Take the following excerpts from popular praise songs I have encountered recently [this list is by no means exhaustive]:
(1) "I'm coming back to the heart of worship, and it's all about you. It's all about you, Jesus."
- The Heart of Worship
(2) "You took the fall, and thought of me above all."
- Above All
First, what is wrong with such lyrics. With regard to (1), it completely ignores two members of the Trinity elevating Jesus above them, since as it claims it is all about Jesus. Jesus doesn't even believe that it is all about Jesus. That said, one can hope that this was not the intent of the author. This mistake seems to come from the mistaken thinking that 'Jesus' is simply a pseudonym for 'God'. [UPDATE: Dale Tuggy over at Trinities sees such indiscretion in using the term 'Jesus' as a sign of modalism.] With regard to (2) I think it is incorrect since I subscribe to the Piper/Edwards line of thought where God, at the risk of idolatry, must always be uppermost in God's mind. Therefore, if Jesus thought of me above all, he would be committing idolatry. I'm not even sure if one can provide a positive spin that can explain such a falsehood. The best I can think of is that his love for me was one of the reasons for his sacrifice, but this is much different than the lyric.
What ought we to make of such lyrics, and thus, such praise songs? There is no doubt that Christian contemporary praise songs are theologically anemic when compared to hymns, but this is a different issue. Are such songs simply theologically lazy and given that they are in the genre of poetry their mistakes can be excused when in the heart of worship (pun intended) or are they simply heresy, if not blasphemy, and to be avoided?
I go back and forth with this one. In favor of such songs, (i) many people seem to succeed in worshiping God in singing them, (ii) some 'artistic license' seems to be inevitable for the sake of rhyming if nothing else (though at least 'divinity' rhymes with 'trinity'), and (iii) perhaps we can say that though the lyrics are literally false they implicate something that is true (this would be what I was trying to get at in giving my spin above). On the other hand, (i) such songs can lead to confusion for those who don't know how to give them a proper interpretation [if that's what I was doing], (ii) if such lyrics really are heresy or blasphemy how could one really worship God by uttering them?, and (iii) it is doubtful that all such inaccuracies implicate truths. Implicatures ought to be easily discernible which the above examples do not seem to be (at least for the majority).
[note: it may be responded that this is the fault of the pastors and congregations for not being theologically sophisticated to discern the lyrics cannot be literally true and that something else must be meant.]