Home > Brian's Blogs, worship > What Do You Think about Chris Tomlin?

What Do You Think about Chris Tomlin?

Chris Tomlin is probably this decade’s most influential Christian lyricist and worship leader (think: How Great is Our God, Forever, Here I Am to Worship).  We at GLBC sing his songs regularly and they seem to be well-liked.  Recently theologian and evangelical commentator John Stackhouse has posted some pretty strong thoughts about Chris Tomlin and his music.  Read this post and let me know what you think of his analysis.

Categories: Brian's Blogs, worship
  1. Amy
    February 11, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    To me he seems to be over-analyzing and overly concerned with rhyming. I don’t know a whole lot about poems/lyrics but I do know they don’t have to perfectly rhyme to be really well written. I, personally, really like Tomlin’s lyrics and they seem less cliche than other contemporary Christian artists today. Sure we need other talented and deep lyricists today in the church writing worship songs, but this man seems to be a little too pessimistic spreading complaints instead of praise.
    …Just my thoughts.

  2. February 11, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    I think he has a point, albeit dilvered somewhat harshly. The rhyming is not as noticeable when singing it, but the lyrics surprised me. He righly calls them out as week. Dr. W would laugh at these words if they were included in a term paper.

    It’s also a good reminder for all of us to pay attention to what we sing and listen too. How many times do we see teens singing songs that they have paid no attention to what they are saying.

    Words matter, or at least they should, so Tomlin or any songwriter should take them seriously.

  3. mikewittmer
    February 12, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    I didn’t know that rhyming was so important. The dumbest lyrics I have ever sung in church rhyme: “Seeking you as a precious jewel, Lord to give up I’d be a fool” and “When I fall down you pick me up, when I am dry you fill my cup.”

    The only good thing you can say about these verses (I forget the song title) is that it rhymes.

  4. Brian McLaughlin
    February 12, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    I’m with Amy and Mike. Stackhouse seems to be a little too particular in this post. He says in the comments that it isn’t about rhyming, but as I read the post, its all about rhyming. He seems to say: 1) pop music rhymes, 2) Tomlin is pop, 3) therefore Tomlin must rhyme. I’m not sure I agree with any of these, but even if they are true, has he heard pop music? Some of the most popular pop music today is Brittney Spears and others (including Mike’s favorite, Carrie Underwood). I’m not sure they are considered lyrical geniuses, but they are pop. I don’t think pop music has the standards that Stackhouse thinks it does.

    But, I love Tomlin because his music points me to God. I don’t really care if it rhymes.

  5. February 13, 2009 at 11:59 am

    But do you care what it says or does it only matter that it has a catchy hook and the word God or Jesus in it?

  6. Ryan Prudhomme
    February 13, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    I have a few struggles with this post.

    What is the motive behind his post? By calling out a person who seems to be affecting a culture both inside and outside the church he ought to have a biblical footing to stand on. Had there been a theological issue I would have been more comfortable. However he is merely picking on form, not content. I’m all for being careful what we sing, however if I want to sing a simple, poppy, non rhyming, goofy analogized song and it has sound doctrine and it brings me closer to God what am I hurting?

    Secondly much of the article is actually about Stackhouse. I felt like he turned this issue of worship into what he thinks it ought to be instead of what God does.

    Overall poorly written, not very clear in his points, and not a valid argument to stand on. We must be careful what we sing, but style and prose are personal preference not something we should criticize in public.

  7. February 13, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    Jeff, I very much care about what the music says. That is significantly more important to me than form, genre, etc. But that isn’t Stackhouse’s issue.

    Consider the lyrics he criticizes:

    O sov’reign God, O matchless King–
    the saints adore, the angels sing
    and fall before the throne of grace
    to you belongs the highest praise.

    His complaint is not with theology but with rhyming a hard “s” with a soft “s.” I say, “who cares!!” God is sovereign and all praise does belong to him, even if the praise doesn’t rhyme!!

    Tomlin’s music (How Great is Our God, Forever, Indescribable, etc, etc)is so much more than a catchy hook with God and Jesus. That may apply to some music on Christian radio, but not Tomlin. Had Stackhouse made a theological argument I listen to him, but he’s just being particular and, frankly, a little elitist.

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