14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

    God bless us All.

  • Tim Calhoun

    I thought much of this article was very insightful. There are a lot of worship songs out there that say pretty sounding things that mean very little. Many are theologically out of line. I’m glad that the author qualified his rejection of “How He Loves” because it’s the on of the greatest love songs in the Christian Faith about the single greatest love. “Drawn to redemption by the grace in his eyes” is one of the most beautiful lyrics about irresistable Grace ever put to page.
    My second quibble would be One Thing Remains. Maybe the author has never been to the point in their life where the only thing they had left to cling to is that God’s love never fails, but that song is far more than just a “Spiritual High.”

  • Brian Staples

    Highly disagree with this article! Think the author should’ve prayed about what to write rather than expressing his or her personal opinion. Most of these songs and their lyrics have brought thousands upon thousands to walk with Christ!

  • marius

    We can find more heretical expresion in psaumes of David. Comme on!

  • Maria

    In my opinion, this article is too legalistic. She has a point though, but I believe the intent of why we sing these songs is more important than the literal meaning or the theology of the words. We’re all entitled to our opinions. Let’s respect that.

    What’s more important is that we sing these songs wholeheartedly and bring back all the glory and honor to our God. 🙂

  • Guest

    As a singer on a praise team, I agre and often would like to change song lyrics – but I’m not the lead and I have very little voice since my views tend toward the more conservative when it comes to music. ah well :/

    There is one lyric I’d LOVE to see changed –
    Wonderful Merciful Savior is a beautiful; song with very decent words, but this is the chorus:

    You are the One that we praise
    You are the One we adore
    **You give the healing and grace**
    Our hearts always hunger for
    Oh, our hearts always hunger for

    It’s easy to focus on all the things God can do for us, all that He can give to us. But really, all we need is HIM and HIM ALONE. I would like to change the noted line to say “You are the healing and grace.” I think I will bring that up the next time we practice it 🙂

  • Southern Dreaming

    As a singer on a praise team, I agree and often would like to change song lyrics – but I’m not the lead and I have very little voice since my views tend toward the more conservative when it comes to music. Ah well 🙂

    There is one lyric I’d LOVE to see changed –
    Wonderful Merciful Savior is a beautiful; song with very decent words, but this is the chorus:

    You are the One that we praise
    You are the One we adore
    **You give the healing and grace**
    Our hearts always hunger for
    Oh, our hearts always hunger for

    It’s easy to focus on all the things God can do for us, all that He can give to us. But really, all we need is HIM and HIM ALONE. I would like to change the noted line to say “You ARE the healing and grace.” I think I will bring that up the next time we practice it 🙂

  • Brett Bernard

    I’m sorry, but I’m baffled as to why this is written. I understand that if any of these songs were sacrilegious, there would be a problem. Just because a song “Leaves out” certain parts of stories of the bible, does not make the lyrics any less true, heartfelt, or meaningful. Does he want to hear a 3 hr song explaining the entire Gospel? Worship songs are a tool to help people worship & connect with God. If there’s any truth in this article, and you agree, then think of the millions of illustrations your Pastors use to help you understand parts of scripture. I believe these songs are exactly that. Illustrating God’s Love, Mercy, etc. etc. If you’re gonna pick apart worship songs, maybe start first with picking apart yourselves and pick apart your prayers while you’re at it. And think of how many times you’ve said or done the wrong thing in the sight of God during prayer, maybe were a bit too selfish or thinking of yourself rather than advancing His kingdom through you. Or maybe a time when you were trying to disciple someone into the faith and you misquoted a verse or two. Keep the main thing, the main thing. Which is Jesus. Glorifying Him in everything we do. Things like this article, I believe are a waste of precious God given time on this earth. Is this article meant to glorify God? If not, then it serves absolutely no purpose except feelings of the flesh.

  • Vincent Bohanan

    This article is so stupid.

  • Drew

    You know that 90% of the songs you just mentioned aren’t sung in churches anymore? #3, 7, & 10 are the only ones that I would say people regularly sing. I think the author knew that and probably has been storing up these thoughts for a while. Posting it in 2015 when most of these songs are out of date any way, kinda seems like a view-count grab to me. Yes I have had similar thoughts, but not every single song needs to be a hymn…honestly think about that statement. Every song needs to be a hymn because they’re so wonderful and timeless. Not true. There are like 50 that are wonderful and timeless and the rest have just been reprinted because they’ve always been in the hymnal. You have Ephesians 5:19, which says, “addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart,” This is specifically mentioning spiritual songs which are songs written by a believer with the direction of Scripture and the Holy Spirit. To say ditch the new songs and go to hymns is to say that no one can write anything anymore because it isn’t as good as a handful of songs back then…that’s just ignorant. You have fantastic song-writing coming from artists like All Sons & Daughters, Matt Boswell, The Village Church, David Crowder, and yes even Tomlin and Hillsong are still making rich and wonderful songs. I think the problem is that there was an oversaturation on Tomlin/Hillsong and people want to throw them to the side, but there have been some excellent stuff from them (Burning Lights from Tomlin is amazing and Glorious Ruin from Hillsong is amazing) and people don’t need to throw them away just because we’ve heard so much from them over the years. Matt Redman comes out with solid stuff all the time. Do we need to ignore hymns? No. Should we be exclusively hymns? No. Neither are healthy and to suggest one route or the other is going for the simple/easy answer instead of searching for the balance between Psalms/Hymns/Spiritual Songs. Also don’t think that every song needs to be something that basically puts the congregation through a brief theology class. There is power in simplicity sometimes and repeating a phrase (not too much but enough) will just continue to remind the congregation of the promises of God. “Your Love Never Fails” and “Here’s My Heart” (Crowder) are two examples of that.

    I could keep going but I’ll stop. We don’t need further issues to divide the church, but do not be so cavalier to think that you can just toss aside something that was used 10-15 years ago to reach someone for Christ as most of this list was used in the late 90s early 2000s.

  • graham potter

    I have a way to check if songs are ok or not. the bench mark is ‘Lord of the Dance’ are they better or worse? all these are way better than Lord of the Dance so I will keep signing them. Honestly! all you have to do is pick up any hymn book from any age and you can find hymns that fail these tests. Its nothing new

  • Anthony Wade

    How He loves us is one of the worst songs ever. It is not worship to tell God over and over again how much He loves us. Not to mention the bridal paradigm overtones and the poor lyrics in general

  • Naomi R. Bridges

    The real lyrics for “How He Loves” is an “unforeseen kiss”, not “sloppy wet kiss”. Also, “You Are Mine” is practically a direct quote from scripture, Isaiah 43. So we don’t have to fear being presumptuous, because we know he said it. Not to mention, songs that quote scripture are a great way to memorize it.

    • Anthony Wade

      actually the real lyric is sloppy wet kiss. That was how it was written. Crowder realized it was too over the top so he asked permission to change it to unforeseen kiss, which is still a poor worship lyric.

  • dougmurphy

    This article is just another persons take on why worship isn’t working… Blah. Tired of people rehashing things like The song doesn’t say God or Jesus. Flawed logic in people that sit around and try to think of something to blog about all day. If I sing a song to my wife her name doesn’t have to be in the song. She is the focus of my affection. Lots of backwards thinking like this. When you sing praises to our Lord it is not about the song (certainly it shouldn’t be theologically contradictory) or the style but about the heart.

  • Emma Gard

    Just out of curiosity I was wondering what the writer’s background in music is. Is she a worship leader,singer, artist, or congregation worshipping to them. I am not a fan of this article simply on how it was written. As a worship leader myself and someone passionate about both the bible and worshipping Christ I recognize the fears or issues about “me” songs, songs that basically sound like a love song with no reference to God and songs that are just theologically strange, however I do have 3 issues on this I would like to address:
    #1) I don’t know if I would state them as “problem” lyrics, just because something isn’t the way one individual thinks it should be does not make it a problem but maybe more lyrics to note or question.
    #2) I am not a fan of the songs just picked because they sound strange like #10. Just because they sound strange does not mean they need to be reworded just so we can sing them. Also as someone who has met John Mark McMillan in person I know he is extremely deliberate in his lyrics; using words uncommon to worship songs that catch people off guard and allow them to question what they are singing. Im sure there are a few scriptures in the bible straight up that if I put into a worship song would sound awkward and weird but does it make them any less valid?
    #3) My third address is simply this, I agree with having substance BUT it would have been nice for you to define what this substance you are looking for is. If you have ever tried to write a worship song everyone and their brother has a different take, because just as there is no one way to view all of God’s aspects at once there is no one way to have a worship song that can encompass the praise and worship that he is due, heck our lives can’t even contain all the worship that he is due, some worship songs were for a particular time and place and for a particular purpose, this also must be recognized.
    Can I also just say that with the comments on these ten songs you could’ve written at least two articles and gone into more detail about why there is an issue because most of this just seems like opinion.
    I finish here just things to think about for your next article.

  • Stephen Wright

    Dear Corrie Mitchell:

    It’s clear you have a bone to pick with the entire contemporary worship experience, not just a few crappy songs. Since you so easily critique the touchy feely side of contemporary Christianity, I have a few critiques of your article and your unabashed neo-Calvinism shining forth.

    1. “Man-centered” and using gendered-language for God: We are in the 21st century now. Religious patriarchal language is not only wrong, but dead, not to mention out of style. God is not a man or a woman. It’s both irrelevant and sexist to say God is a “he.” Also, there is more than one gender in humanity, not just men, last time I checked.

    2. In defense of “sloppy wet kiss” and other love songs to Jesus: relationships between God and humans are messy. The incarnation is messy. God is messy. There wasn’t a pure white porcelain perfect Jesus that gently descended from the sky. No–God came in the form of a sloppy wet, bleeding, crying baby who grew up to be a poor sweaty stinky handyman itinerant preacher and prophet who got cuts and bruises like the rest of us and had to deal with messy imperfect people. It is okay for the Christian tradition to have songs and verses like this, and perhaps needs some purely emotive songs like this that may make some people feel “uncomfortable.” What’s wrong with songs that “make us feel”? Is that a bad thing? Worship isn’t, nor should it be, an emotionless venture. Not everything has to be high-brow and purely intellectual. You need a balance of both. I agree that some of these songs are tremendously lacking in theological depth, but my God, not every song has to plumb the bowels of Barth every time to qualify to be worthy of singing by Christians in a worshipful context. Sometimes songs are allowed to be overly simplistic and repetitive and just talk about feelings for Jesus without having to tell the “fullness of the gospel story.” Lay off the contemporary hand-raisers and appreciate their inclusion in the Christian witness.

    Also, you speak of these touchy feely songs as getting in the way of “your worship” as if it’s the same thing as an annoying person in the checkout line derailing your “shopping experience” or a particularly loud and obnoxious dude disrupting your “movie-going experience.” Are you not guilty of worship consumerism here? What’s the difference between your personal feelings in worship and the others’ in the same room or the songwriter’s? Is yours better or at a higher level than theirs because you appreciate hymns more than they do?

    Furthermore, this kind of love heart feeling language has been around for centuries in the medieval mystical wiring. Heck, some authors went so far as to use sexual language to describe their ecstatic experience with Christ and the church’s relationship to God. I suggest you pick up some Bernard of Clairvaux and take a gander sometime. Even Catherine of Siena wrote an entire book called “The Dialogue” written in the voice of God the Father and the soul’s response. And that lady is a Doctor of the Church and a patron saint of Europe, for crying out loud. Don’t we use Scripture from the prophets and sing Psalms with God speaking in them? I don’t think this is always a bad thing. It sounds like your feelings toward these songs are getting in the way of the feelings in these songs.

    So, maybe we shouldn’t stop singing these songs in church, or at least just a few of them.

  • Meg DeLancy

    This is literally the most ignorant thing I have ever read.

  • Brandon

    I’m guessing you don’t really connect with God through music. That’s fine…not everybody connects the same way. The arts are for the creatives who’s minds work differently than the intellectuals. You seem to want a sermon in every song. that is illogical to a creative and not the point of music. Songs SHOULD be narrowly focussed to hit at a certain point or deal with a certain topic….otherwise they are too broad and miss touching anything at all. When Karl Barth was asked to summarize the Essence of everything he’s written, he responded, “Jesus Loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” simple…child-like…yet profound.

  • Jo Tots

    …while we sing worship song specially on service/church. WHY DO YOU THINK/THOUGHTS such naked thoughts or other things???! (lol) …your were there at worship hall/church is you to sing/think/loved/give glory to JESUS only! everything you sing its about HIM!.. if we thinking other thoughts its bcuz WE LET THE ENEMY/SATAN play our dirty mind!… GRRRR! 😛

    btw, some of the opinion from the lyrics… thinking you start losing your faith. 😛

  • Poutama Hobman

    Who says sloppy?

  • tenmileg

    First, I’m not sure that this wasn’t written just to get some communication going on the subject and stir some things up. If not, then it is truly sad. I think we need to remember that God is a very creative God. Read Genesis. He created everything out of nothing. We were created in the image of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Let US make man in OUR image… Gen. 1:26). Our Father is creative, so why wouldn’t we be creative and not just creative in your terms or someone else’s terms, but in the way God made us individually. Our creativeness is going to come out in many different ways. Some will be staunch in their beliefs and be the writer that everything has to be biblical and others of us will be those that understand God gave us a little poetical licensing to express our love, gratitude, gratefulness in many different ways. The person who grew up in church and never really strayed will praise and worship different than the person who spend half their life battling an addiction (Luke 7:47). This lady that this passage is talking about and who Jesus Himself is talking about was forgiven MUCH Jesus says, so her worship was a lot different than the religious gathered there that day and they all looked on her with mouths wide open amazed that Jesus didn’t rebuke her, or that Jesus didn’t tell her to take and sell the perfume and do something better with the money. At that moment, there was nothing better she could have done with it. So, before we blast someone for writing a song/lyric we don’t agree with or call it foolish and unbiblical, let’s remember that we can only worship God the way we know Him or came to know Him and sometimes that is/was MESSY. We were created differently, but that doesn’t mean we point our fingers when we think we’ve got it all together and others have missed the mark. That’s just my two-cents worth.

  • Justin Culp

    I have to add to this list “You make everything glorious…and I am yours…what does that make me?” I always have to ask my wife who we are worshipping with that song…

  • Daniel Culleny

    Being a lyricist is difficult enough. And then to have somebody scrutinize your lyrics because they’re not comfortable with the entire song???Even on one of the songs, she writes “it’s not necessarily that there’s anything wrong with this song”… Then why lump it with many others in an article that says lets STOP singing these worship songs?? As If they’re so offensive that they should not exist anymore?
    The comments for one song state that we as humans can’t live up to what we sing in the song. Does that matter? Does that not happen in many worship songs? Well then I might as well stop praying to God and telling him I’ll do better. I might let him down. He might get upset with my empty promises… In that moment, it’s not about the fact that I may fail. It’s about my love for Him.
    In the writer’s opinion, one song repeats itself too much. Is that so much of a problem that the song is “not worth singing”?
    Lastly, I don’t think the article lives up to the title. I was expecting to read about some outlandish worship songs that were either irreverent or inappropriate. Instead, it’s all about the writer’s personal opinions against them.
    Is there room in the kingdom of god to bash fellow brothers’ and sisters’ songs of praise to God? Is there any love in this article?
    Now I challenge the writer of this article to write a piece that truly honors God, speaks LIFE, and lifts others up. Perhaps like a worship song.

  • gfsomsel

    Most modern “worship songs” are totally lame. They had a sort of warm up for the service in which they sang some of these, and I cringed. Even if the words themselves weren’t a problem, the music was equally lame.

  • Connie King

    What I find interesting not only with the article but with the majority of comments is it seems man centered worship is what most Christians are concerned about. Do you wonder HOW God wants to be worshipped? Are you worshipping Him how He has prescribed? If you don’t know, I would suggest you study to show yourself approved.

  • Matthew Ramon Thomas

    The only good part about this article was the link to John Mark McMillans blog post.
    Being super religious didnt look good on the pharisees and it certainly doesn’t look good here. They should take a cue from another JMM song- ‘Cause I need more than a fairy tale, a god who lives in a book. I need someone real….Cause I need more now than philosophy, some god in outer space doesnt mean anything to me’.

    When you trade a personal relationship for the impersonal its never the better choice.

  • Charles

    Let’s start with I don’t know you, you don’t know me. You also don’t know the relationships of the believers hearts with God your making claims about or the how those songs came about. Have you seen drug dealers and lost people cry out and get right with their father of having an encounter over simple words? Does your earthy father only feel loved when you quote an TS Elliot? Of course not! You get on a soap box and judge others and tell the church what it is suppose to be doing from behind your computer saying their songs don’t speak to God’s heart and are not right because their lyrically eloquent? I think your attitude is a little “pherisee” like. I bless you, but until your leading bringing the gospel and encouraging the body to a point where you have real authority and you heard God say to, “Hey you know I love you but I like these songs better than these ones…” Speak life over what you have influence over. This is a little religious and God didn’t give Himself to us so we can fight over what songs are being sang. (And I’ve grumbled and complained leading or being led by songs I flat out don’t like.) it’s not always about us. Live your life so that the world sees something that it actually desires. Zacheaus changed an entire city because he saw something different in Christ lets our talk be about what city God’s going to do something great in next rather than fixating on things that irritate us.

  • jas1019

    Just another reason why the world wags it’s finger at us.

    Self reflection is not only scriptural but necessary, however, the continual condemnation by our own, of our own does nothing to build up the body of Christ.
    If a song, or a sermon or a book or a statement, or a blog is scripturally incorrect or inaccurate it should be corrected, however, much of this article is purely subjective.
    We may not always like someone’s worship, but if it is true worship of Jehovah God, which is our first, highest commandment, then how is criticizing it edifying?
    Our world is ablaze, it is dying and on it’s way to hell faster than ever before, and yet again, here we are, eating our own.
    Wake up!
    If Jesus Christ wouldn’t criticize or condemn it, why are we?

  • dannybhoy

    Where did all these awful reptitive, empty choruses come from? I seriously struggle with the loud repetitive and empty lyrics that seem so widespread these days. It’s a bit like singing ‘ad jingles.’
    Worship is an intimate outpouring of love and worship to our Lord. HE is the focus of that worship, not musicians. I fear we have gone too far down the road of multiples of musicians!
    To my mind we don’t need them. They are becoming a noisy distraction. Someone with a meek spirit and a humble heart, anointed by the Holy Spirit is all that is needed for music and chorus writing.

  • russmohr

    My thoughts on nine of the songs are one way or the other but I do have a problem with the writer’s feelings on the third song. Yahweh or Jehovah is the name of our Biblical God, the true creator of heaven and earth. The Bible tells us that Satan is a god and also refers to other gods, Allah (who is also Satan) is a god. How do we single out our God from the others, how is he unique, he has a name and I’m sure that even if we are not absolutely correct in our spelling or pronunciation of his name at least we are trying. How would you like to be called “Hey You” all the time or to have people try to pronounce your name correctly even though it may be a little different? Jesus said that “you have made the word of God invalid because of your traditions” (Matthew 15:6). God, Yahweh/Jehovah, told Moses ” this is my name to times indefinite, and this is the memorial of me to generation after generation” (Exodus 3:15). Even the name of Jesus maybe spelled and pronounced wrong from the original does that mean the we will have to substitute for his name as well. I believe we should use both personal names even though we may be a little of in the writing or pronunciation of either one. Get rid of the indefinite term God and start using his real name as was first intended by the original Bible writers, using the personal name of Yahweh or the English version Jehovah.

  • dedward67

    I think it’s is so important that Christian music reflects Christ and is abundantly clear about it. As the poster says “Draw me close to you” could be a love song to a partner. Even some of the old classics such as Jesus, Jesus, Jesus there’s something about that name – What is it about the name, it’s pretty common in South America! I love some of the new Hillsong stuff such as Cornerstone but also some of the old classic hymns that are clear about what the meaning is.

  • ShepherdsLamb

    I’m going to have to agree with those below who disagree with the article, for the most part, that is.
    I personally don’t care for the last song mentioned either, or at least, that line, the “sloppy wet kiss”. I’m uncomfortable with it. In addition, the song with the lyrics, “Yahweh, Yahweh, Faithful One, You are here today, Ageless One, Changeless One..”. I love that song. But I do love the Jews and Israel, and if it seems offensive or presumptuous to them that we use that Name, I’d agree to give it up. We had a conference at our church years ago in honor of Israel, which was a wonderful idea and I loved it. But I had a problem with the music. Most of it was what I would call, “jump and shout” music. It didn’t seem like genuine, heart-felt worship of our awesome God. I remember turning to my friend and telling her that any Jewish people present or watching by tape must think we don’t know how to worship.
    As far as allowing our emotions to be involved, I disagree with this article. If I’m singing to the One I love above all, I would certainly expect my emotions to be involved. When I watch church services on tv and the people are just mouthing words and looking around, it’s obvious they are not focused on the One that should be the object of their worship. And that seems like it happens more when they are singing hymns, than worship music. But I love and miss the old great hymns, and really wish there would be a mixture of both, ever service.
    When people fall to their knees during worship with tears streaming down their face, it’s more than emotions. They’re being touched by the Holy Spirit. And that is what we should want to happen. That our worship so pleases Him, that He comes and we feel His Presence.
    There is one song I’d like to add to this list. “Jesus, You are my best friend, you will always be, nothing can ever change that”. Sung over and over and over again. I’m sorry, but this is not worship. We sound like a bunch of 12-year-olds that don’t know how to worship Almighty God.
    Just by two cents.

  • kktex12

    Most of these so called worship songs are nothing more that 7/11 music. 7 words 11 times or vice versa. They say nothing really. They are not worship songs but chants. Chants meant to control the mood of the crowd and take they from euphoria to solemnness. No actual real praise for the King of Kings or His father. Also, most of the music and music styles behind the words can be found in your local bar, tavern, or dance hall. Acceptable to God as worship? I don’t think so. Man’s self righteousness is more like it.

  • Justun Chan

    Can’t say Yahweh because it’s not literally vocalized in the bible? Guess we shouldn’t say Jesus either – it should be Iesous , or Yeshua in Hebrew.

  • FirstFreedomLover

    I can understand the objections to some of the songs in this article BUT when I sing #’s 1,2 and 4 I KNOW who I am singing TO and ABOUT… Jesus Christ, Lord of Lord’s and King of King’s… and no song can contain the COMPLETE fullness of the Gospels…can you imagine a song with a 1000 verses? I don’t like repetitive verses/choruses because at one point it just turns into chanting ( my personal opinion )…I don’t judge the thoughts and actions of others or their emotional release when they participate in worship. I only concentrate on Jesus and MY adoration of HIM. This article is judging others…we don’t know the condition of anyone else’s heart….God sees and accepts or rejects the praise of His people by HIS standards NOT MAN’S…….

  • Rob Kee

    Corrie, thank you for sharing your heartfelt concerns.

    Although I may agree with some of the issues on varied levels, my greater concern comes from the frustration you are obviously feeling, hence the passionate penning of your thoughts. A frustration that has obviously simmered for quite sometime. More than likely this frustration is birthed from seeing an example by some (trying not to generalize), who sing these songs as though worship is all about them, or singing them with seeming sincerity yet living in direct contradiction with the lyrics and heart of the song they were allegedly so touched by just moments earlier.

    Believe me I share your frustration, yet at the same time I have also feel God’s heart toward many of those who write and sing such songs. I am not saying this is an excuse to sing theological incorrectness, but I am saying that many of the judgements you and I can make on a general scale can be quite damning and destructive to the individual who’s heart is actually sincere in their pursuit of God and their desire to offer Him as selfless a worship as they are able, through the aid of the Holy Spirit.

    I have seen many touched, healed and empowered by God as they sang the choruses mentioned above. So much so that I would be robbing God of glory if I discounted the miracles of transformation that I have witnessed in the midst of these times. That said I have also sadly seen the paradoxical effects of those who are begin swept away by the next mid less wave of worship trends. I am careful though not to throw out the babies with the bathwater.

    I am constantly asking the Holy Spirit to guide me in which songs to include in my personal worship time as well as how to bring clarity, and correction as necessary, to the song’s message to insure the heart of the worshiper is to align with the heart of the One to whom we are offering worship. By God’s grace we do this without bringing needless offense to those who are sincere, establishing the love of God for His creation through the presentation of the Gospel message provoking repentance unto salvation, and directing all glory and honor and power to the Lamb who was slain! For He created all things, and for His pleasure they are and were created!

    Thank you again Corrie and God bless you!

    Rob :^)
    @robdkee
    #robdkee

  • craigbenno

    Praise the Lord, all nations!
    Extol him, all peoples!
    2 For great is his steadfast love toward us,
    and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.
    Praise the Lord!
    English Standard Version (ESV)

  • Jennifer Rioux Reeves

    So in other words if you decided you didnt like these songs then they are bad. I see. So you are assuming that Jesus has no idea you are singing to Him unless you say His name? When my kids direct a comment toward me or talk about me as their mom I know they are speaking about me, I dont need to hear MOMMY to know I am the topic of the conversation. Here’s the deal, you can sing the most reverent song every written that says Jesus every other word and it can not bring you into worship mode and you can take one “about” Jesus and it describes the feeling you have toward Christ. Facts are obviously what you base you salvation on but God doesnt want your dictation, He wants your heart, He wants your feelings of love toward Him not just a yes sir no sir. He wants you running toward Him because God is your father! How does a dad want His kids to be? Hello Father how do you fare today or like when a dad comes home from work and his kids run toward him in excitement because “daddy’s home” What would YOU want? You think God doesnt want your excitement for Him? —- If you arent saved you arent going to be closer to Jesus and you wont be taken away because of a song. God is not mocked you are correct. He also doesnt NEED you to tell Him that the song is directed at HIM. He knows your thoughts and your heart and if youre thinking of Him while singing He”s not an idiot-He gets it. There are too many people playing the role of the pharasee lately and shaking the finger at other Christians. What did Jesus say to do? Worship Him? yes,BUT YOU dont get to dictate how its done by another person. YOU dont get to say whether or not a feeling for Christ is real or not. The only person besides ones self that knows 100% if they are saved is Jesus. He wants your heart-whatever you do do it for Him. Do you always 100% when talking glorify your God? You might but do you specifically SAY His name in the conversation? The song isnt the issue. If you are too busy picking apart a song during worship then your heart isnt there in the first place.

  • Jennifer Rioux Reeves

    I guess David was wrong then because he got “excited” and danced around and didnt specifically say Jesus in His psalms…

  • RocksCryOut

    Don’t read the book of Esther. Ditto Song of Solomon. Definitely don’t read them in church. After all– NEITHER MENTION GOD OR JESUS!

  • Shawn Walrus

    Hello! Here are some of my thoughts (Warning: Long.)

    I only agree with the author’s points 5 and 8.

    In no order, I’ll address my issues with her other points:

    1. Songs written without explicit explanation of Jesus’ work / Christianity / theology can be poetic pieces of art, written not as Bible study material, but to facilitate encounters with God. God is artful and creative, and is often more implicit than explicit (Prov 25:2). The Word itself is full of poetry, symbolic and implicit language, and metaphors. I say, save the theological explanations and
    the mechanics of Redemption for the sermons. Music is art, and finds its way into a person through his heart (oooh rhyme!). The lyrics may speak to either the heart or mind, but I feel that art / music in itself is aimed at evoking emotions in hearts that pave the way for God-encounters to happen.

    2. re: Yahweh. Why would any of us adhere to Jewish tradition unless we were Jews / Judaists? Granted, if you’re leading a Jewish congregation, you might not want to use songs with ‘Yahweh’ because of the cultural context (context being one of the
    most important considerations as a worship leader / team), because God does want them to encounter Him and you don’t want song choice to get in the way of that. Ideally the Jews will get past it but that’s not the case yet. I see no point in adhering to their rule otherwise.

    God sees the heart (1 Sam 16:7), and knows whether you’re disrespecting Him – one could use ‘Adonai’ and refrain from ‘Yahweh’ forever, but if he blasphemes in his heart, he may still be on the highway to hell. Yes, respect is obviously a quality we must have when relating to God, but it’s demonstrated not by whether we use ‘Yahweh’ or ‘Jehovah’, but by the conditions of our hearts. Away with religious regulations and outward appearances!

    3. His desire for intimacy with us, His bride, is overwhelming clear in the Bible. There ought be nothing wrong even with the idea of ‘making out’ once we’ve studied the Song of Solomon, which is an allegory of the relationship journey of the Bridegroom
    (Jesus, the Beloved) and the Bride (us, the Shulamite woman). I’m not saying we should imagine kissing Jesus. I’m just saying that the idea of intimacy should not be alien or awkward for us, seeing as how it was His idea in the first place! In fact, He is rather firm about it in Psalm 2:12 – ‘Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way…’

    Fun fact: ‘And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.’ (John 17:3). Did you know that the Greek word of ‘know’ used here (‘ginosko’) is also a Jewish idiom for sexual intercourse? Food for thought 😛

    4. There is power when we release words into the spiritual atmosphere, through songs, declarations or simply speaking (Prov 18:21). Songs that declare things we may not fully mean, such as ‘Burn for You’ as mentioned by the author, can be sung as a prophetic declaration over oneself (or someone else or even a nation / people group), in the belief that, when released, a breakthrough can happen in the spiritual realm that will cause whatever is sung to actualise. Let’s face it, sometimes we don’t mean what we sing – not just the more extreme lyrics like ‘I’ll do anything … go anywhere’, but simple lines like ‘I love You, Lord’ aren’t always sung with full sincerity. I don’t always feel like I love Him, but I sing it anyway. Why? Because I know that my physical obedience (singing that I love Him) can bring about a spiritual breakthrough (my heart responding by actually loving Him). That is almost always the case for me (:

    5. Songs sung from God’s point of view are prophetic songs – no different from prophesying, apart from the musical element. It is godly, encouraged, and ought to happen amongst believers (1 Cor 14:1-40, Joel 2:28). However, the worship leader would have to manage it well, perhaps by telling the congregation that they need not sing along but just receive what God is speaking to them. But to say that prophetic songs must not be sung is to miss the opportunity to bless the congregation with what God might be longing to say to them. ‘Tis daylight robbery!

    That’s about all (: Thanks for reading. Thoughts welcome!

  • James Lipoth

    You have some good points that I’ve been thinking about about a long time. Unfortunately, you’ve mixed this with your own opinionated beefs in a way that makes the article seem like you complaining about what bugs you (actually another word that starts with the letter b comes to mind), instead of giving some good food for thought. Corrie, (assuming you are writing the article to be taken seriously) you can do better than this… Unless your goal is to spew out media with a Catholic and/or Christian theme. If that’s the case, then disregard my previous statement and keep up the good work!

  • James Lipoth

    You have some good points that I’ve been thinking about about a long time. Unfortunately, you’ve mixed this with your own opinionated beefs in a way that makes the article seem like you complaining about what bugs you (actually another word that starts with the letter b comes to mind), instead of giving some good food for thought. Corrie, (assuming you are writing the article to be taken seriously) you can do better than this… Unless your goal is to spew out media with a Catholic and/or Christian theme. If that’s the case, then disregard my previous statement and keep up the good work!

  • Joe Young

    I began reading the article and had some agreement, but then felt the author was going too far. God’s Word uses similes and metaphors, and our music legitimately does that as well. The writer doesn’t mind saying heaven is not in the sky, but he doesn’t offer any authoritative explanation of where it is. There are things that we say or sing in the language of faith. Furthermore, I’m not too interested in what the Vatican said or did, nor the Christian Reformed Church. I read the comments of several experts below, and I have a feeling that God knows who those are who worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. I’ll bet He’s not too concerned about their forms or if their words exactly conform to the ideas of everyone else. I think about those Wise Men who came to Jesus. Bet their theology wasn’t exactly right, with their looking to the stars for guidance. But God must have known their hearts, and the longing of their hearts. He announced to those imperfect and misguided Gentiles the birth of His Christ. Let’s lay easy on one another…

  • John Duffy

    I agree with you on a few of these songs. The first two songs are problematic for leaving any mention of God out of the lyrics. Number 8 is probably being more poetic than literal, but yeah, I don’t appreciate the prosperity gospel at all. I am not a fan of songs sung from God’s perspective either, and number 10 was…awkward. Yeah.

    However, I am going to speak my mind concerning some of your other choices for this list. Let’s start with “At Your Name.” Jewish people don’t write or say “Yahweh” because it’s one of God’s names. And God told them not to use it in vain. Same goes for “Adonai” or “Jehovah.” But let’s discard Jewish tradition for a second and look solely at what God commanded. Don’t take His name in vain. Is it vain to praise God or sing to Him? The Psalmist wrote many times over “shout to the Lord” or “make a joyful noise to the Lord.” Praising God, shouting to Him in worship is to be encouraged. Now, the Vatican can think what it wants. But no man – pope, bishop, Catholic or Protestant, can decide what’s appropriate and what’s not. Some may say to avoid His name out of respect, but worship is greater than simple respect any day.

    I agree that “Lord, I Lift Your Name On High” is no more than a short chorus repeated over and over again. What I take issue with is your nit pickiness. “…what it does speak to is such a small fraction of the fullness of the gospel story.” I’m sure God knows the gospel story more than we do. We don’t sing worship songs to preach to the unsaved. We sing our worship to honor God. And speaking of nit picking, nagging on the whole “heaven being in the sky” thing is just ridiculous. It’s obviously being poetic.

    You’re right. Above All IS a beautiful song. But there is nothing wrong with that last line. God did NOT die primarily so that He could get more glory. He died PRIMARILY for us. That was the whole point of Him LEAVING His glory. He set His glory aside so that He could come to earth, live a perfect life and then die for us. This is one reason why He called out to the Father to forgive the very people murdering Him. It wasn’t about Him, it was about redeeming mankind. He didn’t even want to go through with this. He knew what He was going to go through. He pleaded with the Father to let the cup pass Him. But this was the only way to save mankind. So He went to the cross for us.

    “Burn For You” is not a song I’m all too familiar with. However, I will say that I find the idea of telling God that I will “try” to do His will, unsettling. We should be willing to go anywhere at any cost for Him. It might not be easy, we might not want to, and we might be scared. But to tell Him “No” or “Maybe” is to outright disobey and deny Him.

    Take note that God gave us emotions for a reason. Your “problem lyric” for “One Thing Remains” is just plain dumb. The words in that line are true. And um, Dan Michael Cogan is wrong. Or at least, he’s declaring opinion to be fact. Hymns do not engage my heart as often as they might yours. CCM engages my heart far more often. It gets my mind thinking on the words, and the implications. Sure, it might be the other way around for you. And I have nothing AGAINST hymns. But don’t pretend like opinion can be factual.

    Let me be very clear, worship songs – be they psalms, hymns or CCM – have one express purpose: to allow us to glorify God, to allow us to praise Him with our mouths. A secondary purpose can sometimes be to engage the hearts of the worshippers. What is not a purpose is to preach to the unsaved. Sure, some songs may not be your style. You may have some opinions different from mine. But our opinions are just that: opinions. And I guarantee you that when we worship God in heaven, we won’t be singing from a psalter, a hymnal, or a worship song book. We’ll be singing new, beautiful songs that will put Fanny Crosby and Michael W. Smith to shame. But in the meantime, let’s just worship God, without picking at each other’s choices in worship.

  • Christine Endean

    Wow!! the God I know wants us to have a close relationship with him, in the old testement times people were afraid to use his full name, Jesus died so that we could reconcile with God, yes there is fear and reverence but Jesus is our bridgegroom. God knows our hearts and whatever the words are we were created to worship, I don’t believe God is carefully analysing every word, rather he is just enjoying us and his relationship with us and the fact that we enjoy singing with our brothers and sisters about our love for Him

  • Cheryl in France

    Couldn’t agree more with some of these, couldn’t DISagree more with others. The French are VERY picky about lyrics- whereas we Americans can overlook sloppy words with a good groove or beautiful melody, the French just can’t.
    I think singing songs from God’s POV is scriptural if you look at Col 3:16- instructing, exhorting, etc (depending on the translation), because what better way to get God’s truth in your head and heart than to sing it- then, when the time comes to remember His promises, they are all tucked away (“I will never leave you nor forsake you”).

  • Cheryl in France

    And here’s a legitimate question- the Bible says that a bad tree can’t bear good fruit and vice versa. If a worship song encourages me and brings me closer to God (I’m not talking heretical theology, but the ‘fluffier’ songs like some mentioned here), that’s good fruit, isn’t it? And can you then call a song ‘bad’ to sing if people are blessed by it? (God is Good all the time is one that I can’t stand from a style standpoint, but it seems to really touch certain people, so I do it, bc who am I to say they aren’t blessed by it?).

    And if all we do is analyze, are we spending the worship time in critical mode and not in worship mode? We actually have people in our church who *refuse* to sing ‘Listen to my Heart’ because the lyrics say that we CAN find words to describe God’s bigness, awesomeness, grandeur and glory but we CAN”T find words to describe our love, so THEREFORE we must feel like our love is bigger/more important (since we can’t find the words) than His greatness. How twisted is that? How far down the road did someone have to go to get there? 2 rebuttals: 1. how many books are out there, both sacred and secular about ‘how to express love’? We as humans do a pretty crappy job with it overall, it doesn’t come easily, because it’s SUBJECTIVE. Awesomeness/grandeur/etc are OBJECTIVE and we do much better describing those qualities. 2. Look at the body of work of Steven Curtis Chapman- do you really think he meant that???

    We sang one song that a couple of people fussed about the theology of, until we told them who wrote it- theologian Don Carson- and then all of a sudden it was just fine (and the face they made was priceless)… Gotta love our church! 🙂

  • jared

    Good God.. this article sucks. Sure, if you take a lyric out of context and out of the appropriate venue, christian lyrics can sound like a love song. But Christ’s relationship with us IS a love song! He loved(s) us so much He died for us! I’m sure God appreciates all forms of music and worship no matter the lyrics. And about the “above all” song, he didnt mean that we as humans are above all else. Of course jesus is most important. But what he the song is saying is like “wow, of all people, He thought of me and died for me”

    • Cheryl in France

      I think that’s it’s mainly a semantic/punctuation problem in that song – there is, if I’m not mistaken, a comma between ‘me’ and ‘above all’, which technically changes the nuance slightly to be less ‘you thought of me above all’ (your highest thought was about me) and more ‘You thought of me, [you’re] above all’.

      I still hate the line about the rose trampled on the ground.

      And while ranting- I LOVE the song ‘Jesus Christ (Once Again)’, but in English I CAN’T sing the line ‘Thank you for the cross, MY FRIEND’. It’s too chummy for the song (I do think it’s legitimate that ‘friend’ can be used with God and Jesus, but in that particular song, it just seems disrespectful).

      • jared

        I respectively beg to differ. Sure “my friend” is “chummy.” However, that reflects the whole point of Christianity! That Jesus (God) came down among sinners to be a friend, to be a neighbor, to interact with us! A huge aspect of Christianity is that Jesus isn’t someone who is revered as irreproachable and impersonal. Jesus is all about having a relationship with you. He forever bridged and permanently secured the covenant between God and us!

        Also please stop bickering about the nitty gritty of songs that were whole heartedly meant to glorify God. I think we all know that the artists who made these songs created them with complete reverence and glory to God. And God appreciates that. And so should we.

  • Susie Bjorklund

    Do you think leaders of the Synagogue sat around discussing the depth and the “worthiness” of the Psalms? I don’t know.
    Did the Psalmist know that as he wrote down the words of crucifixion [which was not practiced at the time] in his own life that it would become a prophetic passage of scripture concerning Christ’s death on the cross? Who wrote these Psalms? Someone Who knows the future perhaps? I think we need to be careful –
    I do believe that the Song of Solomon is written about two people and that it’s a metaphor. Metaphors are not literal and I don’t think the words in songs should encourage people in the congregation to “act out” as we say in Celebrate Recovery. Sloppy wet kiss doesn’t bring Jesus to my mind… just sayin’. Even so, I do think we need to be careful of our criticism.
    Who is it that moves us to write songs of worship?
    Above All: Reminds me that Jesus loved me more than He hated the cross and more than He hated leaving heaven to live on this broken planet. I need to be reminded of that. Thank you, Lenny & Paul, for being obedient in writing that one down.
    One Thing Remains: If Amazing Grace doesn’t yank your emotions then there’s something wrong. What pleases God is a “broken and contrite heart” and a broken heart “FEELS” broken. The idea that I fail Him daily and His love never fails to forgive me is an emotional realization that I don’t want to loose. EVER. That being said, I don’t think that any song needs to go on for 14 minutes.
    Here is a question to ask about these songs. Has God used them in your life to bring you closer to Him? A house divided against itself cannot stand. Where does anything come from that brings us closer to God?
    Salvation is simple and profound. Can’t our songs be that way? Jesus Loves Me is one of the most profound songs in the Hymnal. Some Hymns are written in an old language and they might be deep but does everyone get them? No, but those who do have been taught by them and carried by them into His presence. Praise God for beautiful songs of poetry and grace and The Spirit who writes them.

  • BarryL

    Which decade were these “top 10”? Not current for sure.

  • Josh Wilson

    God is emotional.
    He created us in His image and likeness.
    He created us with emotions.
    The primary purpose for those emotions is to convey and express our love for Him.
    Has everyone here forgotten the first and greatest commandment?
    “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, strength. ”
    I think too many Christians try to love God with ONLY their mind or intellect. Try loving your spouse with only your intellect and see how that goes…
    A love song void of emotion is not a love song.
    God wants us to love Him with ALL of our being: our hearts, our minds, our soul, our passion, our emotions!
    No we are not supposed to ‘check our brains at the door’ but neither are we to ‘leave our emotions at the door!’

  • YankeePatriot1969

    Contemporary “Christian” “Music” has little to no substance to begin with. It tends to be sensual and self-centered rather than Christ-centered. Having a Cheshire-cat-smile-faced dude playing the same chord over and over again on his guitar and singing the same repetitive choruses adds little or nothing to the service.

  • TonySilveira

    What a stupid article! If you open a Hymn book you will also find tons of things to criticize. I personally enjoy a good sloppy wet kiss so if you don’t like these songs just suck it up and change the station but don’t waste your time bashing amazing songs that are an expression of Worship of our times. Are you just envious of not being able to write songs yourself? I really don’t get it…

  • Taco Hornbaker

    How he Loves-actually the original version was written as “unforseen kiss” by david crowder and changed to sloppy wet kiss for the first time by kim walker.

  • Larry Ashcraft

    One that I’d add to the list is, “In Christ Alone.” I cringe every time I hear well-meaning Christians sing the line, “to satisfy the wrath of God.” I know that for some, this idea plays a crucial role in their soteriology, but I personally see appeasement of an angry Father as running completely counter to Jesus’ plain statement, “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father.” A little later that evening, Jesus made sure there was no misunderstanding about this by saying, “Don’t ask me to pray to the Father for you, for the Father himself loves you.”

    Kudos to the Presbyterian Church in the US for rejecting this song for their new hymnal due to this line. Kudos also to people like Brian Zahnd, Greg Boyd, Derek Flood, Herb Montgomery, as well as many others who are making sense of the Biblical evidence without creating a “Monster God.”

  • Ddave Dionson

    The writer of this article should perhaps write a review on Songs of Solomon??? I bet she’d say : “Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Stop Reading the Songs of Solomon.. ” hehe. (I only agree with “sloppy wet kiss” part)

    • Ddave Dionson

      the ‘sloppy wet kiss’ as poetry is okay but wrtiing it with the intention to be sang in churches you really have to be sensitive. this probably happened to most churches when they first sang this song and when they go to that part they open their eyes and say — WHAAAT??? It’s a common reaction. I’ve been in a worship band and one thing I have learned is that you’re playing with people with different backgrounds and whether you like it or not you it’s your responsibilty to bring them to the throne of God as you lead worship. The “unforseen kiss’ did a great job as an alternative lyrics.

  • Church Software

    Interesting and thought provoking. I would like to see the author write a similar article regarding hymns and even liturgy

  • Megan

    A few things:

    1- I’m sorry- but if you find something uncomfortable because you believe it sounds like two teens making out behind a bush, that says more about your own maturity and perception than anything.

    2. If you are uncomfortable with the verse “sloppy wet kiss”, I’d like to ask if you’ve studied the Bible through and through? Have you seen some of the very graphic verses? Not just in a positive way, but in a negative way as well. Have you read Ezekiel 23:20? Using the metaphor sloppy wet kiss is not only mild in comparison to scriptural metaphors, but in my opinion, a beautiful and innocent depiction. I am sorry you have let our sex obsessed culture cause you to be sensitive to anything that you could remotely perceive as being sexual. (Again, says more about you than the song itself)

    You know what I think of when I hear that verse? I think of a child- the closest thing to innocence and purity we have on this planet, being so in love and so excited to see me, just because. That is beautiful.

    3. I see a pattern of calling songs not theologically meaty. I’d like to note that some of the most powerful poems and words in history are not wordy, but rather repetitious. There is nothing wrong with that; not all songs have to be incredibly wordy.

    All in all, poorly written, and tightly opinionated. I’m not sure what kind of feedback you were looking for when you made this.

  • Roselyn

    I think many people here are being too petty. We do need to know the Bible and we need to ask God to help us make right decisions and fill our hearts with words of worship (sing to the Lord a new song), but we also need to love God with all our soul, mind, and strength.

  • Pamela Graham

    Dear Corrie Mitchell, I’ve heard most of this before.
    I think we could write article upon article, randomly picking songs, and rip them apart. Frankly, I’m tired of it. In the time it takes to write such a deep and helpful article, or even read it, we could have sung a bevy of really worshipful hymns.
    How about we let God defend His own glory. He’s pretty good at it.
    Also, changing the words to a song is simply strange. If you (meaning anyone) do not like a song, don’t sing it.

  • DLSAND

    If this article is just about mere questioning whether the church should sing a certain song, I’m all for that. The title of the article, however, suggests that we should stop singing these songs because they aren’t worth singing. The author points out specific,
    bad theology for some songs. The author is simply “irked” by others. So maybe the point of the article was just to cause
    discussion. If that was the only point, congratulations, plenty of conversation has been sparked. On the other hand if the author is serious that the church should stop singing these songs I think the author is simply wrong.

    I’m only going to address 3 songs, however, I believe each song listed here (some more than others) have plenty to offer the worshipper.

    First, Lord I Lift Your Name on High: The reasoning for not singing this song is that the full gospel story is not presented. The
    author states, “what it does speak to is such a small fraction of the fullness of the gospel story. It leaves out the resurrection, Jesus’ teachings, the coming of the Kingdom — new heavens and new earth — just to name a few things.” The author is apparently suggesting that the songs we sing need to literally mention the whole gospel story. This is obviously ridiculous and
    needs more explanation from the author as to why they believe Lord I Lift Your Name on High needs a complete presentation of the Gospel. The author then goes on to criticize the line from “the grave to the sky”. I am certain that the vast majority of people who sing this song understand that Jesus is not in the sky. I am just as certain that the people understand that the line is a metaphor for the resurrection/ and or his ascension into Heaven. At the beginning of Acts the bible tells us that 40 days after Jesus’
    resurrection (from the grave), he left the earth, and the people were looking into the sky as Jesus ascended into Heaven.
    There isn’t any bad theology here… just an authors interpretation and preference. I find it silly that I actually took time to rebut on this song…

    Secondly I will address Above All: The bad theology referred to in this song is a simple and gross misunderstanding. The line quoted here is, “You took the fall and thought of me above all.” The author of this article leans on the critique of John Piper. But I would challenge both that this one line they refer to is actually two separate lines.

    1. You took the fall and thought of me (and this is good theology as Piper himself points out)

    2) Above all (as to say, “You are above all. And I doubt there is any dispute as to whether or
    not our Lord is above all)

    If one chooses to read the lyrics of this song as they are intended to be understood, this song is just fine. And if one chooses to read it as some self centered humanistic worship that puts us before God, that’s up to them. I myself believe the Lord, Yahweh (yes I wrote it and say it), is above all.

    Lastly, Burn For You: A song I have never sung before or even know. The lyric that is questioned here is, “I’ll go anywhere, I’ll do anything, at any cost for you my King.” On one hand, I agree wholeheartedly with the author here. Would I really do these
    things? Have I done these things? Should I sing a song like this if I have no intention of giving up my life? Tough questions. On the other hand, shouldn’t that be my goal? Should I not want to give up my life for my King? Should I settle for less? Jesus didn’t say, “go and try not to sin any more,” he said “sin no more”. In reference to the lyrics of the song, he author states he believes the lyrics
    should be changed to, I will try to go anywhere and try to do anything… because that is the best we can offer. Is that true?
    Is that what we learn from Jesus, or from the book of Romans? That simply trying is all we can offer? I disagree. But that is also a different debate… The question here is should we sing the lyrics? What if that is a person hearts cry at that moment? What if this is goal they want to strive for? Then why not sing them? Should the church not sing I Surrender All and tear it out of the hymnal?
    Because who in this world has ever surrendered all?

    And here is my personal confession – I rarely sing I surrender all. And if I were singing, Burn for You, I would have to stop with the line here. But that doesn’t mean it should never be sung. And that doesn’t mean I should settle for just trying. Instead, I pray that God, through his transforming power, will continue to make me into a person who will go anywhere, and do anything… etc.

    While I adamantly agree that believers and followers of Christ should critically think about the words they sing, I think it’s careless (almost dangerous) to suggest that certain songs aren’t worth singing because of one person’s preferences.

  • Jon Marken

    As a worship leader, I used to grapple with the “over commitment” lyrics (#6), especially since so many 19th-century hymns have them too (I Surrender All, Take My Life and Let It Be). Now I’ve come to view them as a renewal of vows.

    When young people marry, we certainly expect them to say the vows, though we know they won’t be wholly kept. For one, most of us will stumble on Jesus’ definition of adultery. Yet the vows aren’t at fault, and we applaud older couples who renew their vows and make a fresh attempt to live up to them.

    That’s how I view these songs. Repentance involves not just forgiveness of sins but a turning away from those sins, something we make clear to a new convert. Though we all repent imperfectly, the words still must be spoken, the vows made. These songs help me renew those vows over and over again, always endeavoring, indeed, to put my “all on the altar.”

    P.S. I seldom read Christian forums such as this anymore because I’m nearly always distressed at the lack of charity. I think there will be much repentance when we stand in glory and, no longer confined to our like-minded churches, must rub shoulders with those we’ve been so quick to put down.

  • Katie

    Man looks at the outward appearance.God looks on the heart… in theory ANY hymn or song could or could not be worship… the worship is the responsibility of the worshipper not the leader or the lyricist or the musician… sure those things can help but even then that is over to us. Gosh, we love to blame others – it is so much easier than looking at ourselves. If these songs are a problem to your heart don’t sing them – if they are not – do but remember there are no extra points for sounding holy. God sees our hearts.

  • brit4Israel

    What a junk article! Get a life (in the nicest possible way). If you feel songs could be made better then write some yourself. Sung worship is not about just one song but the collection of songs to build a theme in any sung worship. this article is too critical. And as regard to not using the name Yahweh – what a load of rubbish!! It’s in the bible, it’s the word of God. next>>>

  • thunder250

    I find this article sad. The author misses so much about the use of figurative language and metaphor; the history of hymnology; the importance of context, setting and purpose in songs chosen for worship; “right brain” vs “left brain” encounters with God…..
    If her standard and approach to worship music was applied to all church music we would end up not using some of the hymns that have been most meaningful to Christians throughout the years, including some of the Psalms because they are not “correct.” (Off the top of my head Amazing Grace comes first to mind … As it contains no reference to whom the song is specifically about. Ps 19 should go, as it also appears to confuse the heavens with the sky. That sloppy sensual and romantic Song of Solomon is probably not fit for reading either nor is the hymn based partly on it that begins “I will sing of my beloved”. And how about “The King of Love my Shepherd is?” – No reference to who it is addressed so that, unless one is familiar with Ps 23, they have no idea to whom they are singing in its highly romanticized setting. Then we must toss the Alleluias or the seven fold Amens too…..Way to repetitious!)

    All this strikes me as similar to someone criticizing a child’s painting given as a gift to a parent because it not accurate, well done or too flowery. As a parent I have known the joy of receiving such poorly crafted expressions of love. In fact, they are some of my most prized possessions.
    Worship is, at least in part, an expression of the heart. To sing “above all He thought of me,” is to express my wonder in and gratitude for being loved by a God who sacrificed “all” for, as another hymnist wonderfully and quite inaccurately once penned, “such a worm as I.” I believe the Father is more pleased with such heart felt expressions of love done poorly, than he is with the most theologically articulate anthems that are devoid of passion.
    When both good theology and heart felt expressions come together it is wonderful, but apart from these rare occurrence, I won’t hesitate to “come unto him” with the other children who offer “sloppy kisses” of thanksgiving, praise, appreciation, admiration to the Father.
    Come to think of it, didn’t I read somewhere that the term worship itself comes from….what?…. “To kiss”?)

  • Tom Somos

    Examine your heart when you praise.

  • Tom Somos

    Also, imo, your time prob could have been better spent doing something else than writing this. Stop trying to get attention and write something that has value.

  • Walt

    Make a joyful noise unto the LORD!! That certainly can take many different forms and perhaps by many different instruments. I agree that David danced before the LORD it had little to do with outward appearance, and so much more to do with inward heartfelt worship. It even convicted his wife Michal who was unable to join him in his worship, and instead was offended. What could be more theological than to say His love never runs out for it is perfect love!!

  • JoMo

    We a-holes are trying to be holier that the other or become righteous than the other. We are a bunch of self-seeking, self righteous bastards. We don’t even deserve to sing any song to Him because we are not worthy. And here we are figuring out how. Just keep your styles and doctrines to yourself. We should instead just be thankful enough God redeemed us that we may sing and give all adoration and all glory back to Him.

  • Matt

    What’s interesting to me, is that you choose to criticize a song for being man-centered (Above All) and then tell us to “bring back the hymns” which are probably the most man-centered form of worship there has ever been In modern times. Hymns are about me and what I’m doing. Instead, they should be about God and what he is doing. There are certainly a few hymns that are not this way, but there much more that are highly man-centered.

    PS. Have you seen the effect this comment section has taken from this article? Are you sure this is helping the church as much as it is hurting it?

  • jship

    I had zero problems with this until it got to the sloppy wet kiss part. I have never talked to anyone about this line where it doesn’t come down to a lack of maturity to understand that it communicates a passionate coming together that disregards “formalities”, whereas instead people just take it at face value and don’t care to actually consider the meaning behind it. Unforseen doesn’t come anywhere close to communicating the same message. Grow up.

  • Maria Panlilio

    I agree with the idea, but this author is not even a theology grad, so I can not trust her comments completely. One major thing that troubled me, why would you encourage people to tell God that “I will try to do anything…”. Telling God, that is all I can give you… to the God who took human form and gave completely for us.

    To the editor, please double check your articles. She just told people to not give completely to God. I have been contemplating about this article and, the Holy Spirit urged me to say something, and rebuke what the author wrote.

    Yes, it’s difficult to submit everything to God, but that’s why we are created, to glorify Him, and be living sacrifices and live a life (not part of our life) that will be like sweet smelling incense to God. Let us not be lukewarm (“So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” Revelation 3:16) Let our hearts be hot for the Lord and give completely to Him.

    Our God do not deserve an “I will try” commitment. God deserves our all. Do not fear for during those weak moments we will be strong through Christ. (“For I can do everything through Christ” Philippians 4:13)

    Please know your Bible first before writing articles for Christians to read.

  • Egil Hansen

    I can hum a wordless song in praise to God….heart over words i’d say….but hey! let’s waste more time being critical about each other…it’s not like we have more important things to do :p

  • Nathan Siesel

    This is dumb lol

  • Anthea Peter

    This is BULLSHIT.

  • Tim Ross

    The list was ok, totally agree with #10, kind of a stretch on some, but I’m surprised the list doesn’t contain more, wait no all, Bethel and IHOP songs, or would you have to expand the list?

  • tom dennison

    Worst article I have ever read on worship. Sorry Corrie, it was unbelievably petty, personally biased and illogical. wow you need to unpost this one. Tom

  • tom dennison

    STOP IT! STOP IT! STOP IT! STOP IT BROTHERS AND SISTERS. Please can we stop criticizing each other especially for such trivial reasons. No, I WILL NOT stop singing these songs and here is why. Here is why every argument of Ms Mitchell was wrong, point by point. My motivation is not to criticize Ms Mitchell (I am sure she is a wonderful person); I only want to defend these excellent artistic expressions of love for Jesus. 1&2 – No mention of Jesus explicitly. So what! It is perfectly natural to address someone without using their name. I look at my wife and say,”I love you”. She doesn’t wonder who I am talking to cuz I didn’t say her name. People gather in a church and sing “draw me close to you” during worship time and we think it is not clear who they are referring to? Seriously? Implying that people are thinking about making out while singing this song seems a rather carnal assumption. 3. Don’t use the name Yahweh. So our lyrics in worship songs are restricted to Jewish custom. I respect Jewish people, of course, but I think we should align our song lyrics with Scriptural principle, not Jewish tradition. If you don’t like to sing the name “Yahweh” then don’t, but you have no Scriptural reason to criticize others on this point. 4. Not the fullness of the gospel story. Seriously? “from heaven, to earth, to the cross, to the grave, to the ascension”. The last time I read 1 Corinthians 15 that pretty much covers it and then some. I have no idea what Ms Mitchell is talking about on this one? As for heaven not being in the sky I think we need to read Acts 1:9-11 again. Jesus’ ascension was clearly into the sky. I’m pretty sure he was returning to heaven. It’s just a chorus for goodness sake. I guess Luke screwed it up too. 5. Jesus was not thinking of us on the cross “above all.” OK, I think we need a bit of perspective on this, First of all theologically, the NT says about a hundred times that he died for us. It seems pretty clear that we were a big part of Jesus’ motivation to be on the cross. He was suffering because he loved us. Does it seem unreasonable that saving us might have been the foremost thought on his mind? Hardly. From an artistic point of view it was obviously meant to be a kind of creative take-off from the first part of the song where Jesus is extolled as being “above all”. Can we not give songwriters some poetic license without calling them to task because maybe Jesus was thinking of heaven above all and we came in second (maybe!). Actually, it might seem more like Jesus that he was thinking about us. While he hung on the cross he thought of his mother and prayed for forgiveness for the soldiers. 6. We should not make bold claims for following God. This is the only one that has any merit at all. We probably should not sing songs we don’t mean. Of course, they might inspire us to greater commitment too. However, I still think this is a carnal assumption. When people state their intentions and heartfelt commitments to God we should not assume it is boasting. Do we really think that these singers see themselves as spiritual supermen who could never fail God? Read Psalm 26. If that could not be construed as David boasting I don’t know what could be. Then in Ps 27:3 David claims that “though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear.” Really, you are sure of that are you David? Yes, he was confident in the Lord. But why do we assume that the writer of “Burn for You” is not sure of his bravery because he too is confident in the Lord? 7. “There’s nothing wrong with this song” …… but I have to find a reason to criticize it anyway, because it is “irksome” to me. Ms Mitchell says it is too shallow. So what is the minimum depth a song must reach before we deem it worthy to be sung? I am sorry, but this was extremely petty. I like deep songs too but if a song takes a simple truth and drives it home with music that touches emotions please just leave it alone. Please can we simple minded buffoons just enjoy a simple song? Oh, and by the way, since when are “your love never fails, never gives up, never runs out on me” shallow truths. My life is based on these shallow truths. 8. We should not suggest that the Christian life is easy. That is true but if you read the whole song that is not their point. Can’t we have a little bit of faith that what the songwriter meant was that in the presence of Jesus our problems shrink as we get perspective on how big Jesus is. Some shrink so much they do disappear. It doesn’t say they all disappear. Do we really think that the songwriter thinks that if we are Christians all problems literally disappear. No one believes that (not for long anyway). With this approach we could actually tear apart the Psalms. They are filled with metaphor and hyperbole that we could easily criticize as not being literally true. 9. “I’m just not fond of singing this type of song…songs from God’s perspective”. Well, then don’t sing them. But don’t tell us that we should not sing them when you have absolutely no Scriptural basis for that claim. Again I am offended by the carnal assumption that if we sing them we are “taking on God’s greatness, goodness and glory as if we were God himself”. When I sing songs like that I am not even close to thinking or feeling such thoughts. It never, ever, ever enters my mind. Instead, most of us revel in the idea that God would think such sublime thoughts of us. And by the way, the problem lyric cited is “Do not be afraid, I am with you, I have called you each by name.” These are virtually quotes from Scripture, not us putting words into God’s mouth.
    10. Reference to a wet sloppy kiss is too awkward. It seems like something dogs or teenagers do. Really? How about a husband and wife on their wedding night. I’m sorry but God is the one that invented the marriage metaphor and used it repeatedly in Scripture to describe the spiritual passion and pleasure that we enjoy with Jesus and will enjoy after our wedding to Jesus. I know that some things passionate, like sloppy kisses, make some of us feel uncomfortable. I am a private person on such matters myself, but we need to get over it. We talk enough about romantic passion in a foolish vein, why not use romantic passion for something glorifying to God. In reality, Jesus wants a spiritual intimacy with us that is so passionate that it is indeed a little uncomfortable. I think our western church has to some extent excommunicated passion from our worship. We white Americans can be an awfully stiff bunch, can’t we. Maybe we need to sing a little more about wet sloppy kisses. No offense intended Ms Mitchell but I honestly thought your unfounded objections should be answered. Sorry if I got sarcastic ; I’m from New England-it’s our regional dialect there. I am sure you are an ardent Christ follower. I think you would do much more good for Jesus with your writing talent and training if you didn’t criticize in such a way. We have waaaaay to much of that going on. In Christ, Tom Dennison.

  • bastiat

    Totally disagree with the assessment of #6. We shouldn’t be singing songs in worship to our God that remind us of what He desires of us for our good and for His glory? The linked blog post (“why we should stop singing ‘Oceans”) makes a slightly better argument, but I still don’t agree with that author’s line of thinking that churches shouldn’t be using the song in corporate worship. It may be an issue of the individual’s heart and that individual should decide whether or not they are in a position in their relationship with the Lord where they can sing such lyrics, but there is nothing theologically wrong with pledging a devotion to the Lord’s calling in our lives and submitting to that call with humility. And maybe it was in jest, but the suggested lyrics change to “I’ll try to…” is kind of insulting. “I’ll halfway obey you God, if I can get around to it or if it doesn’t inconvenience me too much.” Why would that be any better of a song to sing in church? The same logic says don’t read the parts of the Bible that challenge you to step out of your comfort zone unless you’re actually willing to step out of your comfort zone. The Lord has a way and those whom He has called will answer that call aided by His power and spurred on by His divine prompting and guidance. Nothing wrong with encouraging obedience and reminding us of the Lord’s desire for His children to be doers of the Word.

  • jsun

    Nigga u trippin… hatin on Paul B AND Jesus culture! Lol

  • Devin Li

    *Shake my head* on this article…………..

  • disqus_SCBTUzYLDX

    This article is fairly obnoxious. First she criticizes songs for not mentioning God’s name, and then she criticizes songs for being TOO SPECIFIC when mentioning God’s name. News flash: the book of Esther doesn’t mention His name, either. If you have that much trouble figuring out that a song sung in church is about God, not some cheap romance, then you need to reevaluate your place at that church, because either it’s so bad it has caused you to doubt, or you just want to whine. Also, THERE IS NO RULE against speaking, reading, or writing Yahweh. It’s a Jewish PREFERENCE, not a God-given law. You want to argue? Find me the verse. The closest resemblance you’ll find is to not take God’s name in vain. That’s it. Take a chill pill, lady. It’s not you they’re singing to.

    As for “from the grave to the sky,” it’s barely worth noting that the songwriters put the word “sky” in there for the sake of rhyming. It so clearly refers to Heaven that either you are picky beyond belief, or too stubborn to listen to reason.
    You can make an argument for “Above All,” if you, once again, want to be really picky. I always interpreted it to mean that Jesus put us above all earthly things, even his own comfort, and was therefore willing to sacrifice himself for our sake. But, also, I happen to think it was, AGAIN, for the sake of rhyming that it was written in such a way.

    Fighting over the lyrics to “Burn for You” strikes me as rather…weak. Did it ever occur to you that those lyrics are demonstrating how we SHOULD think and act? Did it ever occur to you that your lyrics alterations make it sound so weak and watered-down that it’s laughable? Why not change “Stand up, stand up for Jesus” to “Sit up, sit up for Jesus” for those who just can’t quite make themselves stand? Lukewarm, anybody?

    You seriously lecture songs because they’re not theologically deep enough for your tastes? To a certain extent, I agree that songs worshiping God need to be about worshiping God, not people’s emotions. However, you’ve taken it too far. The songs may not hit all the points you want, but they do hit important points. Exactly how much theology do you expect to fit into a three-minute song, anyway?? Personally, I like to use music like this as a reflection and celebration of the aspects of God each song points out, instead of whining that it’s not written to my specifications.

    “And in his presence our problems disappear” may not strike you as grand, but isn’t it possible that it’s actually saying, “When I’m with God, my problems no longer matter”?

    You actually found problems with “You Are Mine”? You DO realize that the writer of that song was quoting the Bible, right? You DO realize that the song has just thrown some theology in, which you specifically said you wanted in music, and now you’re whining about it…right?

    “Sloppy, wet kiss” always sounded to me like rain. I mean, how else does “heaven meet earth like a sloppy, wet kiss”? It sounds to me like he’s saying God’s love is raining down. Also, when I was really young, my dad would leave a sloppy, wet kiss on my forehead and I would scream, run away, and laugh. It was a game we played. So what if you don’t like it? So what if it makes you uncomfortable? You criticize songs for making people TOO comfortable and then turn right around and criticize others for making you too UNcomfortable?? Care to make up your mind?

    So what if you don’t like any of these songs? They weren’t made for you. If you don’t like them due to whatever religious convictions you have, don’t sing them. It’s that simple. But criticizing someone else’s worship of God…? You’ve crossed a line.

  • Garrett Pletcher

    I thought I would enjoy this article because I think there’s a lot wrong with popular Christian music today. Most of it is cheap and poorly crafted. While there are songs on this list I don’t like for those reasons, I didn’t like this article. It was spiteful and the reasons presented were just as cheap and poorly crafted as the songs mentioned.

  • Jomar Pascua Pastores

    I am not an expert of sacred music and songs but i will never allow our church to sing songs that the name of our God Jesus Christ is not mentioned in the lyrics of the songs.

    I will continue to remind our praise and worship team not to consider songs without the name of our God Jesus Christ to be sang in the worship.

    It is but proper for any songs to be sang in the worship to be grounded of the truth and wisdom from the Holy Bible. Let us not to be emotional in the worship. let us embrace 1-Corinthians 14:33 “For God is not a God of disorder but of peace–as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.”

    thanks.

  • John Michael Gastador

    First the title does not make sense. It says, “Let’s stop singing these worship songs.” If we can’t sing these songs, then they are not worship songs. If they are worship songs, then we can definitely sing them. Second, i find this article brimming with phrases that show personal preferences, and opinions, which can never be imposed to other people. Finally, lines from songs are taken and interpreted individually. Even Bible verses should be understood in context. Once a line is taken from a song, interpretation becomes wrong, because context is disregarded.

    I am a conservative Baptist. But this article comes out too strong, even for me. Brother, get rid of the faulty generalization here.

  • Katie

    I’m not familiar with any, but one of these songs (granted, we sing a capella at my church). I enjoy Lord, I Lift Your Name on High, though. And I don’t think the author know all the lyrics to the song, because it does include an, albeit, brief synopsis of Jesus’ life and is about praising him.

    “Lord, I lift you’re name on high. Lord, I love to sing your praises. I’m so glad you’re in my life. I’m so glad you came to save us.

    He came from Heaven to earth to show the way. From the earth to the cross, my debt to pay. From the cross to the grave, from the grave to the sky, Lord, I lift you’re name on high.”

    And I don’t have a problem saying to the sky, as Jesus did ASCEND to Heaven.

  • Sherry Healey

    I read the article carefully, and I cannot agree with the author. The remarks made seem to reveal a cold, formal idea of worship, as well as a willful choice to misconstrue the motives of the songwriters.
    In the Secret: This is clearly a song about having personal devotions early in the morning, and a heartfelt desire to not allow anything to come between the person and his/her Savior. Please note the Scriptural references of the second verse:
    I am reaching for the highest goal,
    that I might receive the prize.
    Pressing onward, pushing every hindrance aside,
    Out of my way, ’cause I want to know you more…
    If someone cannot understand that this is not a teenage crush song, they certainly lack spiritual eyesight.
    Draw Me Close to You: This is a beautiful song, with thoughts similar to “Nearer, Still Nearer,” and other great Christian hymns. What teenage crush song would include the prayer,
    “You’re all I want
    You’re all I’ve ever needed
    You’re all I want
    Help me know You are near”?
    Is really so hard to tell that the singer is praying?
    At Your Name: It wasn’t until the second temple period (300BC) that the Jews quit pronouncing the name of God. The Scriptures record many times when the name of God was pronounced aloud. As for the shouting, notice Psalm 95:1:
    “Oh come, let us sing to the Lord!
    Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.”
    This is the Name, Yaweh, and there is no way they could sing their songs if they could not say His name. The website included a video of the man who wrote the song, and as he explains why he wrote the song he certainly shows a reverent respect for God. Interestingly, the author of the criticism complains when the songs don’t name God, and then complains when they do.
    Lord, I Lift Your Name on High: The author complains about the details of the Gospel that are left out, and ends up saying that “And, come on, the idea of heaven being in ‘the sky’ is just theologically incorrect.” Wow. I am almost speechless at the unfair treatment this supposed Christian author uses against these songs! The song does not mention heaven, it says Jesus rose from the grave and went up in the sky, which is what the Bible teaches happened in the ascension. What does the author think happened???
    Above All:
    Above all powers, Above all kings, Above all nature, and all created things,
    Above all wisdom and all the ways of man
    You were here bBefore the world began

    Above all kingdoms, Above all thrones, Above all wonders the world has ever known
    Above all wealth and treasures of the earth
    There’s no way to measure what You’re worth

    Crucified, Laid behind a stone
    You lived to die, Rejected and alone
    Like a rose trampled on the ground
    You took the fall and thought of me
    Above all

    “For God so loved me, that He gave His only begotten Son…” His other-centered love, His care for the one lost sheep, His self-sacrificing love is what took Him to the cross. “Upon the cross of Jesus my eyes at times can see; the very dying form of One who suffered there for me. And from my smitten heart with tears two wonders I confess – the wonder of redeeming love, and my unworthiness.” All I can add is that I know a different Gospel than the author of this article seems to know, and a different Savior and Father!!!

    I cannot sympathize with the comments, and am fully convinced that the author lacks a personal, heart relationship with the Savior. When we have been hurt by people who have not loved us as they promised, then when we find a deep, compassionate love we can rely on in Jesus, we rejoice in it. Real theology, real content, is that which fills us and satisfies our inner longings, not a bunch of facts that even Satan consents to. I will not go through each of the rest, but I cannot refrain from answering the last objection, that of songs being written from the Lord’s standpoint… Many hymns and many psalms are written from the Lord in first person. I find the Lord calling me often from these songs. How many times I have heard His soft voice, drawing me to trust in Him! It is Biblical, and it is spiritual. If someone is uncomfortable with it, they must not hear His voice personally.
    “I gave My life for Thee
    My precious blood I shed
    That thou might ransomed be
    And quickened from the dead….”
    (There are many hymn examples!)

    Since this was sent to multiple recipients, I am responding to them all. I pray that the accusing spirit will not find a place in our congregation

  • Sammelyn

    From the Song “ABOVE ALL”:
    “Like a rose, trampled on the ground, you took the fall and thought of me above all.”

    I think there’s nothing wrong with this one; It only means that when the human beings fall into sin, we are like a rose that fall on the ground and has no hope but a sure death! But, since Jesus Christ loved us so much; He gave His life for us, He loved us above all, more than His life.

    It means as simple as that…so there’s nothing wrong with that song or that particular lyrics.

  • Sammelyn

    From “LORD I LIFE YOUR NAME ON HIGH“ . . . from the cross to the grave from the grave to the sky . . . ”

    Well, the message is clear, from the cross to the grave or to the tomb and from the tomb He went up to heaven…If you’re saying that it’s but a fraction of the gospel story, it’s ok because some musicians can’t mention everything in one song, sometimes it’s just a portion..

  • Sammelyn

    From the Song “ABOVE ALL”:
    “Like a rose, trampled on the ground, you took the fall and thought of me above all.”

    I think there’s nothing wrong with this one; It only means that when the human beings fall into sin, we are like a rose that fall on the ground and has no hope but a sure death! But, since Jesus Christ loved us so much; He gave His life for us, He loved us above all, more than His life.

    It means as simple as that…so there’s nothing wrong with that song or that particular lyrics.

  • Johnny

    Interestingly enough, I’ve never heard of any of these. I guess that’s what I get for going to a traditional church that still incorporates hymnals

  • jared

    Stop bickering about the nitty gritty of songs that were whole heartedly meant to glorify God. I think we all know that the artists who created these songs made them in complete reverence and exaltation to God. And God appreciates that. And so should we.

  • Sterling Dueck

    I do not believe that there is not a lot wrong with most of these songs. It is the humility and prayerful attitude of the worship leaders and worshipers which determine if these songs actually assist us in entering into true worship. For a detailed review of this article check out my blog via my facebook account. I am writing a 3 part article on whether of not we should sing these choruses, ten of our favorite hymns and attempting to answer the question – What Is True Worship

  • Vicki Leonardson

    I agree with Sonia Spooner. 100%. Draw Me Close to You was one of the first worship songs that literally grabbed me and drew me into God’s unconditional love. This song will always be a favorite. I can understand why men are sometimes uncomfortable singing love songs to Jesus. However, my husband has assured me that he has never felt this way. He lost his father at age 11 after years of fighting cancer. He loves to be wrapped in Jesus’ arms. He cries in God’s presence often. I was healed of panic attacks, anxiety, depression, and agoraphobia in 2008 and I am overwhelmed and extremely emotional every time I sing these songs. I will never cease to be in awe that in my darkest hour, when I wanted to die, He thought of me “above all”. I would say that anyone who is critical of these types of songs needs to be healed and transformed from the inside out. Then and only then will they embrace love songs to Jesus.

  • Organic Owl

    This seems awfully nit picky, pretty sure if you are church singing “In the Secret” you know EXACTLY who you are singing about.

  • Mary

    I feel very sorry for you Corrie, as it seems you have nothing better to do than to pick apart songs that have brought me to my knees in worship before my Lord and Savior. It is what is in our hearts that our God looks at.

  • egee05

    you miss two hymns where almost if not all Christians are guilty of under-deliver with its call. the songs “I Surrender All” and “Just As I Am”

  • Anonymous

    I don’t know most of these songs, but they do sound strange. I do know “Lord I Lift Your Name On High” and there seems to be nothing wrong with it.

  • Guest

    The main problem I have with this is article is that it seems that the author is trying to bring “religion” and legalism back into worship.
    I say this with conviction and without apology: There is nothing wrong with our feelings. God created our feelings.
    I am particularly-troubled by this sentiment by the author of this article…”there’s something irksome about songs that seem intended to make us
    feel, to simply incite that euphoric worship experience, that spiritual
    high. It almost seems cheap . . . or fake.”
    There is nothing fake about feelings. Our feelings were a created part of us as human beings. If God didn’t want us to feel, he would have made us into robots…
    The Biblical precedent for intense feeling in Worship is given by the writer of the Psalms–David. Most people would agree that if any person in the Bible defined worship, it would be David. He worshiped God with abandon, and was NEVER afraid to share his feelings. I have a feeling that he would offend many in religious circles today. 😀

  • Edna Schlegerfield

    The main problem I have with this is article is that it seems that the
    author is trying to bring “religion” and legalism back into worship.
    I say this with conviction and without apology: There is nothing wrong with our feelings. God created our feelings.
    I
    am particularly-troubled by this sentiment by the author of this
    article…”there’s something irksome about songs that seem intended to
    make us
    feel, to simply incite that euphoric worship experience, that spiritual
    high. It almost seems cheap . . . or fake.”
    There
    is nothing fake about feelings. Our feelings were a created part of us
    as human beings. If God didn’t want us to feel, he would have made us
    into robots…
    The Biblical precedent for intense feeling in Worship
    is given by the writer of the Psalms–David. Most people would agree
    that if any person in the Bible defined worship, it would be David. He
    worshiped God with abandon, and was NEVER afraid to share his feelings. I
    have a feeling that he would offend many in religious circles today. 😀

  • Athena007

    So what you’re saying is that while everyone else is singing about their relationship with Christ, you’re thinking about sex. Interesting. Sick but interesting.

  • Rhea Chladek

    I love the legacy of the old hymns, AND I also love the simplicity that is often mocked in the new music.
    Jesus
    himself said, “If you do not come to me as a little child, you will not
    see the Kingdom of Heaven.” The beauty of the Gospel is its simplicity.
    How can it get more simple than “Your love never fails. It never gives
    up. It never runs out on me?” To me it is reminiscent of the old, well
    loved tune, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”
    It
    makes my heart smile when I hear a blending of hymns and contemporary
    worship in one service. I believe God is smiling too, because He knows
    the heart of the true worshiper transcends the simplicity, or the
    complexity, of our worship.

  • Christian Lake

    The only ones that I don’t agree with are: 4, 5, and 6. Not because I necessarily like the songs, but because I don’t agree with the arguments presented against them. In number 4 it says that the idea of heaven being “in the sky” is theologically incorrect is somewhat true… but the greek word translated heaven in the new testament means “sky”. So, if this song is incorrect for referring to heaven that way, then Paul was also theologically incorrect. As for number 5… if someone dies for you, it is pretty logical to believe that they thought of you more than themselves. This is not arrogant, it is just a fact. And the argument against number 6 was a bit annoying to me because if someone says “I will try to…” they are more likely to fail. In reality, every person COULD live a perfect life. We COULD follow God perfectly and we should strive to. But when we reinforce the belief that we can’t, then we are more likely to fail because “it is our nature”. It is sad that Satan has infiltrated the church with this lie. So, those are my beefs with this, please feel free to correct me if I am wrong :).

  • Karl Nilsson

    Glad you nipped this in the bud, make sure no one accidentally praises Jesus in a way you don’t see fit. Thnx for tackling this important subject.

  • Josh

    If a Jewish person is choosing to spell Yahweh without the vowels it is because they are choosing to write the name in the original Hebrew language. The Biblical Hebrew text does not utilize our vowel system in their written language. What we (English speakers) say, Yahweh is simply a translation of what was originally written, YHWH. In regards to using Yahweh in a song today (not in Old Testament times), it can only represent the most intimate of relationships we now have with God since Christ became the final sacrifice for sin and fulfilling the old law. We are no longer held to the old law that considered verbally saying YHWH to be blasphemous (which in my opinion was just referring to misusing the name of God). I can honestly say that I love this song, because personally it ties the
    Old and New Testaments together in worship form. If it were up to this
    tone-def guy I would have more songs like “At Your Name (Yahweh,
    Yahweh).”

    I can understand the heart of this article. As someone who is critical of worship songs myself (I keep my criticisms to myself) I have to think through the lyrics before I can really commit to the song (feel free to judge me on that 🙂 I might need it). However, to come right out and slam these worship songs is not seeing the big picture. A person reading this article may have a personal connection to one of these songs that is being thrashed. That connection may bring them closer to the Father…and now it has been publicly scared. We should never be in the game of slamming anyone’s “coming to Jesus moment.”

  • Larry LaBarge

    You sir are a pompous ass.

  • Larry LaBarge

    You sir are a pompous ass.

  • https://soundcloud.com/unitd Brandon Berry

    Don’t agree with this article at all. I’m a worship leader and I believe some of the songs on here are true anthems of praise and adoration to God, for example, One Thing Remains. The lyrics are powerful and they are repeated because those verses are true statements. God’s love never runs out on us. His love NEVER fails. That’s an amazing aspect of God that is always good to remember. My debt is paid and there’s nothing that can separate my heart from Your great love! That’s such a meaningful and wonderful thing to be reminded of and to sing to God. Of course he already knows this, but in praise He wants us to acknowledge that and tell Him we know that.

  • Scott Bowser

    This is an arrogant article about the authors personal opinion about what is right in their narrow view. So judgemental, I forgive the author, but why bother attacking beautiful Christian writers and worship leaders. It’s all about Christian community, living together, not throwing people under the bus.

  • meme

    My favorite song is Lord I lift ur name on high!

  • John Trenter

    Maybe you should contact Jeff Deyo at NCU to hear his take on “In the Secret” since he made it famous on the first incredible “Sonic Flood” CD. He might agree with you–or maybe not. Most Christians are not idiots as they listen to good church music–neither is ALL CCM meant to be played and sung in church. A whole lot of great songs in CCM, on the other hand, should be and are not sung in church. We are going way back to a pretty worn-out issue with Keith Green and the beginnings of CCM.

  • John Trenter

    Is it really the best thing to create disunity on an issue where we know there will differences?? Let’s leave it to the individual churches, I say!!

  • Just Sayin’

    It’s an interesting list, right-on in places but missing the
    mark in several important aspects. Let me address what I feel is the most
    important, songs sung during our most intimate times with the Lord. From your
    list I’m talking about “In The Secret”, “Draw Me Close To You”, “One Thing
    Remains”, and “Jesus, We Celebrate Your Victory”. During these most intimate
    times of fellowship with Him, we don’t need to call Him by name because He’s
    here with us face to face.

    You do know the origin of the word worship, right? Proskuneo, i.e., pros
    meaning very near, getting nearer as in “In the beginning was the Word, and the
    Word was with (pros) God, and Word was God” and as in “…but then we will be
    face to (pros) face”. Then there’s kuneo, meaning to kiss. So, worship is to
    draw so close to God as to kiss His face. We don’t need to mention is name at
    that point. And by the way, when He’s that close, all our problems and
    everything temporal does disappear. When God showed up in Chapter 42, Job basically
    said, not that I see You, I realize nothing else matters, which should cover
    your objection to “Jesus, We Celebrate Your Victory”.

    Finally, let’s talk about “You Are Mine” and other songs
    where God speaks in the first person. When our Beloved shows up in such
    intimate ways, He often speaks to us. When it happens in the congregation it
    might be through one or two prophets, or it might be through a great
    congregational utterance, a song. “Do not treat prophecies with contempt.”

    In His Great Love,

    Clarke

  • Beth Kaye-Walters

    I agree with most points here, particularly #10 as that line so totally turned me off the first time I heard it that not only do I now refuse to sing the song but have been known to leave if it’s being sung.
    Not sure that I am in total agreement with #4 though. Is it shallow and repetitive? Yes. Does it miss a lot of the goings on between Jesus’ death and ascension? Again, yes, however to put all of that into a single song is a bit of a daunting task.
    As for Jesus going from the grave to the sky…Acts 1:9-11 (NIV)…9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. 10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
    Jesus ascended. He went up and disappeared in the sky. That’s the last place the disciples saw Him, so I don’t see that line as being horrendously inaccurate. No, it doesn’t tell the whole story, but then again you can’t really do that in the space of a single song. To say a song is biblically inaccurate because it doesn’t include all the happenings in a particular story is like saying a sermon is theologically unsound because it does’t include the entire bible. Besides, “high” (as in Lord, I lift Your Name on…) rhymes with “sky”. “Heaven” doesn’t.
    Just saying.

  • Ron Fowler

    Never use your spouse’s name again. Tell him/her it’s out of respect. Apologize for being so stupid.

    Not using the name of God produces such redundant phrases as, “Then shall the nations know that the LORD is God.” When the verse actually reads, “Then shall the nations know that YHVH (Yahweh) is God.” It’s like saying, “Then shall the neighbour’s know that my woman is wife.” Doesn’t sound to respectful does it?

    Also the name of God or rather the short form Yah is found all over the place in words and names. Halleluyah, Yahoshua, Benyahmin, Eliyyah (Elijah), Yeshayah (Isaiah), Yirmeyah (Jeremiah), Ovadyah (Obadiah) etc.

  • FAITH TRIZA

    Stop corrupting the word of JEHOVAH with the word of the devil

  • Fred Nichols

    Stop being so damned critical, trying to find fault, and worship the Lord

  • Lee Ebbs

    Dead wrong on so many levels! I do have a problem with some songs like the one that says “you dance over me”. Really?

  • Josh

    Corrie most likely is just another anti charismatic bigot that hates big churches, praise and worship doesn’t have to include a full gospel outline. Its a moment with God that precedes teaching not the other way around.

  • Josh

    Corrie most likely is just another anti charismatic bigot that hates big churches, praise and worship doesn’t have to include a full gospel outline. Its a moment with God that precedes teaching not the other way around.

  • Josh

    It’s 2015 and people still sing these songs in the first place?

  • Cam Bell

    I highly doubt that God is up in Heaven thinking “Geez, these songs suck. They don’t talk enough about the gospel, all they do is talk about how much I love them, which is why I saved humanity in the first place. I wish they’d bring back the old stuff.”

    Seriously, you don’t have any idea what kind of music God listens to. Maybe he only likes death metal, who can say?

  • James Douglas

    Most evangelical music today is trite, overly saccharin and theologically wanting. It’s ME centered (after all, isn’t life all about ME?) and produced to arouse emotions. So we get on this emotional roller coaster, waving our arms in the air and letting tears run down our faces and in the end we fail to see that we’re really exalting ourselves rather than the Lord. In my view the article was right on the money and if it failed, it was because it did not go far enough.

  • Trish Boltz

    This article and the dicussion that has ensued as a result of it, hurts my heart. This is an obvious miss…look at the fruit it bore-Christians arguing and divided. God knows the intentions of imperfect man’s heart. He loves when we worship with our whole hearts and even if it isn’t expressed perfectly, He delights in it. I believe this author has judged these details far more harshly than our Heavenly Father who is perfect in justice would ever have. I wish I had never read any of this article or its comments and I sincerely hope that no one else reads this either, especially someone who does not understand or has not yet received the message of the Gospel, or a new believer. Just think about it people! Why are Christians so often the worst example of Christ to the lost. Why are the forgiven the most likely to be unforgiving…if someone wants to reply to this, good or bad, FYI I’m out and will not be rejoining this discussion. Your support or objection will be for your own self-seeking fullfillment.

  • HeLovesUsSo

    I feel that this woman is just takingthings the wrong way. I’m sorry but I’m no scholar so I couldn’t make an argument sound good but I feel that Satan is in your ear. How could you turn a song someone wrote to give God glory and praise into something sick and perverse. That’s a war going on in your own spirit and mind. I never took these songs as perverse or left them in question and I don’t really even attend church. As a matter of fact, I’ve just recently started recognizing the existence of God again. Now, you want to question some songs, question the band “skillet”. No one of God gets billboard list songs. Perhaps you should question that. I’m not judging anyone here but I feel you should be careful as to how high and mighty you’re becoming on account of the devil in your ear. “Hiissss, my child, these songs are perverted and wrong, hiiissss tell people to take them away from worship because they are wrong” … Those songs are the MOST played in every church today, of course Satan would want them removed. I bet his ears bleed when he hears it. I bet his whole being hurts when he feels the power of God in the souls of man because we are born of sin. When that sin within us is exposed to the Holy Spirit, Satan and his minions can feel it. Why would you trust in a calling such as this. I would question where that idea came from because I feel it wasn’t God speaking.

  • Philip Zook

    modern christians are so ridiculous with their endless debates

  • Tyler Horn

    You don’t have to make everything complicated, worship is every individual’s personal time to connect with God and sing what the words of a song mean to them or just to ignore it and spend time with him, worrying about small specifications ruins the point

  • tina

    so dogmatic

  • Tommy Howell

    In my opinion, much of this article is a waste of time. Shallow and trivial, opinionated information.

  • http://www.emilykathryn.com/ Emily Kathryn Boutique

    I was hoping the headline was just a clever way to pull me in, and then somehow edify and encourage. But it isn’t. . . 🙁

    “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is
    pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is
    excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” Phil 4:8

  • Penielthegreat

    What kind of songs do you want to be sung in the church then? could you write some…i’m not saying this sarcastically,I’m asking from my heart.

  • pbehnke

    I agree with this article. Writing praise music for millions to hear is a huge responsibility, not to be taken lightly. Is it about worship, and praise, or about getting people to feel good about coming to church? Words are important, especially in churches. This is why we old “curmudgeons” like the old hymns.

  • Sara Bloom

    My pastor leads the worship service. He sings like he is tone deaf,and hammers on his guitar instead of strumming it. Then he cannot stop talking when he is not singing. The mike is turned up for him so that he is out in front of the rest of the musicians who can play. Today it was so loud it irritated me. He sings a lot of the popular Christian songs. A lot of the people in the congregation don’t know them and because he sings off key we will never learn them. Not all of us listen to Christian radio. Yes I am being judgey, I was extremely angry today that I should have to be assaulted with terrible music in church, and a blabbermouth babbling on about how God loves our worship. No. Really? Sorry, there was no worship for me this morning. I think some use “make a joyful noise” as an excuse for making lousy music. Sloppy wet kiss? If he starts with that song, I am walking.

  • Min518

    By this standard of God or Jesus not being mentioned in a song, we should remove the book of Esther from the Bible and not play any organ or other instrumentals in church, correct?

  • steprock

    What a wrong-headed article. It rags on OTHER people’s worship writing while contributing nothing. Typical lowbrow internet griping, not fitting of any Christian site. More like a circular firing squad for believers. Critical, nitpicky and petty. Thank you, no.

  • Dylan Rymer

    There are ups and downs to this article. Here is my response to each song above (referenced by its number):
    1. I understand this argument. Had a professor tell us about how he was sick of contemporary worship making God seem like a horizontal (person-to-person) relationship and not a vertical (creature-to-God) relationship. My answer is emphasize both, because Jesus was both human and God. His human side is what He used to relate to us, yet we must not forget He is God.
    2. Same here as 1.
    3. The Israelites avoided using the name “Jehovah” or “Yahweh” because the Old Testament was under a different covenant. God would strike people dead if they didn’t qualify to touch the ark of the covenant, people had to go through priests to get to God, etc. As a result, most Israelites had a very impersonal idea of God. He was distant to most of them (save the patriarchs), and they were probably afraid of Him to a fault. When Jesus came, He tore the veil so we could come **boldly** before the throne. While I am no advocate of calling God any derogatory terms that we would use for cutting others down, I don’t believe He is pleased with us more or less if we call Him Jesus, Holy Spirit, Father, Lord, Yahweh, Jehovah, Abba, or any of His other names. Respecting God is a matter of the heart, not human linguistics. If an Ethiopian uses the word for God in his native tongue, he isn’t disrespecting God anymore than when I use the English term for God. Christians don’t follow the old covenant like the Jews do, and (spoiler alert) Jews aren’t saved until they accept Jesus. Therefore, we cannot use their view of God to model everything we as Christians do.
    4. This argument follows ZERO scripture. Don’t judge a worship song by how complex it is, when in fact Revelation 4:8 tells us the 4 living creatures say nothing but “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” Also, Jesus frequently pointed to the sky when He referenced heaven (nobody knows where heaven really is, so no need to argue over it). Also, you mention that this song fails to discuss the rest of the gospel message – well, neither does any other song. We can’t sing about the entire Bible in one sitting and expect people to stay awake.
    5. This is completely out of context to the rest of the song. Every time this song EVER mentions “Above all,” it talks about how God is above all creation. It starts out saying “above all powers, above all kings, above all nature…” Who could ever think these lyrics were referring to humans? “You took the fall, and thought of me, above all” is simply a return to the original “God is above all” message of the song. We are, however, valued above the rest of creation since we are made in His image.
    6. With God, *****ALL***** things are possible. It is only without Him that we need to start worrying about whether or not we can live up to the statements we make in worship songs. If all worship songs should only discuss the things we know we can do beyond any doubt, they would not exist, because we do not know what tomorrow brings. God knows we cannot keep any promises. David uses hyperbole in Psalms, along with most of the disciples in the New Testament. Hyperbole is a tool used in literature to add meaning.
    7. Emotions were invented by God (shocker, I know). The “don’t get me wrong” statement here contradicts the argument presented in #4, which implies worship songs should always present the Gospel in its entirety. Again, look at Revelation 4:8 when you want to judge songs that seem too simple. It is true that the “spiritual high” experienced in worship is only part of the Christian walk, but why is that bad? The only alternative is to sit in our chair, emotionless, before an almighty God of infinite emotion, who gives us so much when we deserve less than zero. Doing THAT is the real abomination. God deserves more emotion from us than when we are reunited with a best friend.
    8. “In His presence” is referring to that special time during worship when we truly connect with God (for non-charismatics and non-Pentecostals, I understand worship rarely gets to this point, which makes it understandable why some Christians are unfamiliar with this phenomenon). Sure, He is with us everywhere, but we don’t feel His presence as strongly as we do in that special time. When you are in His presence and connected to Him in worship, all you can think about is His love. There is no room in your mind to ponder your problems. Even in the Old Testament, the priests could not think of anything else when they entered the Holy of Holies. Their lives literally depended on taking their thoughts captive and only thinking about God. Problems really do disappear. This does not refer to the entire Christian life, which does have problems.
    9. I agree that this is better listened to and not sung. It serves more as a prophetic encouragement (for anyone wanting to argue over prophecy not existing anymore, take into account that every good thing comes from God – including words of encouragement like this. Then tell me how you think God doesn’t still talk to us. Cessationists are the reason so many Christians are confused about the Holy Spirit’s role in our lives today).
    10. Want to hear something very profound? God made sex, and Song of Songs is in the Bible. We could sing about sex in the context of Christianity, and every church on the block would protest against it. However, the reason pornography is widespread in the church is because we have refused to talk about sex in the church. Maybe worship songs that involve romance with God should only be sung around certain age groups or married couples, but that doesn’t make them bad. Even music outside the Christian label that talks about sex can be taken in the right way when listened to by a couple. It’s music that encourages sex outside marriage that is sinful. If the song doesn’t specifically tell us if the couple is married or not, then it’s not inherently good or bad. Sex and romance are like water or anything else in creation – neither good nor bad.

  • Lisa

    I agree with a couple of things but mostly I completely disagree – for example Yahweh Yahweh – yes the Vatican removed His name from their hymnals etc, yet it was removed from the bible…because MAN decided this was appropriate – but what did GOD ever say about this??…read the bible….all the way through it practically tells us to shout His name, lift up His name, make His name known…etc etc etc…God NEVER told us to hide his name..in fact one of the commandments tells us not to bring His Name to nothing!! removing it from the bible over 7000 times, removing it from our speech and our worship is nothing less than a scheme of the enemy. he has people believing that anyone who uses His name is either part of a cult or being disrespectful – read the bible – there is power in His name so of course the enemy wants us to shut up about it – my response…YAHWEH YAHWEH – I love to shout Your Name !

  • Melissa Kiser

    Ok the first 9 were songs we sing sometimes in my church there is nothing wrong with them the last one I have NEVER heard before. This article is disrespectful to our Christian faith.

  • Watchman

    I can find no reference in my bible to singing and music being associated with worshiping God. (2 Chronicles 29 needs to be read with care).
    Praise yes; worship no! Worship is associated, particularly in the Torah, with bowing down or bowing the head. Have you ever tried bowing your head and singing? In Revelation it is always associated with falling down,
    Church music has been corrupted by the world and is now mainly associated with entertainment. Worshiping God is NOT an entertainment. CDs of “worship” songs are sold as entertainment and the performers have become well paid celebs in the same way as pop stars of the world. Worship is for God alone, not for man’s pleasure.

  • Like a Boss

    I have to agree with those of you judging this article as being “judgey.” And all irony aside, what exactly is the point of this article? As far as I can tell, it promotes unchurching and bitterness. Because in all reality, most of us have very little say in what songs are sung in our churches every week. So we read lists like this, and then we remember how “meaningless” and “Biblically unfounded” these songs are, and then our worship experience is ruined. We get bitter and frustrated and sit there stewing or maybe shouting “No!” at our worship leader from the back row instead, wondering how he/she could be so foolish as to choose a song that we thought was perfectly fine before reading this article.

    God works through our brokenness and poor taste. And sure, could better songs be chosen? Yes. But that’s only according to this article. Some of the most popular worship songs of all time are listed here, which automatically means they’ve also been some of the most effective songs for advancing the Kingdom. I think that should be the barometer of how “good” a song is. The major grievance listed in the article is a lack of Biblical content, but maybe that’s not the point. How many of the Psalms are an accurate representation of God’s entire message? And how mundane would it be if every Christian song was solely focused on completely representing the Gospel?

    Worship songs have many purposes, and they are as unique as the songs themselves. Sometimes they need to be really repetitive and simple, even basic. Because some of us need to hear the same simple message over and over to really let it sink in, like one of my favorites, “How He Loves Us.” God used that song, which many criticize as being overly repetitive, poetic, lacking Biblical substance, etc., to show me His undying, romantic love in a new way. We never know how God is going to work. Sometimes, He works through mediocre songs, Christmas dramas, cartoons, and other things that I think are trash. The point is though, that’s my problem, and that’s Satan trying to get me to write it off and “stop singing” because he’s trying to interrupt God from working in someone else’s heart. And when I adopt the kind of attitude this article engenders, Satan has won and I’m definitely not letting God do anything in my heart either.

  • person

    why is “How He Loves” on here? After reading JMM take on why he uses that line, doesn’t that make you want to sing it? Yeah it’s weird and kind of awkward but it’s like were not trying to present to God a spruced up, perfect person worshiping him. It strips away any idea that we have it completely together. Which is why I like it. Hey God, You came and met us, it wasn’t pretty, and were not pretty, but You came anyway and the meeting wasn’t pretty (#redundant). I remember when I got saved, I was a mess, and God met me in love while I was still a mess, It was messy

  • Jrockinbeats

    Dear writer,
    I agree with you and I understand where you are coming from, and I want to thank you for your words but on the other hand most of these songs weren’t written specifically for corporate worship. Instead it was more of a personal worship with God. When these songwriters used them it just connected with others and the people singing it intend it to be of a personal worship to God! Question is, is that; how come we don’t hear these songs being sung at an event that is “non-Christian” based or in a club or at a wedding, birthday bash or even to a loved one? I know I wouldn’t sing “how he loves us” or “draw me close to you ” or even burn for you” to my wife, or “he came from heaven to earth to show the way” to my son on his birthday! That’s just ridiculous! Point is, is that instead of talking about what not to sing why don’t we talk about what we should sing! True these song my not be theologically right but please teach us what song is the right song?!? Instead, should we ought to build one another and not discourage each other?!? No ones perfect, every one can admit we all need help!!! Instead please support us all by telling us the truth in the songs you’ve found to be theologically sound, the church needs this kind of thinking!!!

  • Me

    This isn’t cool. There is nothing wrong with these songs. Just let these people that write use their God given talent to give back to him.. I see where you’re coming from, but I don’t see you writing them.

  • Randall Barnett

    Corrie Mitchell – you must be a difficult person to live with, judging by how critical you are of all of these songs. Were all of the authors supposed to run them by you for approval? Personally, I don’t care for the “activist” songs or the “fight” songs that get sung in church either. But then I’m not the only person on the planet. Different people have different needs and God provides for them all. By the way, even if a song doesn’t have the word “God” or “Jesus” in it, but it was intended by the author as a prayer or a love song toward God, God is on top of things enough to know who you’re singing to. If you can’t sing those songs without constantly thinking of “making out in the bushes” then maybe you have your own issues to deal with. Please get over yourself.

  • [email protected]

    What is corporate worship and where can it be found ? Corporate worship is so rare,perhaps it should be taught instead of assumed to exist,that,or stricken from the christian vocabulary altogether

  • TheLordsServant

    We should sing what GOD wants us to sing, not what we feel is right or true.

  • TheLordsServant

    I agree with what the author of this article says

    • Randall Barnett

      You mean like the worship songs recorded in the book of Revelation? You might need to mention to God that He needs more lines in His songs if you really feel that way.

  • Rich Thomas

    What a sanctimonious article.

  • Regina Moore Sayers

    Im sorry you are so religious that you can’t enjoy his presence in these songs

  • just me

    I love it when other believers try to hold others to their specific theological beliefs. Holding others to their “traditions”. Playing the legalistic card all the time, and suppressing the freedom that we receive because of accepting the free gift that Christ offers to every breathing human on earth. Just because particular songs and lyrics do not conform to YOUR wants and desires, and the way that YOU think that it should be done, does not give you the right to tell people how to worship the ultimate creator and redeemer. Please leave your legalistic Pharisee beliefs to yourself, and stop telling people how to worship GOD. This the problem with the body of Christ. With believers such as John McCarther denying and attempting to hold down and suppress the true freedom in Christ.

  • Dell

    When we sing these songs because of a relationship with the one we sing to and sing about we know who we are singing to and why we sing them. They are written by people who have been given this burning desire in their hearts to express what they know and experience about the God in whom they believe and the story of redemption continues throughout eternity. Now unfolding, then unfolded.

  • Spencer DeVries

    If this writer is so upset by these songs written to the Lord and about the Lord why not spend time writing your own songs to Him rather than wasting time bashing other people’s act of worship? I find some of these songs over played and annoying at times myself, but I don’t see a need in tearing down what these people have written in personal moments about our God. This is judgmental and condemning and I don’t see why any Christian would support the bashing of another’s worship. I firmly agree with knowing WHAT and WHY you’re singing things. That’s terribly important, I just don’t like the condemnation and the way this was written from a “better than you” view.

    And BTW, “Draw me close to You” has a line that says, “help me find the way, LORD bring me back to You”.

  • Gareth J Goossen

    I agree with some of his statements but many of them are somewhat arbitrary and seen significantly from a North American Christianity point of view – not a Kingdom of God point of view. And others are just completely biased and unfounded critique give the broad history of worship music. I don’t think all of our traditional hymns would pass some of these critiques. The hymn Take My Life and Let it Me has a verse which says “Take my silver and my gold, not a mite would I withhold”. Using the author’s argument against “Burn for You”, we should never sing that hymn nor “All to Jesus I Surrender, All to Him I Freely Give” (and many, many more) because none of us attain to that in reality. What he forgets is that many, many songs – old and new – are prophetic in nature in that they point us to something which is not yet a reality but which Jesus wants us to walk towards.

  • fmjohnson

    As someone who tends to prefer the strong theology and mature musicality of hymns, I’m in sympathy with the general idea of this post. That said, I’ve found that you can also make some of these charges against a number of traditional hymns.

    For example, #6 — “This one is demonstrative of the many Christian worship songs that overpromise on what we undoubtedly under-deliver — essentially, a willingness to trust God with abandon.”

    That’s also true of some of the lines of “Take My Life and Let It Be”:

    “Take my voice and let me sing always, only, for my King.”

    “Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold.”

    “Take my will and make it thine; it shall be no longer mine.”

    “Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for thee.”

    No one living outside of a completely sealed-off religious order could even hope to live up to every word of those lines. I know I’m unworthy to sing such lines every time I sing it.

    So Is it hypocritical to sing such lines? Should churches stop singing “Take My Life and Let It Be” because we’re “making false, outlandish statements to the God who knows our prideful, arrogant, selfish human hearts” every time we sing it?

    Or are we expressing our best intention to live the ideal implied in those lines, even knowing we will fall short, since as humans we must always fall short in every best-intentioned effort to live a Christ-like life?

  • Hannah

    Worship is worship. You do not need to state God’s name in a song to be singing to Him. I see it kind of as they are in so much awe of Him that they don’t need to continuously say His name. Also, you should be consumed by the worship rather than consumed by nitpicking the words. If you can sit there and fully listen to a song where someone is uplifting The Lord and feel nothing but hatred to the lyrics, there is something wrong with your walk with God. These men and women are just trying to make a joyful noise to God. Can you not just be happy for that and join in with that joy?

  • Vanessa Leigh

    You’re cynical and it appears in this article you don’t love Jesus. Those songs are classics. I’d like to meet you Cindy .

  • Billy Howell

    The author is caught up with the mind being king when we worship. I think that it is interesting that we are told to love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. The question is not whether music that touches the heart/emotion is fleshly while music that speaks to the intellect/mind is spiritual, but it is: in each the heart, soul, mind, and strength, are we submitting to the spirit or the flesh?

  • Peace Quiet

    Exodus 9:16
    And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.

  • Liberty joe

    LOL Bro it is you who I think is missing the point..

  • Michael

    Okay whoever authored this, I want you to know that I love you but I’m calling you out. The epitome of this article is surrounded around criticizing other people’s worship and their experience. Having experience leading worship and writing worship music, I can say that what the Holy spirit leads you to write out of a place of intimacy and closeness to God is often not understood by everyone. And why should it? Worship music is just that. It is you, and I, and that person over there, all worshipping God together. We are not all the same people, therefore our relationships do not all look or sound the same. Do we praise God for essentially the same reason that he defeated death and broke the power of sin over our lives? Yes. But are we all in the same season in our walk with Christ? No. I take issue with this article and am not sure what it’s purpose serves except to blindly criticize.

    First of all, the first two songs criticized are “In the Secret” and “Draw me Close.” “Draw me Close” is a worship song my old worship pastor (whom I love dearly) introduced to me and it means a lot to me. The fact that you state that this worship song should be thrown out because it never explicately mentions the name of “Jesus” or “God” is just not right. With all due respect, I really don’t care whether or not people know who it is I am praising, as long as HE knows. Since when has worship become singing ABOUT Jesusrather than singing TO Jesus. That’s it. That’s what I think this article is poorly attempting to address. There are some very beautifully-written spirit inspired songs I have come across that never call God by name. And when you think about it, it makes sense. A relationship with God is a friendship, a love affair. The Bible constantly refers to Him as a loving Father. Using someone’s name when talking to them or addressing them can make what you are trying to say beautiful and intimate no doubt. BUT that doesn’t mean that NOT using their name is necessary to praise them. If I was talking to a close friend that I loved, I definitely wouldn’t use their first name in every sentence, or maybe even at all. I would just talk to them. And also, about people being unsure about WHO it is you’re praising when singing songs that don’t address God specifically; worship is not the time to be explaining God anyway. Let the preaching handle that. If the church (your church/any church) is being the body of Christ they are called to be, there should be no doubt about who it is you’re praising and why it is you are praising them.

    In short, just because a worship song is not YOUR favorite worship song, does not mean it should NOT be a worship song. Personally I found this article far too condescending, and judgemental for a body of believers to waste time reading.

  • Byron Leboe

    Looks like a cheap top ten list that the internet is so full of. Most points are pretty petty and shallow. Move on. Read your Bible. Worship. Skip this author.

  • Chris Gensheer

    Overall, I agree with this list, except for #7. It’s fairly solid theologically, and it does have a proper emotionalism to the song. Should we not sing of the “enduring love” of God for sinners, whose love never fails (where we are faithless, He will remain faithful, for He cannot disown Himself), with a deadpan, or merely intellectually precise manner?

  • Chris Gensheer

    Overall, I agree with this list, except for #7. It’s fairly solid theologically, and it does have a proper emotionalism to the song. Should we not sing of the “enduring love” of God for sinners, whose love never fails (where we are faithless, He will remain faithful, for He cannot disown Himself), with a deadpan, or merely intellectually precise manner?

    • Randall Barnett

      Another intellectual “seminarian” trying to dictate how everyone else has to worship. You and the author would get along great with each other, but I pity the church that has to put up with you.