Christianity,

You’re all I want

There’s this romantic worship song called “Draw me Close”, a very popular and emotional song. It’s common to hear people singing this song quite passionately during services. I’ve grown to dislike it because of the somewhat overexagerated, emotional statements made in the lyrics.

“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 “

I manage to make it most of the way through the song until the last paragraph, “You’re all I want, You’re all I’ve ever needed”. Yeah right, I guess when we are worshipping we are suppose to forget what we are really like. Most people I know don’t go through life only wanting God 24/7. Perhaps we can last through the song thinking this, but I’m sure that sentiment is lost soon after the worship service is over.

I expressed my dislike of songs like this to my ex-pastor and to relatives. The ex-pastor defended songs like this as if it was God’s word and some people have gone so far as to question wether I have every truly worshiped in the Spirit!

To my delight, I’m not alone in my position. Today, I was listening to Albert Mohler’s radio broadcast. He’s the President of the Southern Baptist Seminary. He’s on vacation right now, but Russell Moore is taking his place on the show while he’s gone. The topic of the show is on Christians and romance novels. On the breaks he typically plays a song and this time he played “Draw me close” song. I thought, “oh, Russell Moore likes this song? Hmmm. The song fades and Russell Moore comes back on saying,

“I hate that song… churches all over the country are singing that kind of thing… american christianity, which is sentimental, romantic, treakly[syrupy], kitchy[kitchy-kitchy-koo]”

I couldn’t help to enjoy hearing someone such as Russell Moore, Dean of Theology at Southern Baptist Seminary, having a similar position that I have on that song. It’s just romantic emotional Christian fluff. I don’t want fluff, I want some hearty bread—or MEAT as many would say.

I find that many of the old hymns and some of the new song have lots of meat. I think the churches are doing a diservice when they drop many of these old hymns to replace them with songs such as these. The old hymns are so rich in meaning that many of them don’t even need any music backround.

At Grace Presbyterian, the church we attend, there is a lead musician that is taking these old hymns and writing more contemporary versions that use instruments such as piano, violin, acoustic guitar, saxaphone, drums. We have been extremely blessed to experience worship in this way every Sunday. Sometimes, we sing hymns that are centuries old. I think it’s something special to be singing the same words to God that Christians throughout generations have been singing. And just think, one day we will be worshipping with Christians from the beginning to the end of time. Old hymns are probably the closest thing on this earth that we have that brings our worship together with Christians from all generations. And think, there’s a reason that these hymns have lasted through the ages.

You can visit at: http://www.albertmohler.com. Listen to the 07/07/06 show.

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Comments

  1. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) says:

    Rob,
      I talked to Jenn today and she and I were talking about the very thing that you wrote on your blog.  But I didn’t know what song that you were talking about until I read your blog.  While I completely agree with your standpoint on the fact that we need meat and we need to get past the American fluff,. I know that this song has meant so much to me in my life.  My first 6 months in China, I played this song almost everyday in my room.  Reminding myself, that I was going to be okay and even when I had absolutely no one else around, God was all that I needed.  For me, it wasn’t an emotional thing, it was survival.  Instead of crawling up in a self pity pit, that song turned my focus to God. But also know that I didn’t cling to this song, but only used it as a focus to get myself into the Word.  Different people focus in different ways, for me, it’s through song.  I just wanted to share that as encouragement that even though in our comfortable life in America where many people will sing those words and never truy know the meaning, God made them so real to me and truly taught me about clinging to Him.  Anyway…just wanted to share that with you!! smile 
    Miss you and am praying for you!
    Laura

  2. Rob says:

    Thanx for your testimony. Your right, the song does have value in that respect. All worship should focus our attention on God. I just think, in general, worship is going too far into the emotional, sentimental, entertaining, fluff direction and moving away from the meat. Meanwhile, the people of God are starved from singing songs where we can admire God’s character more fully and with more meaning, appreciating the many characteristics of God.

  3. Rob says:

    I’ve felt this way for a while now, perhaps 2 years or more, and Jenn has also felt the same. But it wasn’t until I started listening to some other pastors like R.C.Sproul, Ligon Duncan, and Mark Dever preach on what worship should be, that it started becoming more clear how many churches are moving in the opposite direction. There’s some excellent books on the hot topic worship today. Here’s some that were recommend by these pastores. I’ve put them on my reading list.

    Worship By the Book - D.A. Carson
    Worship: Reformed According to Scripture - Hughes Oliphant Old
    Give Praise to God: A Vision for Reforming Worship: Phylip Ryken
    Worship of the American Puritans: Horton Davies

    The last one is available through http://www.ligonier.org. They are the sole distributer of many historic puritan books since they had purchased Soli Deo Gloria publications.

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