Bad theology is dangerous in any form. But bad theology that comes from music is especially dangerous.
As we sing the words, we allow the theology of the lyrics to direct our thoughts about God, ourselves, and the world. And the crazy thing is that we tend to judge these lyrics by a different standard. We say things like “it’s just a song” or “we’ve always sung that” and go on singing things about God that are dangerously incorrect.
We need to make sure that the Bible, not our song preference, is the ultimate judge of theology in our life.
Here is an example of what I mean.
When I was driving to the store this evening, I heard a song on a christian radio station with these words.
“Jesus, help me believe that
I am someone worth dying for”
As I listened to the song, I could tell immediately that the purpose of the writer was to tell people that they are valuable, which is a good thing. Unfortunately, to get to that conclusion, the writer sacrificed good theology on the altar of self-esteem.
I am not someone worth dying for.
Nowhere in the New Testament do you find that my value is the reason that Jesus came and died. Don’t misunderstand, I am not saying that I am not valuable. My point is that my value comes from the fact that I have been valued by God. I am not worth it. But my God is so gracious and merciful and loving and powerful and generous that he died to pay the penalty for my sin even though I am not worth such a sacrifice. He didn’t do this because I’m valuable, He did it because He is valuable.
Think through it. Where in the Bible does it say,
“You were so valuable that God realized that He would be getting a good deal by sending His only Son to die on the cross in our place. That way He could have you!”
You can look until the pages of your Bible fall out…it’s not there.
Instead what you will find is this.
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works so that no one may boast. – Ephesians 2:1-10
God-esteem is always better than self-esteem. Value God supremely and you will value the things (and people) that He values. You see, we are valuable. But we are not worth it.