praise songs: CW hymns and CCM songs

What Warren fails to understand is that when we sing about God, we’re singing to God. And to sing to God, or to praise God, is to repeat what he has done for us. Klemet Preus comments, “The greatest way to praise God is to tell everyone what he has done. The praise of God is neither in the use of verbs to describe me nor is it in the use of adjectives to describe Him. Praise of God is using verbs to tell what He did for us in Christ.” Just read the psalms. When the encouragement to praise God is given, it is usually followed by a proclamation of what God has done to make him worthy of praise. Following this scriptural example means that what is sung in worship should primarily proclaim who the true God is and what he has done to save, not my love for Jesus or how I should respond. There is a place for such expressions of the believers’ response to God’s gift of eternal life, but always in the context of the proclamation of the gospel. Many great Lutheran and Christian hymns follow the example of the psalms and express the believer’s reaction to the gospel, while also stating why the believer is reacting. In other words, these hymns proclaim the gospel. The same cannot be said for a majority of praise songs which express the believer’s reaction without stating the basis for this reaction.
(pages 10-11)
from “The Augustana and Lutheran Worship” by Pastor Joel Otto

If that’s the case, then we have a strong, evangelical reason for putting the evangel – the gospel – into our singing. It’s not that we have to. It’s that we get to. We want to! What better way to respond to the blessings of Christ than to sing about his blessings! What better way to thank God for the gospel of his forgiving grace than to sing about his forgiving grace! What better way to praise Christ than to proclaim what Christ has done for us!
from “It’s about substance” by Pastor Johnold Strey

God is praised when the gospel is rightly proclaimed; and, conversely, the proclamation of the gospel is the way that God is rightly praised. There is no artificial division between songs that “proclaim” and others that “praise”: unless “praise songs” proclaim the good news of the gospel, they are not, in any Christian sense, praise songs at all.
Carl Schalk “Hymnody and the Proclamation of the Gospel,” in Not Unto Us: A Celebration of the Ministry of Kurt J. Eggert, p. 138. NPH 2001

Eight Praise songs compared

strong = praise lyrics and what God did for us
weak = praise lyrics

CW hymn (strong):

“Christ the Life of All the Living” by Ernst Homburg (CW114)

Christ, the life of all the living,
Christ, the death of death our foe,
Who thyself for me once giving
to the darkest depth of woe —
Through Thy sufferings, death, and merit
I eternal life inherit.

Refrain:
Thousand, thousand thanks shall be,
dearest Jesus, unto Thee.

CW hymn (strong):

“HOW GREAT THOU ART” by Pastor Carl Boberg (CW 256)

O Lord my God! When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made.
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power through-out the universe displayed.

Refrain:
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee;
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee:
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!

And when I think that God, His Son not sparing,
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin:
Refrain.

When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart!
Then I shall bow in humble adoration,
And there proclaim, my God. how great Thou art!
Refrain.

CCM song (strong):

“Endless Praises”  by Stephen Altrogge (Sovereign Grace)

Chorus 1
Let us lift up endless praises
Let us give Him endless song
Let us lift up endless praises
Let us sing of all He’s done
Let us sing of all our God has done

Verse 1
Look upon this fearful scene
The King of Love nailed to a tree
The Prince of Glory made to bleed
Hear the pardon that He speaks
Forgive them is His plea
Where has love like this been seen (chorus)

Verse 2
Look upon this wondrous sight
Foul sinners clothed in white
With the righteousness of Christ
All our guilt is washed away
Every debt we owed is paid
How astounding is this grace (chorus)

Misc 1
(BRIDGE)
A thousand ages is not long enough
To tell the glories of the Son
Forever we will sing
Redemption’s song
And of the victory You’ve won (chorus)

Psalm 103 (strong)

Psalm 103 by David.

1 Praise the LORD, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits-

3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,

4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,

5 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

CCM song (weak)

“He Is Exalted” by Twila Paris

Chorus 1

He is the Lord
Forever His truth shall reign
Heaven and earth
Rejoice in His holy name
He is exalted
The King is exalted on high

Verse 1

He is exalted
The King is exalted on high
I will praise Him
He is exalted forever exalted
And I will praise His name

Misc 1

(BRIDGE)
He is exalted
He is exalted
(REPEAT 3X)

CCM song (weak)

“How Majestic Is Your Name” by Michael W. Smith

Chorus 1

Oh Lord our Lord how majestic is
Your name in all the earth
Oh Lord our Lord how majestic is
Your name in all the earth
Oh Lord we praise Your name
Oh Lord we magnify Your name
Prince of Peace Mighty God
Oh Lord God Almighty

CCM song (weak)

“We Bow Down” by Twila Paris

Chorus 1

We bow down
And we worship You Lord
We bow down
And we worship You Lord
We bow down
And we worship You Lord
Lord of all lords You will be

Chorus 2

We bow down
And we crown You the King
We bow down
And we crown You the King
We bow down
And we crown You the King
King of all kings You will be

Verse 1

You are Lord of creation
And Lord of my life
Lord of the land and the sea
You were Lord of the heavens
Before there was time
And Lord of all lords You will be

Verse 2

You are King of creation
And King of my life
King of the land and the sea
You were King of the heavens
Before there was time
And King of all kings You will be

CCM song (weak)

“Let There Be Praise” by Dick Tunney

Chorus 1

Let there be praise
Let there be joy in our hearts
Sing to the Lord
Give Him the glory
Let there be praise
Let there be joy in our hearts
Forevermore let His love fill the air
And let there be praise
Let there be praise

Verse 1

He inhabits the praise of His people
And dwells deep within
The peace that He gives none can equal
His love it knows no end
So lift your voices with gladness sing
Proclaim through all the earth
That Jesus Christ is King

Verse 2

When the Spirit of God is within us
We will overcome
In our weakness His strength will defend us
When His praise is on our tongue
So lift your voices with gladness sing
Proclaim through all the earth
That Jesus Christ is King

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