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Charity Gayle and the Self-Idolatry of Modern Worship Music



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Traditional Christian hymns have for centuries carried the Church through difficult times as well as good times. These old hymns–theologically rich and focused on the one who binds all believers together–have a way of connecting the Church to the great progenitors of the faith and, ultimately, to God himself.

The purpose of worship is to draw the attention of the worshiper to the greatness of God, to worship Him for who He is. Worship is the natural by-product of a soul who has “tasted and seen” the goodness of God–it is not natural for an unregenerate soul to desire to worship God.

Today, what the Church calls “worship” is generally tantamount to a gospel of self-affirmation cloaked in a bit of Bible language–mostly taken out of context. The hymns many churches sing are self-focused and draw attention to the state of the person worshiping rather than on the God who commands all worship. Even the songs that are theologically accurate are still focused on the affirmation of self and “who I am” because of God rather than who God is.

This is clear in the lyrics of so many popular modern contemporary “worship” songs by popular groups like Hillsong and Bethel and artists such as Kari Jobe–all of whom have been previously written about at this blog. But another up-and-rising star in the modern contemporary worship movement is Charity Gayle.

A time will come when instead of shepherds feeding the sheep, the church will have clowns entertaining the goats! –Charles Spurgeon

Charity Gayle is a worship leader at Big House Church in Spring, TX, and is married to one of the pastors, Ryan Kennedy. Gayle is gaining popularity in Evangelical churches through much of her music, like Amen, which boasts, in her own words, a “powerful voice” with a “fresh yet reminiscent sound.” In short, people think Gayle’s music sounds really good to the ear–and, admittedly, it does. But what it lacks is good theology, the right focus, and reverence to God.

One of Gayle’s most popular songs today is a song called New Name Written Down in Glory. On the surface, and from the title, it sounds like it might be okay. But is it? Let’s look at the lyrics.

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A quick look at the lyrics reveals from a conservative count that the words “I,” “me,” “my,” or “mine” are repeated at least 101 times. Compared to “He,” “Jesus,” or any reference to God, 25 times. And, even when Jesus is mentioned, it’s only in reference to what He has done “for her.”

I’m so glad He changed me…
But Jesus pulled me out…
Jesus is mine…and He’s mine…

“Mine,” “mine,” “mine,” … that’s what this song is about.

The song is so full of references to herself that one wonders if Jesus even has any part in her worship experience. She seems to be so happy now about who she is and what she has; “There is a new name written down in glory
And it’s mine, yes, it’s mine.”

But perhaps the worst part of this song is when they begin a refrain towards the end that really takes the focus off of God and places it directly on themselves, in one of the most blasphemous, self-affirming ways, even by invoking the name of God for themselves. And it’s repeated eight times in succession.

I am who I am because the I Am tells me who I am
I am who I am because the I Am tells me who I am
I am who I am because the I Am tells me who I am
I am who I am because the I Am tells me who I am
I am who I am because the I Am tells me who I am
I am who I am because the I Am tells me who I am
I am who I am because the I Am tells me who I am
I am who I am because the I Am tells me who I am

Anyone who actually worships God knows that the name “I am” is reserved for God, yet, blasphemers like Joel Osteen and Steven Furtick regularly take this name and apply it to themselves. Now, through the musical apostasy of self-loving idolaters like Charity Gayle and her band, this prosperity gospel garbage is now being mainstreamed in Evangelical churches across the globe. If you don’t believe me, watch this garbage below and see how simple-minded pew-sitters react as they praise and worship themselves during this that they call “worship.”

It’s time churches abandon this junk and get back to worshiping the one true God.


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Steven Poole

Thank you for bringing attention to this subject! You’ll find this self-centered perspective in almost every “praise” song on the radio or sung in churches across the world. It has bothered me for years and it’s good to know that I’m not alone in finding it distasteful as well as counterproductive to true worship of the true God.


The fact that she is a Oneness Pentecostal who denies the Trinity, The Deity of the Son and the Eternal Sonship of Christ it’s not surprising that her lyrics are also non-biblical.


I echo Steven’s sentiment. This has been my experience as well and caused me to stop serving in the music ministry and attending at a supposedly orthodox church I’d been working with for years. It’s sad.

Hugh McCann

But, we *are* who we are because the I Am tells us whom we are, no?


This has been my complaint about worship music at my church for years. I’m sure they are tired of me saying that a worship song should have the words “I” “me” “mine” as the most used words in the song. I did not grow up singing classic hymns. Those I have heard are so rich and uplifting and worshipful.


Are you kidding me? Because someone loves Jesus a different way than that of religious judges….. Father forgive them for eating their own. If your heart doesn’t leap inside toward the Lord when she sings you are dead inside!

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