About Me

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Saginaw, Michigan, United States
A sinner who may come before God because of Christ

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Praise Songs should glorify God, duh.

I have a strong passions regarding when it comes to the Glory of God. I have little interest or even offense when non-Christians attack or demean or belittle God. What else should we expect from those who have know personal relationship with their Creator?

Where I do have little patience is with those who profess Christ and then who proclaim Him as less than He is.

One area where this occurs regularly is in the (so-called) praise songs bandied about these days. Some of them are great and make me fall to my knees, but others are so simplistic, even pathetic in the image they portray of our Savior and Lord.

A few years ago, I critiqued in a newsletter I send out (now called Encouragement from Saginaw) a song that was used in the church I was a member as falling into the poor category. The response from the leadership was interesting - they did not argue or disagree with my critique, but the concern was that I was hurting the leader's reputation. Their concern was more how this would effect the ministry.

I apologized for any personal offense but stood firm on my assessment of the songs lyrics. After this had settled I wrote the following:

While I have strong beliefs, I try to test them through exposure to alternative or contrary viewpoints. It would be foolish for me to believe in my own perfection, even the “great” thinkers of the faith have some short-comings or area of error or personal character flaw. These should remind us of how far we are from God’s glory.

Secular humanism, on the other hand, stands man above God as more important than God. It is centered on the individual, while promoting the concept that everything is interconnected and nothing is above anything else. No wonder modern man is outraged at the killing of baby seals but celebrates the abortion of unborn human children.

Man risen, not Christ risen, is the call of humanism. Out of this line of thinking rises a number of other “isms” – naturalism, feminism, communism, socialism, egalitarianism. All centered on man and his needs, wants, and desires - that God-granted talents are best used for man’s purpose and not as God desires.

When this concept is not purged from one’s self, our worship moves from Awesome God to Magnificent Man. Worship’s focus becomes the individual’s experience rather than God’s delight in our outpouring to Him. Worship moves from a corporate statement to a singular feeling best summarized.

“Was I fed?”, “Was I ministered to?”, “Did the songs please me?” Becomes the mantra as the measurement of the value of the service (or music or sermon) - being the tickled ear and not the changed heart.

A.W. Tozer put it this way: “
I'm always suspicious when we talk too much about ourselves. Somebody pointed out that hymnody took a downward trend when we left the great objective hymns that talked about God and began to sing the gospel songs that talk about us. There was a day when men sang "Holy, Holy, Holy," and "O Worship the King," and they talked objectively about the greatness of God. Then we backslid into that gutter where we still are where everything is about "I." "I'm so happy," "I'm so blest," "I'm so nice," "I'm so good," always "I." The difference between heaven and hell is the difference between God and I. Jesus Christ, by canceling His "I" was the Christ of God, not as I will, but as Thou wilt. The devil by magnifying his "I" became the devil-when he said, "I will arise, and I will raise my throne above the throne of God."

I struggle with wanting me pleased on Sunday morning (and the rest of the week) rather than our Lord being pleased, forgetting that His pleasure brings me no greater joy. I struggle with putting my self aside for what God has ordered or ordained. I struggle with the roles He placed, or has not placed me in; with the doors He close and the personal desires left unmet.

Yet, I am learning to bring to the altar each week the leftovers of my “old man” to put them under the authority of Christ and renew my mind - but sometimes I will just not let go of who I was! Having been raised on the junk food of Humanism, filled with the fat of self-esteem, digested the lie of personal potential, and have grown obese on the philosophy that it is all about me, so much that my heart is clogged with the cholesterol of the world.

But Praise God who is a skillful surgeon, and who operates with a precise, radical surgery. He opens my chest and replaces that dead heart with one made in His perfection. He clears the blocked arteries with the medicine of the Word. He places me on the healthy diet to disdain the world’s poisoned feast, reminding me to not eat of it to my fullness but to find true bread only in Him!

Brothers and Sisters, eat of the only worthy fruit, which is Christ Crucified. Obliterate our old self through the shining light of Him. Stand firm in the Law and the Grace. May you be filled by the station He has set before you and find your satisfaction not in the mud pies of the world but in the banquet feast of the Lord.

For His Glory,

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