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Jesus, lover of my soul ::

Charles Wesley or trendy chorus? CONTENT of our songs is the most important thing…
Source: Perspective Vo6 No3 & 4 © Perspective 1999

“Jesus, lover of my soul…”
Many of us will recognise those words as coming from a popular Christian song. But the thing is, if you’re in your 40s and over, you’ll think the song is Charles Wesley’s hymn. And if you’re in your 30s and under, you’ll think it’s the chorus which has become popular in many churches in the last few years.

Both songs start with the same line, alright, but really that’s where the similarities end. The chorus is focused on our response to God, which would be fine were it not for the fact that it puts an awful amount of confidence in our ability to hang on to God.

Jesus, lover of my soul
Jesus, I will never let you go
I love you, I need you
Though my world may fall apart,
I will never let you go

That might be fine as an expression of gratitude to God, but in the end it’s right out of touch with the Bible’s view of our abilities. According to the Bible, we dare not trust our ability to hang on to God – that’s the whole point behind trusting him instead. For he can be trusted when nothing and no one else can.

Now, just a few lines from Wesley’s hymn make it clear that he was a song-writer who had his head and heart filled with the Bible’s view of our abilities in contrast to God’s:

Other refuge have I none,
Hangs my helpless soul on Thee
All my trust on Thee is stayed;
All my help from Thee I bring;
Cover my defenceless head
With the shadow of Thy wing.

The last thing I want to do is weigh into the ever-simmering “Hymns versus Choruses” debate – far be it from me reignite a fire which is best left to die out. What I’m saying is that whatever the form of songs we choose to sing, it is the CONTENT which is the critical thing. If the Bible is our bread, then we will love to sing what it says.

Mike Fischer is the pastor of Australind Baptist Church in Western Australia.

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