The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Songs that Insult Yahweh: CHAMPION by Jesus Culture

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The fact that we call the Trinity doctrine out for the baloney that it is and refuse to downplay the separateness of the true Gods really hacks off a lot of Christians.  Why can’t we just bow to the authority of the Church and regurgitate this rot about God being “three in one”?  Because Yahweh, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are not just one mysterious Blob with a split personality.  They are three separate and distinct Deities, and until you start recognizing Them for who They are, you are never going to treat Them with the honor and respect that They deserve.

Now being the little polytheist that you are, you routinely address your Gods as individual Beings—you just don’t want anyone to point this out to you because you’ve decided that it’s something to be ashamed of.  It’s time for you to stop letting other humans push you around in your personal relationship with your Creators.  You’re never going to learn how to treat the true Gods with the honor They deserve while you’re treating Them like a single Entity.  To understand why, let’s use an analogy.

Fred has three sons: Jack, Phil, and Dave.  If Fred were to view his sons like you view your Gods, Fred would say, “My sons are three in one.”  By refusing to view his sons as individuals, Fred ends up showing no concern for their personal feelings.  When Fred says to Phil, “You’re my favorite son, Phil,” Jack and Dave are standing right there listening.  And while Fred says to himself, “I’m a great father because I build up my sons,” is this really true?  No, it’s not.  By calling Phil his favorite son, Fred has made Jack and Dave feel unloved.  After all, they’re standing right there listening when Fred is praising their brother.  It’s not like they’re deaf or in another room.  But because Fred is clinging to a “one son” mentality, he just deals with the son who he is currently focused on and has no concern for how his comments are affecting his other two sons.  Fred is treating his other sons’ feelings like they are irrelevant.  As far as he is concerned, his sons don’t get to have different reactions to what he says.  Fred thinks he ought to be able to say whatever he wants to whoever he wants and his sons should feel grateful that he’s acknowledging them at all.  Is Fred really acting like a good father?  No, he’s being a self-centered jerk.

So what about you?  While you’re caught up in some song that is specifically addressing Jesus, what is your soul doing about Yahweh and the Holy Spirit?  Ignoring Them?  Pretending that They are irrelevant?  Where is your concern for Their feelings?  It’s bad enough when you’re singing to the Holy Spirit and you don’t even bother to ask Him if He likes what you’re saying.  But it’s even worse when you act like He’s the only God that matters in that moment. You have three Gods, not just One.  The fact that you’re only thinking about Jesus doesn’t make Yahweh and the Holy Spirit cease to be.  The fact that you’re only talking to Yahweh doesn’t mean that Jesus and the Holy Spirit aren’t listening as well.  All three of your Creators are all-knowing, omnipresent Beings, and that means that there is nothing you can say to One of the Them that the Others won’t also hear.  You can’t just sneak off into some private room and love all over Jesus.  Everything you do with Jesus is being witnessed by Yahweh and the Holy Spirit.  This means that you need to be worshiping Jesus in a way that isn’t insulting to Yahweh and the Holy Spirit.  Is this hard to do?  Not at all, but it does require some thinking on your part.

In our metaphorical example, Fred could have just told Phil, “I love you, son,” and his other two sons wouldn’t have had cause to be so jealous. What made Fred’s comments insulting was his exclusive language.  When he said, “Phil, you’re my favorite son,” he was telling his other two sons that they were not as valued by him.  When humans want to stick it to each other, they use exclusive language.  When Marsha tells Betty, “You’re my best friend” while Jane and Susan are standing right there listening, Marsha is flaunting her lack of concern for Jane and Susan’s feelings.   When three men help pull Maria’s car out of a ditch and she only thanks one of them, won’t the other two feel insulted and miffed?  Of course they will, and so would you if you were in their shoes.  Yet while you’re quick to sympathize with humans who are being passed over, underappreciated, and shunned, you have no problems playing favorites with your Gods and constantly insulting one or more of Them in the snarky little songs that you sing.  What’s wrong with this picture?  Why are you more concerned about offending people than you are about offending your Gods?  Well, this is where the Trinity doctrine takes you.  By teaching you to not think of your Gods as individual Beings with individual feelings, the Trinity doctrine makes you feel like it’s fine to gush over any God that you’re in the mood to focus on without any concern about how your words sound to your other two Creators.  You arrogantly view your worship as a coveted prize which your Gods should always be grateful to receive, regardless of what form it comes in.  You expect Them all to wait on standby until you decide that you’re in the mood to talk to one of Them, and then you feel free to be totally biased in the way that you dole out your attention.  Among Christians, Jesus is by far the most favored God who rakes in boatloads of compliments while Yahweh is only thrown an occasional scrap. As for the Holy Spirit, we don’t treat Him like a God at all—more like an entertainer who we occasionally call on to perform for us. While we routinely acknowledge that Jesus has feelings and interests, we talk as if the Holy Spirit does not. We talk to Him like He’s some emotionless  weather system who exists only to fall, blow, and burn. Well, how does any of this garbage qualify as worship?  It doesn’t.

Just as another human doesn’t get to decide what foods you enjoy and what kinds of presents you like, you don’t get to decide what kinds of worship your Gods will find pleasing.  They have very strong opinions about what They do and don’t like, and when you’re not even bothering to ask Them what They like, how well do you think you’re going to succeed at pleasing Them?  You see, we humans really aren’t the center of the universe.  Our Gods do not revolve around us—we revolve around Them.  It is Their opinions that define what is important and what isn’t.  It is Their perspectives that we are judged by.  This is why we’re always telling you that you need talk to Them directly and sincerely ask Them to give you understanding about how you can improve your treatment of Them.  If you don’t do this, then you are guaranteed to end up on the wrong side of Their patience, because you’re just going to coast along with the Church and all of her God-bashing rituals.

Our Gods are like a Trio of Best Friends who care about Each Other far more than They do about us. This means that you are never going to succeed at pleasing Jesus while you’re ripping on Yahweh and the Holy Spirit.  Merely showering Jesus with your definition of lofty compliments does not qualify as worshiping Him.  You need to think about the language you’re using and make sure you’re not praising Jesus in a way that is simultaneously insulting Yahweh or the Holy Spirit.  Of course your Gods don’t expect you to figure this out on your own—They will gladly teach you how to improve the language you use with Them if your soul is serious about pleasing Them.  But if you’re just using the pretense of worshiping Them as an excuse to rock out with other snarky Christians, then are you going to be given the great privilege of knowing Them better?  Certainly not.

Here’s a good rule of thumb to bear in mind when you’re trying to discern the quality of worship song lyrics: identify which God the song is talking to, then consider how the lyrics would sound from a different God’s perspective.  For example, if a song is just talking about Jesus, ask yourself “How would these lyrics sound to Yahweh and the Holy Spirit?  What implications am I making about Them when I say these things to Jesus?”  The more you get used to thinking of your Gods as the separate Beings that They are, the better you’ll get at spotting offensive lyrics.  For example, saying “I love You, Jesus,” is a worshipful statement. But to say, “Jesus, You are the only God I love,” is very insulting to Yahweh and the Holy Spirit.  There are many Christian worship songs which use this kind of exclusive language, and such songs need to be avoided.  As a Christian who understands that there are three Gods, you have no grounds for crediting only one God for saving, loving, and guiding you in life.  Yahweh and the Holy Spirit are just as involved in your life as Jesus is.  True Christianity is a polytheistic (multiple God) religion.  But unlike pagan religions which pretend that some of their gods are more powerful than others, we Christians should understand that the true Gods are equal in every way, thus we should be revering Them equally and never exalting One above the Others.

In this post, we’re going to check out the lyrics to the song Champion.  Written by Jesus Culture members Bryan and Kate Torwalt, this song is a great example of Christians praising Jesus in a way that only ends up insulting both Jesus and Yahweh.  Try hearing Verse 1 from Yahweh’s perspective and see if you can identify what’s wrong with you talking to Jesus this way:

[Verse 1] O victory, You have won
Victorious, You have come
What was stolen, You brought back to us [x2]

The last line is the one that should really bother you.  “What was stolen, You brought back to us.”  What is this referring to?  Well, this a song about salvation in which we praise Jesus for being the “Champion” who saved us.  For Verse 1 to even make sense, there had to be a time when we were robbed of something precious by some malicious foe.  But wait—before we knew about Jesus, there was Yahweh, and Yahweh is the God who we say “so loved the world” when we quote John 3:16.  So what was Yahweh doing while we were being mugged by some malicious foe?  Was He taking a nap?  Was He bound and gagged in a closet somewhere?  How come we needed Jesus to come running onto the scene to save us?  Why couldn’t Yahweh save us?

Why do Christians today so often talk as if the human race was in some dire, desperate situation before Jesus suddenly showed up to save us all?  Well, we get this notion from the New Testament writers, who incorrectly interpret Jesus’ death on a cross as evidence that Yahweh had totally lost control over His own world.  But of course this couldn’t happen unless there were other entities in existence who were more powerful than Yahweh and able to temporarily dethrone Him.  The author of Hebrews identifies that power as Satan.   Watch the language here:

Now since the children have flesh and blood in common, Jesus also shared in these, so that through His death He might destroy the one holding the power of death—that is, the Devil—and free those who were held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death. (Heb. 2:14-15)

So who was the one enslaving humans?  Satan.  And the kind of death this author is talking about is more than just the separation between body and soul.  It’s pretty lame for anyone to say that we don’t physically die once we are saved, because clearly we do.  So what is this terrible kind of death which Jesus freed us from?  This can only be a reference to a spiritual death, or eternal damnation.  In other words, the author of Hebrews is saying that Yahweh never offered anyone salvation until Jesus showed up.  But why not?  Because we were all enslaved by Satan and Yahweh was incapable of freeing us on His own. After all, Yahweh is only God Almighty and Satan is some created speck who depends on Yahweh to sustain his existence.  So it makes perfect sense that Satan could triumph over his own Creator, right?  No, it makes no sense at all.  The author of Hebrews is an idolatrous idiot who makes Satan out to be more powerful than God Himself.  And after painting this totally derogatory view of Yahweh, he goes on to say that Jesus had to actually become human before He could manage to break us free from that awesome devil’s tyranny.

For it is clear that Jesus does not reach out to help angels, but to help Abraham’s offspring. Therefore, Jesus had to be like His brothers in every way, so that He could become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to Yahweh, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since Jesus Himself was tested and has suffered, He is able to help those who are tested. (Heb. 2:16-18)

The author of Hebrews does not believe that Jesus is God.  Instead, he teaches that Jesus was a created heavenly being who became an actual human in order to save humans from the clutches of Satan.  In other words, the author of Hebrews says that mere humans are more powerful than the true God.  Yahweh was incapable of freeing us Himself, but human Jesus got the job done.  See how it works?  Devils and humans are more powerful than a true God: this is what this idiot is telling you and then the Church tells you that this garbage is inerrant and “Divinely inspired.”  Not hardly.

[Chorus] Our Champion, You fight for us
You made a way where there was none
Our Champion, You’re strong in us
The debt we owed, You paid in blood

Notice how you tell Jesus “You made a way where there was none.”  And why exactly was there no way, no hope, and no salvation until Jesus showed up?  Because Yahweh was some indifferent, useless, impotent Creator.  There is no other explanation.  We humans couldn’t possibly find ourselves in a such a dire crisis while we were under Yahweh’s care unless Yahweh was failing to protect us.  We talk as if one day Satan and his demon buddies suddenly leaped out of an alley and began beating us up.  Instead of saving us, Yahweh ran away to save His own hide.  There we were: beat up and bleeding on the ground until Champion Jesus suddenly came running to the rescue.  Jesus chased Satan down, beat him up, got our stuff back for us, and then came back to help us recover.  Jesus is the One who we say continues to fight for us today.  Jesus is the Sweetheart who paid some debt that mean old Yahweh was holding against us even after He abandoned us into the clutches of Satan.  How is such insulting language supposed to be pleasing to either of our Gods?  Jesus never made Yahweh out to be such a Jerk.

How can we look at Yahweh’s incredibly gracious treatment of snarky Israel in the Old Testament and then accuse Him of being lacking in love?  How can we read through all of those accounts in which He flaunts His supreme powers over all created beings and then suggest that some fleck of a demon could actually overpower Him?  Yahweh says that He is a Sovereign Ruler who is always in absolute control over all created beings.  So why don’t we ever listen to Yahweh?  Because we’ve thrown Him over for the New Testament writers.  It is mere humans and a collection of historical documents that Christians treat as the highest authorities in the Church today.  Since the New Testament writers slander Yahweh, we do as well.  Since they make Jesus out to be the nicer Guy, so do we.

You won’t find any guff about Satan ruling the world in the Old Testament.  It is only in the New Testament that we find the Jews suddenly exalting one demon as being the ruler of the world and acting like we humans are being randomly attacked by powerful supernatural foes which Yahweh struggles to keep in check.  During Old Testament times, the Jews were too busy worshiping a whole pantheon of false gods to exalt one silly demon.  But once we reach the New Testament and Israel is finally putting her heart into pretending to care about Yahweh (even though she really doesn’t), suddenly we find Satan and his demon buddies being exalted as super powerful demigods.  It’s as if the Jews in Bible times just couldn’t let go of the fun of idolatry, so they were always finding some created being—real or fictitious—which they could worship as equal and/or superior to Yahweh.

[Verse 2] The One in whom we belong
We’ll lift our voice, join Your song
We were orphaned, now forever we’re Yours

[Repeat Chorus]

In Verse 2, we say that before Christ came, we were orphaned.  We had no one.  Even though today we refer to Yahweh as God the Father, we obviously think He’s a pretty worthless Father since we claim to have been orphaned by Him before Christ came.  And since we view Yahweh as utterly abandoning us, it makes perfect sense that we say Jesus is “the One in whom we belong.”  Why would we view ourselves as belonging to Yahweh when He orphaned us?

[Bridge] We will shout it out from the mountain-tops
That our God is good, He has overcome
Let all the earth, every tribe and tongue
We will sing it out, He has overcome [x2]

[Repeat Chorus x2]

An all-powerful, sovereign God like Jesus never has to overcome anything.  The word overcome implies that He is being faced with some daunting obstacle.  When we say that Jesus has overcome, we’re suggesting that He’s gone from being the underdog to being victorious.  When we say He is continuing to fight for us, we are suggesting that there are some other beings out there which Jesus must strain to hold off because they are so close to being His equals.  Well, no, this is a very derogatory way to talk to God Almighty.

There’s nothing to salvage in this song.  We can’t call Jesus our Champion without grossly insulting Yahweh, because champions are only needed when people are in some dire situation with no one to help them.  To pretend that Jesus only became involved in our lives once we were consciously aware of Him is ridiculous.  All three of our Creators have always been intimately involved in human affairs since the very beginning.  And since They are the same kind of Being, when we minimize one God’s abilities, we’re minimizing Them all.  Champion falls miserably short of speaking of Jesus with proper respect while it makes several nasty insinuations about Yahweh’s Character and His treatment of the human race.  Given this, we definitely want to cross this bomb off of our list of acceptable worship songs.

FURTHER READING:
Worship Song Analysis: IN CHRIST ALONE by the Newsboys
Problematic Worship Songs: THIS I BELIEVE (The Creed) by Hillsong
Idolatrous Worship Songs: HOUSE OF THE LORD by Jeff Pardo
Horrible Repentance Songs: SOUL ON FIRE by Third Day

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