Sunday, April 8, 2007

One Church's Report Card

Thanks to Scott Klusendorf's comment (#31) to Dr. Veith's post on Bathos, we are referred to a "Report Card" of songs and hymns published by Trinity Evangelical Church of Ft. Wayne, IN.

Interestingly, one song which I absolutely loathe, they give an A- to Above All. The song makes a great start

Above all powers, above all kings
Above all nature and all created things
Above all wisdom and all the ways of man
You were here before the world began

But right at the climax of the song, it goes from a Christ exalting anthem to a solipsistic mess:

Laid behind a stone
You lived to die
Rejected and alone
Like a rose
Trampled on the ground
You took the fall
And thought of me
Above all

Excuse me??? Jesus thought of ME above all???? I displaced God The Father from his mind??? What doggerel!


M.R.H. said...

In his blog,, Bob Kauflin commented on this song and how he responds to people who want him to use it in worship services:

"There are a number of things about this song I really like. The melody is enjoyable to sing and easy to remember. It does a great job emphasizing God's sovereign rule over all, and focusing on the sacrifice of Christ. The poetic images are engaging and the harmonic progression is creative.

But two parts bother me, both near the end of the song. The first is the line "you took the fall." It seems like an understated way of describing what Jesus did. Not wrong, but not the best.

The other problem is the line, "and thought of me above all." I have no question that Jesus loved me and gave himself for me (Gal. 2:20). But he didn't think of me "above all." Jesus went to the cross to satisfy God's righteous judgment against a sinful humanity. He thought of his Father's holiness, justice, and glory above all. It may seem like a theological nuance, but it's the difference between our faith being man-centered and God-centered. I don't think that's what the writers intended, but I think it could cause some confusion in people's minds. Besides, I think we have other songs that better articulate Jesus died for because he loved us and for his Father's glory. But, thanks for suggesting it, and please let me know if you have any other thoughts!"

Jonathan said...

It is interesting that you mention Above All. It just so happens that I have a Bad Song Lyrics post scheduled to publish Monday about this song.

Excogitating Engineer

Corner Creature said...

The link to Bob Kauflin's comments is here.

Wendell said...

I'm the pastor of Trinity Evangelical and here is the rest of the story. We hated that part of the song as well, so we took the liberty to change it (I hope we don't get sued). We substituted the troublesome part with "Crucified, laid behind the stone. You lived to die, rejected and alone. Then you rose, exalted evermore, you are victorious, forever above all."