Here we go again. Robertson: Husband Cheated But “Well, He’s A Man”
A few years ago, I was sitting down to lunch with a pastor. He and I were discussing worship music and Christian music in general, and he was telling me about some of the popular songs he didn’t like. One song in particular really irked him. This song was “Who Am I” by the popular CCM band Casting Crowns. I didn’t listen to much “Christian” music at the time (and I still don’t), but I was familiar with the song, as it was being played everywhere in those days. His main issue with this song was the lyrical content. The first part of the chorus went something like this:
I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
A vapor in the wind
Now, we have good reason to dislike many of the CCM songs being released today. Theologically speaking, many contemporary Christian songs—and even some contemporary worship songs for that matter—are shallow and individualistic. However, this pastor wasn’t complaining about the song not being biblical enough. In fact, James 4:14 states that we are like a mist that appears for a short while and then vanishes. He acknowledged that the concept of life and death in the song was biblical. The problem was, he did not like the biblical view of life and death. He said, “I’m not a fading flower, I am more than a conqueror,” citing Romans 8:37. “I’m not a vapor in the wind, my life has meaning and purpose.”
Now, I don’t need to mention how dangerous it is to accept some parts of scripture and reject others, but, to me, this seemed to be exactly what he was doing. The pastor knew about the psalmist’s prayer:
“O Lord, make me know my end
and what is the measure of my days;
let me know how fleeting I am!
Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths,
and my lifetime is as nothing before you.
Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah
(Psalm 39:4-5, ESV)
He knew what the Bible said about human life, but he could not reconcile this with other verses like Romans 8:37. In his mind, he could not be living a blessed life and a fleeting life. He could not be a conqueror through Christ and a vapor in the wind.
My question was then and is now, “What about the Bible?” As Christians, should we not base our view of life and death around what Scripture says? Just because you do not like a particular text does not mean you should reject it or try and put a different spin on it. Instead, you should adjust your view to the truth of God’s Word. We are fallible, the Bible is not. We get it wrong, God doesn’t.
Looking back, we would probably say this pastor did not have a very robust view of the doctrines of life and death. At that time, I probably didn’t either, and I still have much to learn. I’m not sure what I said to him then, but I know what I would say now. I would remind him that his worth is not found in himself, but in Christ. Yes, you are a vapor in the wind. Your life is short. The Bible is clear on that. But, the Bible is also clear about the eternal blessings for those who are united with Christ Jesus. There is richness and depth in the biblical view of life and death, and we cannot rightly understand these important doctrines without actually studying the biblical text.
Dig in and study. Discover for yourself what God has revealed to us through Scripture. In the end, our preferences don’t matter, His Word does.
What are some tough verses in Scripture that you’ve had a hard time accepting, and how have you allowed the Word of God to change your perceptions?
In him [Christ] and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. - Ephesians 3:12 (NIV)
This verse was a beautiful reminder during my morning devotions that I have been accepted by my Heavenly Father. Not that He has accepted me because of anything I have done, but because of what Christ has done. I have not earned the acceptance of God but I have inherited His acceptance through faith in Christ, who lived the perfect life I could not have lived and died the death I deserved to die. In Christ and through faith in Christ, you and I are accepted.
RIP, George Jones.
I really enjoyed attending this lecture. If you’re serving in your church or you’re interested in theology or Spurgeon should check this out.
Bob Dylan on Saturday Night Live, October 1979. I seriously doubt that he’s ever done a better performance of that song.
Still true in our day.. “The theology of the present aims at the deification of man, but the truth of all time magnifies God.” — Spurgeon