Friday, August 22, 2014

Matthew West's "Do Something" is a terrible, terrible song

There's a song that many Christians today are enjoying on radio: it's called Do Something by Matthew West. Apparently the background is that he was inspired by an American exchange student who went to Uganda and saved orphans from a terrible orphanage by starting her own.

I'm inspired by proactive Christians who heed the Lord's call to become missionaries. And of course the bible says we should help orphans too.

Here are the lyrics to Do Something. I'm going to tell you why I don't like this song. I'm going to tell you why songs like these saturate the Christian mind with a terrible theology under a guise of a happy tune and moral lyrics.

I think our attempts to live radically can ignore the Bible’s concern that we be radically godly in character. There is no doubt that I am called by God to live sacrificially and generously. My first calling, though, is to know God, to be shaped by him and on that basis to preach the gospel and to live as if it is true. I am called to do all of this right where the Lord has placed me. ~Tim Challies: Radical, A Book Review.Verse 1:
I woke up this morning
Saw a world full of trouble now
Thought, how'd we ever get so far down
How's it ever gonna turn around

So I turned my eyes to Heaven
I thought, "God, why don't You do something?"
Well, I just couldn't bear the thought of
People living in poverty

Children sold into slavery
The thought disgusted me
So, I shook my fist at Heaven
Said, "God, why don't You do something?"

He said, "I did, I created you"

Chorus:
If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it's time for us to do something
If not now, then when

Will we see an end
To all this pain
It's not enough to do nothing
It's time for us to do something

Verse 2:
I'm so tired of talking
About how we are God's hands and feet
But it's easier to say than to be
Live like angels of apathy who tell ourselves

It's alright, "somebody else will do something"
Well, I don't know about you
But I'm sick and tired of life with no desire
Wikipedia
I don't want a flame, I want a fire

I wanna be the one who stands up and says,
"I'm gonna do something"

Chorus:
If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it's time for us to do something (yes, it is)

If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It's not enough to do nothing

It's time for us to do something

Bridge:
We are the salt of the earth
We are a city on a hill (shine shine, shine shine)
But we're never gonna change the world
By standing still
No we won't stand still (x3)

Chorus:
If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it's time for us to do something
If not now, then when

Will we see an end
To all this pain
It's not enough to do nothing
It's time for us to do something

It's time for us to do something (x2)

[Matthew West - Do Something Lyrics]
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I'm sure that skilled discerners can spot the theological issues in this song right away.

1. The song is a song about social justice, and the power of man to fix the wrongs in the world. It is a song that sounds good but is actually the opposite of what the bible teaches about man, man's purpose, God, and sin.

Lyric: Saw a world full of trouble now. Thought, how'd we ever get so far down?
Answer: Adam. Eve. Lucifer. Rebellion. Sin.

Lyric: How's it ever gonna turn around?
Answer: Jesus. Revelation 19:11, "Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war"

Lyric: I thought, "God, why don't You do something?"
Answer: Like He's not doing something? He is. John 5:17. "In his defense Jesus said to them, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working." (NIV)

Lyric: He said, "I did, I created you"
Answer: UNTRUE. He created us to worship Him and enjoy Him forever.
From the very beginning of the song it shows us how man-centric it is. There are no out-of-control world problems God created us to fix. We are not the solution. We are the problem! God did not create us to fix the world's problems! There is your first opposite-from-the bible issue. In Do Something, it's Bizarro World.
Bizarro World: In popular culture "Bizarro World" has come to mean a situation or setting which is weirdly inverted or opposite of expectations.
Lyric: Well, I just couldn't bear the thought of People living in poverty
Answer: Well Jesus just couldn't bear the thought of people living in sin. Sin is the problem. (Luke 19:10). Poverty isn't. (Matthew 26:11). If more people sang about people living in sin with the reality of hell, perhaps people would 'do something', i.e, witness, instead of throw money at a problem Jesus said would always exist. The problem is not the wallet. It's the soul.

Lyric: Children sold into slavery, The thought disgusted me. So, I shook my fist at Heaven, Said, "God, why don't You do something?"
Answer: Child slavery is the new, sexy, socially conscious charity. I'm not making light of the reality of it. But it has emerged of late and it will sink back to the muck of all the other sins and diseases that occasionally get people's attention, like HIV/Aids, Alzheimer's, adoption, orphans, child abuse, elder abuse, drug abuse... "Causes" come and causes go. People still need the remedy: Jesus.

Secondly, shaking your fist at God for failing to do the things WE think He should be doing? Is that wise? Is that even warranted? No. Ask Job. God answered when Job asked- (Job 38:3-5)

Now gird up your loins like a man,
And I will ask you, and you instruct Me!
"Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?"
Tell Me, if you have understanding,
Who set its measurements?
Since you know...
Job and his friends. Ilya Repin. The State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg.

Since you know all about what God is doing or not doing, Mr West. Since you know.

As Richard Haas said, in his essay "What's Wrong with Social Justice?"
people like these "are trying to play god over God and tell Him what is best for society."

Lyric: If not us, then who? If not me and you
Answer: It all depends on us? Wow. A heavy load.

Lyric: But we're never gonna change the world By standing still.
Answer: Ah! There it is! 'Change the world.' People, changing the world is NOT OUR JOB. Our job is to witness to the peace and salvation of Jesus Christ, (Matthew 28:19), who has another world for us to dwell in! This is not our home, it is God's. It is the job of God almighty to change it, when He comes. (2 Peter 3:10).

I could continue about the lyrics, the repetitiveness, (drilling into our minds this false vision of our position in Christ), the man-centric attitude, but you get the idea.

Here is what Justin Woodall said about Matthew West's lyrics and all songs like these--
The music behind these songs is relatively good. The problem is theological. We have to abandon notions of musical excellence until we can recapture the transcendence and a healthy dose of the immanence of God. We have sacrificed our theology on the altar of music.
After the wrong-headed theology, the second thing wrong with this song is that it subtly disenfranchises the "Wow! Christians" from the "Quiet Christians". Just as not all are called to be the tongue in the Body, not all are eyes, not all are ears. Some are elbows. Some are toenails. It is the same with the way we live our lives. Not everyone is a Charles Spurgeon. Not all are Martin Luther. Not everyone can be a missionary to China like Eugene Sallee. Not all go to Uganda and start an orphanage.

As the song says, we are all lights, not called to put it under a bushel. Some lights are saving Ugandan orphans. Some lights are on a factory line in Detroit and witness at lunch. Some are quiet, joyful, persevering secretaries in St. Louis. Some are impoverished but fervent recycle scavenge-recycle workers in Calcutta. Some are hospitable shack dwellers in Guatemala. The message of 'Do Something' is wrongly two-fold. First, it tells us that we're here to save the world, and second, it two-tiers Christians, the ones doing something big and sexy, and the rest of us schlubs doing nothing big, sexy, showy, or splashy.

But the quiet influence of a quiet Christian like Larry will change hearts and lives just as much if not more than the splashy new orphanages in Uganda, which will more than likely fall by the wayside in a few years due to corruption, bribery, and lack of funds and materials. Though they will never lack for orphans.

Why don't these contemporary songs ever call us to persevere in a menial job we hate under a boss who doesn't care with co-workers who mock, just so we can be the only light in their dark, Godless lives?

Do THAT, and you're really doing something.

--------------------------------

Further Reading

An Unremarkable Faith

Radical: Book Review by Tim Challies

What's Wrong With Social Justice?


44 comments :

  1. I usually enjoy your posts but I think you are off on this one.

    When I hear this song the message I feel the artist is trying to convey is "occupy til I come" and "whoever but gives a cup of cold water in My Name shall by no means lose his reward"

    I agree with you that we were not created to solve the world's problems and that we should be looking to Jesus Who is about to appear to bring judgement and make all things right- but in the meantime the message I get out of this song is that in the meantime go and affect our world for Christ.

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    1. Hi Anonymous,

      I respect your disagreement and won't argue further except to say that the lyric bemoans poverty and sex trafficking but not sin. He wants to solve them but doesn't mention or discipling or witnessing as the means. In the lyric where the line is sung:

      "God, why don't You do something?" He said, "I did, I created you"
      It SHOULD say, "I did. I sent My Son."

      It is a man-centric, social justice song, and personally, I think that's obvious.

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  2. Elizabeth! I haven't read the whole post yet but I LOL when I saw the title because I have been waiting for someone to address this horrid song! When it comes on I always shout: "here's the social justice anthem"! and then promptly change the channel.
    Jennifer

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  3. For the record, I agree with you 100 percent, Elizabeth. It's yet another in a long line of "Let's Change the World" anthems that make it sound like it's our job to go out and build Christ's kingdom. It's not.

    Once upon a time, I sat down and wrote a 10-point job description for Christians:

    * * *

    1. Pray and seek God's will on a regular basis.

    2. Read and study the Word.

    3. Share the gospel as the Holy Spirit leads us.

    4. Use our spiritual gifts to strengthen and encourage other believers.

    5. Support people and ministries that are actively involved in preaching the gospel and edifying the body of Christ.

    6. Observe the signs of the times, recognize the nearness of His coming, and long for His appearing.

    7. Eliminate some of the things in our lives that may be distracting us from our primary purpose, as well as things that prevent us from living lives characterized by holiness and purity.

    8. Seek to truly learn what it means to fear God.

    9. Seek to truly learn what it means to call Jesus "Lord."

    10. Take up our cross daily, seek to crucify our flesh (i.e., continue turning from sin) and walk in the Spirit.

    * * *
    I'm sure it could use some tweaking, but the point is that there's nothing on there about making the world a better place. There's nothing on there about righting the world's fallen, sin-sickened condition. Even though we are the temple of the Holy Spirit in this world and His presence within us is the salt that keeps the world from rotting even quicker than it would otherwise and the light that glorifies and illuminates the way to the Savior, we are not here to fix a broken world. That's simply not our job. Period.

    And don't listen to the man-centered, flesh-glorifying Bonos of the world that say it is.

    It ain't.

    Jesus is all over it.

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    1. Greg, I love, love, love your ten-point job description! Thank you so much for your edifying comment!

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    2. Greg, I absolutely love your reply to this essay. SO on point!

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    3. Hi Elizabeth,

      John MacArthur in his book “The Truth War” said about Arius (man who denied the deity of Christ):

      “Arius devised crafty ways to popularize and spread his teaching. For example, he reduced his views to short lines of simple doggerel. He published the stanzas in a book known a Thalia (named for the muse of comedy and pastoral poetry in Greek mythology). Each of Arius’s verses hammered the same consistent theme, but always in slightly different expression: the Son is not eternal: He cannot perfectly comprehend the Father; He did not exist until God began creation; there was a time when the Father was alone; and so on. Virtually every line contained a similar denial of Jesus’ deity or eternality. The words were simple and straightforward, and the meaning was bold and plain. Arius then set those lyrics to catchy tunes, and his songs quickly became the popular music of the time. Arian ideas were thus disseminated by sailors and travelers throughout the empire. In a very short time, Arius’s blasphemous ditties even began to replace the hymnody of the church.” Page 104

      I remember one time listening to a young girl singing quite beautifully in church to a song I had never heard before. The song was quiet, the singing was moving but suddenly I heard her sing about Jesus ‘being a victim who went to the cross for us’. I sat down immediately and said in an audible voice that ‘that isn’t Biblical; Jesus was NOT a victim’. I got some strong negative scowls but I refused to clap like the others when she was done. Clearly we NEED to listen to the lyrics and especially look at the theology behind some of these “messages” that are being cunningly introduced through catchy music.

      Great essay Elizabeth!

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    4. Well said Greg! I'm going to copy and save your Ten Points. :)

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  4. I cannot Amen enough on this one! I remember a time when I thought I wasn't really doing much for the Lord until I realized how much I am a witness to my unbelieving husband by my behavior, how I teach my kids from the Bible daily, how I witness to anyone in my community whenever God opens the door (my kids' friends when they come over, at the ballpark, at the bookstore, sitting on the porch talking to my neighbor, chatting with the gas station attendant, having company over to the house for dinner on a Saturday night, etc.). I think very much of anyone who lives and dies on the field of foreign missions.... yet so many moms and dads serve in the mission field at home and at work, and are just as noble and heroic, quietly serving the Lord faithfully. Thank you for this.

    The song that most recently concerned me was one we sang during VBS at my church this summer: "Speak Life" by Toby Mac. Check it out if you have a moment. I had never heard the song prior to VBS, but I understand it is popular on the Christian radio stations. It isn't a "bad" song... in fact, it's quite catchy and has nice, moral lyrics. But there is absolutely NOTHING in the song to lead you to to believe he is singing about anything to do with Christianity. There's no mention of Christ at all. I had alot of trouble trying to convince some other moms at VBS why it really isn't a vey good song to be playing at church, but they just couldn't seem to understand what I was saying. One mom argued that she plays the song all the time at home in an effort to teach her boys that foul language is wrong and mean words hurt feelings.... and that there's nothing wrong with it! How sad to believe songs about good morals are going to give her child the clean heart (and clean mouth) she is hoping for. Such as it is in this day and time of dumbed down theology. Thanks again for the great post.

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    1. Anoymous, I 'amen' yourcomment! I understand what you mean byhaving a good message and having a hard time convinving people that a good song has a bad message. Christian Book Reviewer Tim CHallies said the same thing about the book Radical by David Platt (which sort of ramped-up this latest iteration of social justice). CHallies said,

      "So I guess I have several concerns with the book—concerns that stem from the fact that it is well-written and built upon a gospel foundation and very compelling and exciting. These aren’t the kinds of concerns that equal “Don’t read it!” but..." and he continued with his concerns.

      I mean, who wants to down a song that urges Christians not to be apathetic? But activity for activity's sake can be wrong, and also lead Chrisitans away from the Gospel. Jesus condemned the WRONG kind of activity to the Church at Sardis in Revelation 3:1-2

      ‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God."

      Works for the sake of works, or for rectifying the world absent the Gospel, are dead works. In 'Do Something', Mr West sings of dead works.

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    2. Anon,
      I thought the same thing about the "speak life" song. Another one I just recently started hearing had a direct quote from the dali lama "be the change you want to see in the world". A nice moral sentiment, but not a biblical idea. At best, it shows a lack of spiritual maturity from the song writer and radio station managers. Its a sad time when you cant even rely on Christian radio for edyifying music. I direct my kids to Christian radio because I don't want their minds saturated with secular lyrics, but now I even need to filter the christian station. *sigh*
      Jennifer

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    3. *Gandhi, not dali lama. Oops.
      jennifer

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  5. Elizabeth, you amaze me. I agree wholeheartedly! It's a funny thing about music, song lyrics and even how they're sung. I stopped listening to music on a regular basis a long time ago. You might say it's a rarity with me.

    I did listen to Adele when she was topping the charts and won a few Grammy awards. I love her voice. However, I found myself wishing she'd make a gospel album, so I stopped listening again. I think the reason I don't listen to rock and country and pop is because, in my past, that kind of music was always tied to my sin. I don't listen now, because it tends to bring it all back if you know what I mean. Even "Amazing Grace", if it's not sung as the composer intended, does not edify me. And I love, love Amazing Grace.

    I think music by and large is corrupted by the "prince of the power of the air". I'll be so glad when Jesus sets everything right and music will be pure again.

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  6. Greg I also love your list and am going to save it --to read over from time to time.

    Elizabeth, great post, though like jeazette I rarely listen to music.

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  7. We moved to a house with a whole-house stereo system from the 90s. My husband turned it on the other day and the "Christian" station was playing. I really couldn't handle it after a few minutes and asked him to please switch it. I'd rather listen to a "secular" station that plays random songs about whatever and when the lyrics are clearly and obviously sinful to switch it.

    When something is playing on the "Christian" station it doesn't mean that it is edifying. If anything, the songs more and more these days are weird and confusing and dumb.

    I used to listen to the Christian stations all the time but now they just get on my nerves and I prefer to use Pandora.

    Thanks for a great post, Elizabeth. What a wonder it is to desire to serve the Lord because of what He did and because I love Him, not because I have to DO or earn my way to Him.

    Love,

    Melissa

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  8. Elizabeth, an amazing piece of work. Yes, it's a horrible song, horrible message, horrible undertones, horrible agenda, etc. Thanks for exposing it, you investigative journo.
    [Now, when are you going to take a break like I've asked?]

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  9. Once again you hit the nail on the head Elizabeth!
    I rarely listen to mainstream "Christian" music stations anymore because of the increasing social gospel-man centered worship featured.
    Thanks for calling this one out!

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    1. Thanks Heather. I don't listen to radio either. This song offends me to the core and if it was played in my church I would get up and walk out until it stopped.

      Here is what offends me to anger every time I think of it:
      "God why don't you do something?
      "I did. I created you."

      Argh! I really, truly thought he was about to sing "I did. I sent My Son". It's the obvious lead-in- the obvious answer. The RIGHT answer.

      What got me interested in the song was a conversation I overheard two people talking about the song.

      Though to me $4 is a lot of money by the end of the month, I spend it on ad-free Pandora radio where I can be free from lascivious ads and I can choose or deny the songs myself that I want to hear or not hear.

      Having gotten rid of my tv, and having only Pandora and Hulu, and reading only Christian books, no magazines, no theatrical movies, ads on yahoo mail and youtube blocked, secular culture is pretty much deleted from my life. I'm in the world and among unsaved people, but the worst of the culture has to offer is outside my eyes and hearing. I even recently got off Facebook. Yet...it still infiltrates.

      In a recent MacArthur sermon he delivered at Believers Chapel in Dallas, he said (I paraphrase), "wouldn't it be great if we got saved and then went right to heaven? No sin, worship purely, see the holy face of Jesus...but instead we're stuck here until the time."

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  10. Thanks Stephen.

    I'll take a break when Jesus comes. I've done 2,866 posts just about daily for 5.75 years. Not going to stop the streak now!

    On a serious note, I read Tim Challies' list of women bloggers he recommends. He said someone had asked him who are good women Christians to read. In his search, he said he was shocked at how many blogs have gone dead.

    This is a ministry, so unless the Spirit urges me in another direction, I persevere. He does most of the effort anyway, giving me the strength, the ideas, and the wisdom, anyway!

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    1. I understand, Elizabeth. Your passion and insight clearly show, and I (and many other readers) love it. So, don't take me too seriously, but please take a breather every now and then (a log cabin. Woods. Silence. Bears).
      Blessings, and yes, don't stop.

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  11. I stopped listening to music on Christian radio stations years ago. Not only because the lyrical content of most songs is generally devoid of substance, but also the style of music frankly is rarely befitting worship. Yes, friends, music style does communicate a meaning all on its own, even without lyrics. That's why Brahms lullaby will sooth a restless baby, but heavy metal will not... but I digress.

    If I heard this song played at church, I would a) walk out while it was being played or put my fingers in my ears and pray (I've used both methods) then b) address the church leadership in private.

    -Carolyn

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  12. Great blog post, Elizabeth! I especially like this line: "Some are quiet, joyful, persevering secretaries in St. Louis." Because that's me - I'm a legal assistant in a law firm in downtown St. Louis! I try my best to be light and salt to my fellow employees and though I've applied for other positions at other law firms, I don't get hired. I think the Lord wants me at this law firm. As for the Toby Mac song, it sounds like a Word of Faith song. Only God can speak life; we cannot.

    I have a blog that I don't post on as often as I could (perhaps because I have a couple of other blogs too) that has Christian stuff on it. If anyone is interested in reading, here is the link to it: http://reflectionsruminationsrecollections.blogspot.com/

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    1. How wonderful Ms Diane!! Thank you for introducing yourself. I'm glad to 'know' you're out there. Your perseverance is noted by Jesus!

      Sometimes I wonder if we will be doing jobs in heaven similar in skill to what He has us do here, me, maybe work with children, you maybe administer His law... I guess we'll have fun finding out!

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  13. Thank-you for this post! I thought I was the only one who could not stand listening to this song! It grates on my soul. I have to change the station when it comes on. Who are we to shake a fist at God and tell Him what to do? It truly boggles the mind.



    Thank-you for your perseverence and dedication to this blog, Elizabeth. I read it dail

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  14. I have to say I am mistrustful of the contemporary Christian music due to lyrics first but also to the noise levels and hype but I was pleasantly surprised by the music Chris Powers chose for another essay on this blog post:

    http://the-end-time.blogspot.ca/2014/08/chris-powers-aka-action-jones-and-his.html

    Jordan Kauflin "All I Have is Christ"

    I do pray for this young man aka Action Jones (and support him). One thing I also pray for him is that he continues to choose music like this to accompany his amazing visual worship of the Lord.

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  15. I never liked the song.

    I guarantee you this is huge with InterVarsity campus groups. At least the one at my university was very social-justice oriented. And I'm suspicious that it's systemic.

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  16. Very timely. Lyrics should be spiritual, ie, Biblical rather than soulish. Soulish is the milieu of the world's music. Song writers need to be Bible literate and lyrics should be scripturally correct.

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  17. Very timely. Lyrics should be spiritual, ie, Biblical rather than soulish. Soulish is the milieu of the world's music. Song writers need to be Bible literate and lyrics should be scripturally correct.

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  18. I respectfully disagree with your position on this. I love this song. It's a wake up call to the church to do what we were in fact commanded to do and are failing miserably at. It is not our mandate to point out or judge sin, especially since we are all sinners. We are rather specifically commanded to help the 'least of these', the needy, sick, orphaned and incarcerated. We are to go out and make disciples of all nations. God didn't say, you just sit back and let me handle things from heaven. No, He sent His Son to show us how we ought to live. And as I said earlier, we Christians are failing miserably at that. We sit in our sanctuary's hoping the lost will come to us and wonder why our rolls are getting smaller and smaller. Until we are willing to leave our comfort zones, our churches, our homes and go out among the lost, we will never be the people God expects us to be. I'm glad artists like Matthew West aren't afraid to say what needs to be said.

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    1. Thank you! I love this song too! What's wrong with encouraging people to reach out and help those in need? You folks are reading way too much into this!

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    2. Because it isn't about reaching out to help people in need. Because it doesn't present a biblical stance. I care about how God is presented in what I read and what I sing. Sorry you feel that is too burdensome to ponder. I don't say that sarcastically, but meaningfully. :(

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  19. I am so grateful for this post. I need to be more discerning when listening to Christian music.

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  20. Instead of trying to dig and dig and look for what you consider wrong, why not be positive and see how something may be applicable and appropriate? Here's what I see: it's an extension of Hebrews 10:24. "And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works." (KJV) Who knows what God has done with this song? I personally know people that it has provoked and "stirred them up" as another translation says.

    As to "Speak Life", so it never mentions Jesus or God, it's still an appropriate message. Again, who can know what God is doing with this song? What if non-believers hear it and like it and are interested in hearing more of TMac's music and get exposed to the gospel in a way that no one else could have reached them? Besides, the Church can stand to speak a little more life itself. A lot more.

    Some comments on the above:

    Lyric: Saw a world full of trouble now. Thought, how'd we ever get so far down?
    Answer: Adam. Eve. Lucifer. Rebellion. Sin.

    **This is a rhetorical question. You think MW doesn't know that?

    Lyric: How's it ever gonna turn around?
    Answer: Jesus. Revelation 19:11, "Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war"

    **Again, a rhetorical question.

    Lyric: I thought, "God, why don't You do something?"
    Answer: Like He's not doing something? He is. John 5:17. "In his defense Jesus said to them, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working." (NIV)

    **Honestly, who has never thought this at one time or another? And do you really think that MW was just laying around lamenting the injustices of the world? It's a SONG. That tells a STORY. You know, like a PARABLE. Set to music.

    Lyric: He said, "I did, I created you"
    Answer: UNTRUE. He created us to worship Him and enjoy Him forever.

    **Your answer is true, but far from complete. God also imbued us with talents, skills, abilities, spiritual gifts and callings. He created us with a destiny and a purpose here on earth. He expects us to fulfill our destiny and calling as best with we can by following Him and partnering with Him as close as we can. Your answer makes it sound like we should all be around campfires 24 hours a day singing Kumbaya.

    I could go on but hopefully you get the point. Don't pounce and say "aha!" at a given line in a song or an entire song. Pray that God would use it mightily for His purposes. Pray that if God considers it in error, that He would squash it. Pray that if you're seeing it incorrectly that He would show you. Someone above mentioned that songwriters need to be more biblically sound. I can all but guarantee you that the songwriters themselves feel that more strongly than we do. Pray for them to become more biblically sound.

    And have grace for people. You know, throwing the first stone and all that.

    I'm sorry if what I posted was harsh. I am fed up with people that all they want to do is nitpick and bring others down. We are to build each other up. Jesus is coming for a pure spotless Bride. We need to be doing everything possible to hasten His returning. Edify. Build up. Unite around what unites us. "Death and life are in the power of the tongue".

    In short, speak life.

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    1. "Instead of trying to dig and dig and look for what you consider wrong",
      'Instead of'? Isn't the Christian life full of both, encouragement AND discernment? You're saying it has to be one OR the other. That is wrong.

      "dig and dig"
      In these apostate days, we don't have to dig. False doctrine abounds. It leaps up and smacks us in the face every day, every hour

      "Pray that is someone is in error, God would squash it"
      Yes, how do you know I don't already do this? In addition, you abdicate your charge to be His witness and His ambassador. Part of that charge is to encourage, and part is to be strong in doctrine and point our error. Many verses speak to this. Your attitude is passive and cowardly.

      "why not be positive and see how something may be applicable and appropriate?"
      What's 'positive"? Was Paul always positive? Did he say, 'Well, the Corinthians are getting drunk at Lord's Table, but at least they're AT the Lord's table! That's a good thing!" Didn't Paul tell the Galatians they were foolish? Twice in two verses? (Gal 3)

      You said, "I'm sorry if what I posted was harsh. I am fed up with people that all they want to do is nitpick and bring others down."

      It wasn't' harsh, it simply displayed a massive lack of discernment and a gross failure to care for your brethren by being strong in where the boundary lines are between truth and error.

      We build each other up by NOT tolerating false doctrine. We love our brethren by strengthening them in truth. Not looking the other way. Unite around what unites us, you said, but if left to you, no one would ever know what that IS.

      As far as 'throwing the first stone and all that', physician, heal thyself.

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    2. Yes and amen Elizabeth!
      Thank you for exercising discernment and continuing to call out error.
      Refusing to address error and practice God-given discernment, is not being loving nor encouraging... It is being apathetic and embracing the World System that leads to a false Christ.
      Keep fighting the Good Fight ;)

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    3. Great answer Anonymous. I didn't find it harsh at all. He did create us for more than just to love and worship Him;

      “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.

      For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited Me in,

      I needed clothes and you clothed Me, I was sick and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you came to visit Me.’

      “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink?

      When did we see You a stranger and invite You in, or needing clothes and clothe You?

      When did we see You sick or in prison and go to visit You?’

      “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for Me.’

      “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

      For I was hungry and you gave Me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink,

      I was a stranger and you did not invite Me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe Me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after Me.’

      “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help You?’

      “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Matt 25:34-45

      Social justice is absolutely something we should be thinking about and acting on. I can't take that bigger house, luxury car, flat screen tv or that large bank account with me to heaven, but I sure can open the door or set the foundation so that someone else can come with me.

      What if handing someone a coat is the only opening God needs to turn a heart to Him? What if watching a child or children so a single mother can have some time to herself reinforces a flagging faith? What if ministering to someone in prison persuades them to change their life?

      I don't see God handing out food, laying hands on the sick, housing the orphans Himself, do you? Why? Because He expects us to do that in His name!!

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    4. Chris S, there is a difference between obeying biblical commands to help the poor, needy, neighbor, sick, thirsty etc; and social justice.

      Social justice assumes the philosophy that there is INjustice in being poor, that people who hold to this view need to rectify. This is not the case. We help people from our means, because it is the Christian thing to do, knowing that "the poor will always be with us" (Matt 26:11)

      The LORD makes poor and makes rich; he brings low and he exalts.
      (1 Samuel 2:7)

      People who adhere to 'social justice" as you do, and the songwriter does, often find themselves sucked into the next incremental step, communism, or social ism. Let's redistribute the wealth, because it it unjust for some to be rich while others are poor.

      The next step for Christians who hold this view, is that it is a SUBSTITUTE for the Gospel. That is what has happened in this song.

      Here is an helpful essay on what social justice is, and how that is NOT the Christian's calling.

      http://www.gotquestions.org/social-justice.html

      Chris if you look at the lyrics you will see the musician asked a question about the pain he feels that some are living in poverty

      "God, why don't You do something?"

      (One may wonder why he doesn't feel the same about people living in sin and going to hell- poverty's a temporary fate, hell is permanent)

      And God's purported answer is that He created us, to solve poverty. Yet the author does not speak of sin, repentance, or a life in Christ, only pragmatic good deeds. It is a man-centered, Gospel-less song.

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  21. How do you know Matthew West doesn't feel pain about sin and the lost? This is ONE song about ONE particular topic. Do you really expect him to cover everything the Bible teaches in one song? Not even the traditional hymns do that.

    Gospel-less? I just quoted, from Jesus own words, where this song was taken from. How is that Gospel-less?

    I am not in favor of socialism, communism or wealth redistribution. I am in favor of those with means not being greedy and assisting those who have less means. Why else would God have created 'rich and poor'? It has nothing to do with sin, which we are not to judge by the way, but everything about showing God's love regardless of social situation, sin, etc. I fail at this task daily, so believe me I am not pointing fingers.

    I think we will have to agree to disagree. I enjoy the song, I think it is a wake up call to Christians who, in this country, are far too comfortable, and I feel you have dug too deep into it's meaning, but that is my opinion.

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  22. All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. I know I don't need good works for salvation but my faith and discipleship make me want to do what I can to make this world a better place. He is the vine and we are the branches.

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    1. We are not here to make the world a better place. We are here to share the Gospel. Now, I know what you are saying, we share the love of Christ by our good works of charity and love. However, that is not what the song is preaching. It's preaching social justice, which is ANOTHER GOSPEL. Hence my objection to it.

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  23. Lord help us when we have to justify our relationship with Jesus Christ through the lyrics of a song. We shouldn't have our youth question if there is some meaning in the lyrics of a song that may not be 100% Bible based facts. The fact is that the lyrics of this song stirs something up inside of a person and they realize that God created us, not only to worship and praise him, but to share and to be an example of what Jesus Christ would want us to portray to others. James 5:9 says "Don't grumble against each other, brothers (or sister), or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!" As far for this question being raised by one of my youths, Jesus warns us about complaining and having a critical spirit and not letting it be part of our Christian walk. Philippians 2:14-15 says "Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe. So I say to you listen to this song and get the proper meaning in which the Spirit of Jesus Christ will have you to hear. To the one that raised a question inside one of my youth groups mind, we accept you and your opinion since Romans 15:7 says "Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. Therefore I thank you for the opportunity for us to learn from comments made, and may the Lord bless you and give you wisdom through His Holy Spirit.

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  24. I'm with Chris S on this one. In Matthew 25, where Jesus tells us how we will be judged, he doesn't ask "How often did you pray? How often did you worship me?" Instead, he says that the criteria for the judgement will be how often did we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the prisoner, etc.

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    1. You're both missing the point. The song isn't terrible because one person fed the hungry less frequently than another and thus opens themselves to a worse judgment. The song is terrible because first,

      1. the lyrics state God created us for the purpose of feeding the hungry and clothing the poor. He did not create us for this purpose. Yes, feeding people and clothing people is nice. But it isn't the point of our existence.

      2. The second reason the song is terrible is because the main thing the singer was crying out against was that there are hungry people and naked people. Our main cry ought to be "God- why are there unsaved people?"

      3. Third, the song is terrible because the singer's lyrics cry out to God asking "Why don't you do something?" and the singer has God answering "I did. I created you." When the answer is in fact, "I did. I SENT MY SON."

      In conclusion, the reason the song is terrible is because it shifts what SHOULD be a focus on Jesus and the offer of salvation as the solution to the world's problems, and instead redefines the reason for our creation AND our existence as to solve humanity's temporal felt needs.

      That is the point. It is a terrible song for those reasons.

      PS: Matthew 25 is often misinterreted, as youhave done, here it is explained.

      "He is inviting them into the Kingdom, on what terms? Well, many people have sort of had difficulty with this passage because they say, "Well look, it says in verse 35 and 36 that they were...you fed Me when I was hungry, you gave Me water when I was thirsty, you took Me in when I was a stranger, you clothed Me when I was partially clad, you visited Me when I was sick and you came to Me when I was prison, and doesn't that teach salvation by works? "

      "Isn't He saying you can come into the Kingdom because of your philanthropy? You can come into the Kingdom because of your basic human kindness? You can come into the Kingdom because of all the social action that you were involved in? This seems rather problematic. Are people going to go into the Kingdom because of their social orientation?"

      "There's far more to it than that, beloved, far more to it. And that's all bound up in verse 34. People who get confused here some how miss verse 34 because verse 34 makes it very clear the basis of their entrance into the Kingdom. It's extremely clear. First of all, "Come...here comes number one point...ye blessed of My Father." That emphasizes the source of their salvation."

      The full sermon on those verses you quoted, here, for your edification:

      http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/2380/the-judgment-of-the-nations-part-3

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