“OneDaringJew, it would be nice – and Christian to boot, if you cared more and dared less. Take the way you lash out at the songs we sing in church. You make such a fuss, and never know when to stop. You always say to us “enough alrready with all that sentimental drivel;” now we are saying, we’re pleading, with you, ENUF ALRRRREADY.”
I tell you what, just give me one more time to dare before I do the kind thing and care. You must understand, though; I wasn’t brought up with many social skills – what with orphanage and boarding school and a dysfunctional home. Anyhow bear with me one more time – we can all hope.
Why do so many Christian songs get it wrong? Here’s a song whose music transports me out of this world , and the words are poignantly true about the import of the crucifixion of our precious Lord. But then there’s one bit that goes and spoils it all by turning the crucified’s intention upside down. Here are the words.
Above all powers above all kings
Above all nature and all created things
Above all wisdom and all the ways of man
You were here before the world began
Above all kingdoms above all thrones
Above all wonders the world has ever known
Above all wealth and treasure of the earth
There’s no way to measure what You’re worth
Crucified laid behind a stone
You lived to die rejected and alone
Like a rose trampled on the ground
You took the fall and thought of me
All the “Above alls” are true except the last one, which the singer liiiiiingers over.
“You took the fall and thought of ME above all.” No, no, no, never. Who did Jesus think of above all? It should be obvious, but like many other passages in the scriptures, many Christians don’t see what is written on the page or spoken, loudly through the voice of the Son:
And speaking in a loud voice, Jesus said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46).
I hope the songwriter meant “above all created things,” where “kingdoms” and “wisdom” refer to man’s kingdoms and wisdom. But this is not clear. There are so many verses in John’s Gospel about Jesus’ relationship to His Father. Jesus’ main concern was to glorify His Father. But if the songwriter is a “unitarian” (God appears in three different modes, and so the Son and the Father are not two distinct persons (chollile “God forbid”) , but merely modes of God), then “above all” could only refer to creation.
Songwriters please be careful of sentimentality, and more important of biblical accuracy. And then I will be more caring.
“According to the Synoptics and Johannine Literature, the ultimate purpose of Christ’s death is to display the glory of God definitively. The Son glorifies the Father by doing the work of the Father, which is to accomplish effectively the salvation of those whom the Father gave him.”
(“For the Glory of the Father and the Salvation of His People: Definite Atonement in the Synoptics and Johannine Literature, MATTHEW S. HARMON.” In David Gibson & Jonathan Gibson. “From Heaven He Came and Sought Her.” Crossway, 2013. .