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Sacred Songwriting: the Two Halves of the Gospel Sentence

All things are being made new, and when Christ fills a life, we are called to our original purpose, passionately co-creating with God and fanning into flame the multitude of gifts among us. We are glorious creatures (Half #1), and we are fallen (Half #2).

The Half We Choose

The following is a great generalization, but run with me if you will and suspend your unbelief for a few moments.

The following are extremes – I actually see myself leaning deeply into both of them, but I will now amplify the caricature of each.

Liberal Streams: Half #1 Emphasis. We are awesome. There is nothing wrong, really, with us. No need to emphasize God’s wrath. It’s all about Love.

Problem: If we only emphasize Half #1 we don’t need Jesus. It’s all about Love and Acceptance and human capacity. We lose a passionate, penetrating faith.

Evangelical Streams: Half #2 Emphasis. We are all sinners, fallen and in need of God’s grace. No need to emphasize our glory as human beings. It’s all about redemption.

Problem: If we only emphasize Half #2 everyone stops listening to us; our best story of humankind’s purpose and meaning is that we’re sinners, saved by grace. We lose our place at the roundtable of cultural influence, because we have nothing that affirms human beings to say.

Songwriting a More Compelling Story: All Things Are Being Made New

We sing about the heart, and healing, and Love, but we must also sing about God’s mission and His power to heal degrading systems and place humanity-affirming Christians in every sphere of influence.

Songwriters can paint a grand picture of what it means to be created in the image of God. Here’s a lyric that does: “We were born in a surge of flame / born to know and name / gathering the light into foreign groves / to bear and lift the flame to worlds unknown….”

Worship songs must carry both halves of the gospel sentence. Evangelical movements have tended to stay away from the first half, and more Liberal streams from the second.

If we sing a more compelling Story – then the whole world will hear.


This article on writing both halves of he gospel sentence originally appeared here, and is used by permission.