Bad, bad CCM writer!

The other day Toni wrote a post about songs that have either gotten tired, or that just have plain-old bad theology in them. Now it was the second one that really kind of perked my ears up. Bad theology in songs? I never really thought about it.

The example he brought up was Above All, the worship song by that worship song machine Paul Baloche. It has been covered by heavyweights such as Michael W. Smith, Rebecca St. James, and Hillsong Australia. It's been on two WoW albums, and even covered by Randy Travis.

So, what are all these guys missing, I wondered, and how many other theologically questionable songs do we sing in our churches? The offending lyric in this case is "like a rose, trampled on the ground..." While I agree with Toni that this is not necessarily the most accurate picture of the Work of the Cross, I guess I don't have a particular problem with it. (Actually, "...and thought of me, above all." is probably more questionable. Wasn't he thinking of the Father above all?)

We often use this song after teachings on the Cross, which are generally done for those with little knowledge. For me, the picture the lyric paints is that of a physically broken Christ, largely abandoned to die by those who professed to be his followers. Where were the five thousand he fed at Bethsaida? Where were the thousands lining the streets of Jerusalem shouting "Hosanna!" to the approaching savior? Where were the Apostles, save John? Toni said Jesus' sacrifice was one of obedience, and I wholeheartedly agree. And I think the song speaks of that, with the lyric "he lived to die..."

I'm not writing to defend Paul Baloche's songwriting (as if he needs me to!) So I began to look for songs in our catalog that do have bad theology behind them. (For brevity, I will exclude anything written by Carman, not that we sing any of his stuff, and who could argue with Spirit Filled Pizza, anyway!)

One does jump out - You Said by Reuben Morgan. It's another song that has been covered a lot. I don't think there is anything particularly bad in the song - if rather reflects a pernicious bad theology that is inherent in the church: that if we ask for the nations, that God will give them to us. This is often used as a prayer for evangelism. However, in Psalm 2, God does not promise us the nations for the asking, he promises the King he will place the nations. He promises Jesus the nations. Subtle, but there is a difference. That said, the rest of the song is on pretty solid ground. And who is to say that if we ask for the nations with a spirit of evangelism, that God will not grant it?

I'm going to keep digging.


Popular Posts