I recently read a discussion on this site about Mat Redman's "Blessed Be The Name" This person was asking if anyone felt the song had embraced "bad theology" over the lyrics "...you give and take away" This fellow who started this discussion mentioned that a member of his congregation had approached him about the lyric stating that it "can't be found in the New Testament". I applaud this person from the congregation that approached the worship leader and asked for biblical backing for the song he sang. I feel that people absolutely do not do this enough. Is it a petty scenario? Probably. However, there are many things that get included into worship songs and sermons that have little to no biblical support and they are accepted as truth without any reservation by the listener. Many on the discussion forum seemed to rebuke the congregation member for approaching the worship leader saying things like "this is an example of foolish disputes", is it? Is it a foolish dispute when someone says "you said something I can't find in the bible, will you show me where you found it?" Is it a foolish dispute for someone to ask for proof that a biblical phrase is being used in context in a song or a sermon? This is why so many false doctrines and traditions of men are so prevalent in our churches today. Very few have the wherewithal to make someone stand accountable for something they said or sang. I understand why this particular song gets a bad review from some people. The song is a bit misleading in it's approach. I love Matt Redman and I understand what he was going for and I applaud it. However, we often hear the phrase "the Lord gives and the Lord takes away" recited at funerals and tragic events, when people decide to blame God for their misfortune. God gets blamed for a lot of stuff. Many use that line to blame Him. This is why I feel that many could take offense to this beautiful song. I admit when I first heard this song I fell in love with it, but when I heard that phrase "you give and take away" being sang so festively it ruined it for me! I've often wondered why he chose to place that lyric in that song. I understand now after reading Matt's explanation of why he wrote the song. Now as worship leaders it is our job to research the songs we sing for a better understanding and for biblical harmony. Any lyric that could be difficult to interpret should be explained to the congregation before it is sang. I feel we need to make certain of songs we sing to a valid reason for their existence. They should not be sang only because they have a cool groove or melody.
I would like to think that the songs are researched before being published, but I also think that we, as worship leaders, should think about what we are singing before delivering the song.
All worship songs though are not based entirely on scripture, some are based on the writers personal feelings in expressing their love of God, and their desire to praise Him. I don't feel that this is necessarily wrong, providing of course that the lyrics are not anti-scriptural. I personally don't think that every phrase in a song needs to be backed with proof that it is taken from scripture.
The way I see it, scripture is the Word of God, but praise and worship is what we give to Him from our own hearts and lips.
Explaining lyrics, I think, is a really good thing.
Now in the case of "He gives and takes away", that is straight Job, perfectly fine Old Testament, and I can't see any way in which it has been voided by the New Testament.
I'm familiar with all the "act-of-God" insurance nonsense and the Fatalism that can really hamper people who get fixated upon negative things they blame God for; but I'll take a moment to stick up for this song:
Following "He gives and takes away" (and, yes, the music is fairly festive), the author adds, "My heart will choose to say." This is the powerful thing we find in Job, that he chose to bless the Lord.
The song's subject is not the Lord blessing us; we know He blesses us; the author chooses to focus on our willingness to bless Him and give Him thanks (that's why it's in my songlist for this Thanksgiving Sunday).
"The song's subject is not the Lord blessing us; we know He blesses us; the author chooses to focus on our willingness to bless Him and give Him thanks (that's why it's in my songlist for this Thanksgiving Sunday)."
I'll ask to have it added to the list this week. I like the idea and thought behind it.
What was it that was "wrong" with Blessed Be You Name? I just read through the lyrics and it's pretty decent actually.
I'm the first one to reject a song based on weak or wrong theology, but I'm not sure that one deserved so much controversy.
Further, Job said, "The Lord gives and The Lord takes away. Shall I accept good from Him but not evil?" It's a well known phrase and most evangelicals get it.
I just found out about the "controversy" of this song a couple years ago... absolutely ridiculous. God DOES give AND take away!!! The Bible is full of this truth, and not only in Job. God is sovereign! He is not shocked or surprised by things that happen. His plans cannot be foiled by the devil or by us. We give Satan and ourselves way too much credit. I think to believe otherwise is due to the Joel-O-sification of the faith.
Joel-O-sification - that's great. I think people want to wear diapers and have cakes and ginger ale fed to them on silver trays. I would hate a life without challenges.
Check out the silly movie, "Time Bandits". The theme is exactly God's sovereignty.
That's great, except I can't get the image of the cakes, ginger ale and diapers out of my head:)
Then it was effective...
By Joel-O-sification do you mean Joel-Ossification?
Not specifically about the song, but to answer the question:
"Is it a foolish dispute when someone says "you said something I can't find in the bible, will you show me where you found it?" Is it a foolish dispute for someone to ask for proof that a biblical phrase is being used in context in a song or a sermon? This is why so many false doctrines and traditions of men are so prevalent in our churches today. Very few have the wherewithal to make someone stand accountable for something they said or sang."
I completely agree. There are many times when I here a speaker/pastor/WL/elder say something and it makes me go "Hmmm." Most of the time, I find that they are correct and I learned something. But I always go do my research first. If I cannot find it or figure it out, then I ask. There have been a few times when the speaker has been wrong, and I will - privately - tell them and show them why what they said was wrong and give them an opportunity to dispute my finding. I am not - by any means - the final authority on scripture!
We all need to use 2 Timothy 3:16-17: "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" -- and use it in love and understanding, that each of us may grow in Christ Jesus.
We should not take for granted that just because someone in authority says something, it is truth. We all have a Bible - we all need to use it! One verse I often hear misquoted is Luke 12:31 (But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.) Many people leave out the word "these" -- and this changes the meaning of the verse completely! Jesus never promised us "... all things ..." -- He promised us "... all these things ..." -- which are found in the previous verse, verse 22, "Then He said to His disciples, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on." Jesus promised us life, food, a body, and clothing -- and then only if we do our part; that is "seek the kingdom of God."
Ahhh ... sorry about the rambling, but I'm sure you all get the point. We need to read and study our Bibles, and then use them to help instruct and correct others.
God Bless You All!
Yes, and pastors and WLs should WELCOME folks reading their Bibles and checking into the scriptural basis of anything that is said ! ! ! ! Praise God.