Theological Song Review: Firm Foundation by The Belonging Co. Ft. Cody Carnes – 35/100.

The song “Firm Foundation” was released in 2021 by The Belonging Co. (Cody Carnes and Kari Jobe’s “worship collective”) as a single. The Belonging Co. describes itself as a “church movement” that has “become known as a place to find freedom, breakthrough, and healing through God’s Word, His presence and worship.”

Note: For a full explanation of the rubric and a primer on our scoring methodology, click here.

Doctrinal Fidelity and Clarity: On a cursory listen, the song is mainly faithful to biblical doctrine. The lyrics are written around Matthew 7:24-27, where Jesus describes the difference between the house built on the sands of false belief and false hope (leading to eternal destruction) versus the house built on the rock of Christ (enduring to the end). The believing Christian will read between the lines, seeing the true faithfulness of Christ in lines like “He’s faithful through generations” and “I’m standing strong in you.” Unfortunately, the lost person or less mature believer will find plenty of opportunities to graft their own meaning on what Jesus’ faithfulness is to them, and especially what Jesus never letting them down is supposed to mean. 15/25.

Doctrinal Specificity: Despite regular references to the imagery of the house built on Jesus, the song never addresses anything specific about Jesus other than general faithfulness. This unspecificity, unfortunately, allows listeners/worshipers to insert their own meaning into what Christ’s faithfulness means – is it faithfulness to save from our sins, or might it be faithfulness to take care of whatever temporal issue concerns us at the moment? The song makes no distinction and doubles down with the lyrical self-focus typical of a Carnes song. 10/20.

Focus: As with so many popular modern praise songs, the lyrical point of view is first person, focusing on my role in my relationship with God. The song starts off with “my foundation,” my decisions, and the chorus characterizes God’s faithfulness as valid because of my perseverant decision. Out of the 28 lyrical lines in the song, 19 are self-referencing. No line in the song mentions “us” or the people of God in any way – strange for a song clearly written for corporate worship. Carnes basically gives himself credit for what should be credited to God. 5/20.

No lyrics have even been sung.

Association: Cody Carnes and his wife Kari Jobe are in partnership with Gateway Church, a seeker-sensitive megachurch that promotes New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) false doctrine. See more here.

The Belonging Co. is a charismatic “church” in Nashville that ordains female “pastors” and offers this neuchurch description: We desire encounter over entertainment, intimacy over industry, presence over presentation, people over position, and Jesus over everything.

Huh?

This is yet another unfortunate church-band combo organization that mixes (no pun intended) church and music industry together to form a kind of “emotion club” for spiritual consumers. 0/20.

Two fake pastors.

Musical Value: There is a reason that contemporary Christian praise and worship music has the reputation of being the easiest, cheapest, cookie-cutter music in the world. Because it is. And when called out for its cheap formulaic nature, the answer is usually that the music is a vehicle for the meaning of the song. The problem is that the lyrics are similarly vapid. Look at most modern worship lyrics apart from their musical context, and they look like they were generated by the Random Christian Phrase Machine™ rather than any effort to express glorious theological truth about God.

This is no less true with “Firm Foundation,” which uses the exact same repetitive tropes as every other emotionally manipulative repetition fest churned out by the brainless CCM machine, ready to give hand-raising drones the Jesus fix they have clearly become addicted to. The musical execution is clean and professional, although there is no instrumental or vocal virtuosity whatsoever. 5/15.

Total Score: 35/100. Seriously, stop playing this garbage. God deserves so much better than this.

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