Tuesday, February 07, 2006

God's New Name

Is is just me or have you noticed that many of today's contemporary Christian songs refer to God as 'You' rather than addressing Him by His given names in scripture. Rather than be specific in their wording they have chosen the ambiguity of a language known as 'double-speak'. This means that many of these same songs could be interpreted to mean God, or they could also mean a friend, lover, or esoteric relationship to something.

While I am not opposed to using the word 'you', it does seem like there is a calculated avoidance of the name of Jesus Christ. This is truly sad and unfortunate as we are called by His name and to not associate in this way robs us of the power found there.

Now I have heard excuses like, "We don't want to sound overly preachy" or "Everybody is always pressuring us to make sure our songs mention Jesus". Well I would like to ask a few questions; Why are you singing songs of worship if you do not want to mention the object of your worship? Could it be that Jesus Christ is in fact not the object of their worship? Could it be possible that the songs are designed to not offend the secular audience they are attempting to reach?

Scripture is loaded with the different names of God to the extent that we could write endless songs without fear of running out of ways to describe His attributes and character. Consider a brief sampling of God's names; Creator, Redeemer, Counsellor, Faithful Friend, Sovereign One, Immanuel, Saviour, Lord of Lords, Master, Coming King, Good Shepherd, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, etc. In other words, there is no shortage of synonyms for God.

Where are all the songs that deal with the deeper issues of Christian growth, conformity to the image of Christ, and surrender to the Lordship of Christ? Let us remember that Christian songs are for Christians. That may sound like a novel idea but God has not chosen the song to save many people, rather He has chosen the foolishness of preaching the gospel to save those who believe and put their trust in Christ alone. I challenge anyone to show how our modern praise and worship, entertainment style music has led to any portion of people coming to Christ.

Further, the purpose of worship music is to draw the affections of our hearts to Christ. When He is avoided and the meanings of the words become nebulous, how does this accomplish the explicit goal of our songs? I once listened to a Christian radio station expressly paying attention for the name of Jesus or God. I was surprised that in half an hour of music, only two or three times was His name mentioned, and then mostly in passing but definitely not the focal point of the song.

Let us return to the purpose of worship which is to lift up and magnify our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. All praise to Him who reigns above in Majesty Supreme. I have been blessed by the song 'In Christ Alone' written by an English brother named Stuart Townend. I have included a link here to the words, what an awesome expression of our position in Christ.

In Christ Alone

14 comments:

Kc said...

I fear that the reason for the double speak has more to do with cross-over dollars than anything else. CCM has become a big business and can take in more bucks with a cross-over hit.

Daniel said...

I agree with KC, the push in the industry is not unlike television. It is okay to mention faith in God or faith in general, but don't you dare mention Jesus Christ - that would be too "narrow."

I rejoice when I hear a song where the author has ignored the worm-tongue whispers of the marketing execs, and blatantly and auspiciously pronounce, promote, and even give glory to the name of Christ. Such things are rare.

Good post.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

I think the excessive use of 'you' in modern worship is appalling.

I actually avoid addressing God as 'you' altogether and retain thou, thy, and thee. I must be one of the few Christians under thirty to do so.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

Jim said...

KC,

I didn't put those words in your mouth did I? :~)

Daniel,

I get giddy all over when Jesus Christ is lifted up in praise. It is truly exhilarating to exalt our Lord.

Matthew,

You are quite right chap! Yea, thou dost seem rather a rarity these days my good man.

Puritan Belief said...

Many songs are about how great the name of God is yet never mentioning it. While standing next to someone who you have never met in a worship service why not ask them what this name is?

Most will say God or YHWH or Jehovah. Very rarely do you actually get the response that this name is Jesus Christ.

It is the name of Jesus that should be praised all other names in scripture explaining God simply explain Jesus.

This is the name that was hidden or to wonderful to be mentioned in the Old testament. Yet now the name of Jesus has been revealed why do people want to hide it again?

Jim said...

PB,

Praise the Lord brother, that is awesome! Jesus Christ is the name above all other names. He is our only hope, He is our righteousness.

"That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord to the glory of God the Father"

The precious name of Jesus is so sweet, I love its music to repeat. It makes my joy full and complete, the lovely name of Jesus.

In Christ our hope,

Jim

Joe said...

While I do not disparage all of the "you" songs, I try to be certain that they are not ambiguous as to their "target."

That is one of the reasons I include hymns in our worship.

To simply sing, "I love you, I praise you" 22 or 23 times n a row seems very, very shallow.

And it would not be an improvement to sing, "I love Thee, I praise Thee" 22 or 23 times in a row.

Rose~ said...

I'm with Joe.
Good post, Jim.

Matthew,
The song that Jim linked at the bottom of his post ... "In Christ Alone" ... is the one I was trying to think of the other day when we were discussing whether there are any NEW songs that are any good. That song is excellent ... one of my favorites!

Jim said...

Joe,

"You" are so right on. Are you involved in leading worship at your church?

Jim said...

Rose~

I've come across that song earlier but it was just this week that I really got into the words and found them so rich. I actually watched a short interview with Stuart Townend regarding this song. He seemed like a very humble man compared to many of the other "entertainers" out there. Of course, I would not enjoy every song on his albums but I try as much as possible to glean out the treasures from these latest worship songs.

H K Flynn said...

I agree.

And yet what about 'Jesus take the Wheel'?

So there ya go.

I guess Country is pretty conter-cultural.

Jim said...

HK,

I was thinking about that the other day. It seems the country songs have more "christian" relevance that do many of the modern CCM songs. Of course, country music also really promotes the bar and party scene placing a snare in front of many men.

God bless,

Jim

Gordon Cloud said...

Good post. Jesus is the name that is above every name and should be sung, preach, taught, prayed and proclaimed at every opportunity. Jesus said, "If I (not 'you' ;) ) be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto me".

Jim said...

Amen Gordon, may Christ ever be exalted above everything and everyone else.

God bless,
Jim