I watched this year’s American Idol: Idol Gives Back charity fundraising program, looking forward to some humor and good music. My heart leaped when Ryan Seacrest announced the final song would be “Shout to the Lord,” a song made famous by Darlene Zschech and Hillsong. However, when the song began, I realized that while Idol may be giving back, Idol producers also took away.
The song’s first line is, “My Jesus, my savior, Lord there is none like you.” However, producers changed the second word, making it “My shepherd, my savior.” The chorus talks about nature responding to the “sound of your name” and “the promise I have in you.”
On the one hand it doesn’t surprise me that the producers would remove Jesus from the song. On the other hand, it shocks and saddens me they would stoop so low. On the program where Maria Shriver quoted Gandhi by name, American Idol was unwilling to let “Jesus” be said on national television. I suppose they were afraid to offend non-Christians or that they simply don’t agree with Christianity. Welcome to the culture of tolerance, where every religion is accepted except Christianity; welcome to the pluralistic relativistic society that welcomes all faiths except Scriptural Christianity.
Despite the reasons for the change, removing Jesus from the song has major implications theologically. As mentioned, the song refers to nature responding to the sound of Jesus’ name. The name, or word, “Jesus” does not possess power in and of itself, for if it were so, then every person named Jesus or Joshua (where the Greek “Jesus” comes from) would also possess greater glory or power. When Scripture refers to the name of Jesus, it means the person, deity, and position of Christ. When we pray in Jesus’ name, we pray in accordance to who Jesus is and what he taught.
On Palm Sunday, as Jesus entered Jerusalem, the people shouted praises to him as king and Messiah. The Pharisees told Jesus to silence the people. Luke records Jesus’ reply:
But Jesus answered, “I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!”
– Luke 19:40 (NASB)
This is one place where the writer of “Shout to the Lord” got the idea of nature responding to Jesus’ name. Other passages tell about the majesty, significance, and glory of Jesus’ name. Some refer to salvation and baptism in Jesus’ name:
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
– John 3:18 (NIV)
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
– Acts 2:38 (NIV)
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.
– Acts 4:12 (NIV)
For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
– Romans 10:13 (NIV)
Paul writes about the majesty and glorification of Jesus’ name, declaring that all men will eventually respond to the name in recognition and declaration of Jesus as Christ the Lord:
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
– Philippians 2:9-11 (NIV)
The apostle John reminds us how believers relate to the name of Jesus:
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.
– 1 John 5:13 (NIV)
As you can see, Scripture places a high value and importance on the name of Jesus. Those who believe in the name (referring to the person, deity, and position of Jesus) have eternal life. The natural world responds to Jesus’ name. Those who reject the name of Jesus will face judgment. Every human will bow at the name of Jesus. God glorified and exalted Jesus’ name.
Now, when it comes to American Idol removing Jesus from the song, there are implications. The song talks about nature responding and individuals who “sing for joy at the work of your [Jesus’] hands” and clinging to “the promise I have in you.” Without Jesus, nature will not respond. Without Jesus there is no mighty work to sing about. Without Jesus there is no promise of eternal life. Without Jesus, the song makes no sense.
Nevertheless, I repeat what I said earlier: I’m not surprise by the actions of the producers, but at the same time I’m saddened by it. Gandhi can’t save us, we can’t save ourselves, only God saves us through Jesus! Amen and praise to God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit!