Why our Baptist church won’t be singing about 'Holy Water'


For several days, I have been prayerfully pouring over the lyrics of a song entitled Holy Water by We the Kingdom. According to Billboard’s rankings, Holy Water has been flooding Christian radio and held the top position in digital sales for three weeks;[1] and yet, we will not be singing about holy water at our Baptist church.

If you are unfamiliar with the song, the lyrics to the chorus are:

Your forgiveness
Is like sweet, sweet honey
On my lips
Like the sound of a symphony
To my ears
Like holy water on my skin


Whenever we gather as believers and lift our voices in song, the words of those melodies should speak biblical truth into our hearts and minds. So, I found myself drowning in spiritual confusion as I tried to soak in the theological meaning of Holy Water.

How is God’s forgiveness like “holy water”? The words are used in the song in reference to immersion, but they also imply that the baptismal waters are infused with regenerating power, a theological position historically rejected by Baptists. Thus, the lyrics to Holy Water are muddy:

Dead man walking, slave to sin
I wanna know about being born again

So, take me to the riverside
Take me under, baptize

These rhythmic lines stir the theological waters by suggesting that being born again occurs at the moment of baptism.

The song also uses “holy water” as a veiled reference to the more commonly recognized sacramental element found in Catholic liturgies bestowing grace upon those who have been blessed. When we encourage believers to sing about holy water many people will reflect upon this Catholic practice. By combining Catholic and Baptist rites Holy Water presents a conflicting doctrinal application concerning God’s grace.

We the Kingdom claims the song is a celebration of “God being the Living Water that carries forgiveness and grace into our desert places;”[2] and yet it is unclear if they believe God’s grace is bestowed upon us through our faith in the shed blood of Jesus or through a baptismal holy water. One of the hallmarks of Baptist’s theology is the denial of baptismal regeneration, and we should be cautious when introducing a confusing message concerning the efficacy of holy water into our worship music. Again, the lyrics hint at that blessing:

I don't wanna abuse Your grace
God, I need it every day

It's like holy water on my skin

Unfortunately, the lyrics of Holy Water are not a symphony of theological truth, but rather a syncretistic clanging of clashing Christian traditions. If we have to preface song lyrics during a worship service to clarify their theological message, then the song is probably not one we need to introduce to those gathered in our churches who may not comprehend the spiritual implications. The lyrics of Holy Water are an insoluble mixture of religious rituals that dilute the gospel; and for this reason, we will not be singing about holy water in our Baptist church.

Dr. Richard Sams has been in pastoral ministry for the past 25 years and is presently serving his 20th year as the pastor of Calhoun Baptist Church in Calhoun, KY. 

Perspective piece writers in Kentucky Today do not necessairly reflect the views of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.


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David Arvin

I know Baptists don't believe in baptismal regeneration but that's a misreading of scripture. Maybe you should get out more. That being said, you would do well to refrain from using any songs by We the Kingdom and all similar groups, and sing songs like Rock of Ages, The Old Rugged Cross and Victory in Jesus.

Monday, March 2, 2020
Joe Saweikis

How would knowing that the group attends a conservative Presbyterian Church change the way you have interpreted Holy Water? I don’t believe they have in mind anything from the Catholic faith. However, like you, I certainly would like to know what they mean. I know the song was inspired by Romans 7. The subject of the song is I don’t want to abuse your grace, depicting the struggle of every Christian. Again, I am with you in wanting to know what the song’s message is before I allow our church to sing it on Sunday. Maybe this video will help us to make the decision that will most glorify God.

Sunday, April 26, 2020
Terri Holbrook

I concur and hope you have shared your concerns with KLOVE and Air One radio management.

| Thursday, July 9, 2020
Jack Lee

This is yet another example of non-doctrinal songs invading our church body. I heard a Bethel song that is not Biblical sung in an SBC church. On top of that, the SBC church pays a church of heresy to sing the song. Music ministers need to be serious about their position they fill for Christ. Your job is not to find the coolest, neatest, popular song. Your job is to lead Christ's people in worship. Yes, you will take heat, but remember the One you really work for. As the head of my family, I review the music and movies that come into my house. I am responsible to Christ to do that. Shouldn't the local shepherd be even more watchful?

Friday, July 10, 2020

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