25 Jan

Up this week, ‘Spirit Fall’, a song by Susie Woodbridge, Chris Lawson Jones, and Nick Herbert. Lyrics here, video here.

You breathe life, You restore
Awaken my soul, I know that I’ve been made for more

You speak truth, You renew
When I’m in Your presence You show me the glory of You

Spirit fall, Spirit fall
Fall on us for we are Yours
Fall on us for we are Yours

You will make, all things new
Until you return all creation cries out for you

There is power in Your presence
Hope and healing in your presence
There is freedom in Your presence
Spirit fall

One of the first things I look for in a song is how explicitly Christian it is. That’s because I think that a song that is distinctively lacking in Christian content is not really a Christian worship song, nor does it encourage people in a positive, Scriptural faith.

In the 4th century there was a group polemically called Pneumatomachi– the Spirit-fighters – so called by their opponents because they contended that the Spirit did not have a place in the Godhead and by correlation should not be worshipped.

This song is in danger of the opposite fallacy – of focusing entirely on the Spirit in an unbiblical lopsidedness that destroys the integrity of the Trinity and misdirects devotional practice.

For the whole song mentions only the Spirit. While prayer and worship may be properly directed towards the Spirit, since the Spirit is fully God and co-equal in honour, dignity, and worship with the Father and Son, it is also not the typical pattern within the Scriptures, and here it is directed at a spirit without mention of Father and Son.

The second problem I have with this song are the lyrics, ‘until you return all creation cries out for you’. I presume this is partly an echo of Romans 8:18-25. But we are not awaiting the Spirit’s return, but the Son’s. The creation groans and suffers, and we who have the Spirit groan inwardly, but the creation is not crying out for the return of the Spirit, that is not an accurate dynamic.

Lastly, the focus of this song is again an extrapolation of a narrow element of Scripture. The book of Acts talks a number of times, but few, about the Spirit ‘falling’ on believers. Acts 10:44 and then 11:15 (referring to the same event actually) are the only ones that come to mind. These refer to the coming of the Spirit on Gentiles as they first receive the gospel and believe in Christ. There’s no reason, I would argue, to think that believers need the Spirit to ‘fall’ on them apart from the entering of the Spirit that accompanies their conversion. In this sense, asking the Spirit to fall on us continually misunderstands the Spirit’s work in our life and relationship to us.

 

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