Friday, December 05, 2014

O Holy Night - The Backstory

As he often does, pastor, author, and blogger Dan Phillips has shared something on his blog that needs much wider publicity. This concerns a much beloved Christmas song, in fact, my favorite if I had to pick one. "O Holy Night."

I won't steal the thunder, but read Dan's post and the original French lyrics to the song. And then ponder why they were altered.

Something else worth pondering. Most readers of this blog know that I am very much into apologetics and usually have an eagle-eye for unbiblical theology. The one stanza in "O Holy Night" flagged by Dan always made me question also, but I loved the song so much that I pushed it to the back of my mind.

That illustrates the power of music, especially in the wrong hands. Music can move and inspire, as well as deceive. I have to wonder how many popular hymns, choruses etc. would pass close biblical scrutiny. While many if not most would, some might well surprise us by failing the Bible test. Certainly, many songs that get aired on contemporary Christian radio have theological problems if examined closely.

As a musician, I can see that I can easily fall into the trap of not being discerning if something has a sharp hook and catchy chorus. It's much better to be in tune with the true Author and Composer of music and to reflect His truth rather than taking inspiration in the church from bad theology.

While I'm at it, I need to give another shameless plug for Dan's two books, The World-Tilting Gospel and his excellent study on Proverbs. You can find them at Amazon, and you can also ask your favorite Christian bookstore to order them.

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