Ok, so some unpacking. The song lyrics I posted yesterday, and professed my love for: why? What do I see there that so resonates with me? I’m a theologian and Bible scholar; am I endorsing the theology of HGM’s lyrics?
Well, NO. I’m not endorsing the theology.
What I see that I find so appealing, so resonant, is the sheer desperation the character feels when he talks about his conversion. I hear a man who’s barely hanging on by his fingernails, as the temptations of the old life threaten to lay him waste.
I can relate. So could Rich Mullins and Brennan Manning: ragamuffins know.
So can the apostle Paul: “The good that I want to do, that’s not what I do. And the evil I do not want to do, that’s what I keep on doing!”
We have people all around us who embrace parts of Christianity we don’t like, or don’t think healthy, or whose theology we disagree with. They embrace these aspects of the faith because they NEED them. Trying to persuade them that “That’s not really what Christianity is about” is like trying to pry the life preserver from a person who’s just been rescued from drowning.
Read the lyrics again from that perspective. This is a character (not necessarily the singer’s or the songwriter’s own experience) with raging addictions, turning to religion in a desperate attempt to keep his life from collapsing on his own bad decisions and inability to tear the monkey from his back.