Thursday, February 26, 2015

Singing Heresy (Proving Once Again That, 'It's All in the Lyrics, Baby')

It happens with greater frequency than I care to admit. I will be singing some great song and let the mind drift a little, only to hear myself spouting off rank heresy. Usually, it is a rhyming miss.

‘And my (not, “Thy”) grace my need is meeting, 
As I trust in me (not, “Thee”), my Lord.’

Or, just a thoughtless gloss, like:

You the perfect Holy One, crushed Your Son 
And (should be, “Who”) drank the bitter cup reserved for me

In the first example, I am singing praises to myself. In the second, I am telling God the Father that He died on the cross. They may be mistakes, but in end I'm an idolator with Trinitarian confusion.

This would be funny if it were not for Jesus’ words in Matthew 12 where he warns, “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak… (Matthew 12:36 ESV) primarily because all of these “careless” words flow right out of their heart (see verses 33-35). We must be thoughtful of what we sing.

This was all bought to mind this week because of my sister’s car. She is out of town and graciously loaned me her vehicle which comes well-equipped with satellite radio. As a kind of weird social experiment, I determined to listen to popular Christian music for the entire time I have her car. I am not sure I can do it anymore.

The amount of obscene, bad-pop-psychologized, man-centred, Christianeze sung to over-treated vocals is nothing short of stunning. Do people actually listen to this stuff?  What on earth does it mean?  I could not help but think of the thousands (millions) who will have to give an account for every song like this they have sung.  Perhaps mindlessly on the way to work trying to pump themselves up for another day at the office. Maybe waiting to pick up the kids from school. Every word, even the ones we borrow from others, we will be called to explain.

I want to repent of every heretical thing I have sung by gloss, distraction and laziness. But even more than that, I want to avoid like the plague any additional offences by singing the stuff of most modern “praise” music.