Walking the line between nerd and cool.


Neil Diamond’s song “Pretty Amazing Grace” on idol last night was interesting.  I assume he is a Christian as there were definite overtones of such in the lyrics.  The fact that the title and several lyrics are re-workings of the famous hymn by almost the same name point that way as well.  But do I only think he’s Christian because I am Christian?  Does a non-Christian hear those lyrics and think the song is about what God has done for us?  The song could be talking about any god, not necessarily our God, couldn’t it? 

1 Corinthians 1:22-24 22 Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

Paul shows us how we’re different from all the other religions of the world.  We don’t just worship “God”, but rather the Triune God: Father, Son, Spirit.  We preach Christ crucified because He is the only way to know the true God.  We find common ground with lots of religions when we talk about “God.”  Lots of people believe in “God.”  But do they know the Triune God?  Do they know Christ?  We bear His name, are we being little Christs to our neighbors?  Is it clear we preach Christ crucified, or are we preaching the same message every other religion preaches?


7 responses

  1. Sandra P

    Wow. While watching Neil Diamond sing on AI, my daughter and I kept looking at each other every time he sand a “Christian-ese” lyric. However, my understanding is that Neil Diamond is as Jewish as Jewish gets. (Re: Jazz Singer movie) He even has the nick-name: THE JEWISH ELVIS. We were wondering if he was a Messianic Jew???

    And, btw, I don’t think non-Christians hear the same words. They probably just think it’s a nice song about a woman named Grace. They don’t have “ears to hear.”

    May 1, 2008 at 4:14 pm

  2. Thanks for stopping by Sandra. I started Googling Neil Diamond to see if there was anything indicating he was Christian. There’s nothing definitive, but there was an interesting discussion at:


    I dunno. The fact that we are left uncertain about whether he is or isn’t Christian only emphasizes my original point that we need to preach Christ crucified. I guess we’ll find out when we die if not before. 🙂

    May 2, 2008 at 4:06 pm

  3. peanutmom2001

    There are definitely terms that non-Christians associate with Christians, and Amazing Grace is one of those! Of course there is a huge buzz about this because he either DID just preach about the AMAZING GRACE of Jesus Christ or he took a new LOW and used explicitly Christian-themed lyrics to talk about a woman. It is not that I don’t think that has been done before – of course it has – but this would be one of the most prolific examples. I just don’t think that is what he did. I think he knows that the public is aware of his being Jewish and has sent a clear message, without being all in-your-face about it, that he believes in Jesus. Either way, Jesus was glorified, because all things are made good by Him. This song will be a testimony for Jesus in spite of or because of Neil Diamond’s intentions! I will be interested to hear what he starts talking about at his concerts. It would be sad if he left this alone.

    May 3, 2008 at 1:02 am

  4. Good point. It could have been intentional NOT to mention Christ because people will start asking those questions of him. It then gives him an opportunity to share more intimately with them.

    May 3, 2008 at 8:23 am

  5. Suzanna

    Neil was born Polish and Russian, but raised in the
    Hebrew religion, and later on became a Christian.
    My only qualm about his performance on Amer Idol,
    was after the song, when Ryan Seacrest asked him
    a few questions….Neil gave secular answers, when
    he easily could have used the word ‘faith’ instead of
    ‘luck’ for his success. Most people don’t know that
    there is no such thing as luck, and that this word
    came out of ‘Lucifer’, one of Satan’s names. If Neil
    was really on fire for the Lord Jesus, he wouldn’t
    have held back, (no audience should have a problem
    hearing the word ‘faith’ or likewise). However, he’s
    sure super at writing beautiful songs! All he needs
    is a spiritual testimony afterwards; and hey………
    since some of his songs are scriptural/spiritual,
    why shouldn’t he give Jesus all the credit ? Is it
    because the network/s won’t allow it ?! – typical !!!

    May 23, 2008 at 8:56 pm

  6. Thanks for stopping by Suzanna!

    “Luck” is a funny thing. It took me years to break the habit of saying “lucky” instead of “blessed.” He sure has been blessed with big talent and success. Hopefully he is pointing back to Christ every time he can and this was just the aberration.

    May 24, 2008 at 9:13 am

  7. I would like to know is Neil Diamond a born again Christian? If anyone finally hears it from Neil’s mouth, please let us Christians know so we can celebrate. I would love to meet my fellow Christians one day when we go to heaven.

    March 12, 2010 at 5:11 am

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