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Question #220

Aren't you being too hard on Song #577?

I appreciate your web page and think it's great. I have shared it with many. There are two questions I have for you. When it comes to the problem songs you discuss, it just seems to me that at times you are not understanding the song in context. For example, in "We Bow Down" you misrepresent the song's meaning. 1) The expression " will be" does not even begin to suggest (in context!) that "He is not NOW but will be LATER." It is a common expression in the English language, quite similar to the Perfect Tense in Greek and means (in this context) "He will always be...!" The entire song makes this "will always be" sense very clear: "You are Lord of creation...were Lord before there was time...You are King of creation...were King before there was time...AND YOU ALWAYS WILL BE!" The song actually ties in quite well with the force of John 1:1-18 and its location of Jesus as the Eternal Word of God, God Himself! 2) As for the expression "We crown you the King," well it is also a very common, BUT FIGURATIVE, expression of the deepest praise. No one in their right mind would even begin to think that we mean it literally, that we could possibly have the authority to crown God as king. Thus my first question: "In your analysis of hymns, in OUR ANALYSIS OF HYMNS, is there not room for understanding figures of speech, understanding the various poetic elements involved?" To "crown" Him is a poetic expression for glorifying Him as King and is used in some very old, classic hymns in this very hymnbook: Verse 3 of "Praise Him! Praise Him!" by Fanny J. Crosby (1869!)or "Crown Him with Many Crowns" (1851). 3) Now I get it that you don't like new songs (and I much prefer the old classics), and it seems fairly certain that you have a thing against Twila Paris, but (here's my second question)"Don't we owe EVEN HER the courtesy of hearing her every word IN CONTEXT?" Just as we must interpret biblical poetry in a different way! than we interpret other genres, so we should be fair and honest with our interpretation of the hymn books we use.

The Answer:

Thanks for your encouraging words. I am glad you are enjoying our website, but I disagree with you about Song #577.

You argue that the phrase "you will be" does not mean that he is not now but later will be king. I agree that if that were the only phrase, then you might have a point, but that is not the only phrase in the song. The song also says that "we crown you king." Now if I am crowning Jesus king then that means he was not king before I crowned him, right? In fact, isn't that the point of this song when taken in context? Isn't the song saying that we crown Jesus king and so when we do he finally becomes king of kings? As a lawyer, I parse words all day long, and I am not sure how the words in Song # 577 could be taken to mean anything else. If the song said, "king of kings he is and will always be" then that would be one thing, but it does not say that. What if on March 1, 2009, I said "Obama will be president of the United States"? Don't you think people might wonder about that?

You also argue that "we crown Jesus king" is a figure of speech that shows the "deepest praise." I disagree. What if I wrote a song in which I took credit for the creation of the world? Would that also be a song of deepest praise? God created this world just as surely as he crowned Jesus king. I, for one, do not ever plan to take credit for either act because to do so, in my opinion, would be an act of deepest blasphemy rather than an act of deepest praise. I understand poetic license, but not even poets have a license to blaspheme. Jesus Christ is King of Kings and Lord of Lords NOW, and I had nothing at all to do with it. How about you?

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)