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Have you ever listened to Contemporary Christian Music or "worship music" and thought you were hearing the same lines and messages too often? Chances are you were.
In this article, I want to take a look at just one message that finds itself in several songs in the world of CCM today. That message is anything along the lines of "chain breaker" or "break the chains". I actually left out a good bit of songs that could've almost qualified (with lines like "released from my chains", "lift the chains", etc.).
I had recently finished going through and looking at almost every song in the CCLI Top 100, and I just remembered reading so many of the same lyrics over and over. So I picked one common message ("chain breaker", etc.) and I asked our Facebook Group for any worship songs they knew of that contained anything around breaking chains. As usual, the group came through with several songs with at least one lyric on breaking the chains.
Below is the list we came up with (I'm sure there are more).
Lyric: "There is power in the name of Jesus to break every chain"
Written by: Will Reagan
Lyric: "Every chain is broken through You"
Written by: William Matthews
Lyric: "You have broken every chain"
Written by: Brian Johnson, Phil Wickham
Lyric: "He's a chain breaker"
Written by: Jonathan Smith, Mia Fieldes, Zach Williams
Lyric: "Breaker of chains"
Written by: Chris Quilala, Hank Bentley, Phil Wickham
Lyric: "Chainbreaker, heart Savior, Jesus the great redeemer"
Written by: Brian Bergman, Charlie Hall, Dustin Ragland, Kendall Combes, Quint Anderson
Lyric: "Come break the chains, the chains that hinder love
All that remains of yester year
Come break the chains, the chains that pull me down
Come break the chains and draw me near"
Written by: Misty Edwards
Lyric: "You have broken every bond and chain"
Written by: Jeremy Riddle
Lyric: "You have broken every chain with love and mercy"
Written by: Brian Johnson, Jeremy Riddle, Joel Taylor
Lyric: "When the chains start breaking"
Written by: Brandon Lake, Chris Brown, Steven Furtick
Lyric: "And every chain will break… His blood breaks the chains"
Written by: Brenton Brown, Brian Johnson, Leeland Mooring
Lyric: "Every chain of the past, You've broken in two"
Written by: Chris Llewellyn, Gareth Gilkeson
Lyric: "For Jesus Christ has broken every chain"
Written by: Chris Brown, Steven Furtick
Lyric: "We shout the name, that will break every chain"
Written by: Chris Brown, Mack Brock, Steven Furtick, Wade Joye
Lyric: "Breaking every chain, You set us free"
Written by: Matt Crocker, Joel Houston
Lyric: "Calling on Your Name
Breaking every chain"
Written by: Joel Houston
Lyric: "You broke my chains"
Written by: Unable to Locate
Lyric: "I will crush disappointment and break every chain
All of my fear, I will turn into praise"
Written by: Brandon Lake, Dante Bowe, Hannah McClure, Michaela Gentile
One could say that this message has been covered...
This type of thing is not surprising when you have a worship music "industry". Keep in mind that this is just one example of many. I may take a look into the other common messages like: breakthrough, never let me down, dry bones, fear, giants, and others.
I realize some messages are not avoidable and need to be covered over and over, but those would be lines that have a gospel message or something about God's attributes that mirrors a distinct teaching in Scripture. For instance, calling our Lord "Savior".
The message of break the chains is likely meant to convey that God frees us from our sins and addictions. This is true! However, we have a plethora of words in the English language that we can use to convey that message.
CCM, as a whole, could stand to write about Jesus' substitutionary death for our sins a good bit more. It's often more about God "making a way" for us in the struggles or fears of this life. Again, He does that for sure, but the greatest message in existence is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Unfortunately, based on the repetitive messages found in many CCM songs, writers have figured out what "works". "Chains" have been big for a while now, and I think it's time we broke CCM lyrics free from the chains they are in.
Meaningful lyrics are still being written, and they stick out like a sore thumb to those who pay attention to what they're singing or listening to. Until we stop listening to songs designed to sell, we'll keep hearing textbook songs of the industry.