Monday, November 11, 2013

Looney Tunes: "You Can Change Who You Are"

If a person communicates a message while maintaining a position of influence, he or she is a teacher. As Christians, we are called to evaluate and discern the teaching that we hear (Phil 1:9, Heb 5:14, 1 Jn 4:1). Therefore remember as the forthcoming songs and messages are examined in this series, the person originating the teaching is not being judged, but the teaching itself. Nothing is more important than the truth and fighting for it is worth the effort.


The Christian band Unspoken broke into stardom last year with their hit song, "Who You Are." That song landed them in the top-20 in three of the major Christian music charts. 

Here are the lyrics:

I know that look you're givin'
Like you got something to prove
'Cause I have walked for miles and miles in that same pair of shoes
You refuse forgiveness
Like it's something to be earned
But sometimes pain's the only way that we can learn

You can never fall too hard, so fast, so far
That you can't get back when you're lost
Where you are is never too late, so bad, so much
That you can't change who you are

You believe in freedom
But you don't know how to choose
You gotta step out of your feelings
That you're so afraid to lose
Every day, you put your feet on the floor
You gotta walk through the door
It's never gonna be easy
But it's all worth fighting for.


Let the ashes fall wherever they land
Come back from wherever you've been
To the foot of the cross
To the feet of Jesus
The feet of Jesus


See, at the foot of the cross you change who you are
At the foot of the cross you change who you are

You can change who you are

I hope the problem with this song is glaringly obvious to those who are Christians. The message, "You can change who you are," runs directly counter to the gospel. The idea that we could change ourselves or even contribute to our own salvation is not biblical. Scripture clearly says,

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast," Ephesians 2:8-9


"And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ," Philippians 1:6 (emphasis added)

When Unspoken blares the message of self-help across the airwaves, the message of the gospel is less than fuzzy, it's destroyed.

Now there are a couple places of credit that need to be emphasized. First, they do call people to come to the foot of Jesus' cross. That's obviously important. We want people to come to Jesus and understand why He died. However, they say, "At the foot of the cross you change who you are." Unfortunately that is a perversion of the good news.

Another place of credit, which I find incredibly interesting, is their explanation of the song seen in this short video:

Now that's the truth! Their explanation of the song is very, very biblical and their soteriology is great. What I found interesting is that their explanation is not found in the lyrics themselves. Their explanation is very God- and Christ-centered, yet their song is very human focused. It's sad.

Until Unspoken starts matching their lyrics with their beliefs, here's a great alternative to "Who You Are" that stays on the same theme.

Here is "Death to Life" by Joe Day:

1 comment:

  1. So true! Thanks for the alternative suggestions too, seems like you know your music quite well! Thanks for pointing out these errors, I've been bothered by several of the same lines in songs you've highlighted. It's so easy not to look at music as teaching, but you're right, that's exactly what it is and we do need to be mindful, and on guard against what we subject ourselves to.