Call To Repentance (CTR) songs are designed to convict the listener of his own sin. Here is an example of CTR lyrics, from Keith Green’s Asleep in the Light (1978). Where are the CTR songs today?
“Oh, bless me, Lord! Bless me, Lord!” You know, it’s all I ever hear!
No one aches, No one hurts, No one even sheds one tear
But, He cries, He weeps, He bleeds, And He cares for your needs
And you just lay back, And keep soaking it in. Oh, can’t you see such sin?!
‘Cause He brings people to your door and you turn them away as you smile and say:
“God bless you! Be at peace!” And all Heaven just weeps ’cause Jesus came to your door
You left Him out on the streets
Most contemporary worship songs today focus on comfort and assurance whereas CTR songs point out our shortcomings. CTR songs are anything but positive and encouraging.
Most of today’s praise songs are sung from the perspective of the disciple, CTR songs are sung from the perspective of God. In praise and worship, we are the speaker, telling God how we feel about him. With CTR, God is the speaker, telling us how he feels about us.
it’s easy to see why CRT songs seem so out of place in church today. It’s easy to tell God how wonderful he is. It’s hard to hear how depraved we are.
I believe Keith Green’s songs are the slap in the face we need today to spur us on to greater obedience. They focus on our actions, not our emotions. They demand change. And they challenge rather than comfort.