Posts Tagged ‘church’

One of my favorite acts of worship is to hear a great exposition of scripture.  It can fill me, and break me at the same time.  I love good preaching.  However, it is not the only act of worship that I love.  A carefully crafted, theologically sound song can make my spirit leap for joy and my heart and mouth sing praises to the Lord.  I love to hear a congregation of believers sing worship and praise to the Lord.  Not every song that we sing in our corporate worship fits the “carefully crafted theologically sound” criteria.  It is true that we all have different theological bents that come out in the songs that we sing.  This is understandable.  Nevertheless, there are some songs that transcend denominational loyalties and should call for all Christians to lift their hands (although they may just be a mental hand lifting if you are more conservative,) and hearts in praise, or bow low in worship to the King.

Over the past year, I have been compiling a list of songs that I feel fit well into the above mentioned category.  Some are very old, and some are very new.  Scripture does tell us to “sing a new song” but it also implores us to sing “Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.”  So, the list below will be made up of songs that span different centuries, different continents, and different theological leanings.  This list is not exhaustive, but here are 50 songs that we would do well to sing unto the Lord with a grateful heart and attitude.  If you click on the song, it will direct you to a site where you can listen to it. You may have a song that I have missed that would fit well. If so, feel free to leave a comment with a name of the song.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Adam B. Burrell

10,000 Reasons

A Mighty Fortress is Our God

Alas and did my Savior Bleed
All creatures of our God and King
All I Have is Christ
All I once held dear (Knowing You)
And Can It Be That I Should Gain
Be unto Your name
Be thou my vision
Before, the throne of God above
Behold Our God
Blessed Be Your Name
Creation Song
Come, Praise and Glorify
Come, Thou Almighty King
Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing
Days of Elijah
Hail the Day
Hallelujah What a Savior (Man of Sorrow)
He Knows My Name
He Leadeth Me
Hide Away In the Love of Jesus
Holy, Holy, Holy
How Deep The Father’s Love for Us
How Great Thou Art
In Christ Alone
It is Well 
Glory To God
Grace Greater than all our sins
Jesus, Lover of my Soul
Jesus Paid it All
Lamb of God
Name above all names
Nothing That my hands can do
Now why this Fear
The Love of God
The Wonderful Cross
There is a Fountin Filled With Blood
O’ The Deep Deep Love of Jesus
O How Marvelous (I Stand Amazed) 
Our Great God
Our Song From Age to Age
Praise to the Lord, The Almighty
Revelation Song
Salvation Belongs to our God
See the Conquer
Sing To Jesus
Song of Moses
Speak Oh Lord
What a Wonderus Love is This
Your Name

If you have been alive for more than 10 days, you have probably heard someone quote (or misquote) the most popular verse in all of scripture: “Judge not, that you be not judged.”  This verse is very popular among those who do not hold to Christianity, and certainly do not hold scripture to be a holy book.  This is also one that is popular among many Christians who do not always put scripture into its proper context.  With all the sin that is in the church, and the onslaught of moral and ethical issues facing our society today, I think it would do us well to understand what this scripture really means, and just who we are not supposed to judge, and who we are to judge . . . if anyone.

We are not to judge those outside the church:

Let me be clear about what I mean by this heading.  Paul writes in I Corinthians 5:12-13, “For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church?  But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.”  Christians are not to judge those outside of the church.  We are to witness to outsiders, but not judge them.  Anyone that has been in church for any length of time will understand that we are all sinners.  God has made it clear that He is the judge of all, and those who are not found righteous will be judged for their sins.  So, in a way, those outside of the church are right when they say we should not judge them.  However, Christians understand the penalty for those who do not know the Lord and walk in sin and thus should always warn those who are walking a path contrary to God.  Warning and judging is not the same thing.

We are to judge those inside the church:

While most people understand that Christians are to witness to and not judge those outside the church, it gets a little more tricky and difficult with the responsibility of those within the church to help judge the body of Christ. This is something that is very foreign in many churches today. Scripture is clear that we are to hold each other accountable (Proverbs 27:6, Matthew 7:1-5, John 7:24, I Corinthians 5, Etc.).  It must always be done with humility and love.  However, we must realize that if done properly, judging each other is a healthy and good thing.  Often people want to say, “get that log out of your eye, before you get the spec out of mine.”  Those who say that often miss the word “before.”  Jesus was not saying to never call someone out on sin, but BEFORE you do, you need to make sure that you are clean of it as well.  The church has a responsibility to hold each other accountable for the way we live our lives (Matthew 18:15-20).  Church discipline (the final act of judgment from a church) is actually a loving thing.  It shows the person that is being disciplined that sin is a big deal, and has consequences.  It shows the church member the same thing. It is not loving to let someone continue in their sin without cautioning them.  It may not be easy to confront them, or seem loving . . . but to let someone willfully spit in the face of God by sinning and say nothing to them shows a type of hate for that person.  A word of correction is loving, if done humbly, wisely, and with care.

We will all be judged by a righteous judge:

Paul Washer was right when he said, “The most terrifying truth of all of Scripture is that God is Holy, and we are not.”  God is a righteous judge and must always judge righteously.  I have heard so many people say, “God is my only judge.” The scary thing is, everyone will go before the judge one day.  He will see one of two things when judging you.  He will see your piles and piles of sin that must be paid for with eternal hell, or He will see one that is righteous because Christ imputed it to them.  Christ paid for the sins of his people at the hand of the righteous judge already.  However, there is an impending judgment for those who do not know Him by faith.  He is a good and loving God, but He is also a good and just judge who must render a proper sentence.   My plea to anyone that is reading this is to get on the right side of the judge now, so that you do not have to bare His wrathful sentence later.

When I hear people say, “Don’t judge me.”  I know what most of them are thinking.  Nevertheless, I want to say, “Please judge me!”  It is not always easy to hear a corrective word, but as Proverbs 27:6 says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.”  I want to live a life that is most pleasing to God.  To do this I need to be conformed to the image of Christ as much as possible.  One of the ways of doing this is to have other godly people look at my life, speak into it, and call me out (judge) if I am veering off the path.  So, we need to always take “Judge not, that you be not judged” in its proper context.  We do not need to judge those outside of the church, but need to share with them the gospel.  To those inside the church; we need to lovingly, humbly, and regularly examine ourselves and hold each other accountable to God’s word in a way that is both scriptural and practical.  So, again I say, “Please judge me!” If you find I am veering away from God’s righteous path, tell me . . . and I hope you are willing to do the same.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Adam B Burrell

Have you ever stepped back and thought about just how many different types of Protestant Christian church denominations there are?   Most all of them stem off of the 6 major denominational heads: Anglican, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, (Reformed) Presbyterian, and Pentecostal.  Then if you break these denominational heads down into sub-groups, you will find some 30,000 different types of Protestant churches.  For example, take the Baptist denomination.  Within that denominational head you have Southern Baptist, Reformed Baptist, General Baptist, Missionary Baptist, Free Will Baptist . . . need  I go on?   If we are all supposed to be one, it does not seem like having all of this diversity can be a good thing.  There is no doubt that there are some serious doctrinal differences between these groups.  Some denominational groups would say that other entire denominational groups are apostate due to certain views that they hold.  I am not here to argue about doctrinal differences (although they matter greatly), but rather, I want to show that for true believers this diversity can actually be a good thing for the Kingdom of God.

We Are All Actually One:

                It is important to realize that all who have called on the named of the Lord by faith are all part of the same “denomination.”  This denomination is “The Church” (since we are separated from the rest of the world).  Jesus said in Matthew 16:18, “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”  Contrary to what our Catholic neighbors say, Peter is not the centerpiece to this story . . . Jesus is.   The Lord has promised that He will build His church, and no one will stop that.  This means that all who have been redeemed are a part of one family . . . the family of God.  We do not all live under the same roof, but we do all have the same Father and Spiritual head.  He is the same Shepherd for all true believers whether you are convicted to pitch your tent within the Church of God camp or the Reformed Baptist.  This does not make us all right on those things we disagree on, but if the foundation is correct (salvation being by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone) we are all one.

Strength in Division:

                Looking at and working with different denominations over the years, I have seen an interesting trend within the groups.  Each church seems to polarize themselves to one of the different parts of the God-head.  When you think of the Presbyterians, for instance, you might think of a group that is very knowledge based.  They desire to KNOW the scriptures and to search the scriptures above all things.  They are a very educated people in general (again, please note that these are general observations).  They love books.  They tend to polarize themselves toward God the Father.  God the Father was the “master mind” behind all of creation in the God-head.  He is the One who speaks forth.  On the other hand, when you think of most Pentecostal groups you think about their tendency to be more in tune with the Holy Spirit.  They often lean toward the more spiritual things and desire the experience of the Holy Spirit.  When you think of Baptists, at least more modern day ones, you think of their desire for evangelism and trying to be the hands and feet of Jesus.  As you would guess, they tend to focus mostly on Jesus.  If we are to be well balanced in our walk, we need to have an equal balance of all three parts of the God-head and not always attach ourselves to just one person of the God-head.  When we do that, I think we miss out on the fullness of walking with God.

When you look at the Old Testament and the 12 tribes of Israel, I think we can find a good picture of what different denominations should look like.  The tribes were given specific portions of land.  In general, they always lived within that allotted land plot.  However, when they were getting ready for battle, they would all gather in their groups and march out together (1 Chronicles 27).  I see this as a great picture of what denominations should be today.  There is place for genuine debate within the fellowship of believers.  There are even times when it is wise to disfellowship (although only over matters of clear sin) from each other.  However, for those who are truly unified under the banner of the Kingdom’s cause, we need to be strong and band together when we go out to battle.  The cost is too high not to be joined together for the gospel.  There is strength in diversity (since working that way allows us to reach different types of people), but let us not become too divided that we lose that unified strength.

A Word of Warning:    

We must not let our guard down so much that we allow sin into the camp.  When we do this, it weakens the whole camp.  There is forgiveness for those who are willing to repent, but one who is in open sin must not be allowed to stay there without correction (I Corinthians 5).  As stated before, there is a place for genuine disagreement and debate within the church; however, we as a church can never compromise on issues of clear sin.  We can agree to disagree on secondary issues, but we can never compromise on primary issues of the gospel.  Yes, let’s work together in every area that we can for the sake of the Kingdom.  We do not have to lay aside the things that make us distinctive, but let’s never lose focus on our commission: Go, make disciples, and do it for the glory and honor of God.   Denominations are not a bad thing if understood in the broader context of the Kingdom.  We can celebrate our diversity.  Let’s just make sure when we celebrate, that we are celebrating the Lord first, and not our particular flavor (denomination) of the Church.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Adam B Burrell