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Unread 01-18-2005, 07:28 PM   #166
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean
I don't think it can work that way because one is the means to the other. God was glorified by Jesus dying on the cross for us. God being glorified is what is ABOVE ALL. Thinking of us is a means to that end. Jesus thought of us, but NOT above all.
Bingo. To steal a point from John Piper, God always has Himself as the highest priority in everything because He is by nature the most glorious, important and worthy in the entire universe. If He did not then it would be unjust and idolatrous against Himself.

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Unread 01-18-2005, 09:41 PM   #167
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OK...so I am pretty much in agreement with Sean and Dice, but there are still questions popping up.

What makes God be glorified in the case of Jesus dying on the cross so we could live? Was it solely that Jesus did His Father's will...or is there more to it? Perhaps I am completely off the mark as well. Is the glorification in that only God was able to do what was done? Perhaps to re-word things...what exactly is our role when looking at it from this perspective? And I'm not suggesting works or anything like that - stuff we do...I mean as far as where we fit in God's will...am I making any sense?
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Unread 01-18-2005, 10:42 PM   #168
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Originally Posted by Jbkrems
So, Nate, you don't think that the Passion song (I think its off one of the more recent Passion CDs), "You Have Done Great Things" is appropriate for congregational worship?

Jonathan
For the information of all this song is word for word from psalm 126 (I believe it is #126).
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Unread 01-19-2005, 12:21 AM   #169
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dice
First in "You are my King (amazing love)" the last line is "In all I do I honor You" which many recognize as an outright lie. The newsboys had a noble rewrite to "In all I do to honor You" but I think with the previous line "And it's my joy to honor You" that makes it just redundant. So I rewrote it to "May all I do so honor You", so it is a profession to daily die to ourselves as Christ did in His death.
So perhaps you should get your Bible out, and go throughout the book of Psalms, and change every time David says things like "I always put my trust in You" and "On my bed I think about you day and night", because obviously he's lying.

I just don't agree with this line of thinking.
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Unread 01-19-2005, 12:23 AM   #170
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jbkrems
So, Nate, you don't think that the Passion song (I think its off one of the more recent Passion CDs), "You Have Done Great Things" is appropriate for congregational worship?

Jonathan
I don't think it's appropriate because it has the cheesiest, lamest electronica beginning of any song - except for some of the background music in "The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou".
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Unread 01-19-2005, 12:25 AM   #171
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Originally Posted by parkway
I don't think it's appropriate because it has the cheesiest, lamest electronica beginning of any song - except for some of the background music in "The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou".
That's below the belt.
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Unread 01-19-2005, 12:50 AM   #172
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Originally Posted by georgeo
That's below the belt.
Yeah, but they meant it to be bad. I don't think Charlie Hall meant his song to sound like it was from the '80's.
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Unread 01-19-2005, 01:34 PM   #173
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dice
The second is the last line of "Above All" where it says "You took the fall, and thought of me above all" which is also untrue, because Christ was thinking of honoring the Father above all.
I don't agree that the line in question misrepresents Jesus' priorities. Although the song is (obviously) not Scripture, it remains a good idea to apply our usual hermeneutic principle of interpreting a text based on its context.

Since song lyrics are usually poetic in style, I think it's justifiable when hunting for clues to what the lyrics were intended to communicate to assign a great deal of weight to the literary devices being employed. The phrase "above all" is repeated numerous times in the song prior to the allegedly-inaccurate culminating line. Let's observe what the other instances of the phrase refer to:

Above all powers
Above all kings
Above all nature and all created things
Above all wisdom and all the ways of man
[...]
Above all kingdoms
Above all thrones
Above all wonders the world has ever known
Above all wealth and treasures of the earth
Clearly, the phrase "above all" is used in this song solely in the context of comparison with the pleasures and treasures of creation. There is not even a hint of any intention to include God Himself and His glory within the scope of the "all" being considered in this song.

Now, the two verses obviously stand alone to some extent from the chorus. The first verse praises Jesus' eternal nature, while the second verses praises Jesus' infinite worthiness, whereas the chorus talks about Jesus' motivation for submitting to the disgrace of the cross. Nevertheless, the re-occurrence of the deliberately repeated phrase "above all" in the very last line of the chorus is, in my opinion, clearly meant to evoke a line of thought similar to what we just sang about in the preceding two verses--i.e. that the "all" refers to worldly power and wonders.

My interpretation of the last line, therefore, is that it's an expression of gratitude to Jesus for valuing us, His elect, above the powers, kings, thrones, treasures, etc, of the world. He rejected Satan's offer of power during His wildernessness temptations, and He remained steadfast in that rejection even as He endured the horror of the cross.

Of course, we do know that in the larger scheme of things Jesus endured the cross ultimately to glorify God. But that is not directly in view as far as the focus of the song is concerned--and in any case we also know that the two motivations (glorifying God and striving for the good of the elect) are by no means a dichotomy. God is glorified through His infinite love for His elect--a love that rejected worldly glory for a humiliating death to make atonement for our sake.

Having said all of that, though, I do agree that the lyrics can be potentially misleading. This is especially true if the chorus is sung prior to the verses (though none of the recordings I've heard have done that), since this basically eliminates the verses' painstaking contextualizing of the phrase "above all" before the culminating line. I'm not trying to claim that this song is perfect; I'm merely trying to defend it from the charge of egregious theological error.

This is a good reminder to us about the importance of thinking about the meaning of the words we sing while we sing them, and of viewing each worship song as a cohesive whole. I've been guilty all too many times myself of forgetting what I just sang once I've moved on to the next verse, and it is this kind of mistake that's probably responsible for most faulty interpretations of the last line of this song.

May God help us to show grace to our well-meaning songwriting brethren, and teach us to ponder carefully every word that we lift to Him in praise.
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Unread 01-19-2005, 02:20 PM   #174
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Can't we just agree that (regardless of its lyrical ambiguity) Above All is a crappy song and be done with it?
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Unread 01-19-2005, 02:23 PM   #175
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Yeah, I thought Tony proved that it doesn't pass the muppet test.
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Unread 01-19-2005, 06:52 PM   #176
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Midnight Light
I don't agree that the line in question misrepresents Jesus' priorities. Although the song is (obviously) not Scripture, it remains a good idea to apply our usual hermeneutic principle of interpreting a text based on its context.

Since song lyrics are usually poetic in style, I think it's justifiable when hunting for clues to what the lyrics were intended to communicate to assign a great deal of weight to the literary devices being employed. The phrase "above all" is repeated numerous times in the song prior to the allegedly-inaccurate culminating line. Let's observe what the other instances of the phrase refer to:

Above all powers
Above all kings
Above all nature and all created things
Above all wisdom and all the ways of man
[...]
Above all kingdoms
Above all thrones
Above all wonders the world has ever known
Above all wealth and treasures of the earth
Clearly, the phrase "above all" is used in this song solely in the context of comparison with the pleasures and treasures of creation. There is not even a hint of any intention to include God Himself and His glory within the scope of the "all" being considered in this song.

Now, the two verses obviously stand alone to some extent from the chorus. The first verse praises Jesus' eternal nature, while the second verses praises Jesus' infinite worthiness, whereas the chorus talks about Jesus' motivation for submitting to the disgrace of the cross. Nevertheless, the re-occurrence of the deliberately repeated phrase "above all" in the very last line of the chorus is, in my opinion, clearly meant to evoke a line of thought similar to what we just sang about in the preceding two verses--i.e. that the "all" refers to worldly power and wonders.

My interpretation of the last line, therefore, is that it's an expression of gratitude to Jesus for valuing us, His elect, above the powers, kings, thrones, treasures, etc, of the world. He rejected Satan's offer of power during His wildernessness temptations, and He remained steadfast in that rejection even as He endured the horror of the cross.

Of course, we do know that in the larger scheme of things Jesus endured the cross ultimately to glorify God. But that is not directly in view as far as the focus of the song is concerned--and in any case we also know that the two motivations (glorifying God and striving for the good of the elect) are by no means a dichotomy. God is glorified through His infinite love for His elect--a love that rejected worldly glory for a humiliating death to make atonement for our sake.

Having said all of that, though, I do agree that the lyrics can be potentially misleading. This is especially true if the chorus is sung prior to the verses (though none of the recordings I've heard have done that), since this basically eliminates the verses' painstaking contextualizing of the phrase "above all" before the culminating line. I'm not trying to claim that this song is perfect; I'm merely trying to defend it from the charge of egregious theological error.

This is a good reminder to us about the importance of thinking about the meaning of the words we sing while we sing them, and of viewing each worship song as a cohesive whole. I've been guilty all too many times myself of forgetting what I just sang once I've moved on to the next verse, and it is this kind of mistake that's probably responsible for most faulty interpretations of the last line of this song.

May God help us to show grace to our well-meaning songwriting brethren, and teach us to ponder carefully every word that we lift to Him in praise.
If it takes a 10 paragraph essay to explain how a line isn't idolatrous I think its better and safer to just change the line or nix the song altogether.
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Unread 01-19-2005, 08:52 PM   #177
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I am responding to much of the commentary above...

If a worship song is based verbatim on a Psalm, I think then it is VERY appropriate for congregational worship. The New Testament, in 2 places, exhorts us as believers to teach and admonish one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.

As to "Above All," I think it is a great song that exalts Jesus, and gives glory to what He did for us on the Cross, which is the centerpiece really of Christianity. The song isn't necessarily totally based on Scripture, but for me that is not an issue. What is the issue is whether the song glorifies God, and is about Him. "Above All" fits that bill.

Jonathan
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Unread 01-19-2005, 09:44 PM   #178
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jbkrems
What is the issue is whether the song glorifies God, and is about Him. "Above All" fits that bill.

...and it doesn't matter that one of the lines could be blasphemous?
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Unread 01-19-2005, 09:56 PM   #179
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Well, if one of the lines of the song is blasphemous, the song clearly would not glorify God. I don't think "Above All" is blasphemous, or "You Have Done Great Things" is either. Where is the blasphemy in either of them?
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Unread 01-20-2005, 11:20 AM   #180
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I think I'm going to be sick. Running in circles....uggghhh
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