What John Piper Thinks of Hillsong Worship's "What a Beautiful Name"
Popular author and writer John Piper was asked on his podcast "Ask Pastor John," what his thoughts were regarding Hillsong Worship's #1 hit song "What a Beautiful Name." Hillsong Worship's "What a Beautiful Name" is easily becoing a staple in worship among churches these days. The song was also the Australian mega church's first #1 on Billboard's Christian Songs chart. "What a Beautiful Name," sung and co-written by Brooke Ligertwood, is from Let There Be Light, Hillsong Worship's 25th live album, which debuted at No. 1 on Top Christian Albums (Nov. 5, 2016).
Nevertheless, a listener of Pastor John's podcast has doubts about the song. He asks: "My church's worship team struggles with a new worship song - 'What A Beautiful Name' - a widely acclaimed song because of its musical orchestration and its reflection on God's glory and the kingship of Christ. However, my worship team finds the lyrics of the second verse questionable: 'You didn't want heaven without us, so, Jesus, you brought heaven down.'
Our question is, Does saying, 'You didn't want heaven without us' imply a man-centered gospel? The statement isn't necessarily false, but the implications could be skewed. That's our fear. Additionally, the word 'so' is used afterwards, implying that the following statement of 'bringing heaven down' was founded upon the first statement of not wanting heaven without us. Much like the word 'therefore,' 'so' implies heaven was brought down in response to God not wanting heaven without us. Do you believe these lyrics are biblically valid?"
Though Pastor John Piper has been encouraging of the singing of both old and new worship songs, he is reticent in recommending Hillsong's "What a Beautiful Name." Piper said: "I don't favor the lyric he quotes. It fits too easily into a theology of a God who created because he was lonely, and then saved people for the same reason. He just can't be happy without us."
The reason behind Piper's disfavor of the song lies in the picture of God the song suggests. "God is not miserable and lonely without us. He's not motivated to sing over us because we have just made up for some poor deficiencies that God has - and now, at last, his weakening deity is strengthened by our presence, and he can be happy finally. That's not the picture of the Bible!"
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