Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Gospel Song

So our church in currently in a series called "The Gospel Song", which means our pastors are preaching through the song literally, taking a line or two at a time. The idea of making sure we understand the gospel is good I think, and the messages I've heard have also been good. It just got me thinking about that question, what is the gospel.

I think I would tend to answer with a 'whole story' approach. God had a plan to redeem us from sin before he even created us. God created man, had perfect fellowship with him, man sinned, broke the perfect fellowship, God promised to restore man back to himself and reveals hints about how he will do it all throughout history, Jesus, God himself, comes to us, being born a human like us, lives a perfect sinless life, dies in our place suffering the whole wrath of God for our sins, God is pleased, his justice and holiness completely satisfied, Jesus defeats hell and the grave and is resurrected, walks on earth, ascends to the Father's side, and lives to intercede for us in heaven, will return triumphant to claim his bride.

I think "The Gospel Song" is fine, and highlights an important part of the Gospel, but I think it's incomplete. I've been thinking about the definition of the Gospel, so it was good to come across a definition on C.J.'s blog, quoting Jeff Purswell:

“The gospel is the good news of God’s saving activity in the person and work of Christ. This includes his incarnation in which he took to himself full (yet sinless) human nature; his sinless life which fulfilled the perfect law of God; his substitutionary death which paid the penalty for man’s sin and satisfied the righteous wrath of God; his resurrection demonstrating God’s satisfaction with his sacrifice; and his glorification and ascension to the right hand of the Father where he now reigns and intercedes for the church."

For those of you wondering what the words of "The Gospel Song" are, or you'd like to hear it, you can click here. I think my favorite 'gospel song' is "God Made Man" on a Phatfish album a few years back (Nothing But the Truth I think?). If you can track that one down I highly recommend it.

So what are your thoughts?


Eric said...

And there it is...after 15 days of silence, Jul emerges and comes right out of the gate with a link at least affiliated with that mysterious movement (see post 3/20). No surprise on my thoughts; of course the song is deficient, perhaps even enough so to warrant a title change. Frankly it surprises me a little, becuase SG music is typically emphatic in its doctrinal precision. That being said, it is still a good song and certainly better than much of what passes for worship since the focus is turned away from us and it is appropriately God exalting and dare I say "cross centered". I just wish that it wasn't so "cross ended". You're the song writer, revise it - Kauflin does it all the time eg "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" - who knows, it may get a new verse.

jul said...

That particular song is regarded as complete, with no need for verses. I have no desire to bother it anyway, I have enough to do trying to 'fix' my own songs haha. I'm not sure I'd put myself up there with Bob either but I'll take that as a compliment. But I'm not sure he did the 'When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" song. I'll have to check into that now. I like how you put that, cross ended. But I think with short songs like that it's all about the context within a worship service. You have to put it in the middle of the right songs, and have a discerning worship leader (which we usually if not always do). I agree that the song probably should have been named something else, but I don't think it will cause me to stand up in the middle of a service anytime soon shouting "NO!!!!". Did you hear about that?

Baxter's Boy said...

Interesting to hear a series preached line by line through the Gospel Song. It was all the rage in Bristol when it came across from the UK. I know what you mean about incomplete though. The sketch in which it was presented at the Covenant Life event spoke volumes. Did you see it? Various people came on singing different songs (I noted that Restoration got named and shamed) but then the Gospel song triumphed over them all ending with them all singing it.

I got the message - but it left me thinking, "Does that mean then that we are lesser if we are passionately committed to those other songs?". Can't we sing more than just one song? Do we have to choose?

jul said...

I have seen it though it was quite awhile ago and I can't remember many details. I wouldn't have known about restoration to even catch that part. I think there's probably a lot of truth to the idea that we can and should be passionate about other things because of the gospel. We all have different functions as part of the body, and therefore different God-given passions, but we should all have a passion for the gospel in common ( as long as this translates as a passion for God himself).