90 thoughts on “GOH: He Paid A Debt”

  1. Unimaginative chord progressions? Perhaps. Just as long as it doesn’t have an “evil” tri-tone(diminished fifth) in it.

    1. Yea verily, remember also brethren lest ye forget the evils of sliding and that old tool of the devil: the back beat, which doth lead to syncopation, which doth lead to dancing, which doth lead to pregnancy.

  2. Those evil microphone-holders. We’re better than them, because we don’t allow that in our church.

  3. If you ask me, it’s more like “chord transgressions!”…

    The mundane “hymnal routine” doesn’t allow for a sincerely delivered vocal performance, but rather just 3 gals singing in rote. Boring and typical of the Fundamental Baptist Church Sunday Music Special of a ladies group that has been chosen, not because of their talent but because of their “Five Star Christian” status, a sort of nepotism, while in the congregation is sitting REAL talent that is being stifled because they fall short of the proverbial “Mark”! What a shame!

    Like I said…. “Chord Transgressions” by barely mediocre voices!

    ~~~Heart (less) LOL 😯

    1. Wow, you nailed it with the Sunday music special nepotism observation. The music specials always seemed to carry the feeling of “you should be holy like these people” rather than, “let us worship our maker together.”

  4. Sang this song myself in a group many times. The arrangement is a bit different from the one that I sang but still the same sort of swinging honky tonk style. This would have been worth a big ” HAYMEN”.

    1. I was going to say that there seemed to be a couple sections that I sang a little differently, but maybe it was because the harmony was coming in louder. Or maybe I just remembered it wrong all these years!

    1. My best guess is the off camera piano player was also singing. I can’t tell, but is the only way quartet makes sense, or they just don’t realize quartet is 4, but the former seems more likely.

    2. Second verse has two voices and one pair of lips moving. lol So I would say the pianist is singing.

  5. Maybe the dreary weather in Philly this morning is affecting me, but I actually liked this song. The fact of the matter, however, is that in fundy circles “the debt” is never fully paid. You owe complete allegiance to the MOG and the standards of your IFB outpost to keep your account current.

    1. I too like this song, I’ve only ever heard it 1 place, and not for very long. I don’t mind simplistic tunes, which I gather this is.

  6. I think they did alright. The acoustics and the sound system on the other hand, were a little lacking. Better that they not try anything “fancy” and stay on tune than what happened the last time I went to local Fundy-lite church. Song leader was trying to get the congregation to sing a rather difficult arrangement of Charles Wesley hymn – I forget which one – and the cogregation (and most the choir too) wasn’t that talented. They boofed it. πŸ™‚

    1. The recording quality is not high– the piano mostly drowns out the singing. But maybe that’s a good thing.

        1. Yeah… it’s the truth though!

          But listen, all… I’m not sure if you are following all that is transpiring about jack schaap, but there was a request by the victims representation that the sentencing be extended.

          It was granted and is now re-scheduled for March 12 at 1:00 p.m., if my memory serves me right.

          I wanted to mention that people from the church have sent in letters in support for jack schaap requesting leniency in sentencing. I was surprised that there were only about 140 letters, I thought there would be more. But I am going to send a letter with how, in my life, there were way too many negative disciplines that robbed me from a “normal” life… you guys know all what I mean without me having to articulate events in the life of someone who was once fundy, attended the college, and was under that cultist conditioning!

          I would really like to see some letters sent to the presiding judge about how a man like jack schaap must serve a penalty, to punish his deeds of “sin” against a child and to keep him from harming others that he retains influence over (it’s the buzz that people are still seeking his counsel while in jail) and to show so many of these guilty fundy preachers, that their parishioners are not to be “preyed upon!”

          Those are just my thoughts. My life could have been so different if my parents had not gotten all caught up in the rules that these preachers purport to be directly from God!

          Thank you for your time in reading this. While I do believe that we should be forgiving, justice saves the children and reprimands the guilty!

          ~~~Heart 😐

        2. Jack Schaap’s legal team is arguing for the legal minimum sentence (which under federal law is 10 years), less than what the criminal law “guidelines” call for.

          Here’s Schaap’s argument for leniency, as reported in the Chicago Post Tribune (I’m linking to it on another site because the Post Tribune site requires registration):

          If you want to comment on what sentence Jack Schaap should receive, you can send a letter to the court. The judge is not required to do what the public wants, but he is allowed to take public comments into consideration.
          It appears from news reports that the case is now in front of Senior U.S. Judge Rudy Lozano. Here’s his business address:

          Senior Judge Rudy Lozano
          5400 Federal Plaza
          Suite 4300
          Hammond, IN 46320
          (219) 852-3600

          Please make sure any letters are courteously worded and on the subject of sentencing Schaap.

        3. Big Gary,

          Thanks so much for posting all that information!

          Now, my good people…

          A portion of an hour…
          A pen…
          A piece of paper…
          An envelope…
          A stamp…
          A good deed…
          A good conscience…
          A job well done!

          Be diligent!

          ~~~Heart πŸ˜‰

  7. I thought the ladies did a great job on the song, it blessed me!

    Unimaginative chord progressions? This type of “complaining” just to have “something” to complain about is why I don’t miss hanging around here as much as I used to!

    1. At least the chord progressions, though unimaginative, are (mostly) consonant. My attempts at composing were apparently so imaginative (or dissonant -potayto, potahto) that I consistently earned low marks!

      This is a song I was unfamiliar with before today. I’m always encouraged and humbled to hear about or meditate on Christ’s atonement, so I have to give it that. πŸ™‚

    2. Greg, you can’t miss hanging around here until you stop hanging around here.

      Just a little hint you may not have thought of. πŸ˜‰

  8. Many fundies seem to think that Quartet=singing group.
    While I was growing up I saw “quartets” with various numbers of singers. Occasionally, purely by happenstance, a quartet would consist of four singers.

  9. It is a quartet. On the second verse there is two part harmony so the piano player must be singing .

  10. I heard this in a Nazarene church service, and nearly lost it. I can’t hear this without thinking of the quartet that did it for our old ACE State Competitions. Memories no longer needed, thank you. πŸ™„

  11. I agree with Darrell. It’s not a bad song. The theology isn’t even inaccurate, as in many of the old choruses. It does appear to be a Fundy song, though. I remembered it from youth group singing back in the seventies. I had forgotten about it until a year and a half ago. I was helping in a small summer camp at a very Fundy church (long story-don’t ask.) This was the song they sang at each meal.

    It does make you wonder why, if the debt was paid, we have to continue paying it through legalism and “rules to live holy by”.

    1. It really depends on which atonement theory you believe, whether you consider it accurate theology or not. I don’t know of any denomination that rules OUT it being accurate, but some might not accept the whole debt idea. IIRC it’s one of the issues where Biblical theology itself is largely silent.

      1. Yes.
        The atonement doctrine is a very difficult one (and controversial within Christianity), and this song does nothing to shed any light on it. I’m not impressed by it.

        1. It actually wouldn’t bother me so much outside of fundy circles. Then again, most circles take a bit more of a “it’s poetry” attitude – just how literally one wishes to take the whole debt bit is up to you. In fundyville, however, you’d better not subscribe to any of those other liberal theories!

  12. They’re not THAT fundy–they’re holding the mikes, and they’re holding them WAY too close to their faces to be followers of the Old Paths.

  13. “Discussion question: does fundamentalism give rise to unimaginative chord progressions?”

    Oh, I don’t know. However, fundamentalism gives rise to imaginative modest outfits. See the chick in the middle? No one in the real world would wear that for the sake of modesty.

  14. We use a tape recorder at our church and don’t get special music often. I’d never noticed the last verse key change until the SFL article. Now I think of that article EVERY TIME(tried but can’t find it again). Music like this makes me wish to go back in time and hear what NT churches sounded like singing the Psalms.

      1. Lucky for them they also didn’t have a Baptist Hymnal. Born before the 1700’s need not apply. I don’t know where they got the tapes for this thing but the music sounds like Casio keyboard settings, it’s not even piano or organ.

  15. It’s not just the matter of the chord progressions, it’s the whole question of why fundamentalist and evangelical churches — particularly Baptist churches — are so stuck on trios, quartets and the like to begin with. I grew up on this kind of thing. It’s like they’re in a Southern, Depression-era time warp. There’s a mind-numbing sameness to it all.

  16. What I want to know is, what does CampMeetingGirl think? I’d love to hear her thoughts on the quartet, as well as as all the recent events inside of fundamentalism. Also, isn’t she betrothed? When are her upcoming nuptials scheduled to occur?

  17. I’ve never heard this song before. It’s sing-songy and repetitive but fairly tuneful; I’ve certainly heard worse. But here’s my dumb question (speaking as an outsider): If these folks prefer the Old Paths and all that, why don’t they sing some of the really great older stuff like “Be Thou My Vision” and “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”? Their idea of “old-fashioned” seems to be 1950s vintage. But some of the grandest old hymns are much older than that. (And I’m not even talking about plainchant and polyphony :mrgreen: — just about classic 19th-century Protestant hymnody, which includes some of the most wonderful hymns ever written.)

    1. Even Fundies can’t agree on ye olde pathes. πŸ˜‰ At my church growing up, this wasn’t sung, but Be Thou My Vision and Come, Thou Fount were staples. O Come, O Come Immanuel (based on plainchant) was a CHRISTmas favorite, as well.

      Basically, it all boils down to the pastor’s or music leader’s preference (which is treated with as much reverence as “thus saith the LORD”).

      1. LOL…now that you mention it, our local fundy radio station does play quite a bit of the great 19th-century stuff along with the tinkly sing-song piano stuff. And yes, they also play stuff whose plainchant provenance would probably shock them (assuming they don’t know about said provenance, which is a large and uncharitable assumption on my part).

        But I’m a fine one to talk about other people’s Bad Music. Over the past 30-odd years, we Catholics have been subjected to some of the ugliest unsingable dreck ever composed — all in the name of Relevance or something. (For Catholics, “relevance” means recycling stuff that was already dated by the late ’60s. πŸ˜† ) Fortunately our new young pastor is leading us away from this cr*p…and we, too, are rediscovering the riches of more traditional hymnody.

    2. We sang hymns (and revivalist-era gospel songs) every Sunday morning and evening, at least three each service. Churches I attended were good at singing a variety, although I’ve heard of some churches that seemed to just keep repeating endlessly the same 50 (or 30!)

      I think the distinction was that for SPECIAL music something that was different should be done. I know I was always disappointed if someone got up to sing and they sang a hymn out of the hymnbook. I’d think, “That’s not special!” I think we wanted to hear something we didn’t hear all the time; something that we didn’t usually sing ourselves. However, we were extremely limited in that because we couldn’t sing anything much newer than the 1970s lest we contaminate ourselves with the evil that was contemporary Christian music. Then came Ron Hamilton and everyone breathed a sigh of relief: new music that was acceptable!

      (BTW, we did sing “Come Thou Fount”, but “Be Thou My Vision” was one I’d never heard until I got to BJU; I loved it!)

  18. Maybe not a bad song, but not a good one — not well done. The piano is too loud and making it hard to hear the words. In addition, the harmony seemed off to me.

  19. I never asked jesus to pay off my debts. Since when he did ask for my consent to pay of my debt? (Funny I still get my mortgage payment every month). Legally since he did it without my consent, I don’t own him anything.

    1. He paid it without us asking for it, but he doesn’t force you to accept it. You can choose to accept his on your behalf or, if you choose not to, payment of the debt is up to you.

  20. It king of reminds me of some of the music played in “O Brother where art thou”. It is not the best performance ever, but it would be a pity if the genre completely died out.

    1. Squiz, I had that same impression! I don’t think it’s as good as the best examples of that genre, like “I’ll Fly Away” or “Down in the River to Pray.” But it does have the same sort of sound.

      I don’t think that music will die out anytime soon. It’s classic Appalachian “mountain music,” and there is a large and appreciative audience for that.

      1. I know something about those traditions, and calling that song “classic Appalachian mountain music” is an insult to Appalachian music.

        1. LOL!!! No, I meant “I’ll Fly Away,” etc., not the song at the top of this thread.

          I think this song has a (kinda-sorta) similar sound, but I agree that the quality is far inferior. No comparison.

        2. Now that IS a classic, sung here in the classic Appalachian style. Hooray!

          But they won’t get much Fundy cred with those risque dresses– their knees are almost showing, and one of them has bare shoulders!

        3. @CGC,
          As a born and bred Appalachian-American I thank ye kindly for that music video. Good stuff!

        4. @Crasher–Thanks. I really like that style, as well as the Wailin’ Jennys. I don’t remember when I first heard of them, though. I see from YouTube the video was done in Berkley. I just got back from a walk to some shops in Berkley. I fly back to Georgia on the red-eye tonight.

        5. Thanks, Big Gary, Uncle Wilver & Apathetic…my pleasure (re the YouTube clip).

          Apathetic or Whatever, I am so jealous. I’m a Massachusetts Yankee, and I didn’t discover Appalachian music and culture until we moved down here to North Carolina 23-plus years ago. I love it here, love the culture, would never dream of moving back to the frigid Northeast. (We visited our old Mass. and Vermont stomping grounds back in June, and it was so depressing! So glad to be here in the NC foothills now.)

  21. Darrell, the reason you haven’t heard it outside of Fundy circles is that the tune is dull, the words are boring, the arrangement is lackluster, and the underlying theology is simplistic and somewhat wrong-headed.

    There. How’s that for complaining, Greg? πŸ˜›

  22. Discussion question: does fundamentalism give rise to unimaginative chord progressions?

    Not uniquely. Have you heard the worship music most evangelical churches use? :mrgreen:

  23. No. Bad musicians give rise to bad chord progressions.

    IFB churches just have a plethora of those musicians. :mrgreen:

  24. I listened to the “debt song” again this morning. I really don’t think it’s that bad. Not great, but I have definitely heard worse. And those girls are so sweet, sincere, and winsome.

    But I agree that this is not exactly All-Time Great Hymnody. Still, not unpleasant.

    OK, I will shut up now. πŸ˜€

  25. Actually, I like this song. Haven’t heard it in a long while. Thanks for sharing.

    I worked with music in our church for a while. We had a problem getting people with talent to get involved in our music program. Is this true of all fundy churches, is it true of most churches, or were we just a musically challenged bunch? I don’t hear of as many kids taking piano lessons, etc., as I did when I was younger.

    My point is, it’s rare that I’ve been in a church with “great” music (regardless of style or preference). The ones that have it usually have resources to pay professionals. Are we just spoiled because we have so much access to good music through radio/online/downloads? Or is the reason that we find so many horrendous examples of church music is because there simply isn’t a lot of developed talent out there?

    1. I think it’s true of most churches!

      But I shall say no more, on the remote off-chance that members of my parish choir may lurk here. :mrgreen:

      1. And I agree–the exceptions are usually churches with the resources to pay professionals.

        (OK, I feel guilty about my last comment. I should stipulate that we have a wonderful choir director. I think he feels that frustration you speak of — i.e., “why can’t we attract more choir members with genuine vocal / musical talent?”

    2. Yes, the Indy Fundies are a musically challenged bunch, but that is by choice. It wasn’t always true. I remember fantastic music from my childhood. Everybody in the church knew how to sing parts, which became obvious every time the song leader would hush the instruments and go a capella. We had multiple fantastic instrumentalists, too.


      A darkness swept through the movement, as seminaries started producing control freaks to an alarming extent. As a result, you now have to be related to the pastor if you want to participate with any degree of freedom. Otherwise, you will be micromanaged by a man who will tell you (regularly and repeatedly) how he doesn’t sing and doesn’t know anything about music. Or you will be micromanaged by his 16-year-old daughter, who gets a little bit too much pleasure out of having control over people who were performing in select groups quite a few years before she was born.

      Few skilled musicians can stand to be treated like a child by a man who has already declared his ignorance and lack of skill (or by his daughter), so they don’t participate in the music of the church.

      It’s very sad.

    1. I was part of the BJU music back in the day, traveling with their Eastern European choir. That was 20 years ago. I suppose they would have some complaints about this, but thank God, I have forgotten what those complaints might be.

  26. Gaaahhh…
    A constant refrain of my years around my mother was her not getting to be in these groups… she always complained that only the popular ladies or staff wives got to be in the trios, duets, quartets, ensembles, you name it… I remember a particular time in late elementary school where my mom sang “Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus” over and over and over and over and over for several days because one of the popular ladies was going to finally give her an audition…
    The lyrics of this song always got on my nerves… “He paid a debt He did not owe, I owed a debt I could not pay, I needed someone to wash my sins away…” almost like the songwriter was trying to be too clever with words and ended up being over-obvious to the point of being twee… as a matter of fact, “twee” describes a lot of the music sung in IFB churches by ladies’ groups.

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