My main problem with this article is that the author makes no distinction between her stronger and weaker reasons, and simply presents ten songs we shouldn’t sing as though they are equally faulty. There is a significant difference between a song that is theologically incorrect, to that of one that is theologically lacking, and again to that of one which can cause discomfort to certain people. Bundling all these reasons as sufficient basis to tell someone not to sing those songs feels quite lacking.
But what exactly were the criticisms to each song, and are those reasonable?
1. In the Secret
The author’s criticism of this song is at its core the lack of explicit mention of God. However this is overly simplistic. One should go deeper and ask whether an explicit mention of God is required in the first place. If the book of Esther was not disqualified from canon even with an absence of an explicit mention of God, then I think it is not fair to discredit the value of a song in terms of worship solely on the absence of an explicit mention of God.
2. Draw Me Close
The problem with argument on the first song is likewise applicable here. The entire point of lacking explicit mention of God does not hold much weight by itself.
What’s even worse is the quote the author mentions. First, it is untrue that the song has zero theological content. The line “You’re all I ever needed” in itself already has a theological point, in that Christ is all we need. Second, the author tries to use a criticism with how the song was sang in order to imply that we should not sing the song. Those are two separate matters.
3. At Your Name (Yahweh, Yahweh)
Sure, the Jews made a rule never to spell out the name Yahweh, but just because they did so does not mean we are required to do so. If Gentile believers in the early church were not required to bind themselves to Jewish customs, I don’t see the need for us to bind ourselves to Jewish customs.
Sure, respecting the name of the Lord is important, but then I fail to see how the song is disrespecting the name of the Lord. The use alone, is not disrespectful. If we take the 10 commandments as a guideline, we are only prohibited to use the Lord’s name in vain. This implies that there is such thing as a proper use.
In order to use the respecting the Lord card, one should first establish that the song actually disrespecting God, of which the author never makes as a point.
4. Lord I Lift Your Name on High
On the account of repetition: Repetition is not a sin. There is virtually nothing wrong if we repeat “hallelujah”, so there is also nothing wrong if we repeat a short chorus. This is honestly a very weird argument why we should stop singing this song.
On the account of only speaking a fraction of the whole gospel story: Are we only to sing songs that speak the full message? If so, then we should also only sing songs that speak of EVERY aspect of the fullness of God, of which then all songs known to man should be disqualified.
On the account of heaven being not in the sky: That was stupid. The song was not making a point about heaven being in the sky. That was never the case. Also, Jesus ascended into the sky during the ascension so the statement “to the sky” is still a valid one.
5. Above All
This is a valid theological issue. However this is a tricky one. It is true that the ultimate purpose of everything is God’s glory, so the lyrics of the song is indeed problematic. However, this is tricky since even the statement “Jesus died for you and me” would be inaccurate because Jesus would ultimately die for his glory. The theological point is correct but the practical implication is complicated and requires extra thought.
Regardless, the author makes a point and the call to reconsider the sing is valid.
6. Burn for You
The author’s argument is overcommitment, which I think is an odd odd reason to tell people not to sing this song. This is like saying we should never say we’ll obey / follow God because we can’t really follow through completely.
There is nothing wrong with hyperbole in itself. The call to be perfect is a hyperbole, since we can’t be perfect just as the Father is perfect. Yet we don’t see anyone finding fault in that passage.
And if we’re concerned that people aren’t singing that song with an honest heart, frankly that’s the fault of the one singing, and not the fault of the song. Why should we discredit the song because some people don’t really mean it when they sing?
7. One Thing Remains
What’s wrong with euphoric worship experience? Are we disallowed to emotionally enjoy worship songs? The author says the song is theologically lacking, but then says there’s nothing wrong with that the next sentence. The author then proceeds to make vague observations about the song, grounded on what seems to be. I honestly can’t figure out any concrete argument from this portion.
Basically the author used flimsy unsure reasons as basis to make a strong urge not to sing this song. Frankly, that does not follow.
And for crying out loud why is there a comparison between contemporary songs versus hymns. This article isn’t hymns vs modern songs.
8. Jesus We Celebrate Your Victory
The point is valid, as the lyrics is in fact theologically misleading. It reeks of prosperity gospel. I’d complain that the author did not stress enough the theological pitfall of that line.
9. You Are Mine
I share the sentiment that songs with God as a POV are odd. They feel off. But just because I don’t like it and am uncomfortable with it doesn’t automatically disqualify the song for praise and worship. Personal preference, which is the only thing established so far, is never a valid basis for what people should do or should not do.
The author should have properly discussed why she think we should not sing songs with God as POV, and stuck to develop that argument. A one-liner would not suffice. Instead, what we got was more statement how it personally is weird for the author.
10. How He Loves
This is similar to the ninth song. The argument is basically the author finds the song awkward. Personal preferences and pet peeves are not valid reasons to disqualify the song. I do find the phrase weird, but again, my personal taste is never authoritative.
Sure, the author says only that line should go, but the article is titled songs we should stop singing. That’s being unfair to the song by labeling it as something apart from what you’re arguing for.