Worship Songs and Bad Theology: The Podcast

Christians and their worship music. A topic upon which people find little agreement.

For today’s post, I wanted to update a years-old conversation on worship songs and (oftentimes bad) theology. This post (from three-and-a-half years ago) still gets more views during a month than most of my other posts. People definitely care about their songs. Many conversations about worship music focus on style (while an easier conversation to have, that conversation can often produce shallow results because it focuses largely on preference). However, worship songs are conduits of truth. (And the preacher in me knows that people remember songs much more than they remember sermons. Maybe I should sing my sermons.)

In this week’s podcast, Dale and I are joined by two other family members—Evan Godbold and Kevin Bowles (both worship pastors)—to discuss worship songs and theology. You also get to see the new podcast artwork (which is much better than the old podcast artwork, no offense to Dale):

In this episode you’ll hear:

  • How these two worship pastors evaluate the songs that make it into their worship services
  • What types of songs these two pastors don’t use because they have confusing and/or bad theology
  • Some of the confusing lines in certain worship songs and how they’re evaluated
  • Some of their go-to songs because of the rich theology they carry (spoiler alert: this song, this song, and this song make the cut)
  • Numerous jokes that only we think are funny

You can listen below and subscribe on iTunes if you never want to miss the party:

Below is a special exchange for blog readers who make it this far:

After recording, the four of us were in a group text talking about the song selections they had picked as go-tos for good theology. Evan disagreed with a line from one of Kevin’s picks of all-time good songs (“In Christ Alone”). I love how seriously these guys take their song selection.

Kevin Bowles:
What’s the incorrect line, Ev?

Evan Godbold:
“Here In the death of Christ I live.”
Another poetic line that charitably read is fine.

Hans Googer:
That line is lame but I guess is a metonymy.

Evan Godbold:
But theologically inaccurate.

Hans Googer:
Evan, I have a blog post coming with the podcast episode in it. Drop into the comments that line.

Evan Godbold:
K.

Hans Googer:
Or I will. But it’d be more fun if you did.

Kevin Bowles:
hmmm. . . I suppose without the context.

Evan Godbold:
Death of Christ didn’t accomplish life. That whole verse is about Christ’s death. 1 Corinthians 15:19 is in view for me in this line. Don’t like it. Wouldn’t write it.
Like I said tho. It’s not like I don’t get it. Just a poetic line that maybe is too clever for its own good.
I am more (hyper)sensitive toward Christological and soteriological ideas than you I think.

Kevin Bowles:
Sure. I knew why you didn’t like it. Just taking into context the next verse, which is all the resurrection stuff. And because Christ was ransomed for me, I live.

Evan Godbold:
Yeah. Just not what I would chose.
Again, reads more like it’s trying to be a clever phrase.

Kevin Bowles:
Yeah, I got it. I just don’t see it as wrong. Wrong only if it is implying that the resurrection is not what gives life.

Dale Googer:
Where was this hard-hitting discussion last night, guys?

Kevin Bowles:
Haha.

Evan Godbold:
I don’t think the theology is wrong. I think it’s a poetic line I wouldn’t use because the line itself sounds wrong.
I don’t change it. But I also don’t like it.
And I don’t skip the verse.

Kevin Bowles:
1 Thess 5:9-10 . . . “For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.”

Evan Godbold:
Are we alive in his death or alive in his resurrection?

Kevin Bowles:
Both!

Evan Godbold:
We are buried in his likeness and raised in his likeness.

Kevin Bowles:
Without his substitutionary death. . .I’m dead.

Hans Googer:
Did you just google “Verses that prove ‘In Christ Alone’ is theologically accurate”?

Evan Godbold:
And without his resurrection you still are.
Even if Christ died.

Kevin Bowles:
Correct. That’s why I need both.

Evan Godbold:
I agree.
But you don’t live in his death.

Kevin Bowles:
I guess I’m saying . . . I live because of both, so it’s ok to sing about one at a time.

Evan Godbold:
You live in his resurrection.

Hans Googer:
Do you guys even know what metonymy is? I’m trying to use my seminary education here.

Evan Godbold:
And I am saying I don’t like that line.
Never heard of it.

Kevin Bowles:
I agree saying that I stand “in” his death is the clunky part.
Yeah, i remember that word.
But had to remember what it meant.

Hans Googer:
(Gives definition of metonymy)
I’m here for you.

Evan Godbold:
Thanks.

Kevin Bowles:
I just think the biblical picture that something has to die for me to have life/forgiveness/etc. isn’t just poetic. But I get what you’re saying that his death alone is not what gives us life.
And Dale, this would’ve sufficiently bored everyone last night. 😊

Hans Googer:
I’m putting this whole exchange on the blog post.

One Reply to “Worship Songs and Bad Theology: The Podcast”

  1. Also thought I’d point out, in case it’s not clear from the conversation, that I love that song even with that line. And I do it regularly. This exchange is more about the fact that even some of our most cherished songs may contain language that isn’t the most exact or helpful, but it doesn’t necessarily follow that those lines have to be a hindrance.

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