If you love Michael W. Smith's song "Ancient Words" (written by Lynn DeShazo), please skip this post. I'm feeling critical and grammatical and downright villainous.
I was sitting in church today and we began to sing "Ancient Words." You're probably familiar with the song, but in case you are not, here are the lyrics:
Holy words long preserved / for our walk in this world, / They resound with God's own heart / Oh, let the ancient words impart.
Words of life, words of hope / Give us strength, help us cope / In this world, where e'er we roam / Ancient words will guide us Home.
Ancient words ever true / Changing me, and changing you. / We have come with open hearts / Oh let the ancient words impart.
Holy words of our faith / Handed down to this age. / Came to us through sacrifice / Oh heed the faithful words of Christ.
Holy words long preserved / For our walk in this world. / They resound with God's own heart / Oh let the ancient words impart.
We have come with open hearts / Oh let the ancient words impart.
And while we were singing this song, I looked around at the congregants. They were worshiping. A few people had their eyes closed and their hands in the air. And I thought, We are worshiping the Bible. The song is not a song of praise to God for his revelation. It is a song praising the revelation. I certainly don't mind singing the praise of things in poem or song - this bird's regal bearing, that lady's beauty, yonder rock's jut, or even the scriptures' authority. And I am not trying to disrespect your favorite artist or Ms. DeShazo. But we don't bring these kinds of songs or poems into our church and use them to worship God. "Ancient Words," regardless of what else you might think about it, should not be peddled with the likes of "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" and "In Christ Alone" any more than "She's Got a Way" should be. It's not that songs or poems praising something's beauty or singularity cannot or should not be used in church, but that they ought not to be used to lead people in God-adoration.
(My wife, who loves this song, is frowning fiercely nearby. So I'll shut it.)