Theo Tigno

Composer and Musician

Theology in Contemporary Worship

Looking at the lyrics of contemporary Chrisitan praise and worship songs

I always have my ear open for songs that could be used at Mass and what songs can be used during Eucharistic adoration. The main priority I think of is the theology in the lyrics.

I used to just think that all Christian worship songs can work liturgically. Then, as I started listening to the lyrics, I started hearing things that run contrary to the Church's theology as I know it to be. I am by no means a theologian, but I have at least an idea.

I am currently working on a list of songs and what runs contrary. Here are two that have been sticking out to me in the past few months.

Before I go on, I do want to make a disclaimer: I am by no means trying to be critical of another song. I know that I have written songs in the past that doesn't line up with Church theology. This came from the fact that I didn't know. Okay, here it is ...

Example 1

"We love you Lord, we worship you. You are our God, you alone are good" - Saviour King, by Hillsong United

I really want to like this song, but to say "you alone are good" really does a disservice the dignity of every human created in the image and likeness of God. It also disregards what is said in Genesis:

"God looked at everything he had made, and found it very good.
Evening came, and morning followed--the sixth day."
- Genesis 1: 31

To deny that nothing else is good beyond God is to say that God does not create good things. That is a lie and contradicts scripture!

Example 2

"I am a conqueror and co-heir with Christ" - Desert Song, Hillsong

I have to admit: I do like this song. I have played it during Mass and Eucharistic adoration. Yet, every time I get to this lyric, I cringe and wonder why I even went to the second verse.

I am not a conqueror; Christ is. I didn't conquer death; Christ did. I know that we can unite our sufferings to the suffering of Our Lord, but that does not make us conquerors. It makes us reliant on Our Lord's grace and mercy. It makes us realize that we need Christ to restore us into union with Him.

To sing a prayer that we are conquerors seems to put us on equal footing with Our Lord.


Once again, I do not write this in order to be a critic. I want to work on this list because there are a lot of souls praying these words. There are a lot of good people who are in need of God's grace and mercy and we block this if we pray lyrics that foster two extremes of pride. I do not wish to lead others to sin; I am a bad swimmer as it is and I can't imagine swimming with a millstone around my neck. I need His grace and mercy and I want to cooperate with it. Let us, then, remove obstacles to His grace no matter how subtle.

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    About Me

    I am a Catholic composer and musician. My compositions include music written for the Polk Street Band, a Mass setting (Mass of the Immaculate Conception) and Antiphon settings for the full year that are geared toward contemporary ensembles. As a musician, I am a bassist and guitarist for Catholic recording artists and bluegrass bands.