Over at The Pangea Blog, Kurt Willems offers some provocative thoughts on Chris Tomlin’s “Our God is Greater”:
I agree with every line of this song. Nothing about it is theologically untrue in any way. But I think that singing “Our God is Greater” might make God seem less great….
To call God “great” is more than appropriate, but calling God “greater” invites a competitive and confrontational tone. So, in this sort of cultural climate, I make the claim that singing songs about how “our God is greater” actually makes God less great. Two reasons come to mind as to why this might be so.
The two reasons Willems proffers are: first, that it essentially proclaims that the Christian narrative should be central to society – a stance he clearly sees as imperialist and which he conflates with American nationalism; and second, that the proclamation of God as greater may be offensive, especially in an increasingly pluralistic and post-Christian culture.
I should note, right off the bat, that Willems thinks the theology of the song perfectly accurate (and says as much explicitly). More, I believe he is coming from the right direction as he approaches this question: he wants to make sure that God is most glorified and that people are drawn to him. We couldn’t agree more on those aims, but we differ quite a bit on whether this song, and the sentiments it expresses, will be salutary or detrimental in the pursuit of those goals. Read on, intrepid explorer →