To read what I’m doing in this Pew Review series, click here. I’ve come to #4 on the charts, “Mighty to Save” written by Australia’s Ben Fielding and Reuben Morgan. Lyrics can be found in a quick Google search and you can get a feel for the song by listening/watching at YouTube.
Like “Here I am to Worship,” this song contains several biblical themes that are true, good, and appropriate for the worship of the Triune God. I especially love the last lines of the chorus: “Author of salvation/He rose and conquered the grave/Jesus conquered the grave.” While it’s not taken from a specific verse from Scripture, it reminds me of Paul’s glorious defense of the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15, where he quotes Isaiah 25 and Hosea 13: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
In a song about God’s mighty act of redemption, it is a good thing that Christ’s resurrection is front and center in the chorus. How do I know He lives? The answer is not because “He lives within my heart,” but because Christ has risen from the dead – an historical, indisputable, factual, glorious act that changed the course of history and which Paul so vehemently defends.
As far as the music goes, it’s simple and singable, though I wouldn’t say simplistic. It is a decent tune that is within the formulaic pop-music style, but not to a fault. It’s a song that would be easily picked up by a congregation, making the tune appropriate for corporate worship.
Not as Good:
Also like “Here I am to Worship,” this song contains confusing writing. Most lines of the song do not flow naturally from previous or to subsequent lines, leading to a choppy style. Because of this, it is a difficult song to sing with all one’s heart, as one’s mind is frequently distracted by trying to figure out what the song is actually is saying. Example: The self-focused second verse and bridge leading into the chorus: “I give my life to follow/Everything I believe in/Now I surrender/Shine your light and let the whole world see/We’re singing/For the glory of the risen King/Savior/He can move the mountains/My God is mighty to save.”
The second verse touches on a prevalent theme in contemporary evangelicalism – that of the “come as you are” or “take me as I am” phrases used in worship – a theme that isn’t completely biblical. I could be wrong, but where in Scripture are we encouraged to come as we are or for God to accept us as we are, especially in the context of corporate worship? Instead, we are commanded to come into the throneroom of God with fear and trembling, confessing and repenting of our sins while clinging to Christ alone for acceptance before a God who is a consuming fire. We are not accepted for who we are, but for who Christ is and what He has done. We are not to come as we are, but through Christ, to come with a clean heart and true motives. If one was to go for a visit to the White House or Buckingham palace, one wouldn’t go “as they are,” expecting the president or queen to accept them. Instead, they would prepare themselves for the meeting. How much more should we prepare ourselves for meeting with God the Creator in corporate worship?
I’m pleased that Christ’s resurrection is one of the main focuses of this song’s chorus. If Christ is not raised, as Paul writes, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” However, when going through this song, I was thinking how it doesn’t compare to the Psalms that rehearse God’s mighty saving acts. I admit that it’s hard for me to look at songs like this that leave room for improvement and to objectively point out their merits or benefits. When we’ve been given a rich hymnbook in the book of Psalms and are commanded to sing them, why settle for less?
Compare some of the God-breathed Psalms that focus on God’s mighty acts of redemption in history, which cannot be reduced to one- or two-line truisms:
“O God, be not far from me; O my God, make haste to help me! May my accusers be put to shame and consumed; with scorn and disgrace may they be covered who seek my hurt. But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more. My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge. With the mighty deeds of the Lord God I will come; I will remind them of your righteousness, yours alone.” (Psalm 71)
“I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds. Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God? You are the God who works wonders; you have made known your might among the peoples. You with your arm redeemed your people, the children of Jacob and Joseph.” (Psalm 77)