GOH: Thank You

It seems bizarre in retrospect that this song made it into the canon of acceptable music in so many fundy churches. Here we have a contemporary song sung in an “emotional style” by a singer with long hair who eventually came out as gay — all things that should have completely made this song off limits. Yet none of these anathemas stopped fundies all over the country from cleaning up this song and featuring it in their missions conferences.

I think the redeeming quality that made fundamentalists want to give this particular musical selection a pass was simply that this is an extremely man-centered and guilt-inducing song. Essentially it’s telling you that if you give your last five dollars in the offering plate RIGHT NOW then people will come up and thank you when you get to heaven. Otherwise it will be YOUR FAULT that they aren’t there.

If you ever want to send former fundy missionary kids running screaming from a church service just have someone get up and sing this as a special.

112 thoughts on “GOH: Thank You”

  1. As an aside: I’ve never been a huge fan of this song although I don’t particularly hate it. πŸ™‚

  2. Such an atrocious song. I’m trying all the known brain bleach in the world right now to stop it from playing in my head and I refuse to watch the video.

    You nailed it about why fundies like it though. Guilt-inducing, man-centered from beginning to end, and littered with bad theology. Wait. That sounds like almost every sermon I ever heard growing up.

    1. Dear Eric:

      The IFB Christian sub-culture has no choice but to receive this because it encapsulates their essential spirit and belief system.

      It is equally telling in inverse fashion that no self-respecting IFB sect would sing that musical monstrosity of Jean Cauvin at http://tinyurl.com/99npoqy .

      What a shame it is almost always sung with the admittedly beautiful tune, β€˜Toulon’ and so seldom to the majestic β€˜Old One Hundred-First’ from the Genevan Psalter.

      Christian Socialist

      1. Wow, I greet thee who my sure redeemer art, I’m sure there was a pre fundy back then ranting and raving aginst this CCM even back in 1551. That is tough to digest. Does anyone actually sing that in church anymore?

        1. Dear Vantastic:

          This hymn most assuredly is sung. Moreover, my church sings it to the tune I mentioned, the old one-hundred first as found in the psalter at Calvin’s Geneva. Blessings!

          Christian Socialist

      2. Wow, I guess after listening to it again, I could see a Fundy U singing it in that operatic style and NOBODY understanding a thing that was sung. Growing up in a fundy church, I doubt they would have sung this tongue twisting monstrosity.

    2. Completely atrocious. Boltz’s music made me want to stick my fingers in my ears and yell “Lalalallalallalallalala!”

    1. Come to think of it, I learned to resent a lot of the tools they used to manipulate us into giving more and more and more money.

      Our Fundy church reworked Clay Crosse’s “I Surrender All” to make it less CCM-ish and used it for each Annual Building Banquet.

      I don’t like that song anymore either.


        1. Shandurlki – my knee-jerk response to your query is, “Why should it matter to you?”

          The answer is, Mark Lowry has never stated he is gay. People simply speculate (cough*gossip*cough) because he has never married and reproduced like he “should” have.

      1. AAARGH! Autotune!

        Read an interview with Sting awhile back ( I <3 Sting) and they asked him about Autotune. He hates it. He says that if you're going to be in the business, you should "f****** learn how to sing!"

  3. I never liked or disliked it. It’s just another cheesy song designed to tug the heart strings of the easily led. Fundy, non-fundy. Doesn’t matter. They’re out there looking for someone to fleece lead them.

      1. When posting, you can use the “strike” tag not like this like this. The new (HTML 5) tag is “del”. Does it work? Maybe.

        1. Gasp! It worked. I’m a computer flunkie. Nothing like this ever works for me so this is quite a breakthrough. Thank you for making my day!

    1. It should work from any computer. As long as George doesn’t interfere. When I want to try a new html command, I just type something like “html italics” into a search engine, then follow the instructions.

  4. “If you ever want to send former fundy missionary kids running screaming from a church service just have someone get up and sing this as a special.”

    True that, we would hear it in churches every so often. Eventually my dad actually started preaching against it.

    1. Above: “Yet none of these anathemas stopped fundies all over the country from cleaning up this song and featuring it in their missions conferences.”

      I just figured there would be a lame cleaned up version out there. Maybe they are too ashamed to record it?

      How about a barber shop version? That would keep some of us up tremor-ing tonight.. πŸ’‘

  5. This song drives me insane. Musically, it seems to have no purpose in mind, especially on the verses.

    The words are just as bad. It seems the thought of anyone singing this song is, “I can’t wait until I get to heaven so I can be congratulated by all my minions. Oh, and God (better throw that in the bridge, so no one thinks we are heathen).”

  6. Interestingly enough, Ray Boltz had a few other “crossover” hits with fundamentalists. I’ve heard “Watch the Lamb”, “He’s Alive”, & “The Anchor Holds” in fundy settings. And a fundy preacher once recommended the video to “I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb.”

    So what’s the attraction to Boltz music among fundies?

    1. “So what’s the attraction to Boltz music among fundies?”

      Good point. Who would enjoy a slightly shit version of a generally shirt art form (pop music)… ?

    2. My idiot cousin once recorded “He’s Alive” as a gift for my grandparents. Except she never enunciated when she sang and so the chorus featured her shrieking what sounded like “he’s a-lie”. Good memories. 😈

    3. um “He’s Alive” was Don Francisco (unless there’s another one by Ray Boltz that I never heard…even having been to two Ray Boltz concerts in my childhood)

      just had to comment, sorry… “He’s Alive” is one of those songs I can’t help but laugh at though because of the weird (more than) vibrato going on in the chorus… Gary Chapman once (back when he was still married to Amy Grant) made a joke while hosting “20 the Countdown Magazine” (CCM music countdown radio show for anyone who was still stuck in fundy-land then) that to sing it, he had Amy jump up and down on his stomach while he sang…

    4. Funny you brought up The Anchor Holds. A few months back, I flipped (out of curiousity) to the Sonlife channel (Jimmy Swaggart’s network), and the Living Waters music show they had; the first song shown was Jimmy singing “The Anchor Holds”.

      I said to myself, “News about Boltz coming out of the closet must be traveling very slow”. πŸ˜•

  7. I had a missionary friend who wrote some alternative lyrics to this. All I can remember is the first verse.

    “I dreamed I went to the 7-11
    and you were there with me
    I bought a beer that was cold
    and you bought a big Slurpee”

    I wish I could remember the rest of his very irreverent lyrics.

  8. My former fundy church would involve the children’s and teen choir in this song at various conferences or “catch the vision” nights. We sang it over and over so everyone could hear the voices of children tug at those last stubborn, rebellious heart strings hanging on to their wicked money that the church so desperately wanted. Also, usually the guest speaker would repreach his sermon while we sang, over and over and over. Quite the act. Full of hype, guilt & condemnation. Mmmmm, don’t miss it. πŸ˜•

  9. I was thinking about why I liked this song. And I realized – it’s the spirit of thankfulness, and how it’s reassuring those of us who are Christians that the Lord uses what we do for Him. I, fortunately, had never heard this song as a manipulative tool, so I just thought of how the people that this song had been helped and how they were so thankful, and how the song says that our work for the Lord is not in vain. I am sad it has been used as a manipulative tool in so many churches; I am sure that’s not how Boltz meant it. πŸ˜₯

    1. I always liked this one too. I never heard it used as manipulation, so I could always enjoy it as a reassurance that God knows all the tiny things we do day after day after day, never seeing any return, and someday in heaven we’ll see (perhaps) that God used those seemingly insignificant things to impact people in powerful ways for His kingdom.

      I knew it was sentimental, but I liked it!

      1. I have to say “me too” – I only heard this twice, I think, and it was always a way to say thank you in a song. I only remember it because one of the times, the person singing it broke down in tears as he was thinking of the words.

        (I’ve only heard the cleaned-up version, and didn’t know it was a Boltz song until today).

        It is awesome to think (if true) that our small, forgotten acts may be remembered and we can learn of the impact they made on a life.

      2. I’d grown accustomed to only hymns or songs from the 40s or 50s for special music, then a few Ron Hamilton songs started being used, so when I first heard Ray Boltz, I loved how passionate and contemporary, in comparison, that his songs were.

        (I have tons of obscure songs like this in my head: “God hath not promised skies always blue, Flower-strewn pathways all our lives through; God hath not promised sun without rain, Joy without sorrow, peace without pain”. Compared to this, “Thank You” was a relief! lol)

        I’ve also got at least a decade on many of you, so what sounded “fresh” to me was probably dated and corny to you!

    2. Beth, the only reason people don’t like it is because some fundies like it too. But if anyone does NOT like this song it means they are radically homophobic. Hahahah….the rich irony. You people just can’t win on this one. You don’t dare be anything close to fundy, but yet you don’t dare come close to saying that the homosexual lifestyle may not be the best way to live. Your head is going to explode from the confusion.

      1. I think that some people don’t like it because it is used to manipulate people.

        As for fearing being homophobic…uh, yeah. Nice try. I have no issues with gay people. But that doesn’t mean that everything they do is beyond criticism. Bad music is bad music regardless of the artist’s sexuality.

        1. Yep.
          Good music by gay people: Good.
          Bad music by gay people: Bad.
          Good music by straight people: Good.
          Bad music by straight people: Bad.

          For that matter:
          Good music by anybody: Good.
          Bad music by anybody: Bad.

  10. The pastor of an IFB church I attended in the early 1990s would get groups of the church’s young people to go to concerts like Ray Boltz, Mark Lowry, Billy and Sarah Gaines, and Michael English. He would always have us leave before the end of the concert though to avoid the altar call. I think he couldn’t stand the thought of anyone from his church going forward in a non-IFB church.

    His teenage daughter covered “Thank You” at least once a month– about as often as he floated the idea of a “paycheck Sunday” in his sermons.

  11. “If you ever want to send former fundy missionary kids running screaming from a church service just have someone get up and sing this as a special.”

    Hmmm. Next time Dar-El crashes a party, we’ll know how to make him go home. 😈

  12. Apalling theology: Check.
    Music that grates on the ears: Check.
    Overwrought, atrocious singing style: Check.
    Very crass emotional manipulation: Check.
    Gratuitous string section: Check.

    This song could be the Fundy national anthem.

    Bonus: Two terrible perms on display– I can’t wait to see Natalie’s take on the hair!

    1. The fundy circles I grew up in wouldn’t have allowed this song for association’s sake alone – he was known as a contemporary artist and had long hair. As an adult in a fundy-lite church, we did sing this for specials, but not for invitations.

      1. It really is amusing how many “inspirational” artists back in the day had long hair though… The not quite fundy churches I grew up in would have given looks at any guy who walked in the door with long hair…unless they were Ray Boltz or Wayne Watson… (or later Guy Penrod of the Gather Vocal Band)…

        I mean it’s anticipated that Christian Rock and perhaps CCM folk would have long hair (Petra, White Heart, I mean you can’t be the Christian version of arena rock without long hair, duh!) but why were all the “Inspirational” guys running around with long hair too? that’s what still makes no sense to me… their market was the folk who weren’t quite comfortable with CCM or Christian Rock… so why didn’t they go for shorter hairdos to gain an even bigger market?

        1. Who gives a flyin rip about hair length. Seriously, only the really wacko right wing Fundies care. And they are such a teeny tiny itsy bitsy slice of evangelical churches that singers don’t care one whit about them. Fundies think that they are seriously considered in things like this, but they aren’t.

        2. I didn’t say they should have – just that if my women ordaining conservative church had issues with hair length *that* long (it was more it got second looks than anyone actually saying anything), and these folks were clearly not appealing to the broader spectrum of Christianity anyway, it just seems odd to me that they weren’t trying to play to their audience more…that’s all… In reality I think it’s probably pretty cool of them to go against their main audience, I just thought it was odd was all…

          I certainly never had a problem with it, but then I didn’t stick to ONLY inspirational like these folks – I was listening to CCM and Christian rock too…

    2. FLASH – FLASH – FLASH –

      Big Gary slams another one home!

      Christian Socialist

    3. Big Gary acting exactly like fundies do when they proclaim that CCM is wrong: Big check

      Ironic humor of this: check again

        1. Dear Big Gary:

          I’m glad you covered your flanks. As you know, every misstep will be recorded and remembered.

          Christian Socialist

  13. After I escaped from teaching in Christian school to a Catholic school, I had hoped to never have to hear this song again. But lo and behold, one year the parents threw us a teacher appreciation brunch (on an inservice day) and to make it extra special played a song for us before serving.

    This song.

    While many teachers who had never heard it before found it touching and lovely, I nearly broke out in hives.

  14. Wow! I’ve listened to several of his songs that came up on the YouTube playlist – signature sappy with a heavy dose of guilt seems to be this guy’s trademark.

    My old fundy church didn’t allow us to know about this singer so we were spared “Thank You” until one night a preacher boy got up and at the end of his sermon he asked if anyone knew that song. No one knew it except for the preacher boy’s wife and a teen bus kid, so those two sang it accapella for the entire altar call. It was so manipulative that I still remember it years later, having only heard the song that one time before today. It stuck with me.

    Interestingly enough, we heard “I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb” as a cleaned up version in our camp meeting one year. We loved that song, but most of us had no clue where the song came from.

    Those are some awesome memories. Thanks for this, Darrell.

  15. Selling Indulgences, Are We?

    … if you give your last five dollars in the offering plate RIGHT NOW then people will come up and thank you when you get to heaven.

    ‘As soon as a coin in the coffer rings,
    A soul from purgatory springs.’

    It worked for John Tetzel.
    Pope Leo must be laughing in hell.

    Christian Socialist

    1. This was my initial thought too, CS. Having grown up in this environment, I find myself outright rejecting any kind of man-centric, guilt-driven thought process.

      I do a lot of music arranging (and I find myself being more and more appreciative of the old meter and regulative worship that some still embrace today), but I had a dear lady ask me to make a new arrangement of “I’ll Wish I Had Given Him More.” πŸ™„ It made me really think…

      At the end of the day, I think many Christians (most notably IFB) want the guilt/sorrow/self-worthlessness because those feelings are associated (in their minds) with consecration or sanctification. Just like buying indulgences or purging of wrong doings through corporal mortification.

      Sorry for the rambling, I just mean to say – if those feelings make them “feel” more holy, then I have two questions:
      1. Why should their music reflect anything differently?
      2. How sad must their life be and how insulting is it to Christ, in light of His love and sacrifice?

      For the record, I do not write this purely from a spectator’s POV, I have been in the midst of it, been part of it, and been set free from it.

      1. Dear PixelMaker:

        Ahh – so you also live life surrounded by music!


        Your observation is entirely correct that there is no reason whatsoever for which music would not reflect our theology. Indeed, it is the music which a congregation sings that reflects the faith and theology that it truly holds.

        An aesthetically intelligent person, you know intuitively that so much worship passes quickly from the scene because the authors knew naught of the rules of composition. Look at the authors of the tunes we use across the centuries:

        etc., etc.,

        Who would want to sing campfire songs by Ira Sankey? Are they drunk?

        On your related point, the paucity of so much ‘worship’ [liturgical chaff in my opinion] is never more apparent as when placed beside truly worshipful music. In that spirit …

        Have you met this glorious piece, Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wl4u8lnDQs

        Better known but also beautiful is Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted at

        Fernando Ortega is too stylized for my liking [snob for classical], but his renditions certainly show the beauty and power of ancient songs to express trust in and love toward God. Jesus, Lover of My Soul is well known, but it is [in my opinion] never more beautiful when sung to the Aberystwyth tune. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffUsrMJAxeQ&feature=related

        I doubt you’ve ever met the magnificent Dutch hymn, usually used as service closes, Ere zij God [Glory to God] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-8i3qGKLuc&feature=related . Find English lyrics at

        Also, listen to this rendition at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uqKcVEp5Pc&feature=related , where it is used at a Christmas Concert.

        You must have some favorite tunes …

        Christian Socialist

  16. Never liked this song or boltz’s singing.

    I’ll just take my old Carman tapes and go sit in the corner.

    1. “cha-ye-an-ged” for some reason doesn’t bother me as much as Phillips Craig and Dean’s pronounciation of “Let your” in “Shine on Us” – “Lord…let chore light…” (every single time…)

  17. I grew up non-fundy, but… well something close to (women were allowed on the church board, and technically allowed to be ordained though we never saw any – but at the same time we were running around in blue jean skirts and keds tennis shoes and listening to the “Inspirational” instead of the “CCM” charts)

    Anyway…this song makes me cry everytime… I didn’t even watch it and I about cry. But what I’m curious is whether the rest of the early Ray Boltz classics like “Watch the Lamb” and “The Altar” made it into fundy churches or not… Do I listen to Ray Boltz all the time now? no, but I do think his stuff has better staying power than Carman at least =) lol…

  18. I heard this song a LOT in the fundy-lite church in which I grew up as a child. People would sing it for “Special Music”, and it was all I could do to sit there and squirm in my shame and guilt because I hadn’t “given enough” to the Lord. I’d never taught Sunday School, and I thought missionary stories were sad and vaguely creepy in a why-are-you-trying-to-make-me-feel-so-guilty? sense. What was worse was that I couldn’t talk about it with anybody, because they all believed 100%. I doubt if I believed 50%.

    My horrible, secret question was, “How come all of these poor children in foreign countries have to go to hell if they’ve never heard of Jesus or accepted him? How is that fair, even if they DO make mistakes?”

  19. I’m an admin asst at a church and the pastoral staff was just talking about this guy. They wanted to use a song for a special service, but the Sr. pastor was conflicted because he is gay. They settled for using the song but giving a “disclaimer” beforehand. Something along the lines of “God can still use this song to glorify Him, but we are saddened that man who wrote it has gone down the path he has.”

      1. He is fundy-lite, and uses the NIV and has a praise band. He is against women in visual leadership, and has said on multiple occasions that one can’t be both a democrat and a christian. Halloween is evil, and Christmas trees can’t be used in the church. But he insists he’s not legalistic. But he wouldn’t let Scofield be a deacon.

  20. This song doesn’t make a big juicy pimple on the backside of that all-time dog of Christian Music…”The Christmas Shoes”
    If you want a hysterical…albeit profane commentary on that putrid Seasonal offering, go on Youtube and watch comedian Patton Oswalts unbelievable spot-on lyric-by-lyric dismantling of “The Christmas Shoes” Warning on language but man does he nail the fallacy of modern CCM and man will your sides hurt from laughing

    1. When I taught at Catholic school, we had “prayer service” twice a week. Basically, a 15 minute gathering in the gym where someone read a short devotional and a prayer was said. Sometimes people went out of the box and had video or music. Every year at Christmas time, someone would haul the Christmas Shoes song out at a prayer service admonishing us all to listen carefully for the important message.

      I really wish Patton Oswalt could have made an appearance to clarify the important messages in that song. Before I ever heard him, I always thought that the appropriate response for the adults in the story would have been calling child services.

    2. I hate this song, because my suitemate at school played it over and over and over etc.

    3. 😯 “The Christmas Shoes” has got to be the most colossal pile of glurge ever assembled in one place.

  21. Watching this video, I am struck by two things:
    1. I think that the Reformed Presbyterians are the ones that have it right…they sing only the Psalms and they sing them acapela, and
    2. This guy looks like a protypical 70s porn star (cheezy perm, moustache, etc). I am totally freaked-out.

  22. I remember hearing this song at my old church. This is such man-glorifying puke.

  23. My adopted parents used to travel with Ray; they sang back-up. His wife and family were devasted when he “came out”. I never cared for his music. And why any fundy would like his music is beyond me, as he was a Charismatic.

  24. When I was kid, I’d get this song confused with the song “Friends” (you know, “Packing up the dreams God’s planted, in the fertile soil of you….” What does that even mean?). Both were sung intermittently at graduations or when a staff member/teacher moved away.

  25. When we took our children out of the “Christian” school attached to our IFB church because they were bullied and getting inferior education, our dear friends went from warm to polite overnight. Our pastor made subtile references to us from the pulpit. Our children were mocked in Sunday School. Yet we were too brainwashed and fearful to leave the church. It was our life.

    One night during this miserable, lonely, time, I heard over the car radio Roy Boltz’s “When Others see a Shepherd Boy, God may see a King”. I pulled into a Shoney’s parking lot and cried–good tears. We found the courage to leave that cult. So I do thank Mr. Boltz for helping me realize that their opinions did not matter. That was over 20 years ago. No regrets except that we didn’t escape earlier. But still, it’s all good!

  26. Ray came to my church to sing about six months ago and, up until that time, I had never heard of him. In the morning, he sang, “The Anchor Holds,” and I thought it was a great song. I heard this one in his evening concert though and was totally blown away at how bad it is. Having grown up IFB, I can’t believe that this is actually sung by them today….. Wow.

  27. When I was steeped in man centered fundydom, I have to admit I liked this song. It pushed all the right buttons.

    Now, I’m not just ambivalent about the song. I cringe at it. The manipulation is atrocious, but what’s worse is the thought that in Heaven someone other than God will be given credit for the work that God did. Ugh.

    1. “…the thought that in Heaven someone other than God will be given credit for the work that God did. Ugh.” That is it. You have found the center of the entire IFB universe. My performance (everything I deem as “right” soul winning, dress, music etc.) is an instrument to control God and force him to recognize ME.

  28. I remembered this post when our worship leader sang this song yesterday. He said, before singing, that this song is about how we all make a difference, even if we think we don’t. How just living our lives as Christians makes a difference even if we don’t see it, and he was saying thank you to each and every one of us. Very positve. πŸ˜€

    1. That’s how I always saw the song too, but I can see how it could be a tool of manipulation and guilt in the wrong hands!

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