Let's dig into the heart and soul of the song "Holy Forever" by Chris Tomlin, a collaborative song involving Jason Ingram, Brian & Jenn Johnson, and Phil Wickham. This song, akin to the one we explored last week, stands as a powerful anthem crafted by the Avengers of Christian Music Songwriters.
Christian Diversity and Global Worship
One captivating aspect of this song is the collaboration of writers from different Christian denominations. This collaboration positions "Holy Forever" as a tune capable of resonating with the global Church. It reflects the unity found within the diversity of Christian traditions, offering a musical expression that transcends theological boundaries.
Reflecting on the changes in Christian worship over the past decades, we observe shifts in movements and the rise of Spirit-filled Christianity. The song becomes a lens through which we can appreciate the global growth of this branch of Christianity, particularly in African and Latin American churches.
Navigating Historical Context
Nostalgia takes us back to a time when Christian bookstores boasted sections devoted to Spirit-filled teachings. The narrative unfolds, exploring the intriguing emergence of worship movements on different theological islands. The post-Toronto Blessing era significantly influenced the landscape of Spirit-filled Christianity.
The lyrical exploration of "Holy Forever" reveals a deliberate attempt to unify believers across denominational lines. References to Hebrews 11's hall of fame of faith anchor the song in the broader Christian narrative, fostering a sense of unity among worshippers.
Scriptural References and Questions
Let's take a closer look at the scriptural foundation of the song, pointing to Revelation 4:8-11. It also raises thought-provoking questions about the absence of Jesus' name in the lyrics, encouraging a deeper understanding of biblical references.
The central question arises: Why are we singing this song? It challenges readers to ponder the role of Jesus in worship and whether the song effectively points to Him. What is the desired outcome of singing this anthem?
What I would recommend:
Think about reinforcing the name of Jesus (Yeshua) before or after this song?
He is salvation, He is God, He is alive
Use the word of God
Memorize and speak:
Acts 4:8-12 “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. This Jesusis the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among menby which we must be saved.”
Do not simply sing this song without taking a moment to point people to the depth of the word of God. This can be done so simply by getting people to speak Acts 4:12 have them repeat it after you.
I like this song. It’s simple. Singable. But if I were in a position to lead this song I wouldn’t. Unless I knew that I could have a moment to reinforce the name of Jesus. Am I advocating for us not to sing this song? No, I want us to understand the word of God more and have the confidence to really know what it is that we believe.
I’d even suggest following up this song with a song that speaks the name of Jesus.
*For additional resources and a suggested songlist, visit worshipwiththeword.com.*
Tune in to the podcast episode of "What are We Singing?" Your feedback is valued, so feel free to share your thoughts on any songs you'd like me to explore further!