Is this really a good hymn for Easter (Or any other time)? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
The day after Easter, I posted on Facebook the little safe flag meme with the message of that I was marked safe from singing “He Lives” at church yesterday. Some people were surprised by that. Why would you not like this song? You hold to the resurrection, don’t you?
Of course, I do. That’s why I don’t care for the song. I think the view that it gives is not a biblical view of the resurrection but honestly, more of a Mormon view. You can meet plenty of New Testament scholars who can say Jesus was risen in some spiritual sense. The way it could be described could match just fine with the song.
We have reached an age of subjectivism in the world today of Christianity. There is less emphasis on the Bible and more emphasis on our personal experience. We have views that we consider to be “traditional” in that we are to ask God what He would have us to do and listen for His voice. This is the exact opposite of the stewardship that we are told to do in that God puts matters under our responsibility and expects us to make the wise decision.
Unfortunately, people rarely even question this idea. When I hear a sermon where the speaker starts talking about God speaking to you and leading you and matters like this, I just shake my head. I find it so amazing that those who like me are Protestants and supposed to be people all about Scripture have it more about what we feel and that is supposedly what God is telling us.
Sorry. My feelings aren’t that trustworthy. I don’t want to base a major decision on my feelings. If you do that, then when the feeling dies, you are more likely to change your mind. (I do think that contributes to divorce in our culture today as the culture has a similar epistemology.)
Hence, when I hear that He walks with me and talks with me, well sorry. I have never had a conversation with Jesus where we had a back-and-forth. Also, I am told to walk as Jesus walked. It means the way I live.
Yet the worst part for me is asking how someone knows He lives. He lives within my heart. Tou can say your dead loved ones live in your heart just as much. When I make a claim that Jesus lives, it’s not that He lives within my heart. It’s that He lives at the right hand of God the Father.
When Mormons want to tell me how they know Mormonism is true, they point to a testimony in their heart. We have to have better than that. Jesus did not leave a testimony in the hearts of people alone. He also appeared to many people. He left behind an empty tomb. If you ask me how I know Jesus lives today, I won’t point to an experience floating in the air. I will point to the historical evidence for the resurrection.
When we go out into the world, we need to have this knowledge. If you go to a Kingdom Hall, the Jehovah’s Witnesses in their services train. Now picture your average Witness against your average Christian in a debate. I hate to say it, but my money is on the Witness getting the upper hand. They know better how to defend and propagate a false doctrine than Christians do a true one. Heck, most Christians will even describe the Trinity in modalistic terms.
Hence, if I was at a church and heard this song, I would definitely not stand and sing at all. I miss the older hymns that taught really good theology. (Holy, Holy, Holy anyone?) We need better hymns and we need better sermons and we need better teaching.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)