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« More on Idol and Shout to the Lord | Main | Unity in the Cross »

Inside Scoop on Shout to the Lord & American Idol

I wanted to highlight a few interesting comments that have been left on my first and second American Idol posts this past week. I was glad that several people with more "inside" information stopped by to share. So here are their remarks followed by a few closing thoughts from me...

Christians Inside Fox
A Christian woman named Beverly posted what I thought was a helpful inside perspective from Fox. It helped me to see that, for Christians who work at Fox, having the song played was a triumph. It's easy for me to be cynical as I watch and forget that there are believers working at this network who are looking for any chance to shine the light of the gospel. She goes on to share that positive feedback from Christians would be helpful. Thanks for taking the time to post, Beverly.

I work on one of the "sister shows" of American Idol...so picture an office, with all of the producers, crew, etc. gathered in watching the live feed at our CBS offices, then this song comes on...an office filled with a few Christians....atheists and agnostic Jews. You could hear a pin drop....it was awesome.....the power that came through....nothing had to be said...no debates....just people being touched more than they realized...producers, writers...crew that had never darkened a church door in their lives, or their only experience with Christians was a negative one. You don't always see the workings of us Christians that are behind the scenes...you don't know how much prayer went into getting a song with that message on a, let us not forget, a SECULAR show. So, from someone behind the scenes, the best thing you can do is write to the producer of Am. Idol and simply state how much you appreciate the diversity they showed in having an very inspirational song in their program. Period. No criticizing. This will go farther than you realize. Also, pray, pray, pray for us Christians that have chosen Hollywood as our vocation, career and our mission field.

The Folks at Hillsong
I expressed curiosity about how the process for rights to use the song worked. This person has some knowledge of it and about Christians in the Idol band. I appreciated her comment that we should "reserve our outrage for the real tragedies of this world." Well said.
I know the people from Hillsong who negotiated this deal thru Integrity Music, and the word change wasn't approved, but while they deal with that, they are quite happy the song was song used.

There are also very strong Christians in the American idol band, who are witnesses in places most of us don't have influence—let's rejoice that He is praised, even if by 'indifferent' vessels—let the fruit of our ministry be heard in our churches and in the churches of pop culture.

Let's reserve our 'outrage' for the real tragedies in this world...Let his praises rise... Even from hearts as cold as stones... God can command praise from stones—not just the redeemed.

Jason Castro's Church
A girl named Leslie attends the church that Jason is from. She writes,
Jason Castro and his family attend my church in Rockwall, Texas. He is a Christian and has asked for prayer because one of the other contestants is either an atheist or agnostic. I was told that Jason Castro encouraged a few of the others to sing "Shout to the Lord" after they at first balked at the lyrics. Just FYI: Jason's mother gave him the idea to get dreadlocks, and he now uses his look as a way to be able to witness to teens that normally wouldn't listen. Way to go, Jason!
Sharing the Gospel
I was inspired by this youth pastor who instead of merely hanging out on Christian blogs like this one used this whole discussion as an opportunity to try and share the gospel on secular blogs. Here's a portion of his post...
Well, I can see why some people would be offended by there being a worship song in American Idol. But, at the same time, if all of the singers didn't mind singing it, I don't see why it's a big deal.

The connection between helping the world and praising Jesus go hand in hand. Not to sound like a "Jesus freak" or anything (but I am a youth pastor), but you simply can't love God without loving your neighbor. So, a worship song to the Christian God (even if they left out his name on Wednesday night...but, incidentally, they did say "Jesus" on Thursday night) should almost be like a rallying cry for Christians to do something about all the injustice in the world.

If Christians did more loving in the name of Jesus than judging in the name of Jesus, His name would be much sweeter to the world.

Anyway, I try my best to do this. And I hope that others will be inspired by that song to honor Jesus with their lives and not just with songs.

If you want to discover who this Jesus is, then come check out my blog where I am going through the Bible trying to read it without any preconceived ideas, reading it for what it is. I'm open for discussion too. So, please, if you are wondering WHY people make such a big deal about God, I'd encourage you to check it out.

No Hellfire and Damnation
And finally, Michael Glitz, the columnist at the Huffington Post who I joked with in my post was kind enough to drop by and share the following comment. His words remind me how silly all the ranting over this fiasco must appear to people outside the evangelical Christian subculture.
Hey Josh, Thanks for taking my link in the spirit of positive discussion in which it was meant. My reference to the fact that some evangelical Christians were annoyed included everyone in your community who weighed in on this post, a fair number of whom were annoyed more than "curious" about whether the composer could sue, as you were. Hey I thought that was "annoyed" too to be honest (grin). Others on Huffington have pointed out what carol said that a further reason the group sing-along was inappropriate was the simple fact that not all of them are presumably evangelical Christians and so singing that song without it coming from your heart is at the very least troubling. Thanks for weighing in without hellfire and damnation.
Closing Thoughts
So far, my two posts about the song have been more humorous than serious. I wasn't outraged when they edited the lyrics. I was surprised when they did the song again and included Jesus' name, but I didn't think it was a major triumph of God's kingdom.

As I've read various comments people seem to fall into two different camps. Some Christians are upset—because they left out Jesus, because non-Christians were singing a song of "praise", because it was all about money, because it's another example of Christianity being "censored." Other Christians are elated—because they put Jesus back in, because a praise song was heard by millions of people, because they see this as incredible evangelistic platform.

I guess I'm not really at home with either group. With all due respect, I don't think that having a song like Shout to the Lord sung (even though I like it) is going to usher in revival. This reminds me of the fervor before the movie The Passion of the Christ was released. People spoke about this movie as if it was the ultimate opportunity for the gospel to advance. I don't think it was. Was I glad that it was released? Sure. But I think that it's too easy for Christians to think that any moment in the media spotlight on TV or in film is a bigger deal than it really is. We should welcome any opportunity for media to help spread the good news about Jesus, but I don't think we should put too much stock in that vehicle. The gospel is going to advance as it always has—steadily as it is clearly proclaimed by believers in their words and modeled by their lives and actions. The gospel advances as local congregations receive and live God's word for their neighbors to see.

So I'm more excited about Christians inviting their unbelieving friends over to watch American Idol together so they can build friendships and establish a platform for sharing the gospel in that relationship than I'm excited about an occasional worship song being sung on the show. If both happen, that's cool, too.

Oh, and let me gently disagree with people who are upset about the song being sung, edited or not. Don't get so worked up about unsaved people singing songs of praise to Jesus. It happens every Sunday in churches around the world. It happens in my church every Sunday. Thankfully, a large portion of people at our church are Christians. But there are many people who claim to know Christ that don't. And there are many unbelieving people who come who need to repent and believe.

Here's reality: we live in a secular, pluralistic society. We need to be good neighbors to agnostics and atheists and people of other religions. Christian faith and practice shouldn't be forced on others. And we shouldn't be overly surprised when "gospel" music that is very meaningful to believers is co-opted and used in secular settings by people who don't have personal faith in Jesus. How many times has Amazing Grace been sung and loved by people who don't really grasp its truth? Like it or not we live in a culture where many people view gospel music as merely a style that is part of a cultural tradition. That's all it means to them.

Moments like this are reminders for me that the songs and trappings of Christian culture are not the hope of the world—Jesus is! We need to make him known. We need to love and seek to serve the world around us through prayer, through faithful evangelism, and through Christ-like service of those in need. Our goal is not building a more air-tight evangelical bubble. Neither should our goal be hoping that our subculture will burst out into the broader culture to great acclaim.

Instead, our goal should be to proclaim Christ and him crucified to the people we go to the school with, work with, and live next door to. Our goal should be to preach the gospel and live lives worthy of that gospel. Our goal should be to use our gifts in every sector of society so that God is glorified. I'm grateful there are Christians at Fox attempting to do that. I'm going to try to be more faithful to pray for them and all the rest of us, that we'd be busy making Jesus known.

Long after American Idol airs its final show, Jesus will still be on his throne. Isn't that a comforting thought? Let's seek to make him known right where we are.

Comments (51)

Hear! Hear!

Amen!

It's been interesting to follow this up on your blog. Good job on it too.

I've never seen the show, but I have a feeling I'm in the minority.

Thanks for a great compilation as I'll sending others to check your post.

I really appreciate your "Closing Thoughts" Josh." Excellent! Thank you!

I agree 100% with you Josh. I hadn't commented yet, and I couldn't have said it better. My husband and I weren't the least surprised by either night.

It seems like there was something not mentioned throughout this whole discussion though. This is my take on why AI did this.

There are 2 mormons and a 1 Christian still in this competition. If you are an avid AI fan....you know this has never happened. Much of America would consider both Mormons and Christians, "Christians". Indeed, even the Mormons call themselves "Christians". The AI "christian" audience has grown tremendously this year just based on these facts alone. Probably by the tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands. Mormons are a loyal crowd. And, Jason's chuch alone has something like 10,000 members(not that all of them are watching AI).
I think this whole thing was purely and simply a business move on the part of AI. And a smart one at that.
They know how their audience has grown, and what type of audience it is, and they targeted and catered to them.
And, if you ask me...it worked for the most part.

Anyways, just a thought, but over and above all that, I, again, totally agree with you.

My comment has nothing to do with American Idol, but more to do with what you said here:

"Here's reality: we live in a secular, pluralistic society. We need to be good neighbors to agnostics and atheists and people of other religions."

All my life I have been judged by Christians because I was a jew, which grew worse when I decided upon Atheism. Nice to know there there are those out there who would understand the importance of being good neighbors. Contrary to popular Christian belief (that statement made upon what I have witnessed) Atheists are pretty moral people who would like to get along with everyone but who are belittled and constantly witnessed to (that statement also made on my own experiences).

SO basically, thanks for being a voice of reason.

Very good post and right on with the whole American Idol thing!

Thanks for the post Josh!

I really appreciate the insight. I'm convicted!

Brian Penaloza: I am a Christian, but I don't go to church so, from that (and other experiences), I can totally relate to what you're saying. My nicest, most loyal friends while growing up were not Christians. Usually professed "Christians" (who aren't really) are the worst people I come across. Almost whenever I run into someone I've known who is a "Christian" the first words out of their mouth are, "What church do you go to?" "Oh, I don't go to church," is always my response. And then I'm not worth talking to as a person, I'm only someone to talk into "buying" their propaganda -- although usually they don't want me to go to their own church so it doesn't last too long. Because of them, if it weren't for God Himself, I'd be an atheist right now too. Would you mind if I begin to pray for you to encounter God One on one in a way that you can see Him clear from any religion or religious "representatives" of Him? That's all that happened to me. People can witness all day, but without revealing God as Who He is, their witness is like campaigning for a "good" politician -- you can't trust them and it's usually a waste of time.
Anyway, even if you remain an athiest forever, I really appreciate your encouragement to us to love our neighbors and I hope you continue to tell "Christians" what you think.
And just for the record, I don't believe that anyone who is a Christian could judge someone for being Jewish because that would be judging Jesus, too -- doesn't make any sense. I've been researching anti-semitism throughout history and anti-semitism always stems from one thing -- satan trying to attack and destroy God's chosen people, His treasured possession. It's just insanity for "Christians" to go along with it -- they can't believe what they say if they do. They can't love God and hate His beloved people. Any "Christian" who doesn't love you is not loving God in that instance to the same degree (same applies to gentiles, too, because Jesus died for each person).
We have a lot in common, I think. Contrary to popular Atheist belief (that statement made upon what I have witnessed) true Christians are pretty moral people who would like to get along with everyone but who are belittled and constantly witnessed to (that statement also made on my own experiences). =)

Josh: I think what you're saying is right on about the songs and what not of "Christian culture" not being the hope of the world -- that Jesus is. Whenever Christian witness or Christian "culture" is not purely revealing Jesus to the people, it's the opposite of hope. It's the belittlement of true hope. I, too, think we need to take up our crosses and lay our lives down for the people we want reached and really proclaim Jesus crucified and Risen -- not rise to success to the acclaim of the world. There's a quote that I read somewhere that said something to the effect of that it is a bad omen to hear the world applaud and say, 'Well done!' to a Christian. If the world is praising us, we've done something wrong. We should be directing all praise to God alone.
I am encouraged by how you ended this.
The songs of praise sung by unbelievers are "louder" to the world than our praise unto God through lives laid down at the altar. I don't mean, "Get noticed and get on TV!" I mean, was this the only praise of God our beloved non-christian friends "heard"? Is it the thing that sticks in their head about Christians? Is it "our" biggest "triumph"?
I'll be praying fervently, too, for a "song" of praise unto our God to rise up within the Church that cannot but cause this world to turn its hearts and eyes Heavenward to see the One we love and adore and why -- and that it is worth every breath to praise Him as we will with our lives given out of love for the Cause of the honor of His Name.
Amen, brother!!! Thank you for praying!

Yes, I echoe with admission of being in the minority who heard nothing of
the latest happenings in American
Idol. What I'm trying to confess is
that I enter street evangelism with a prayer on my heart that God make a difference in this city of Winnipeg,
Canada. Although I am rebuffed with
accusations of insanity eg.(Go home
and take your pills!)I must not go
into the world without preparation
before and follow-up prayer for the lost to see(compassion of the Lord
Jesus Christ). I hope I and fellow-
believers will carry out God's
commision to make disciples of the
nations in our fair city...

Josh,
This blog has allowed me to see into who you really are and I have to sadly say, I'm disappointed. I was a big fan of yours, enjoyed reading your books, and thought highly of you and your family. However to read your thoughts and 'hear your heart' in your words has made me second guess myself. I am disappointed with some of what I've read- criticism of Shout to the Lord and The Passion of the Christ, the media which has been the outlet for the production of these songs/movies. Aren't you yourself a famous author who has certaintly publicized your works and gained notoreity. Apparently we can all see what comes along with that notoreity and it's not the facade of a perfect Christian walk that you try to emulate. It's always sad when somebody falls off the throne you've put them on, isn't it?

Josh,
This blog has allowed me to see into who you really are and I have to sadly say, I'm disappointed. I was a big fan of yours, enjoyed reading your books, and thought highly of you and your family. However to read your thoughts and 'hear your heart' in your words has made me second guess myself. I am disappointed with some of what I've read- criticism of Shout to the Lord and The Passion of the Christ, the "media" which also promotes these songs/movies. Aren't you yourself a famous author who has certaintly publicized your works and gained notoreity. Apparently we can all see what comes along with that notoreity and it's not the facade of a perfect Christian walk that you try to emulate. It's always sad when somebody you thought so highly of comes tumbling from the throne you've put them on, isn't it?

I would like to add to the discussion line the fact that American Idol isn't just viewed in the US. My family never watched this show until we moved to Asia last year. It became a way to connect with home and hear music sung in a language we understand. Every week we struggle through the music at our church, just trying to pronounce the words and keep up with the beat. So, even though it wasn't done by my home church praise band, it was still "music to my ears" and heart. It was nice to hear my teenage daughter singing along, something she isn't able to do in our church on Sunday morning.

The station we watch AI on airs in at least 30 countries, including mainland China. While I agree that it is not going to be the evangelical breakthrough most Christian workers in those countries long to see, it gives us one more thing to work with as God gives opportunity to talk with those around us.

I agree with the point about non-Christians singing "Amazing Grace". I think it is the same thing as non-Christians celebrating Christmas. Cultural traditions.

So, while I would not consider myself elated, I'm certainly not upset. I suppose I am grateful.

I had goose-bumps when I watched SHOUT TO THE LORD being sung in American Idol. Maybe I'm just a tad naive-- a Christian Pollyanna.

I'm not a Bible scholar, so I might be taking this out of context. But out of the blue, this verse came to mind: "But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motive or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice." (Philippians 1:18)

I don't think anyone can say it better than that!

I seem to remember a guy who said, "It's true that some are preaching out of jealousy and rivalry. But others preach about Christ with pure motives. They preach because they love me, for they know I have been appointed to defend the Good News. Those others do not have pure motives as they preach about Christ. They preach with selfish ambition, not sincerely, intending to make my chains more painful to me. But that doesn't matter. Whether their motives are false or genuine, the message about Christ is being preached either way, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice." (NLT)

It's interesting, I think, that for him, as long of someone was praising God and preaching Christ, that was a reason to rejoice. We know for certain that Paul hated false teachers, but apparently that's different that self-serving evangelists.

But that said, one of the things we as Christians often lose sight of is that the church is not commissioned to subvert the media and the government to do the work of the church. I think those Christians who labored hard get "Shout to the Lord" performed on American Idol were doing what they thought was the right thing to do. The problem, ultimately, is that there's no context for this song in an episode of American Idol, so it can go out and mean whatever the listener wants it to mean.

The work of the church is to go (declare the Gospel), baptize and make disciples -- and that process it far more personal and costly than singing one song on national television can achieve. The folks who worked to get the song performed were trying to do what they thought was right, but I think what they intended and what came across were two different things.

This is a great discussion, Josh. The work of the church is a huge opportunity in our country. Eventually, we have to get that part right.

Keep up the good work Joshua.

It becomes easier for a human (Christian or otherwise) to comment on things bigger than themselves to make themselves feel bigger. We all have a desire to influence others to some degree.

In my own life I need to continualy bring myself to the place where I can get my mind away from the:

"I'm so great, God has an awesome plan for my life - I'm gonna change the world"

to

"I'm just a friend to those around me; both the easy and difficult to love."

As I do that and the Holy Spirit opens up lines of spiritual communication, in small and occasionaly big ways, those around me are moved toward Jesus.

Just like anyone else, I'm not really a world changer; but I am a lover of Christ and that changes my world...

Thank you Jesus for knowing each of us beyond human eyes and understanding. You have fought and continue to fight for my soul.

Lord there is none like You.

I *do* think it's a big deal that the song was sang on AI. I've never watched the program and only learned about it through the internet. Music communicates, no matter what kind it is. The song communicated an aspect of the Gospel and the character of Christ. Our hymns *teach* us. It's message was a very sweet evangelistic moment.

Will this incident create a revival? Maybe not; but God has used some pretty trivial-appearing things in the past to speak to hearts and create a whirlwind. Did you notice some of the stunned looks on the faces? some faces expressing pure joy? It's pretty amazing to me that we've reached a point in our culture that the singing of a Christian song on a secular TV program can produce such a stir.

Hi Josh,

I wanted to add one other point about the unbelievers singing a praise song. Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees, who wanted his disciples to basically hush. He said that if they kept silent, the stones would cry out!

Now, if I heard a rock or a stone praising Jesus, I wouldn't get angry because it "wasn't really a Christian stone!" No! I'd think, "WOW! God can and will be praised! Every knee really will bow--even the rocks are praising Him!" So why not rejoice that whether or not the singers were sincere, Jesus' name was being praised! Whether they intended to or not, in a sense their knees were bowing and their tongues were confessing Jesus as Lord. I think that is really awesome!

Why any Born again Christian would watch American Idol is beyond me. Right next to our television we have the verse
" Whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things." Philippians 4:8

This cuts out a lot of television.

Good comments on the show. I live in Dallas so I support Jason. I'm glad to see he still is in the competition.

I left a thought or two on Mr. Taylor's blog and rather than duplicate what I said there here, here is the link to what I posted:

Shout to the Lord on American Idol

what i find interesting is what 'ellen d.' said: "why any born-again christian would watch american idol is beyond me."

you know, it's possible to watch a show with the word 'idol' in the title without falling into idolatry. i don't think one can assume that it is spiritually damaging for every born-again christian to watch such a show. of course, if one has the holy spirit and is convicted about watching that show, that's a different story.

now, onto josh's question: i personally wasn't disturbed by 'shout to the lord' being sung on the show this week, but i have heard from some non-christian friends that they were really put off by that. it's funny what offends people, isn't it? heaven forbid we talk about God on tv, but go right ahead and put some hardcore violence into a show, and that'll apparently be just fine.

my prayer is that it might bless someone - or cause someone to ask some questions. regardless of the intentions of the singers or those behind the decision to put the song on tv, that would be a worthwhile outcome, i think.

Ellen,

I don't think there is anything amoral about American Idol. I don't watch the show, but it's just a talent search show--and if Christians are winning or getting hte gospel out through it, how can that be bad?

I guess this means you don't watch sports either because athletes quite possibly could have looser morals and convictions than singers? Do you say no to golf because Tiger Woods doesn't thank Jesus if he wins a tournament? What about the news? Glenn Beck is a Mormon, but he's a good, conservative reporter. Just because he doesn't know Christ, you'll tune him out?

If you want to be personally legalistic about watching TV, then go right ahead, but please don't come to a forum like this and write, "Why any Born again Christian would watch American Idol is beyond me." That's just wrong.

"the best thing you can do is write to the producer of Am. Idol"
--I was wondering if you know how we can do this. I've searched the AI site and cannot find any contact information, but would like to take Beverly's advice. Any help you could give you be greatly appreciated!

Tks for sharing the feedbacks and the insiders info on why Shout to the Lord was sung on American Idol.

I was personally curious and extremtly glad they did it. I mean, a Christian song got sung LIVE on TV and aired all over the world ... even in Malaysia (a muslim country where i reside)

I am sure many were blest by it! Anyone know why did the AI team sang it again the next night and with the correct lyrics?

All Glory to GOD! :)

WOO HOO!
daren

Great Post, Thanks for sharing it. It is always good to read someone's else point of view.
I Have bookmarked it for future use.

AMEN AND AMEN! I don't see how people can either 1) be upset that the song was sung or 2) not get excited that the song was sung!

PRAISE GOD the song was allowed on NATIONAL TELEVISION! It baffles my mind that I've actually had to DEBATE with other Christians about why this was a GOOD move! Wow. Whether they worshipped in spirt or truth or whatever is NONE OF OUR BUSINESS! Even the sinner (especially the sinner) can be used to Glorify God and encourage worship from God's Elect AMEN. I wrote a little blog about it myself.

Blog
http://briantate.blogspot.com/2008/04/have-you-earned-right-to-serve-gods.html

and you can follow the debate I've been having here.
http://hcr.fm/forum/showthread.php?t=28202

i think being born again does not mean u have to shut ourself out off the world. i think its alright to watch American idol.

thats so wrong man.

josh what are your thoughts about this?

edit:
in the my above comment, i ment whats so wrong... sorry for the typo error

rachel

Thank you for this post, as I had been very curious about the circumstances surrounding this. In reading this, I am reminded of reading Bob Briner's Roaring Lambs a number of years ago. We should hope for Christians to work and serve with excellence in all corners of society, including Hollywood (and behind the scenes at American Idol). I thinking we are slowly feeling the reverberations of Christians coming out of their castles and "ghettos" and getting to a place where culture can be both engaged and made. Thanks again for the "inside scoop", but more importantly for your "closing thoughts".

Josh,

Thanks for putting together this post with feedback from the people 'in the trenches.' And thanks, too, for sharing your thoughts. I believe that God uses all kinds of mechanisms to get Christians and non-Christians talking. Americal Idol is just another possibility. And if it gives Christians an opening for sharing their faith, then it's a chance that we should seize.

His~
Jae

Indeed. Before, during and after all the hype, our duty as Christians remain. May it be that others wouldn't get so caught up with the issue and seek to pursue holiness and godliness even if a gospel song wouldn't be put in a secular show's spotlight. Thank you Josh for the honesty and sincerity. :)

hmmm why all these negative commentaries i wonder? all i know is that whether there are contenstants of questionable beliefs, just them singing the a pure gosple song did touch to many hearts and many souls
to shout to the Lord.

dear josh,
thanks so much for writing about this...
great post. and awesome books! i love your writing!

I am suprized at comments by both christians and non-christians and the way people fuss over a song. The very word Idol can be disturbing to christians, but what if they use the word/name Jesus as a focus on American Idol; Jesus our Savior/Shepherd got the message across. When God Himself wants to make a statement, He doesn't have to ask our permission.
The devil parades himself around whenever and anywhere, so why not allow the God of heaven have one nights attention Great job young people! Edie

Hi, Josh.
First of all, I'm sort of a fan of yours. I am a Christian teen, and your books and sermons have helped me numerous times.

I am also an avid American Idol fan, as of this year. My best friend (incidentally a pastor's daughter) had been trying to get me to watch it for a long time, and I finally started watching last season. Music has long been one of my passions, and so I really enjoy watching a reality television show that revolved around talented singers and musicians!
I try to keep in mind that this IS a secular show, and that most of what Fox tells me is not in line with God's Word ("you have to be pretty to win, you must appeal to a wide audience, etc"). BUT, I don't believe that it is bad to watch. I enjoy listening to the singers, and learning more about their personalities and characters. I appreciate the judges' comments (most of the time, anyway), and I like to sing along with the music. Nothing is wrong with being entertained, as long as you take it with a pinch of salt.

Thanks for sharing your take on this, Mr. Harris.
Lauren

I was absolutely amazed and inspired. I song every word right along with them, and I am certain the music touched many lives. God is real, and an AWESOME God He is!

Hi there
I watch the show in Scotland and was so moved and inspired by this song on the show, as I used to sing it when I went to church when I was younger. I know it was a business move but at the end of the day, it will have inspired people like it did me. If it brings just one or two people back closer to Christ then surely that's a good thing. And the US is so much more Christian than the UK - there isn't a sense of Christianity here like it seems there is in the States so it's great to be able to piggy back onto a more enlightened culture. Christianity belongs to the young in the US (not exclusively obviously) - over here, only those over 70 go to church. We need to give it back to the young over here. It's the way that we are brought up over here - it's highly secular. ANyway - just a thought, Interested in any comments. xx

Dude, you linked my comment!?!? I'm flattered. Thanks. I was wondering why I was getting more traffic on my blog, and then I saw all these referrals from here.

I'll tell you the truth, I did see this "controversy" as an opportunity; and I have been getting hits on my blog from those secular sights as well. I'm hoping that people get into studying God's word through finding a blog that makes it easy. Let's all be transformed together!

Josh,

As a wife whose husband works for the media, this was a great reminder that God provides opportunities for the Gospel to be shared "behind the scenes." While only Christ has the power to save the lost, it is so important to remember that God can use even those working for the media to bring forth the message of the Gospel. Such a interesting and encouraging post at the same time.

They did sing "Jesus" instead of "Shepherd" on the results show, and that is the version they used for itunes. Maybe someone else mentioned that, but I didn't notice it anywhere. I believe Brook, Christi Lee and David A. were the ones who sang that line, but I also saw Jason Cook mouthing the words along with them.

I googled this issue today because I was curious about it. Thanks for collecting this info.

How could any Christian have second thoughts about their Lord being praised?!? I can't even grasp a Christian finding fault with this. The post by Frank Turk citing Phippians 1:15-18 sums this up so well. Our Shepherd, Our Jesus be praised!!

To the Shout to the Lord Idol thing. My take was the "rocks are crying out" and I said that to my son when we were sitting there stunned at the end of the performance. I loved the "confetti guns" going off at the end of the song because it was just as i think worship should be!!! Is the Church raising $75 mill for missions? He will go out to the "highways and byways" to find those who will come to His Party!! And then to have Christians who have the gall to be outraged? No, really?? That just adds to the indictment in my book. I sit here in my traditional churchdirectorof christian ed office praying that the powers that be let us sing "Shout to the Lord" during the high and holy 11am Sunday Service.
nuff said?
love, Marcy

I agree that the singing of that song on AI isn't what's going to "usher in revival." But when they sang that song, I felt chills. I was in shock, and I was encouraged. So while it may not usher in revival, if people all over America were encouraged and exposed to God for a few minutes, I [i]will[/i] put some stock in it.

And to the people who are upset that non-Christians were singing the song. That's a pretty narrow minded way to look at it. Those [i]non-Christians[/i] were exposed to Jesus for a little while, and it could be a seed planted in their lives.

My whole point in writing was just to question why this was even an issue. There are SO many more important things to be discussing. i just find it interesting Josh is blogging about it. That's all. case closed.

My take on this song and what is signified in singing a so-called Christian song on pagan TV:

http://www.twoagespilgrims.com/doctrine/?p=239

Hi!
I just watched the clip on youtube and wanted to say how inspired I was. I agree entirely with Josh that it will take more than just media coverage of Christian culture to bring revival, but as a Christian living in the UK where such a thing would be unthinkable and would have most of society hopping mad, it's such an amazing encouragement to see a God's name being praised (knowingly or not) by people He loves and created, whether they are aware of it or not. Also, while I do pray for God to move in even deeper ways in my generation, it still makes me think that it isnt impossible for us to see something like that over here, where millions are exposed to God who would ordinarily not have been.

So thank you, Josh, for your thought-out comments, for your insights and for not 'breathing hellfire and damnation.'

What if we ask the question "What does GOD think of this" instead of "What do I/we think of this?" and then turn to Scripture, through which God reveals himself.

The issue at stake is a song of praise sung by (mostly) non-Christians on a secular TV show. First of all, there is a subtle but important difference between offering praise to God and preaching the gospel to others. "Shout to the Lord" is a song of praise, which goes from man to God, whereas preaching the gospel goes from man to man (though empowered by the spirit). Because of this difference, I don't see that Phillipians 1:18 directly applies to this situation.

What is praise? The Bible continuously describes praise as a type of sacrifice or offering given by man to God:


Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. (Heb. 13:15)

Accept my freewill offerings of praise, O LORD, and teach me your rules. (Ps. 119:108)


So what does God think of a sacrifice or offering that is given to him by people who do not believe in him? Simple answer: he does not accept them.

God accepted Abel's sacrifice but not Cain's, and when Cain became angry God said to him, "Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted?" (Gen. 4:6). Paul also writes, "By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts."

Scripture has a lot to say on God's response to a sacrifice given without faith. Here are just a few:


Paul speaking of Enoch: Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, but the prayer of the upright is acceptable to him. (Prov. 15:8)

Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil. (Eccl. 5:1)

(also see Isaiah 1)


I don't want to be arrogant or legalistic, but I think scripture clearly shows that praise given to God with an unbelieving heart is not acceptable or pleasing to him. These are not soul-less rocks crying out in praise, but people lost in their sin and alienated from God who are offering false praise. The simple truth is that if unbelievers sing of Jesus as their "Shepherd" and Savior, then they are lying and that cannot be pleasing to God. (That goes for nonbelievers singing in church just as much as for nonbelievers singing on American Idol.) If such praise is not pleasing or acceptable to God, then how can we say it's good?

That being said, I sincerely pray that God opens the hearts of any of those singers who do not believe in him and his son, and that they come to fully know the truth about which they sang. I was once that unbeliever standing in church and hypocritically singing false praises, but by God's grace my praise is now true.

Ok, so I know this happened a couple of months ago, but I just stumbled onto this blog..to answer Daren's question, not entirely sure, but I believe they sang it again with the correct lyrics as they did not have permission to make any changes..(copyright laws, etc,etc.rah rah rah...) So that was really cool that they apologized and sang Jesus' name...I'm a student at Hillsong College in Sydney, so it was pretty exciting when that was broadcast - even more that they corrected it and did it again.....and to "latecomer", my good sir/madam, that is a very judgemental statement you are making, with all due respect... How do you know what God accepts? "From the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, the name of the Lord WILL BE PRAISED!" Furthermore, how do you know the spiritual condition of the people singing? Only God can see the heart. Don't make assumptions.
Besides, if any of them were against God in their heart, they would have refused to sing the song...and I highly doubt they would have been forced to in lawsuit-happy America. Even if some of them aren't born-again believers, by singing that song they made a powerful confession with their mouths by singing it...you can't sing that song without being affected by it. Perhaps instead of condemning, you could just rejoice that the name of Jesus was lifted up and praised on a secular t.v show that millions of people all over the world watch. That in itself is a miracle!

THANK YOU TO THE PRODUCERS OF AMERICAN IDOL FOR ALLOWING THIS BEAUTIFUL SONG TO BE SUNG ON YOUR SHOW. WE HAVE ALWAYS ENJOYED YOUR SHOW NOW IT WILL BE EVEN MORE ENJOYABLE. ITS NICE TO SEE A SHOW WITH NO SWEARING IN IT.
THANK YOU AGAIN

A worship song sung in a TV show only proves that we have a Living God who's working on our lives He uses people to share the gospel through songs and for us to be reminded of His love.God truly deserves our praise! ^_^

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