Modern Worship Music’s Greatest Heresy

Let’s be clear: if there’s any heresy that plagues the modern worship music enterprise, it is our chronically less-than-Trinitarian lyrics.

It isn’t unusual to listen to a record, written and produced by a Christian industry artist, and never hear what makes the Christianity they sing about different from any other belief system. You might find sentimental notions about God’s love, and Jesus might get some honorable mention, but in the end, most of it fails. It fails to deliver anything that resembles the uniquely Trinitarian Christianity set forth by Christ and the apostles. In fact, I’m confident a Mormon or Jewish person wouldn’t have a problem singing much of what passes for Christian worship music these days. And that’s a big problem. 

You see, at the heart of our faith lies the mind-boggling reality that God is one being who exists eternally as three distinct, yet equally divine persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Our worship practices must be distinguished by our insistence upon that reality. In fact, Scottish theologian James Torrance once said, "Worship is the gift of participating through the Spirit in the incarnate Son's communion with the Father.” Simply put, when it comes to our worship of God, anything less than high-octane Trinitarianism is sub-Christian.  

Therefore, as worship leaders, we must take every opportunity to highlight the Trinity among our congregations. The Trinitarian nature of the Gospel is reflected over and over again in the New Testament (e.g. Mat. 3:16-17; Jn. 16:26-27, 17:5, 20:21-22; 2 Co. 13:14; Gal. 4:6; Eph. 1:3-14; 1 Pt. 1:2; Jd. 1:20-21), and it should be explicit in the lyrics of the songs we sing each week. 

One example of beautiful Trinitarian theology put to music is Dustin Kensrue’s “Grace Alone.” I’ve been singing this song with my church for a few years now because it highlights the reality that our salvation is a work of the triune God. 

As the Father, God predestines us in love to be His children (Eph. 1:4-5); as the Son, He purchases our redemption through His atoning work upon the cross and rises from the grave to dawn a new creation (2 Co. 5:17; 1 Jn. 4:10); and as the Spirit, He brings our dead hearts to life through the new birth and preserves us for a future inheritance (Jn. 3:5; Ti. 3:5; 1 Pt. 1:4). In other words, “Grace Alone” helps us understand that the Gospel of grace is entirely Trinitarian.

So, if you’re looking for a way to start giving more Trinitarian focus to your worship gatherings, “Grace Alone” is a fantastic place to start. It’s sing-able and highly adaptable for just about any band setting. But most importantly, it reorients the church to the reality that unmistakably Trinitarian worship is the most Christian Christianity there is. 

Tyler Greene

Tyler Greene is the Associate Pastor of Worship Ministries for LifePoint Church in Ozark, MO.