My wife wrote this post on Facebook and I wanted to share it with everyone following my blog because I think this is an exceedingly important issue. Here’s what she had to say:
“God’s love is NOT reckless. Let me explain why.
First, I want to preface this by saying that I do not normally attack worship songs and I tend to give a lot of popular songs poetic license because I like the way they sound and they have meaning for me. The song “reckless love” IS a really good song and I like it…except for the title and intended takeaway message of it. Poetic license is one thing, lying about the character of God is another.
Cory Asbury, the writer of the song “Reckless Love” states that God’s love is reckless because “He simply gives Himself away on the off-chance that one of us might look back at Him and offer ourselves in return.”
The definition of reckless that most people use to argue for this song is from the Oxford dictionary which defines reckless as “(of a person or their actions) without thinking or caring about the consequences of an action.”
First of all, God does not have “off chance” in His vocabulary. Before we take a step, God knows it. Psalm 139:4 states, “even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.” Even the hairs on our head are numbered (Luke 12:7). God knows everything we have done and will ever do and He has ALWAYS known it. God doesn’t give Himself away hoping to change our minds or our path in life; God already knows our path. Claiming that God does anything on a whim, not knowing the actions or hoping for a different result is like a writer writing a book and not knowing what he’s written down. It’s impossible. But that’s the BEAUTY of our relationship with God. He knows every single sin we have committed and will commit. He knows our hearts, He knows how broken we are. Before we were even in the womb, God knew us (Jeremiah 1:5). But He still made us. He still chose us. He still wants us. He still loves us. When you act or claim that you can surprise God by your actions, you’re promoting your status as a human and demoting His status as God and therefore undermining what Jesus did on the cross. Which is my second point.
God thinks and cares about the consequences of all His actions. Do you think God didn’t care about the consequence of sending His one and only Son to die on the cross? Do you think Jesus didn’t care about the consequence of being crucified? Jesus understood and cared about the consequences very well. He cared so much that right before they came for Him, He prayed for God to take it from Him if possible, but Thy will be done (Matthew 26:39). Jesus KNEW what it would cost for Him to save us. Jesus cared and frankly, He didn’t want to do it if He didn’t have to. But Jesus also knew the consequence of NOT going to the cross. He knew the consequences of all of our sins. He knew that without His death, we would never find life. And so knowing ALL the options and ALL the consequences, Jesus CHOSE to die for us. It wasn’t on the off chance that it would save us. It wasn’t on the off chance that people would come to Him. He knew. When you use this definition and claim that Jesus didn’t care about going to the cross you’re truly missing out on the pain and torture of being crucified and missing out on the gravity and the heaviness of what He did for you.
Furthermore, God is a perfect God. He is Prince of Peace. He is Sovereign. When I think of reckless love, I honestly picture Liam Neeson in “Taken”. Liam Neeson’s character is a trained killer, a trained security guard, a trained protector. When his daughter gets taken, he basically flips over all of Paris to find her. He doesn’t care who he has to kill in the process or who he has to beat up or the bridges he has to jump off of or how much money it costs. He just DOES it. Now some of you might be thinking, well yes Aly, this is a beautiful picture of the love of God. But it’s not. God does not kill other people to get to you. God does not mistreat nature, people, or any of His creation just to get to you. Why? Because we are ALL equal in God’s eyes. God is so careful with all of our hearts and He would never kill or mistreat another person just to get to you because He wants you, He wants the people “standing in His way”, He wants the people watching, He wants it ALL. There is no collateral damage when it comes to the love of God because the love of God is PERFECT. Sure, God can use the death of someone or the pain of someone to get to you. God will USE the trouble in your life to get your attention but He would never hurt or punish someone else just to teach you a lesson. The enemy, however, is like Liam Neeson. The enemy has come to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). The more people he can take down in the process, the better. The enemy wants to kill other people and hurt other people in order to kill and hurt you. The enemy is reckless. The enemy is chaos. God is perfect. God is peace.
I considered not writing this because of the command in 2 Timothy 2:16 “avoid irreverent babble for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness”. But the reason I still chose to post this is because our talk and our vocabulary as Christians effects nonbelievers. In my life, I have had trouble. I have given my heart and my time and my body to people who have been reckless to me. What did I receive in return? Pain, heartbreak, and betrayal. There’s nothing positive about being reckless. I am very careful about who I trust my heart with because most people will be reckless with it and not take proper care of it. Now if I were a nonbeliever and I heard that Christians were calling God’s love reckless, and then telling me to give my LIFE, my EVERYTHING, to Him, I would not do it. I would not want to entrust everything I am to another “person” who is reckless and careless with it. I would run the other way. I don’t need someone else to hurt me, I don’t need to give someone else that kind of control if they’re not going to take care of it. I’ll live life on my own, thanks. But that’s not God. Jesus says, those who die for me will find life. God is a “Good Good Father.” He will not let me down. He will not hurt me. He will heal me. The use of the phrase “Reckless Love” I fear is confusing and deterring nonbelievers.
That being said, I like the rest of the song. I like acknowledging that God is so good and so kind to me. I know I could never deserve or earn His love. And I know He will not stop pursuing me. But you wanna know what that is? It’s RELENTLESS. Perfectly planned, perfectly unstoppable. So if you’re sitting here thinking, well gee thanks Aly, NOW what am I going to listen to? Check out this song.”
What we sing in worship to God is going to have an affect on on how we view God Himself. This song could have the potential to infect believer’s understanding of who God is for several generations if it keeps getting passed down, as many worship standards do. Distortions of God’s character and gospel are evil and those who who preach a different gospel are “accursed” (Galatians 1:8-9).
This is serious, deadly business.
The song “Reckless Love” comes from Bethel, which is a heretical church that teaches the gospel as being empowerment to perform miracles, and that Jesus was not God in His time on earth but God becoming fully and only human to model a Christian life of miracle performing for us. This is false teaching and not in accord with a Scriptural understanding of the gospel or who Christ is.
Bill Johnson, Bethel’s lead pastor, is not preaching the gospel or even Christ as God in the flesh. In fact, he has said that if Christ had been God in the flesh that he would not be compelled to follow Him. Are you kidding me? As I said, this is serious business and it’s not just the unbiblical things they do, like grave sucking, fake “glory clouds,” and numerous false prophecies. This is attacking the very nature of Christ and the gospel itself. Johnson is telling his followers they are now perfectly holy and there is no need for sanctification, but the Bible says that if you tell yourself you are without sin that you are deceiving yourself and the truth is not in you (1 John 1:8). He is teaching that Jesus was not completely good since He was not God (Jesus says there is no one good but God alone – Mark 10:18). Which means that Jesus’s death wouldn’t have been the spotless sacrificial death of the Lamb needed to atone for sins, so under Bethel theology Christ’s death doesn’t really atone for anything.
Pastor Gabriel Hughes says this (emphasis by me):
“When you hear the word “gospel” mentioned at Bethel Church, know that it is a different gospel they’re talking about. This filters into all of their ministries. The “Jesus” in the name “Jesus Culture” is not the Jesus of the Bible. When you listen to their worship songs, you might hear all the right Christian words, but you are not praising God with them because they are writing and singing about a different Jesus.”
Using terms that are without Scriptural basis to describe God’s love like “reckless” are par for the course for the accursed church of Bethel. This should have been a warning to those in the church who understand God’s character and love that something was amiss. Instead we sing the new song with zeal and even begin describing God’s love in normal conversation as “reckless.” What Bethel is singing about is not God and is not Christianity, even though it sounds nice.
I encourage everyone reading this to talk to your pastors and express your concern about letting the heretical Bethel continue to poison the understanding people have of God and the gospel and to speak out against this false teaching. The Bereans checked what Paul told them against Scripture and are called noble for doing so, and many of them came to Christ (Acts 17:11-12 NIV). We need to be careful to check that what we are singing or teaching does not twist or distort God because this is a thing of the enemy.
“But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” – Matthew 24:43-44
You can read more about Bethel’s heretical teachings here.