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I heard this song recently:  “Why” by Nichole Nordeman.  I love much of Nordeman’s music (the tone of her voice is just so fragile and honest) and the song certainly is moving.  As I once heard songwriter Babyface Edmonds term it, it’s “waterfall music”: it turns on the tears like a waterfall.  Indeed, the final words of the song are among the truest of all history: Christ came to suffer, die, and be resurrected because of my sins; the song personalizes this reality. 

I am hesitant to be overly critical of the theology of artists because they are not professional theologians (neither am I; I’m a writer and literary critic), but these lyrics are being sung in churches across America for the next two Sundays and pastors and worship leaders need to understand what the lyrics actually state.

In the second part of the song, the point of view shifts from the perspective of a little girl to that of a supposed dialogue between Christ and God the Father.  The lyrics are on the slides in the link above.

I was sad when I heard them because these lyrics state that Christ had no idea what He had gotten into on the Cross, which is a direct contradiction of the Gospels.  At every turn, Christ revealed to the disciples in particular why He must come, that He was the fulfillment of the plan that had been effected from the foundations of the earth.  The entire arc of the Son of Man self-revelations that run through the Gospels show that Christ was fully aware that He had to suffer and die for the sin debt of humankind.  The cross was not a divine mugging by a secretive Father on a naïve Son; such a view is completely alien to the Scriptures.  Indeed, the statement of Christ in Mark 15:34 (“My God, My God . . .”) is not an appeal to a lack of knowledge on His part about what was happening but rather was a direct statement that He knew exactly what was happening: the prophecies about the death of the Messiah in Psalm 22 were being fulfilled!

The song is an emotional powerhouse, but it is built on theological falsehoods.  The Son knew exactly what He had gotten into on the Cross. 

The love that John wrote about in 1 John 4:19, “We love because He first loved us,” did not begin on Golgotha.  That love began before He had even created Adam.

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