Michael W. Smith has a new hit song called "A New Hallelujah." I'm trying not to be too analytical about this, but if you're a musician/songwriter I'm sure you can relate to my natural bent toward critiquing new popular music. I really do give Smitty the benefit of the doubt, because his songs have greatly ministered to me and the church for years. Not to mention, respected songwriter Paul Baloche co-wrote the song with "W" and his wife. This song will most assuredly be a huge hit (the melody and music are excellent). I just have a few observations/questions about it. Maybe you can help me. Here is the video of "Mr. CCM" performing the song in Houston (lyrics below):

(verse 1)
Can you hear there's a new song
Breaking out from the children of freedom
Every race and every nation
Sing it out sing a new hallelujah

(verse 2)
Let us sing love to the nations
Bringing hope of the grace that has freed us
Make it known and make Him famous
Sing it out sing a new hallelujah

(chorus)
Arise let the church arise
Let love reach to the other side
Alive come alive
Let the song arise

(verse 3)
Africa sings a new song
Reaching out with a new hallelujah
Every son and every daughter
Everyone sing a new hallelujah

1. Notice there is no mention of God by name (other than the "-jah" part of "hallelujah" which means "God"). There is a pronoun "Him" in the second verse that refers to God, which follows the line about His "grace that has freed us." Really, the only problem I see in this is that it makes the song potentially religion-interchangeable. It worries me to see a "worship" song that people will certainly sing in Christian "worship" services all over the world, but which doesn't assertively and exclusively identify Jesus Christ, the true and living God, as the One to Whom we are raising a new song. I could definitely see Oprah endorsing a song like this, and I tend to steer clear of praise and worship songs that Oprah wouldn't have a problem endorsing.

2. Question: What does the second line of the chorus mean: "Let love reach to the other side"? I asked my wife, and her immediate response was, "the other side of the world." I hadn't thought of that. My first thought was that "the other side" refers to the spiritual realm, or the non-physical. You know, like when you die you go to the "other side," or like where the angels and demons battle. My wife is probably right, but even if it does mean "reach to the other side" of the world, why is that a "new song"? Hasn't it always been the call of the church to love people both near and far? Which brings me to number three.

3. A "New" Hallelujah? New? I'm fine with this if by "new hallelujah" the songwriters mean "new song." I'm a bit leery, however, with the modern church's fascination and need for the "new" and "fresh" and "cutting edge" material, etc. Why is it a "new" hallelujah? Isn't "hallelujah" the same as it has always been. Indeed the Persons of the Godhead have been hallelujah-ing each other from before the foundations of the world. "Hallelujah" is like "holy, holy, holy." Surely we write all kinds of new holy, holy, holy songs, as well as hallelujah songs, but the meanings of "holy" and "hallelujah" never change. I am convinced that it would serve the church even greater to get in touch with the ancient ways, get back on the ancient paths, "where the good way is" (Jer. 6:16), to join the world-wide Church in an ancient hallelujah.

4. Final observation: Man, he is one good looking dude.

That's all. Again, I mean no disrespect to the songwriters. I'm just being my usual self for better or worse. Thoughts? Peace and love.

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