Beautiful Who?

by

Ready… Aim… Fire!!

Going out Sacred Cow shooting and looks like I may have just got one. Big one too! It is tagged “Contemporary Worship Music.” Metaphor aside, in church during worship the song “Beautiful One” was sung. We sing this one often and to my shame I’ve never really thought about it much. Also to my shame I tend to just sing along and follow the bouncing ball on the screen without much consideration as to the lyrics and/or theology involved with the song. Tonight was different though, I found myself not just singing along mindlessly letting the mood and melody take me away, but really putting deep thought into worship. (Does that make me a bad Charismatic?) As the song was sung I read ahead in the lyrics before I sang them to see if I actually COULD in a sense of worship to the Triune God. Turns out that the song “Beautiful One” flat out will not let me! Honestly, I don’t think it can even classify as a worship song!

Bold claim! Better back it up, huh? Let’s look at the Word and the words and I’ll explain.

VERSE 1
Wonderful so wonderful is Your unfailing love
Your cross is spoken mercy over me
No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no heart can fully know
How glorious, how beautiful You are

The problem starts here. All we have is “Your” and “You” capitalized and “Your cross has spoken mercy over me.” What? We can’t use the name at which “every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:10-11) in a worship song that’s ABOUT JESUS!? To use the vernacular, I’m so not cool with that.

CHORUS
Beautiful one I love
Beautiful one I adore
Beautiful one my soul must sing

Hey! That’s how I felt about my last sweetheart! I checked in each English translation available on Bible Gateway for the phrase “Beautiful one.” I mean, ascribing such a title to the Savior must have some Biblical basis! Uh… only place that pops up as a phrase is Song of Solomon 2:10 and 2:13 (NIV, ESV, NASB, NCV, TNIV). Even if one takes the hermeneutic that this is relates to Christ and the Church the two verses use “beautiful one” in reference to the Bride (the Church) not Jesus! So in fairness I searched for just the word “beautiful” in hopes that it would be used in a way to describe Jesus. I used the English Standard Version and New American Standard Bible translations (two of the more literal ones) for the word “beautiful” and from 90 uses across those two translations (with much overlap) I could only find two that were remotely close: Psalm 16:6 and Isaiah 4:2. Psalm 16:6 speaks of a beautiful inheritance (heritage, NASB) and it would take massive twisting to get that to mean Jesus Christ. Isaiah 4:2 is MUCH closer. The “branch of the Lord” is the Messiah (Jesus). When the Messiah appears Isaiah writes (53:2), “he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.” Isaiah 4:2 speaks of his coming and final triumph. Therefore, we cannot rightly now call Jesus “Beautiful One.”

VERSE 2
Powerful so powerful Your glory fills the skies
Your mighty works displayed for all to see
The beauty of Your majesty awakes my heart to sing
How marvelous, how wonderful You are

WHO!? Who are we talking about in this verse? Are we still talking about Jesus? Or God the Father? Or the Holy Spirit? Or the Flying Spaghetti Monster? I’m so confused… Oh the wretched ambiguity. In any worship song it would make sense to use a Biblical name or title for God (any person or, optimally, all three persons of the trinity). In this song we have a mention of “cross” which presumes Jesus but all that is left is mental gymnastics to discern the pronoun referent behind each subsequent “You” and “Your.” Have we moved on to another person of the Trinity? Is this still Jesus? Again, I’m left “not cool” with the lack of any Divine Name or Title.

CHORUS (x2)

Again… We have an unbiblical chorus lacking in proper theology.

BRIDGE (x2)
You opened my eyes to Your wonders anew
You captured my heart with this love
‘Cause nothing on earth is as beautiful as You

WHO!? Isn’t the opening of the eyes the function of the Holy Spirit? So this bridge is about the Holy Spirit. Which wonders? Those of creation? New Birth (regeneration)? And the Holy Spirit is never referred to as “beautiful!”

CHORUS (x3)

Again… and again… and again… and again….

FINALE
My soul, my soul must sing (x3)
Beautiful one x2

What is it with the vain repetition in modern worship songs? Must we sing the same theologically vapid, man-centered words/phrases/choruses until we are in a stupor? I suppose for it to “feel” like worship. After all? Why does someone’s soul sing? Psalm 71:23 says, “My lips will shout for joy, when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have redeemed.” REDEPMTION causes us to sing! The propitiatory work of Jesus upon the cross, taking the full wrath of God the Father for all the sins of all the elect from all nations. We get one line of that in this song. One. And it isn’t beautiful.

I close this by saying my I’ve had it. Mamby-pamby worship songs with lyrics that do not speak clearly and explicitly in giving glory to the One, True, Living, Triune God is no longer of interest to me. The mental gymnastics to make a song true worship tire me. Watered down preaching which is simply moralizing bordering on legalism has me fed-up and starving for the Truth of God’s Word. HSAT: I am leaving my current church. I do not leave with any animosity toward anyone there. I love the head Pastor, the members, etc. I am thankful to them for leading me thus far, but I cannot continue with them. After much prayer I find that I am not serving and giving glory to God at that church and therefore must move on. I may come back to visit on occasion, but it will no longer be my church home.

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One Response to “Beautiful Who?”

  1. Raquel Says:

    Interesting Berry. I wish [that church] was what is was years ago.

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