Newer is Always better? A Lesson in Theology from Michael Gungor
I had a very interesting discussion last week and haven’t had time to really share my full thought on it. But the discussion centered around Michael Gungor. If you do not know Michael, he is the lead singer of the group Gungor. They are Christians who write that is partially worship, and partially and look at the journey they are on towards Jesus. Their music shows how they are growing and learning about God, how they experience Him, and the revelation they have gotten so far.
I personally love their music because it doesn’t fit a mold that anyone else is putting out there. But the whole discussion was centered around a song called “Brother Moon” I will post them, and then explain the discussion.
Shine down your light on us tonight
Show us the love of God
Sister sun you bring out the day
You’re shining the light of God on your face today
Maker of it all
You provide it all
In You we live
In You we move
In You we have our being
You’re holding us together all together
Brother wind your clouds and your storms
You’re breathing the breath of God in your lungs for us
Mother earth, you’re giving us life
With God’s open hand you always provide for us
Maker of it all
You provide it all
You are everything good, you are everything beautiful
You are everything, you’re everything
Now that you can see the lyrics, I wonder if you see the discussion already. The original discussion around this song was because someone felt this was a very new age sounding song. How could a Christian song use new age terms like “Brother Moon” or “Mother Earth.”
The problem for me was not that the person had a question about the song. Actually I commend my friend for asking about something that he did not understand and allowing the body of Christ to hash out our faith, understanding, and belief with him. The problem instead arose as we began to point out facts about this song.
First, it was pointed out that there are many verses in the Bible about Creation showing us God. In fact whole books have been written exploring the wonders of creation and showing how they point us to our creator. I will share two scriptures here.
“When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;” Psalm 8:3
“…The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.” Psalm 19:1
So, when we discussed it in this context, the discussion centered around how Michael was witnessing the Glory of God revealed through creation, and expressing it in song, with very expressive lyrics. The discussion was going well. However, the discussion had not yet reached where I knew it inevitably needed to go. Then it happened. On of my friends pointed us to the works of S.t Francis of Assisi. Specificaly, “The Canticle of Brother Sun.” I have linked it because it is too long to post here.
If you read this beautiful poem, you will see numerous similarities to the Gungor song above. This is where the discussion became exciting. You see, to this point I had mostly just listened and not said to much, but I knew we would get here. I am learning to not always lead the discussion, but often just listen and wait for the right moment to discuss.
Finally I decided to add my thoughts. I should note that this is a discussion between worship leaders.
“I think you just pointed out one of the great failures of the modern church. Michael Gungor dove deep into the literature, liturgies, and classic teachings of our faith, but we don’t bother to read them any more, so we think the language sounds wrong.
We as worship leaders have a long history of Christianity to inspire us and help us grow. We should start a revolution and begin reading the works of the past church fathers again and be inspire by the revelation they had of God, Jesus, The Cross, and our faith. Most of the pastors we value would cite these men as major influences, why shouldn’t we.”
I stand behind this statement. I think we as a modern church are missing out on so much of the great revelations of the church over the last 2000 years. We always want the latest book. The newest album. The coolest preachers and the hippest artists. I am often guilty of this. I love to read books from guys like Bill Johnson, Mark Driscoll, Frank Viola, Steven Furtick, Dutch Sheets, etc… But each of these men is still living, and if you go to their library you are likely to find the works of John Clavin, A.W. Tozer, G.K Chesterton, Athanasius, St. Francis of Assisi, Teresa Of Avila, Thomas a Kempis, and many more.
We have great teachers today because they have studied not only the Bible, but what the fathers of the Church who shaped our faith believed. Many of these new books aren’t a new topic, but expanding upon the things discussed by the men and women of the church. To believe that today’s preachers are the best and the preachers of the past are lesser is fools work.
I challenge you to open a book by A.W. Tozer and not be transformed by his masterful revelations and understanding of the Bible. Recently I have taken this a step further. I found a book at a local shop called “From The Library of A.W. Tozer” instead of being his writing, they went into his personal Library and searched through the book he read and found the things that most inspired him. They compiled a book, short articles a page or two each. But each of these passages inspired Tozer and helped shape him into the man he was.
If something was good enough for my pastor to read, why is it no longer good enough for me? If we started reading more of the theological books f our church fathers we might have a better understanding of the truth of the word. We might have a firmer foundation of our faith so as not to just accept any crazy doctrine that someone wants to preach about.
This whole article is not to bash modern preacers, they are great men serving faithfully and releasing the revelations of the Lord. However it is an encouragement to go deeper, don’t just expect your pastor to do the work. Get some books and spur your own faith on. There are tons of great men and women who have stories, testimonies, and revelations that you just haven’t read yet. Dig into the past and see the buried treasures that await you.