Worship and Wordship: What songs shall we sing in Church?

This is a follow-on from “You have won my heart, now I can trade my ashes in for beauty: How one does not come to faith in Christ.”

Here is a message I received from someone who leads the singing in his church. The specific song in question is “At the foot of the cross (Ashes for beauty).”

At the foot of the cross
Where grace and suffering meet
You have shown me Your love
Through the judgment You received

And You’ve won my heart
Yes You’ve won my heart
Now I can

Trade these ashes in for beauty
And wear forgiveness like a crown
Coming to kiss the feet of mercy
I lay every burden down
At the foot of the cross

At the foot of the cross
Where I am made complete
You have given me life
Through the death You bore for me

He says:

“On going through my music I have found a number of songs in my repertoire with the words ‘you’ve won my heart.’ So many of the really good songs with good messages still have some dodgy words in them, even some of the hymns. Most modern song writers are not theologians and often words are chosen to fit the rhyme or the flow of the music (one of the reasons I still really love hymns). My repertoire is getting smaller and smaller which is probably a good thing.”

“So do we go with the overuling message of a song and allow for poetic licence or do we chuck it out for a questionable word? I would say that if the incorrect word or words are clearly pointing at incorrect doctrine, chuck it out. Can ‘you’ve won my heart’ be interpreted any other way than ‘I’m giving Him my heart because I’m so impressed?'”

I publish my reply to him (with his permission).

If it is understood that only after Jesus takes the heart of stone out of us and replaces it with a new one (like His), and in so doing makes us free to choose him (we choose Him because He first chose us), then “you’ve won my heart” does seem ok. But, unfortunately it is not understood that way (by the song writers as well most who sing it), which is proven by another line in the song (much worse), “I have traded these ashes for beauty.”

Not at all. I can trade nothing. If anyone thinks that some kind of transaction is going on between himself and his Saviour, he’s in the wrong business.

You say most song writers are not theologians. Theology, however, is nothing more than how we think about scripture. Most professing Christians don’t want to think about scripture. That’s what they pay the pastor for.

Your “Poetic “licence”: whether it be in songs or sermons, poetic licence is tantamount to biblical licentiousness.

Scripture is always right. There are many beautiful songs that have scriptural lyrics.

It’s a great eye-opener peeping at all the fluff on the buff of much that is called worship. Start with WORDSHIP and you can’t go wrong.

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