No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another. -- John 15:15-17 (ESV)
Sometime around 2005 two men sat down to write a worship song that would capture Churchianity for a decade. It had it all. A catchy lyric, a happy beat and of course a great hook -- I am a Friend of God! The song was nominated twice for a Dove Award and soon it was a staple song in nearly every church across this country and soon the world. Fast forward 15 years and it is time to do a damage assessment. Because this was not a sound worship song. This paved the way for equally unbiblical songs that have created a generation of entitled churchgoers who believe worship and the bible is actually about them. The two writers? Michael Gungor was once the toast of the evangelical world. Him and his wife Lisa won multiple Dove awards and Grammy nominations. A few years later they were out of the church and the faith. Michael even proclaimed he was an atheist and openly challenged the veracity of the bible.
He calls me friend?
The second writer was the person who recorded it, Israel Houghton. For those who are unaware, Houghton was the worship leader for Joel Osteen and Lakewood Church, so it was not overly surprising when he announced he had cheated on his wife a few years after Friend of God and was getting divorced. He was seen and filmed on vacation with his then mistress/actress Adrienne Bailon. Mind you during the time he was committing adultery, Houghton was still writing worship music and singing Friend of God in concerts. He even released a live album entitled, "Jesus at the Center", during the height of the affair. I'm guessing Jesus wasn't actually at the center of anything at that time for Israel Houghton. So, a would be atheist and a would be adulterer sat down in 2005 to write a worship song and what they gave us is still poisoning minds today. Let's examine how:
Who am I
You are mindful of me
That You hear me
When I call
Is it true
You are thinking of me
How You love me
The modern trend of poor worship music I actually refer to as "Friend of God" theology because it builds on the mistakes we see here lyrically. Who is this lyric actually about? It is not about God -- it is about YOU. Be wary whenever you see too many "I's" in the lyrics of any song alleging to be about someone else. The lyric starts by referencing Psalm 8:4 but it over personalizes it beyond the intent of the Psalmist, David. Here is Psalm 8:
O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger. When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas. O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! -- Psalm 8:1-8 (ESV)