BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS
#515 - "We Believe" by Newsboys
Duncan Phillips talks about the importance of standing up and saying, 'This is who we are.'
 


Pop/rock mainstays Newsboys' studio album, Restart, was released in September and has already spawned the hit single, "Live with Abandon" which was previously featured as a behind the song devotional. (You can read that here.)

The band has toured non-stop in support of their great new album recently wrapping up headlining at Winter Jam where they played to over 700,000 people over the course of the tour. The band also appeared in the hit film, "God's Not Dead," singing that song and "The King is Coming" from their album God's Not Dead in the movie.

Restart also features the standout songs "That's How You Change the World," "Restart," "That Home," and the hit follow-up anthem for the Church, "We Believe," which also appears on the Billy Graham tribute album, My Hope: Songs Inspired by the Message and Mission of Billy Graham.

I had the chance to speak with Duncan Phillips in-person before their set at Winter Jam in Reading, Pennsylvania about "We Believe." 

Please tell me about the background message behind the song.

This was one of the later songs that we recorded for the album. Christian music is a funny thing. It is one of the only genres of music that is characterized by its lyrical content rather than its musical style. Sometimes because of that, the art of the music tends to be second rate. That tends to be not as important as the lyrical content. I get it, but I don't necessarily agree with it.

A lot of times if you want to reach kids, the music has got to stand out. It can't be second rate. The music is the conduit to get the message into the heart of a person, into their soul and their spirit. If the music isn't as good as what is out, there is going to be a barrier. I think we've failed at making the art as good as it could be. That being said, with this album more than ever before, we really wanted the art to be great. We worked for 2 years constantly sweating over the art of the music. I think we came out on the other side with a superior Newsboys product.

I wanted this album to stand up to what people are hearing in the mainstream music market. I think these are better songs. In the past we've done everything in house. Just because you play with a great band doesn't mean you are always a great songwriter. We felt like we'd reached a glass ceiling in our potential and abilities and realized that there are a lot of people who can help us write a great song. We chased that, and for us this song really tied the whole album together.

We have a lot of flavors in this record, and I think "We Believe" says, all that aside, this is who we are. This is what we believe. We believe in God the Father, Jesus Christ, The Holy Spirit, the crucifixion, He conquered death, the Resurrection, and He's coming back again!

Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?

John 14:19 (The Voice):
In a little while, the world will not see Me; but I will not vanish completely from your sight. Because I live, you will also live.

John 20:29 (NKJV): Jesus said to him, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

1 Corinthians 15:13-14 (NKJV): But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.

1 Corinthians 15:21 (NKJV): "For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead."

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV): "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."

Romans 10:9 (NKJV): That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

What's the takeaway message? 

Every now and then, we'll get someone who tells us we're not a Christian band because of that one line in one of our songs that wasn't biblically correct. Sometimes that's going to happen. We aren't looking to write anything that isn't biblically correct, and people come from all types of walks of life and ideologies.

With this song, it lays it out straight. There's no doubt about who we are and what we stand for. When I first heard this song, I started weeping. Someone has finally said it. Someone has finally said this is who we are as Christians. I don't want to get weird and say anyone who doesn't believe like me is going to hell. That's not the point of this song. At some point, we have to stand up and say this is who we are.

This song anchors the whole thing down to the Rock. When we play this song tonight at Winter Jam, it is a really special moment for us and the crowd. No matter what you are going through, when you stand and sing this song and claim your faith in a very simple way, people resonate with it. They stand up and raise their hands and it is a declaration of what we believe.

Through Christ, we need to have joy and express what we stand for more than what we are against. With statements like this song, it is very positive and uplifting. This is the reason why I believe, because my God came for me. That's why I can stand and shout, not because of who I am, but because of who He is.

Lyrics:
In this time of desperation
When all we know is doubt and fear
There is only One Foundation
We believe, We believe
In this broken generation
When all is dark, You help us see
There is only One Salvation
We believe, We believe

We believe in God the Father
We believe in Jesus Christ
We believe in the Holy Spirit
And He's given us new life
We believe in the crucifixion
We believe that He conquered death
We believe in the resurrection
And He's comin' back again, we believe

So, let our faith be more than anthems
Greater than the songs we sing
And in our weakness and temptations
We believe, We believe!

We believe in God the Father!
We believe in Jesus Christ!
We believe in the Holy Spirit!
And He's given us new life!
We believe in the crucifixion!
We believe that He conquered death!
We believe in the resurrection!
And He's comin' back again!

Let the lost be found and the dead be raised!
In the here and now, let love invade!
Let the church live loud, our God we'll say
We believe, We believe!
And the gates of hell will not prevail!
For the power of God, has torn the veil!
Now we know Your love will never fail!
We believe, We believe!


One of my favorite memories about Newsboys is seeing them at Creation Festival in 1998 after they released their album Step up to the Microphone. As a crowd of believers, we all sang their bold anthems "Shine," "Breakfast," "Take Me to Your Leader," "Woo Hoo," "I'm Not Ashamed," "Entertaining Angels," "Reality" and "Spirit Thing" at the top of our lungs, "Not ashamed of the Gospel." That's when I became a huge fan of the Newsboys and the next year gave my life to Jesus after saying the sinner's prayer after listening to a Christian album in my car, for which I'm eternally grateful. 

That's why I write these devotionals, in the hopes that others may learn the truth that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and there is no other Name under Heaven by which we may be saved.  During our discussion, Duncan and I reminisced together about the filming of the concert video, "One Night in Pennsylvania," and when the band performed the songs I referenced, he remarked that "those were fun times, and when people actually bought albums, hopefully we'll get back to that at some point." Christians are called to display their faith in their words, letting their "faith be more than anthems," and also in their actions once they are changed on the inside and become followers of Jesus.

This song is a great way to proclaim what "we believe" and supporting an album like Restart is one way "That you can change the world" by allowing these truths to flow over you and inhabit both your praises and your thought life. Then, without fear, we can all sing at the top of our lungs, "Let the church live loud, our God we'll say, We believe, We believe! And the gates of hell will not prevail! For the power of God, has torn the veil! Now we know Your love will never fail! We believe, We believe! And He's comin' back again!" Amen to that!

(Watch the lyric video here.)

NRT Lead Contributor Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.

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