Last year at Eastertime, Newspring church in South Carolina, and their pastor Perry Noble, made waves in the evangelical world when they made the controversial decision to play the AC/DC hit “Highway to Hell” during their Easter service.
Since then, pastors all over America have been asking: “How in the world can we top that?” But Pastor Robert Frist, of Relevant Baptist Church in Chicago, has come up with the solution: this Sunday, Relevant’s worship band will be performing the 1994 hit “Closer” by the industrial band Nine Inch Nails, as a lead-in to the pastor’s Easter sermon.
In a blog post announcing his church’s Easter plans, Pastor Frist says of “Closer”: “It’s a poignant song describing the human condition. Amidst the distorted bass line and driving electronic beat, [NIN frontman Trent] Reznor laments, ‘I broke apart my insides.’ But the chorus expresses hope: ‘Help me get away from myself,’ and, ‘You get me closer to God.’
“Isn’t this the Christian message?” he adds. “We’re all broken apart. Our whole existence is flawed, and we need to get away from ourselves. But through Christ, we can get closer to God. ‘Closer’ starts out bleak, but ultimately it ends on a positive, uplifting note. So when we sing ‘Closer’ this Easter, we’re singing it to Jesus.”
The Crusty Curmudgeon contacted Relevant via email to ask about the relationship of lyrics such as “You let me violate you” and “I want to —- you like an animal” to Jesus. As yet, we have received no response.
Relevant Baptist will be departing from the gritty style of Reznor’s arrangement. Pastor Frist and elders of the church felt that the industrial genre was unsuitable for a worship song, and so their worship team will be performing “Closer” in a more traditional hard-rock style – led by the pastor’s wife, April, the church’s principal worship leader.