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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


Daily Boost

October 25, 2011 - Form Without Substance

By Bob Caldwell

A few years ago a popular singer came to St. Louis to perform a free concert beside the Mississippi River under the Gateway Arch. He and his band gave an excellent performance.

What I found odd and a little unsettling, however, was how he closed the show. He brought up a small local black-gospel eight-member choir that had been recruited for the evening. They backed him on his final two songs, which also closed his recent album. Both were rollicking gospel tunes, written by the singer, and were again done quite well.

After I arrived home, I pondered why I was troubled by these songs. From reading interviews, I knew that the artist did not claim to be a Christian in the biblical sense. However, gospel music was a part of his past, and he knew the genre very well. He would hardly be the first secular musician to borrow from gospel music or to even perform a straight-up gospel tune. So what was it that bothered me?

Then I began to think about the songs themselves. They were very good gospel songs that could have been sung in any church on any Sunday morning. No questionable theology or sentiment. Praises directed toward God and not men. Talk of heaven and the return of our Savior.

Then it hit me. There was no mention of the name of Jesus. “The Lord” and “our Father” and “my Savior” were all mentioned, but not the person of Jesus.

Why do I consider this a problem? Paul wrote to Timothy of the kinds of people who would appear in the last times. He described them as “having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them” (2 Timothy 3:5, NIV).

We serve a loving Father and call Him Lord. There is a wonderful life in heaven to which we look forward. But the reason we have such hope is the person and work of Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, who died and rose again to purchase our salvation. This is the power behind true godliness. Without Jesus, a person’s godliness is just a façade, a veneer upon a life that is otherwise dedicated to self.

Do you think I am being picky? Not every song we sing names the name of Jesus or recounts His saving works, nor is it necessary that each one does. However, this singer does not claim biblical Christianity or the name the work of Jesus Christ as his creed. So when he writes his gospel songs, he gets the form and sound right but misses true salvation. And that is a real shame — that someone could be so close and yet so far away from what Jesus Christ has to offer.

My prayer for us today is that in our praise and service, we always keep in mind the person and work of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

— Bob Caldwell is a freelance writer and educator living in Springfield, Mo.




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