Draw me close to you. But what’s with “I’ll lay it all down again?”

(See related criticism of the song “At the foot of the cross” in You have won my heart, now I can trade my ashes in for beauty: No, that is not the Gospel, at all).

The song “Draw me close to you” makes congregations warble and swoon. It moves for two reasons: first, it gets to the emotions, and second, it moves away – very far away from the Gospel, indeed, in the opposite direction to the Gospel (Good News). Here are the lyrics, which can be heard on youtube. I focus on the words in italics:

Draw me close to you

Draw me close to You

Never let me go

I lay it all down again

To hear You say that I’m Your friend

You are my desire

No one else will do

‘Cause nothing else could take Your place

To feel the warmth of Your embrace

Help me find the way

Bring me back to You

You’re all I want

You’re all I’ve ever needed

You’re all I want

Help me know You are near

Lay it all down again? What did you lay down the first time? The only thing you lay down – if you are a true believer – is your sinful nature. And you didn’t even lay that down. Christ took your sinful nature on him and exchanged it for His righteousness. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

I lay it all down again

To hear You say that I’m Your friend

A Christian with some understanding doesn’t ask God to be His friend. When you are drawn into God’s Kingdom you become a child of God and remain so for eternity.

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:44 ESV).

For those whom he foreknew (foreloved) he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified” (Romans 8:29-30 ESV).

[Addendum 08/04/2011: I said, “A Christian with some understanding doesn’t ask God to be His friend.” On thinking more about this, I need correction, because it is the common experience of Christians (and Jews) of being abandoned by God. The psalms are replete with this sense of God “not being there.” And, of course, Jesus, quoting from the psalms, is the premier example: “My God, ny God why have you forsaken me?”].

The last verse is better:

You’re all I want

You’re all I’ve ever needed

You’re all I want

Help me know You are near

All Christians feel at times that God is not near. Those are the times that a “true love for the Good Book will bring us great peace from the great God, and be a great protection to us…Nothing is a stumbling block to someone who has the Word of God dwelling in him richly” (Charles Spurgeon, “The Cheque Book of the Bank of faith, April 9).

Someone who sings the following words with or without all his heart, does not have the Word of God dwelling in Him richly – or poorly. Unless one can have the Word of God standing on its – and your – head.

I lay it all down again

To hear You say that I’m Your friend

(See related criticism of the song “At the foot of the cross” in You have won my heart, now I can trade my ashes in for beauty: No, that is not the Gospel, at all).

 

 

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16 thoughts on “Draw me close to you. But what’s with “I’ll lay it all down again?”

  1. Admittingly, this isnt my favorite worship song – 1st time I heard it was from my daughter, they sing it at her catholic school. I would definately not go as far as to say “Someone who sings the following words with or without all his heart, does not have the Word of God dwelling in Him richly – or poorly”

    -that’s a ‘bit’ (to put it mildly) presumptious as only God knows the heart of man…

    the way i saw it was as laying down all earthly worries & distractions…

    • Re: my “Someone who sings the following words with or without all his heart, does not have the Word of God dwelling in Him richly – or poorly.”

      Karen, you are right, I should have said “Someone who sings the following words with or without all his heart, does not have the Word of God dwelling in Him richly – BUT VERY poorly.”

      But then perhaps “dwell” should not be used in the phrase “dwell very poorly,” because “dwell” means inhabit in an intimate way. So, here is perhaps a better way to express it:

      “Someone who sings the following words with or without all his heart, has a very poor understanding of the Word of God.”

      • hmmm i think its still a bit presumptious to say and unneccessary….. maybe one can say how some worshipping songs have become a bit superficial – if you compare the words of this simple song to some of the most beautiful psalms written… but then, who are we trying to impress? God sees & weighs up the heart.

        I lay down the worldly cares of my everyday as I sit here with Your Word again….

        Luke 5:20
        20 When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”

        John 15:13-1513 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

        John 21:5
        5 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”

        friend (frnd)
        n.
        1. A person whom one knows, likes, and trusts.
        2. A person whom one knows; an acquaintance.
        3. A person with whom one is allied in a struggle or cause; a comrade.
        4. One who supports, sympathizes with, or patronizes a group, cause, or movement

        🙂

  2. 1Jn 3:16
    Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

    Mat 16:24-25
    Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
    For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

  3. the sense that we lay down our lives to follow a life in Christ (after rejeneration, lest I be accused of Arminianism)
    which may be what this song is refering to??

    • The words say “I lay it all down again IN ORDER To hear You say that I’m Your friend. So, if , according to your view, we tell Christ – who after regeneration is living in us – that “we lay down our lives to follow a life in Christ,” so that we might “hear You say that I’m Your friend.” Surely if you believe that God is living in you (which is all over the scriptures, which, if we were regenerated, we would love more than anything to read and study), why would you need to hear Him say more than He has already said so clearly in the scriptures to YOU personally that He is your friend, and much much more – He loves those he has raised to life as much as He loves Jesus.
      What you seem to be implying is: “Abba Father, I promise you that I meant what I said the first time (after you regenerated me) about laying down my life for you. But, I’m still not sure whether you’re my friend….”

      You never see such sentimental stuff in the old songs. I would think that those who believe in regeneration as a logical (not chronological) prerequisite of coming to faith, would never sing such words. So now I ask you, are you sure that (the Bible says that) you contributed nothing to becoming a child of God. Before you answer, read:
      https://onedaringjew.wordpress.com/2011/03/07/arminians-calvinists-and-calvinist-arminians/

      • we live in a far more sentimental world, we have to learn the language otherwise the message won’t be understood, just as Edwards and Spurgeon did. the message never changes but sometimes the language does

        the sense is not that I didn’t believe the first time, rather the sense is like a lover saying to his beloved “tell me you love me, I want to hear it again”

        if you’re convinced that I’m arminian then you will constantly missinterpret what I’m trying to say.

        • You said it, “we live in a far more sentimental world.” In the “old” world of Spurgeon they sang “What a friend we have in Jesus,” whereas today we ask Jesus if he still loves us. As for “I lay it all down again To hear You say that I’m Your friend,” the tune is far more sentimental – thus more appealing to modern sentiment – than “What a friend I have in Jesus.” But more important, the term “I lay it down” is one of the famous utterances in the Bible, especially of Jesus; He is, as you know talking about his substitionary sacrifice. “Lay it down” in the Bible always refers to physically dying, whether in Jesus’ mouth or in someone else’s.

          Spurgeon and Edwards followed the “old paths” of the 39 articles of Westminister Confession. One of these articles was that man contributes absolutely nothing to his justification/reconcilation with God. All Anglican ministers and believers used to believe this. Today, it would be surprising if you found one of these Anglicans within hundreds of miles of you. If you’re not an arminian, and want to remain Anglican AND proclaim publically that you believe that faith is the effect of monergist regeneration, be prepared for trials and tribulations from even those very close to you. But so far, from what you say in your sermons, I think you’re still safe.

          #
          John 10:15

          just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.
          #
          John 10:17

          For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.
          #
          John 10:18

          No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
          #
          John 11:38
          Jesus Raises Lazarus

          Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it.
          #
          John 13:37

          Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.”
          #
          John 13:38

          Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times.
          #
          John 15:13

          Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

          etc.

  4. I did read your blog on arminian calvanists and didn’t deem it necessary to respond since you have misunderstood what I was trying to get across and have therefore horribly missquoted me. Your argument would be correct if your implications of my message were correct, so I leave it at that and let your readers enjoy the crit.
    As I said in the beginning of our relationship, I don’t like to debate and I really don’t like to argue.

  5. EDITED TO AVOID REPETITION

    I think understanding and having our eyes opened brings us to the point where we can do nothing but be humbled, quietened, moved by our God. A seeing person can only be effected and touched by what he sees. Maybe its like a person who is slowly gaining strength back in his/her legs… he can do more and more each day that his strength is renewed. But, that person with the weak legs has to go to the doctor first to get worked on.

    Jesus Christ didn’t just go to people and spontaneously heal them. The people came to him and called on Him.

    So, what does the Calvinist say? Do we not evangelise then?

    • The “weak legs” analogy is not strong enough. The Bible says that the legs are dead – in fact, the whole you (spiritually, of course) is dead to Christ. He has to raise you to life (quicken you, regenerate you before you can see and respond. The response is not to the offer of faith; the response is the gratitude for the faith that He has given you through His grace/mercy/love. Faith is the evidence that He has raised you to new life. You have been made free (from the bondage of your “flesh”).

      2:1] And you were dead in the trespasses and sins [2] in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—Read on

      Your “Why should we evangelise?” Because that is what Christ commanded us to do:

      “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit [20] teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20 ESV).

      Fath comes by hearing(reading):

      2. 13] For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” [14] How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? [15] And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” (Romans 10:13-15 ESV).

      THIS BIT ANSWERS THE QUESTIONS IN YOUR OTHER RESPONSES.
      Ah you say, 13] For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Yes, the believer does indeed call (because s/he is no longer a prisoner of his corrupt heart). The crucial point is that God not only enables the believer to call (Calvinism) – as Eph 2:1-10 makes clear – but this enabling (drawing) is sufficient to bring the sinner to salvation: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:44 ESV). So, if you’re drawn, you wil come; if you come, you will be raised up. “Come,” of course, can only mean “believe,” because only believers are raised up.

  6. See this song is for those hard times. It’s for when hope is lost and you feel alone. It doesn’t matter to the person who is lost in the moment that God is there for them unless they know he loves them. The song is song from a blurred that is trouble seeing God at the moment. By pointing fingers at a person who is having a hard time and it trapped in it you are only beating them more by saying that maybe God doesn’t love them. The reason they are singing this at all is because they want to know that God is with them there in the place where they feel into their darkest pit of night.

  7. Yep, it’s just the two of us: all three of me is the friend of all three of the one of you.

    Great music. Terrible math, but a heck of a nice tune.

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