Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Monday, April 14, 2008

“I’m done with American Idol.”

[The following was written by my wife Abby at my request concerning her response to the American Idol performance of "Shout to the Lord" last week.]

I think it’s great that so much money was raised to combat malaria in Africa & give to different children’s & medical programs in the US. My husband & I prefer to give money to ministries that do those things in Jesus’ name, but it’s great that so many other folks gave to Idol Gives Back. I enjoyed all of the program that I saw in between caring for my 6 month old. And then the finale happened. Ryan announced that the competitors would be singing “Shout to the Lord.”

I did a double take at the screen. “What did he say? There must be some other song called ‘Shout to the Lord.’ They’re not about to sing one of the most beautiful praise songs ever.”

Then the familiar music started. “No way.” My mouth hung open in disbelief. “What did they just sing? ‘My Shepherd?’ They changed the lyrics?” It sounded awesome. I was enraged. Steam started coming out of my ears. “No they’re not. Who picked that? What idiot at CCLI let them do this? No they’re not. I don’t believe this. Why on earth? I wish I could see Simon’s face. David? David Cook, who last night declared in his song choice that ‘we are all innocent’ is now singing ‘Shout to the Lord,’ to my God? Do they have any idea who they’re singing to? Does anyone in the audience know who they’re singing about? Do any of the judges, anyone backstage, know that that is the God of the universe they’re referring to & will cast them into the lake of fire for all eternity if they do not repent of sin & confess Jesus Christ as Lord? Maybe some of them know that. But I’m also sure some of them don’t know that, & they’re singing & approving this beautiful song about my God anyway.”

And then Ben Stiller closed the show with 3-4 bleeps for using the F-word. What a way to close! I couldn’t wait for Andrew to come home & share my shock & anger. To my dismay, my usually laid back husband remained just that, laid back…& academic. “I understand what you’re saying. You know, there’s been a debate about this for a long time. One side says the exact thing you’re saying, that for nonChristians to say (or sing) something like that without acknowledging Christ as Lord or living like Christ is Lord, is blasphemous, honoring with lips & not with hearts. Others refer to Old Testament passages where God caused heathen men to praise Him such as Belshazzar praising the Lord as God after seeing the writing on the wall & yet we don’t have any proof from Scripture that those men were truly converted, those instances seemed to be a one time thing.”

“Oh,” I replied. “Well…those are good arguments.” As a result, I’m not really sure where I stand & I haven’t taken the time to examine this more in the Bible. Andrew & I have talked about it some & listened to Todd Friel’s take on it on Way of the Master Radio. He really focused on the fact that they took Jesus’ name out of the song. I was more angry that they sang it at all, with or without Jesus’ name. I took sort of a possessive stance: “How can they sing about MY God that they don’t know?”
All of my days I want to praise
The wonders of Your mighty love…
Let every breath, and all that I am
Never cease to worship You
“Empty promises to MY God!” my mind screamed. “I long to mean those words with all my being & they sing them without repentant hearts!”

Please note that I’m not singling out the contestants, I took this show & the song to represent all of American Idol, especially those who had a say so in the order of that episode. I remember Simon criticizing Mendesa (sp?) 2 years ago when she sang a Christian song. Now he’s part of a show that just performed “Shout to the Lord?” Why can’t they keep it secular!?! I also must remind myself that I don’t know anyone’s heart, I barely know my own. Maybe some of the contestants are Christians & could really sing those lyrics from the heart. Maybe it caused some to question their sinful state & will one day repent of their sin & turn to Christ. As Paul states in Philippians 1:18, “But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.” Granted, the Gospel was not proclaimed & Jesus’ name was omitted, but the rest of the song is in line with Gospel teaching.

I didn’t watch Thursday night’s episode when they sang the song again with Jesus’ name included. I’m told that no explanation was given about the song. The whole thing really leaves me scratching my head & I think I’ll skip the rest of the season to be on the safe side. I read some of the comments on Idol’s website. Most were rejoicing that this song aired. I caution anyone before they jump for joy or scream in anger to really think about this issue & not just go with an emotional reaction.

[For another insightful post on this subject, click HERE.]

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