Entering the “Draw Me Close” Conversation

In the latest issue of Christianity Today, Chuck Colson has an article entitled “Soothing Ourselves to Death.” He begins with this paragraph:

When church music directors lead congregations in singing contemporary Christian music, I often listen stoically with teeth clenched. But one Sunday morning, I cracked. We’d been led through endless repetitions of a meaningless ditty called “Draw Me Close to You,” which has zero theological content and could just as easily be sung in any nightclub. When I thought it was finally and mercifully over, the music leader beamed. “Let’s sing that again, shall we?” he asked. “No!” I shouted, loudly enough to send heads all around me spinning while my wife, Patty, cringed.

He goes on to say that much of the music written for the church has moved from worship to entertainment, especially when you consider what’s being played on the radio. He shares anecdotal evidence to suggest that the motive behind the use of shallow, appealing worship songs is giving people what they want rather than what they need. His commentary on Kelly Carpenter’s song, “Draw Me Close to You,” has prompted much discussion on numerous blogs. (I’ve listed some of them at the end of this post).

Here are the lyrics of the song in question:

Draw me close to you, never let me go.
I lay it all down again, to hear you say that I’m your friend.
You are my desire, no one else will do.
No one else can take your place, to feel the warmth of your embrace.
Help me find the way, bring me back to you.
You’re all I want. You’re all I’ve ever needed.
You’re all I want. Help me know you are near.
Copyright 1994 Mercy/Vineyard Publishing.

This is what’s been running through my mind during this discussion.

First, it’s a good sign that people feel strongly about these issues. We should be concerned with how we worship God, careful about what songs we sing and listen to, and discerning about our motives. I thank God that Colson’s article encourages us to think about all three.

Second, while I deeply respect Chuck Colson, I’m not sure this illustration was the best way to set up the points he was attempting to make. Beginning the article with his utter disdain for “Draw Me Close” and then describing his spontaneous response to the worship leader probably didn’t open the hearts of those I presume he hopes to influence. Of course, if you agree with Mr. Colson, you probably thought, “Finally!”

Third, as many have pointed out, Mr. Colson’s illustration involves a number of factors, not just the quality of a song. Other areas that come to mind are what precede and follow a song, the skill of the leader (or lack thereof), and the focus of the worshipper’s heart.

My personal history with this song goes back to the mid-90’s, when I used it quite frequently. I specifically remember two times I was deeply affected by the song. In one instance, while leading worship at a large conference, I remember singing, “You’re all I want, You’re all I’ve ever needed,” with great fervor, faith, and conviction. Those words truly expressed the reality in my heart. On another occasion, my wife and I were both moved to tears as we listened to the CD and were reminded how futile it is to seek joy in anything other than God Himself.

But over time, I became increasingly uncomfortable with the song, and haven’t used it for years in corporate worship. That doesn’t make me any more spiritual than anyone else. It’s just a choice I’ve made based on what I’ll share in a moment. The strengths of the song, I think, are evident. It expresses a longing for God’s nearness and confirms that “there is nothing on earth I desire besides you.” (Ps. 73:25) The music also allows appropriate time for reflection.

However, the song is intensely personal and allows room for different interpretations, not all of them helpful. The overall impression of the song is one of uncertainty rather than faith. “No one else will do” can come across as too casual, as though I could pursue other legitimate options to fulfill my emotional desires. Because nothing else in the song balances it out, “to feel the warmth of your embrace” can sound as though God simply wants me to feel soft, warm, and cozy. Others have alluded to the potentially sensual overtones of the words and music. I say “potential” because the song doesn’t affect everyone the same way. But, the primary problem I had with the song was that it never references what God has done to bring us near through the atoning sacrifice of His Son. (Heb. 10:19-22) In fact, I began to change the last line of the song to, “I know that You are near.” Eventually, I decided to use other songs that still expressed strong desire for God, but in a clearer way.

So if I were to use this song, I’d make sure it was preceded and followed by solid expressions of all God has done for us in Christ. I also wouldn’t spend time repeating it because I want to build people’s confidence that God is near, not diminish it. And if I’m following someone else who’s leading a song like this, I want to be more conscious of my responsibility to give glory to God than to critique the leader.

Is Draw Me Close symptomatic of a larger problem in Christian hymnody? I think so. For more than a hundred years we’ve favored emotional, response-type songs over songs that magnify the nature, attributes, and works of God. We need both, and more songs that help us do both at the same time. We tend to pit doctrine against devotion and both camps end up the worse for it. Is singing this song proof that a particular church has gone off the deep end into subjectivism and man-centered emotion? No. Are there better songs to sing in congregational worship? I believe so.

This is far more than an issue of hymns vs. contemporary choruses. There are sentimental, feeling oriented hymns, as well as contemporary songs with rich theological content. It’s an issue of pastors taking responsibility for what their churches are singing, leading them wisely into truth-based affections, and making sure that good fruit is being produced in their lives. It’s also an issue of all of us making sure that we’re not taking pride in the particular songs we sing or don’t sing.

May we all proclaim the beauty, authority, and truth of Jesus Christ with our lives, remembering that neither passion nor propositional truth is out of place when we worship God. They were meant to go together.

The Conversation:
Sam Storms, whose comments you can read here, registers his respect for Colson, and agrees with him on some issues. But he disagrees with Colson’s assessment of the song. He says that while not lyrically complex or theologically deep, it reflects much of the longing for God expressed in the Psalms (73:28, 84:2, 16:2, 16:11, 42:1-2, 63:1, 73:25).

Justin Taylor agrees with Sam Storms here. Tim Challies, in an extended and thoughtful post, both agrees and disagrees with Justin and Sam here. And John DiVito sides with Colson and Challies here.

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37 Responses to Entering the “Draw Me Close” Conversation

  1. Evan May April 7, 2006 at 4:53 PM #

    “Draw Me Close To You” has always been a sort of “joke song” amongst the worship team at my church. The lyrics are terribly subjective. I could sing it to my wife.

    But sometimes subjective lyrics are appropriate. Mark Altrogge said once in a seminar at a WorshipGod conference that, “sometimes the appropriate response to God is simply ‘I love you.’”

    But while we should never doubt the heart behind such well-intended people who are hoping to serve the church through song, and while we should always recognize evidences of grace even in song writing, noting where and when it is appropriate to be overly subjective, we should always have the goal in song writing to produce objective, truth-centered, gospel-centered, cross-centered songs that accurately portray the reality of what God has done for us.

  2. Marcguyver April 7, 2006 at 5:12 PM #

    Well….I’m not sure I can agree with everthing that Mr. Colson has said here in his remarks, but I will have to give the guy, and anyone else for that matter, that has the GUTS to actually answer the ‘Worship Leader’s’ question right in the middle of the service! Wow, sure would have like to be sitting in the pews witnessing that one!

  3. Steve Sensenig April 7, 2006 at 7:13 PM #

    Bob, great to see you talk about this issue. I especially appreciated the way that you mentioned that you changed the last line of “Draw Me Close” to “I know that you are near.” I have sometimes softly sung different lyrics to songs when worshipping in a group for this very reason. Or sometimes, I’ll skip singing a line and just be silent if it doesn’t express my heart or what I see as truth in the Word.

    Sometimes, it is tricky, too, when you have songs based on Old Testament texts that have been superceded by New Testament truth. For example, “Let My Words Be Few” starts with a quote from Ecclesiastes that says, “You are God in heaven, and here am I on earth.” I think the reality of the incarnation of Christ, however, is that we now have the privilege of having the Holy Spirit of God dwell within us!

    Thanks for the good and balanced thoughts, Bob.

    Under His Grace,
    steve :)

  4. Bob Kauflin April 7, 2006 at 7:25 PM #

    Steve,

    Thanks for the encouraging words.

    Regarding the song “Let My Words Be Few,” I think we can still appropriately sing, “You are God in heaven, and here am I on earth.” While God does dwell in us by His Spirit, we are still separated in some sense until Jesus returns and we will be with the Father forever. It’s the “already but not yet” aspect of the Kingdom. After all, Jesus did teach us to pray, “Our Father in heaven.” Also, in Phil. 3:20, Paul says that our citizenship is in heaven and it is from there that we await the Savior. I don’t think that alters your point, but I wanted to respond to the specific illustration you used.

    Thanks for reading the blog!

  5. Ken Fields April 9, 2006 at 6:50 PM #

    Thanks for the post…outstanding! I will be linking to it from our blog.

    It’s great to hear these thoughts from a musician himself. I do appreciate your point that our music glorify God rather than our feelings about Him. This needs to be championed in our churches today! And thanks for setting a high standard with the music you write and arrange!

  6. Steve Sensenig April 9, 2006 at 7:54 PM #

    Bob, point well taken. I’ll have to consider that a bit more. Thanks!

    steve :)

  7. David MacKenzie April 10, 2006 at 2:51 AM #

    Bob, I always appreciate how you bring biblical clarity to discussions! Thank you for how thoughtfully you analyze complex topics.

    The lyrics of “Draw Me Close” are unclear in relation to several biblical doctrines (such as the preservation of the saints), but my biggest problem with that song is that I think I’m lying to God by singing the first line of the chorus: “You’re all I want”. I can’t think of any sense in which that has ever been a true statement. My heart is always mixed with desires for other things, and always will be on this earth. Even while I’m singing.

    There are other worship songs I have similar problems with, such as “As the Deer Pants”, and “You Are My King”, which contains the claim “It’s my joy to honor you / In all I do, I honor you”. I sing “In all I do, to honor you” instead, to tell God it’s my joy to honor him. But not everything I do honors God. When I get angry at someone or self-righteously justify myself against criticism, I’m not honoring God.

    Is there some biblically faithful way of understanding lines like those which I’m missing? If so, then for me those songs fail the test of clarity, and there must be better ways to say whatever they are trying to say.

    Thank you Bob for how you seek out the best songs to honor our God!

  8. Dluxe April 10, 2006 at 9:42 AM #

    Bob,
    Many thanks for another thoughtful, well-reasoned post on the ‘hot blog topic’ of the day/week.

    I commented on Challies’ blog that a song’s context in worship is important. That doesn’t make a ‘bad song’ turn into a great one, but it does allow us to (carefully) use a palette of music and lyrics to help present a theme.

    When we, as a musical team, assess our leading of worship, we must measure our performance theologically first and musically second. Not emotionally, or programmatically, or performanc-ially (heh!).

    As you noted, that standard is a high one and we must execute well for God’s glory – not our own.

    Thanks for your encouragement through this blog! In Christ, Brian

  9. Dave N. April 14, 2006 at 2:51 PM #

    Hi Bob,

    What do you think about this:
    Every Sunday morning I attend a sunday school class on Isaiah. Most of the time we will start with singing short ‘oldie’-type praise songs. If the guitarist is not there, then they won’t even sing. We have a paper booklet that contains all the songs (which I believe they haven’t changed in a while) and people just kind of pick and choose the songs they want to sing. Songs like “Shine Jesus Shine” etc. I find that the time can rather be kind of rigid… Do you think there could be a better way of praising God before we get into a study of Isaiah? Why do we have to nix the singing praises if there isn’t a ‘guitar’ present?

  10. Bob Kauflin April 15, 2006 at 11:31 AM #

    To Dave N.:

    I visited your site and saw you’re in Alaska. Thanks for reading the blog up there in the frozen North.

    Regarding your Sunday School class, I think you make a good point. You don’t need a guitar to sing God’s praises or worship Him. But it appears that people in your group are happy to do what probably once had life, but now seems to be mundane routine. It also sounds like music is fulfilling a “filler” role, as it often does, rather than being a means of teaching, admonishing, and encouraging the saints.

    Sounds like there’s a leadership vacuum in your Sunday school class, and that no one has stepped forward to fill it. Maybe you’re supposed to do it! Humbly, of course. You might suggest some well-known hymns, which would fit well with Isaiah. Holy, Holy, Holy comes to mind, Crown Him with Many Crowns, and Hallelujah! What a Savior, are a few that come to mind.

    Hope that’s helpful.

  11. Ian Vaillancourt April 15, 2006 at 11:36 AM #

    Dear Bob,
    Thanks so much for this thoughtful post. I am a new pastor, and have been at my first ‘solo pastorate’ for a little over a year. I am working with the worship leaders here to grow in a biblical understaning of worship through song. This includes the importance of the words we sing, along with the way we sing them. I have printed your post for these leaders to read, and for us to discuss at our next meeting. Again, thanks so much for serving Christ’s church!
    In Christ, Ian Vaillancourt

  12. Ken April 15, 2006 at 4:57 PM #

    Dave:
    You said “..my biggest problem with that song is that I think I’m lying to God by singing the first line of the chorus: “You’re all I want”. I can’t think of any sense in which that has ever been a true statement.”

    We can all certainly relate to that feeling. You can add some hymns such as “I Surrender All” to the song list. I see these types of songs as expressing aspirational values describing where we want to be in our relationship with God. There are similar statements in the Psalms. In our regenerate nature we do desire to live completely for the Lord, but in our outer life we continually fall short.

  13. Rick April 18, 2006 at 8:01 PM #

    Bob,

    I appreciate your focus on Christ and your passion for gospel-centered worship.

    One thing that we should all remember in planning our worship services is context. It is an unfortunate thing that many churches have forsaken the theologically rich hymns and have exclusively gone to vague emotion-driven songs. However, I do believe that emotional songs such as “Draw Me Close To You” and “There Is None Like You” could potentially have a very powerful role in our worship services.

    If we begin by singing songs such as “Holy, Holy Holy,” “There Is A Redeemer,” “Before the Throne,” and “Depth of Mercy,” we set the theological context for the more emotional songs. And quite honestly, I think that worship can be even more Christ-centered when we respond to those great hymns with words such as, “You’re all I want. You’re all I’ve ever needed,” or “There is none like You. No one else could touch my heart like You do. I could search for all eternity long, and find there is none like You.”

    As others have said already, it is very important that the lead worshiper put these more emotional songs in context-both in the order of worship, as well as in how he communicates the transition.

  14. Aaron S. Wilson April 20, 2006 at 12:37 AM #

    This is great dialogue, from the CT article, to Challies, to Taylor, and here! I find myself thinking that I’ve settled my mind until I read just one more comment and then I realize another angle I’ve yet to consider!

    I’ve heard Alistair Begg speak candidly on this topic of worship songs. He said something to this effect (of course he can say this much more profoundly than I & with that cool Scottish accent):

    It is much more necessary to sing songs which inform our own minds/hearts of the truths about God before we go off singing to God all these things that we’re going to do for Him (i.e., “I just want to be where You are…here I am to worship…You’re all I want…etc).

    Begg said (as did David MacKenzie’s comment) that in most cases, he honestly DOESN’T want to bow down & worship & love God & on & on, immediately upon entering the house of worship.

    His point is that we must remind ourselves – say to our souls (cf. Psalm 42:3; Psalm 103) truths about God to bring us to the place where we can say “Here I am…”.

    Granted, there do seem to be Psalms that express the writers’ “here i am to…” & “I will do…” desires, but they’re most often followed with the causal “for”. I.e., “I will do this” BECAUSE “God has done this”. (cf. Psalm 30:1, 5; Psalm 34:1-14 cf. with 15-22; Psalm 45; 47;100; 103; etc).

    So, it seems to be grounded in what God has done first and foremost, and then our response.

  15. matt April 24, 2006 at 11:39 AM #

    Bob:

    Thanks for your thoughts on this subject. As a friend recently commented about this article, your comments are “winsome.” I appreciate that and pray that I would have wisdom and the ability communicate it in a winsome way.

  16. Jeff Schoch May 15, 2006 at 8:01 PM #

    “Draw Me Close” is a simple love song to God. Nothing more. I’m puzzled by why that is so hard to accept. Expressing that ‘you’re all I need’ is not intended to suggest we don’t need anything or anybody else any more than Jesus’ statement that his followers must hate their mother and father suggests that we hate our parents. I’m all for theological and biblical correctness, and I’m not a fan or proponent of a Kool-Aid, feel-good gospel, but I can’t help but think Colson, whom I have high regard for, and possibly others, are simply missing the spirit of the songwriter’s heart. The Psalms express the same heart frequently.

  17. Just4Jesus May 20, 2006 at 3:29 PM #

    I don’t know what the big deal is. It’s a love song to God. You have to know the power of repentance to be able to grasp this song. That God is a loving God and that His desire is always to bring us back to His side when we fall short or when we fail Him or when we fail ourselves.

    Times when my life has become “lukewarm” and I’ve put God on the back burner, then I hear this song and it reminds me of His love (as described in 1 Cor. 13).

    It’s my love song to Him that reminds me that His arms are always open wide.

  18. Gregg May 27, 2006 at 4:50 PM #

    I stumbled into this thread as a result of a Google search for scriptural segues to “Draw Me Close”.

    I’m a bit dazed by the dialog on this song. While biblical accuracy is critical, we must also yield to the movement of God’s Spirit in the songwriter. I urge caution when passing judgment on what God has laid on the heart of one of His servants to communicate to His people in song. I’m sure some took issue with David’s writings in the Psalms when they didn’t quite match up with their “personal view”.

    Please consider CONTEXT. “You’re all I want..” could be a PLEA – not a statement. “You’re all I’ve ever needed..” could be a revelation. Regarding the line “Help me know You are near”… have you ever read the opening lines of Psalm 22? Sometimes we crave reassurance.

    As worship leaders, we are to yield to God’s will, not our own. If He wants His congregation to sing to Him a new song, dare we refuse on the basis of our own personal judgment of the lyrics He has gifted someone to write? This song is currently #18 in the CCLI top 100. “How Great Thou Art” is #26. It must have some redeeming value in the church.

    As for CCM in general, keep in mind that this music is also an outreach to the un-churched and those new in the faith; as well as the mature. While we debate the lyrical pros and cons of this song, Satan fills the airwaves with truly unbiblical content. We may be on the verge of straining out the gnat while allowing others to swallow the camel. Let’s keep our eyes on the big picture – God does.

    A parting word of caution – we should not be changing the words to copyrighted material at will.

  19. Barbara Price June 15, 2006 at 1:46 PM #

    I just got in on this topic and would like to make one quick point. I don’t know what “position” in the church that Chuck Colson had but for anyone to rebuke a worship leader in the middle of a time of worship I think was very disrepectful and out of order. If he had a problem with any song the proper thing to do is to address his concern in private and unless he has authority in that church structure he must after bringing his “opinion” give that up and leave it in the hands of those with authority.

    I think that greater than if the song is right or wrong the disservice to God and His Kingdom, the blatant disrepect that he gave to the worship leader, has far more long reaching implications.

  20. Just4Jesus August 3, 2006 at 8:37 PM #

    I agree. I think that with all the responses here, it’s clear that one song can mean different things to different people. A worship leader is leading the congregation into a time of worship unto God. If the song doesn’t appeal to YOU, then so what? Continue on with YOUR own worship. I think Mr. Colson was out of line. The Worship Leader was the Leader at that time. Chuck Colson should have respected that. It’s like what the Pastor of Lakewood Church said, if you enter into a parking lot and the parking attendant asks you for your parking fee, no matter who you are, you’re to submit to him.

  21. shuyi March 28, 2007 at 5:18 AM #

    I feel that this song expresses a type of situation that the writer of the song is feeling and going through. That of being drawn away by God and feeling far, and deeply desiring to get back, to renew the deep friendship spent with the Lord again. And she doesn’t quite know how to do it or finds it terribly difficult to do so, so she says, “Help me know you are near.” I suspect so because this song struck a chord in my heart when I was feeling as such and it comforted me greatly that such a song exist and what I’m going through is not unique, but others have went through and overcame. :)

  22. gerri Moran June 30, 2007 at 1:30 PM #

    I too was researching the topic of “draw me close” when I came across this blog. I am a lay person who has a heart to worship God.
    I recently had a “pivotal moment while working in the Garden.”I had awakened one morning with this song in my heart and it continued all morning. As I was working and singing my song to God; I cried out to God that I didn’t feel very close as I felt that I was going through a dry season. Well,the song continued to come and I felt that God was singing the song to me. We always think in terms of what we want or think but this time I felt like God was speaking to me Declaring that He (would allow his son, Jesus) to lay it all down again ,to hear us say that We are his friend. We are created to worship and adore God so why couldn’t he sing (to us) Draw me close to you.Why couldn’t he say” Help me find a way to bring me back to you. Just another silly love song? I think not! May we never quit singing of our love and desire to God

  23. Bob Kauflin June 30, 2007 at 1:40 PM #

    Gerri,

    Thanks for leaving a comment.

    I appreciate your obvious love for God and your desire to have a sincere relationship with him. A few responses.

    God wouldn’t say “help me find a way to bring me back to you,” because God is sovereign, he doesn’t need our help, and he has already provided a way for us to be near to him! He wants us to live in the good of what he has already done. Of course, God will use any means to remind us of what he accomplished in giving his own Son to pay for our sins.

    He also wouldn’t say he’d allow his Son to lay it all down again because that would be saying his first sacrifice was insufficient. His sacrifice was perfect and will never be repeated (Heb. 9:25-26). I’m reminded of Romans 8:32: “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” What a promise!

    “Draw me Close” isn’t “just another silly love song.” But when it’s done congregationally, it can easily be misunderstood or misinterpreted.

    Hope that’s helpful.

  24. gerri Moran June 30, 2007 at 2:00 PM #

    No arguments here. However, by saying he would would allow his son Jesus to lay it all down again, that would simply confirm the fact that it was perfect and complete the first time.

  25. andy July 24, 2007 at 4:19 AM #

    The musical arrangement possesses a sweetness and simplicity that appeals to the senses. The chords were always obtainable to any song but in this arrangement it’s like a treasure is discovered. I know that the song can be taken in many different contexts but there is a uniqueness to the song that truly makes it stand out and be respected as a vessel to reflect on our Lord and Saviour both publicly and privately.

  26. Spencer August 2, 2007 at 9:32 PM #

    I think if we spent half as much time serving the lost & hurting, that was spent on this exhaustive study of a worship song the Kingdom would be growing at a phenomenal rate.

  27. Bob Kauflin August 3, 2007 at 4:18 PM #

    Spencer,

    Thanks for stopping by.

    I appreciate your comment, but don’t think being concerned and precise about what we sing is at odds with ministries of evangelism or compassion. In fact, rightly understood, biblical worship should feed and encourage an outward focus. God often connects the two in Scripture (Col. 3:16-17; Heb. 13:15-16; and Heb 10:24-25 are a few examples).

    But since this blog is designed specifically for those who lead corporate worship, our discussions tend to focus on what we do in corporate meetings. But if all we ever do is have great meetings without any impact on the world, we’re simply deceived.

    Hops that helps.

  28. mackenzie =] November 3, 2007 at 7:45 PM #

    contemporary Christian is definitely not wrong I’m so glad that many people have accepted it but I’m saddened that many people still haven’t accepted it. it brings praises to the Lord just as well as hymns do. if you think about how people say some contemporary Christian songs could just as easily be sung in a nightclub think about in older days when hymns first came out… it was the same situation; not many people accepted it… God wants us to celebrate and glorify Him and contemporary Christian can do just as well as any hymn can

    to God be the glory,
    Mackenzie

  29. joel January 1, 2008 at 10:56 AM #

    I know that many of the er hymns were not instantly accepted because of rhythm or a chord that was way different from I IV or V7 or whatever but I don’t think they were confused with being a nightclub song. I really believe that God wants our best praises and what we say in or own private worship might not work in corporate worship. Not all things are interpreted the same way and I certainly would not want someoneto visit our worship services and not understand what we were saying or singing. It must be clear who we are singing to.

  30. Jan February 25, 2008 at 4:23 PM #

    I was scheduled to sing the beginning of this song (and then the congregation would join in) back on March 21, 1999. I remember that date very well because on March 13, 1999 I lost my 20 year old son to pneumonia. Imagine yourself in my place as I sang, and think about the words to “Draw Me Close”. It was not a “feel good” song to me; it was a cry from the depths of my being.

    Draw me close to you, never let me go. – OH, YES!
    I lay it all down again, to hear you say that I’m your friend. BECAUSE, GOD, I CAN’T UNDERSTAND. DON’T YOU LOVE ME?
    You are my desire, no one else will do. YES, GOD, YOU’RE THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN REALLY SATISFY.
    No one else can take your place, to feel the warmth of your embrace. YES, I KNOW MORE AT THIS MOMENT THAN EVER BEFORE THAT I CAN’T PLACE ANY ONE OF MY LOVED ONES ABOVE YOU. AND HOW I NEED TO FEEL YOUR PRESENCE RIGHT NOW.
    Help me find the way, bring me back to you. I AM LOST, I AM CONFUSED. I AM TOTALLY BEWILDERED. I NEED HELP.
    You’re all I want. You’re all I’ve ever needed. I REALIZE YOU, ONLY YOU, GOD, ARE WHAT I REALLY WANT AND NEED. PEOPLE CAN ONLY GIVE ME SO MUCH, BUT YOU HAVE GIVEN ME EVERYTHING.
    You’re all I want. Help me know you are near. I WANT TO WANT YOU ABOVE ANYTHING OR ANYONE ELSE IN MY LIFE, AND RIGHT HERE AND NOW, PLEASE HELP ME FEEL YOUR PRESENCE. MY TRUST IS IN YOU, GOD. I KNOW YOU WILL CARRY ME.

    A “meaningless ditty”? I beg to differ. The impact of that song on the congregation, most of whom had attended my son’s memorial service just days before, was powerful. It focused our eyes where they should be.
    The impact of that song was beyond powerful to the congregation, most of whom had attended my son’s memorial service just days before.

  31. Jane March 27, 2008 at 3:41 PM #

    Jan — first let me say how sorry I am for the loss of your son. I pray that you are healing from this.

    Thank you for your explanation of “Draw Me Close.” You were able to express how I understand the lyrics.

  32. Peggy Farrow April 9, 2008 at 6:55 AM #

    Today is the first time I have seen this site, and am truly blessed by it.

    In reading all the comments about this song, there seems to be a common thread among the writers – they already know and love the Lord. So, while the lyrics to this song emphasizes a worshippers true feelings, it does not indicate anywhere that it is a love song to God.

    If a person in the congregation who has not committed his/her life to Christ and is not aware of the love of Christ, they would most definitely think of this song as a love song to someone other than God – possibly even to someone that they would like to rekindle an adulterous relationship.

    As a songwriter and worship leader, I am a firm believer that our songs need to leave no doubt that it is God, Jesus, and/or the Holy Spirit we are singing to and about. I remember hearing a Christian artist say, “It is nothing wrong with doing a song that crosses over to the secular side – as long as you take the cross over with you”. In other words, leave no room for the enemy to even suggest to a person that the song is about anyone except the Father, Son, Holy Spirit. As Gregg put it, “…this song is also an outreach to the un-churched and those new in the faith”

    So, do we omit this song from our list? Definitely not, it is a beautiful song to the Lord. When I lead Christian songs that could go either way, I add “fillers” which are sung right before the congregation comes in:

    “Oh Lord”, Draw me close to you, never let me go.
    I lay it all down again “Oh, God”, to hear you say that I’m your friend.
    “Lord”, You are my desire, no one else will do.
    No one else can take your place, to feel the warmth of your embrace.
    Help me find the way, bring me back to you.
    You’re all I want “Jesus”. You’re all I’ve ever needed.
    You’re all I want “Jesus”. Help me know you are near.

    You can fill in Jesus, Lord, God, Father… wherever you wish.

    As far as some of the other comments:
    1). Just4Jesus – “If the song doesn’t appeal to YOU, then so what? Continue on with YOUR own worship.”

    Please understand that the church is suppose to be a place to draw people to God, and not a “bless me – my 4 – and no more club”. Jesus meets people wherever they are, and if we continue to have an attitude of “this is the way we do it -like it or lump it” we will become stagnant with the same old program and will run people away before they find their way to Christ.

    2). As far as Mr. Colson being out of line, and the illustration you gave: There is a big difference between asking for a fee that is required, and asking whether you would like to pay that fee. If you were given that choice…?

    3). Barbara – I do not see Chuck Colson rebuking the worship leader in the middle of a time of worship. What I see is the worship leader asking a loaded question in the middle of a time of worship.

    Also, if there was any blatant disrespect, I would have to say it was from the worship leader for having the people in the throne-room, singing to God and to then interrupt that worship between the people and God to ask a question. It is the worship leaders’ responsibility to lead the people to the throne-room. After that, it is the people’s reponsibility to worship God, and God’s responsibility to minister to them while in the throne-room.

    I never understand why a worship leader would ask the congregation as to whether they are “ready to worship”, or “shall we sing that again”. If the Holy Spirit is directing the worship leader, why would you ask the congregation for direction? He should have just continued with the song. I feel that if a worship leader asks a loaded yes or no question while leading worship, they deserve whatever response s/he gets.

    4). MacKenzie – while I agree with you that contemporary Christian music is not wrong, I have to add that a lot of
    contemporary Christian is soulish – using a lot of rhythm,
    and some contemporary Christian songs could just as easily be played in a nightclub.

    Here’s a couple of challenges.
    - Look at the lyrics at a couple of songs like “Draw Me Closer”. Ask someone who is not a Christian or doesn’t go to church much if at all. Show them the lyrics (not the title) and ask them what they think about the song. For yourself, when reading lyrics, can you see any reference to God the Father, Son, or Holy Spirit?

    - Get an accompaniment CD to some of the faster songs and play only the music – not the demo side. What type of dancing would you do to the beat? How long did it take your hips to start moving.

    - Get a video of a Contemporary Christian artist/band and watch the track of a fast song with the volume completely down. Can you tell whether they are Christian or secular by the moves they make during the song without hearing the words?

    Last, but certainly not least, Bob, you’ve said it all when you said, “… if all we ever do is have great meetings without any impact on the world, we’re simply deceived.”

    Thanks so much for allowing me to share.

    Peggy Farrow

  33. Steve April 10, 2008 at 2:19 PM #

    Since we can agree that the lyrics of “Draw Me Close” are not a summary of all theological doctrine, what other worship is? Songs are not meant to teach all doctrine in a few verses, a chorus, and a bridge. They are meant to unite the hearts of the worshippers and focus them on God. While the song could be used for other things (jokes mentioned above), it does accomplish its goal.

  34. Ginger July 25, 2008 at 10:36 AM #

    Although “Draw me Close” is not the best song, and I would not use it to present to gospel message for the first time, any song is used along with other songs and words.
    It is a good point to make that this song expresses uncertainty. However, sometimes we ARE uncertain, sometimes we feel far from God. It is helpful to honestly admit it, as long as we say it in God’s presence with a plea for renewal.

  35. Keith Morris July 25, 2008 at 6:29 PM #

    I see the thread is still going after several years!

    3 words–Song of Solomon!

    I was at a gas station recently and heard a love song. When the song turned out to be secular, I was surprised and disappointed. It was a spontaneous moment and I was surprised at my surprise.

    Doesn’t my reaction (rare, I admit it was a flash of light) demonstrate a better attitude then saying, “Boy, that song in church, I could have sung to my wife?” Which is the more God-filled way of approaching life?

    Love for God should be the norm, not the exception.

    It is possible that Mr. Colson has some spiritual issues and deficiencies.

  36. Mary Ann August 20, 2008 at 7:15 AM #

    This past Sunday was my 24th birthday as a child of God. Draw me close to you was our last worship song. I had heard it before and had been able to worship our Lord, but this past Sunday it was special and there was an added verse that I cannot seem to find, that went I remember when, I was lost from you. Anyway I wrote that line down and have yet to be able to find that added verse. I’ll have to check with our worship leader. I could not get the song out of my mind since Sunday. As the week went on I have had my normal struggles, one of them being how I allow poeple to affect me, I am a supervisor for vocation, and also very active in helping many people. I love to love other’s, it is my greatest joy in serving God, yet my greatest joy brings with it my greatest pain.(kindness and love are often repaid with envy) God has taught me to serve Him for His smile alone. I have come to know that Jesus never hurts me and because of that I can move forward and not be stuck. Songs of praise such as draw me close touch our hearts when we are hurting and they really do draw us closer to God. My husband disagrees with me, I just listen but I do feel that he’s missing something. I love the hymn’s and I love the songs of worship, I don’t quite understand the struggle he has. Thank the Lord that our worship is thought out so well and the leaders do both. Anyway I love these lyrics and they do draw me closer in worship.

  37. Bob Kauflin September 26, 2008 at 6:41 PM #

    Thanks all for the comments. I think it’s time to close the comment section. As I said in my post, “May we all proclaim the beauty, authority, and truth of Jesus Christ with our lives, remembering that neither passion nor propositional truth is out of place when we worship God. They were meant to go together.”

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