Body Check

I have got through the latest round of deadlines for my ETCW modules, so I can start catching up on some blogs (though I need to be doing more personal book reading!).

Al writes an excellent post here on evangelical piety in relation to hymns and spiritual songs. Well worth reading and reflecting on.

In the comments section, Rick Phillips’ comment is worthy of note, which I quote here:

I strongly agree with your criticism of this romantic-love approach to Jesus. I completely banned from my church what I call “love-songs-to-Jesus.” My rule is this: if you could sing it to Suzy or to Jim, you shouldn’t sing it to Jesus. I came to a church that sings both contemporary music and hymns, and this one rule improved our contemporary songs dramatically. The effects of romantic and even erotic songs (not to mention the whole charismatic/ecstatic “wash over me/burn me/set me on fire” type songs) are seriously injurious to a muscular Christian faith for both men and women. No faithful pastor should permit them.

Body Check

6 thoughts on “Body Check

  1. ianjmatt says:


    but there is a ‘lover’ element to Christ concerning the Church. We, the Church, are pictured as a Bride and the biblical imagery even goes as far as using the language of the marriage bed (consummation of the ages etc). I agree that many of these songs are trite, shallow, demeaning and lacking in either an awe of God or even just a basic level of creative integrity that surely our Creator deserves. However, we should be careful of baby/bathwater scenarios.

  2. Peter Foxwell says:

    As the lead pastor of an evangelical church, I would say that songs that promote God’s glorious beauty and welcome him into relationship with us have not only built muscular Christians in my congregation, but have also served to awaken us to God’s all-satisfying nature – thus sparing us from the trite, the trivial and the temporary. In other words, I couldn’t disagree more with what you posted.

  3. Stephen says:

    Thanks for your comment. I don’t think the ‘lover’ element need be excluded. The point is, I think, that if a song is transferrable to a person (‘Suzy’ or ‘Jim’ as Mr Phillips says) then it is insufficiently focussed on the uniqueness of the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit as being worthy of worship. God
    1) possesses qualities which a) we do not possess, or b) which he possesses in perfection which we cannot in our fallen state
    2) performs mighty acts inconceivable for any human being (creation, redemption etc)

    In that respect to sing human love songs to Jesus is insufficiently helpful to faith. So, in singing such songs, the baby has already been chucked. It needs to be rescued, in the way that Mr Phillips has testified.

    I’m not sure where you disagree. Unless what you believe about God’s glorious beauty is different from what I do. Perhaps, could you amplify your statement?
    BTW Thanks for dropping by!

  4. ianjmatt says:

    I think that is a simplstic rule. If the bible uses human love as a metaphor for divine love (or prhaps, more accurately, an anthropomorphic device), then surely we can. A song which you would reject by this formula can be valuable if it is in the context of a balance of worship devices.

Comments are closed.