I have always enjoyed the Christian metal band, Skillet. They have some of the best lyrical content and heart-pounding rhythms in the business.
So, I like Skillet. But I’d like to offer a brief critique of the lyrics to a song off of their most recent album, Rise (2013). While I think that it makes the point that Christ is the source of life and faith, I believe it goes too far and falls headlong into a Christian egocentrism. It certainly leaves that impression.
Here is the song with the lyrics.
I have to say that the song seems very representative of our individualist American culture, especially post-modern religion. It says I don’t need anyone else. I don’t need the church. I don’t belong to a group. I’m an island. It’s just me and Jesus (my faith). I can live apart from an intentional worshipping Christian community. Very popular these days.
Of course we don’t need the traditional trappings of “church” (e.g. stained glass, pews, “high” priests, etc.) to follow Christ. I’ve been through all of that. I get it. And, yes, if people disagree with your beliefs, the important thing is for you to be faithful. Maybe he means that. I’m not sure.
But to say that it “ain’t their business what I wanna believe” is contrary to NT teaching of knowing Christ in community.
The NT teaches that Christians belong to one another and Christ. If the lyrics are suggesting that intentional Body (church) life is unnecessary for discipleship, then I couldn’t disagree more.
Listen to Paul in 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 (MSG):
“By means of his one Spirit, we all said good-bye to our partial and piecemeal lives. We each used to independently call our own shots, but then we entered into a large and integrated life in which he has the final say in everything. (This is what we proclaimed in word and action when we were baptized.) Each of us is now a part of his resurrection body, refreshed and sustained at one fountain—his Spirit—where we all come to drink.”
If the band is even hinting that my faith is simply about me and Jesus, then the song promotes a message that is antithetical to the Gospel which calls us into relationships with one another.
We are “living stones” being built into a spiritual house (1 Pet 2:5).
In my opinion, this song sounds like one more example of a cynical Christian that is fed up with institutional Christianity and jumps clear over the road into the opposite ditch of a nebulous church practice, a me-centered Christianity.
We may feel better singing it, but it does nothing to improve our situation.
We are never to give up on one another or to cease fellowship with the church (Heb 10:25). We belong to one another. It’s not “my religion” (if it’s even religion at all). It’s “our faith” together in Christ.
No matter how much a person has learned about the love and grace of Christ for themselves, if after an extensive period of time you are refusing to gather with believers (for whatever reason) in regular community where you are required to act on that love and grace, then you’re being disobedient.
Be intentional about knowing Christ in community. There is no other religion.
D.D. Flowers, 2014.
Read here for more on the fallacy of the nebulous church idea.