Philippians 2:9-11 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Melissa and I went to the Lauren Daigle concert on Saturday night. I tell you what, that lady can sing! Wow! She is also very charming in that she can make fun of herself and laugh. It was a lot of fun. She didn’t clarify any of her position regarding the same-sex hubbub, nor did I think she would.
There was one thing I did notice in all her music that is common with so much of the praise music today: the total omission of the name “Jesus.” Now, I long ago lost my ability to hear and understand all the words of songs. Nonetheless, Jesus is pretty easy to catch, and I wasn’t catching it. Daigle isn’t alone in this. It is a common complaint of modern Christian music.
I don’t want to sound like a conspiracy theory type of guy, but there is truth to this. Pay attention, and you’ll see what I mean. Of course, not all songs are like this, but many, many “Christian” songs totally omit the name “Jesus.” Now, I don’t want to suggest that we tag “in the name of Jesus” to all our songs like we tend to do in our prayer. No, I’m talking about simply singing about Jesus and using his name to do it.
Let’s think about this a minute. Any good salesperson knows that using someone’s name is one of the most important tools they have. People love to be heard. They also love to hear their name. Try it sometime. When you meet someone for the first time, ask them questions about their interests; and use their name to do it. Be gracious to talk very little about yourself and try to keep the other person talking about themselves without being too obvious.
Do you know what people say after meeting someone that is good at this? “I just met a really neat person. We had a wonderful conversation!” Guess what? They didn’t have a conversation. They talked about themselves. You simply facilitated this by using their name and asking a few questions.
I think this has tremendous implication to our music, prayer, and even our bible reading, but it’s upside down from interpersonal communication. Jesus doesn’t need to be flattered. He won’t love us more if we learn good sales techniques. It’s upside down in that we learn him better by using his name. There is simply power in his name.
Here’s another experiment. Really start to pay attention to how you verbally say the word “Jesus.” Do you say it more or less than you think you do? Do you limit saying it in any way? Is it OK to say it in front of “safe” friends and not others? Do you find yourself saying things like “the Lord” instead of “Jesus” depending on your audience? How about “Spirit” instead of “Holy Spirit”? Do you find that saying “Jesus” is harder than you think? Or, are you like me and finding it far too easy to use that name to curse?
Come on now, be honest. To my shame, I have to practice saying his name out loud to be able to say it comfortably in front of others. I have to say it, over and over, in my car or someplace in private, before it will start to roll off my tongue naturally. And, I have to practice this regularly. I don’t know what it is, but his name just doesn’t want to come out. Try using “Jesus” regularly in your conversation. You’ll find it much harder than you think.
Do you suppose there is a connection with this and popular Christian music? Do you think there is any coincidence that the name of Jesus is disappearing from our worship songs? Let’s not be afraid to examine ourselves and these things. Would we be concerned if our pastors stopped using the name “Jesus” in their sermons? Of course, we would! Here’s news for us, folks! Our worship leaders and song writers are ministers, just as much as our pastors. We need to hold them accountable just as much as we do our pastors – and our own lives as well!
Now, all this might be quite intentional. Yes, that’s right. Some might say that it is far easier to reach the non-churched with music that is veiled, so-to-say, from blatant Christian terminology. To that, I say, these folks have a fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose of the music and how salvation works. Praise music is to glorify God. How do we do a better job at that when we dumb down our music by removing Jesus from it? On the other hand, does music “save” people. No. God is the one who saves. Yes, we might play a part by sharing the gospel, but the Triune God is the only one who saves. The idea that we should be afraid of scaring people away because we use the gospel is preposterous.
Incidentally, Lauren Daigle did sing one song with his name – “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” – a song that wasn’t hers. Unless I am mistaken, that was it.
I think this is an opportunity for us all to pray.
Father, please forgive our songwriters and musicians. Forgive us for not noticing the change. Let us realize our error and correct it. Let us seek music that clearly and boldly says, “Jesus!” Amen.
Copyright © 2019 Scott Powers