"Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things." Philippians 4:8
Whatever things are true are the things upon which we must meditate. That means if it's not true, we shouldn't let it stay in our heads. Why then, are professing Christians gushing over the Bethel song "Reckless Love?" Not only do churches play it during worship, but people adore it and get very angry toward any dissenters of the song. I have to boldly challenge you to ask yourself, "Why do I love this song so much?"
What do people say about this song, even when confronted with the truth about it?
- "It makes me feel good."
- "It's all about your emotions."
- "You're only supposed to love, not judge."
- "Go pick on some other worship leader."
- "I only play the good songs from the Bethel movement, I avoid the bad ones."
- "What's wrong with calling God reckless?"
- "Ever since I got saved, I've become reckless." And the list goes on.
Here's the thing about worship, it has two purposes: To sing praise to God and to reinforce theological concepts Christians need to remember about the God of Creation.
In order to sing praises to God, what we sing to Him needs to be true about Him. Would you appreciate it if someone went around telling everyone untrue things about you, even if they're meant to be nice things? After a while you'll likely be inclined to ask them to stop talking about you. Do you want God to do that to the church? Jesus made it very clear that every idle word that comes out of a man's mouth will be called into account on the day of Judgment. Yeah, that includes our alleged worship.
As far as reinforcing theology, have you ever noticed children's shows have a song for every little thing like going potty, brushing your teeth, etc...? How do we know our ABC's? Because there's a song for it! The reason is to drill the concepts into your mind by putting them to a catchy tune that plays over and over and over again. The same thing applies to our faith.
"God was manifested in the flesh,
Justified in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Preached among the Gentiles,
Believed on in the world,
Received up in glory."
1 Timothy 3:16
Church tradition considers this to be an ancient hymn from the first century church. How simple and how true are the points! It not only is true to the character of Christ, but it reminds the early Christians who He is. Back in those days, anyone could ask even the least educated Christian who Christ is and they could give a very serious answer. How about nowadays? If you're one of those people who adore the "Reckless Love" song, when asked about who Jesus is, you'll probably say He's someone who will kick the door down and chase after you until you can't take it anymore... Because He loves you... That doesn't match up with the Jesus of the Bible, and I'll show you how.
First off, let's take a quick look at the word reckless.
(of a person or their actions) without thinking or caring about the consequences of an action.
synonyms:rash, careless, thoughtless, heedless, unheeding, hasty, overhasty, precipitate, precipitous, impetuous, impulsive, daredevil, devil-may-care;
irresponsible, foolhardy, audacious, overadventurous;
ill-advised, injudicious, madcap, imprudent, unwise, ill-considered;
Tell me, do you seriously think God does anything at all without being fully aware of the consequences of the actions? If your answer is yes, you are an idolator and are not allowed to call yourself a Christian. I was visiting a church one day and one of the "pastors" came up to give a little message on communion, you know, the symbol of the culmination of every event since the beginning of time, and he said, "Jesus had nothing prepared that night, but He knew He had to cram in as much information with the disciples as possible that night, so He saw the bread and said, 'Hey look, here's some bread! Just pretend this is My body being broken for you. And uhh, oh look, here's a cup of wine! Just pretend this is My blood being poured out for you.'" I was mortified to hear someone talk about the Last Supper as though Jesus was just making things up as He went. And guess what song they played for 15 minutes straight that morning? Reckless Love! So don't tell me it's just a song!
The other part of the song that's in error is the other part of the chorus when it says He leaves the 99. Just so you know, in case you think that's a valid example of recklessness, a half decent shepherd wouldn't have been caught dead leaving the entire flock out in the open just to find one lost sheep. I believe the point of the parable is that Jesus is not interested in entertaining self righteous religious people but desires to seek and save the lost. He is like the shepherd who will break them and then carry their burden while he heals them. So beautiful. The focus is not so much that He left the 99 "righteous persons" but that he pursued the rebellious sheep in spite of his rebellion. I don't believe at all that Jesus was referring to the church as the 99. The fact is that He never leaves us. He is God. He is everywhere. Yes, He absolutely would go after it. However, a good shepherd will always make sure his flock is safe in the fold if he has to leave for any reason. To have just abandoned the 99 would have spelled certain death for the other sheep and he would have ended up with several dead sheep in order to rescue the one lost sheep. Do you think God's going to just abandon everyone else just to find you? God explicitly states throughout the Old and New Testament that He will never leave us nor forsake us, which means if He has to go after one lost sheep, the other 99 are taken care of in some way. Also, speaking of lost sheep, a sheep who has gone astray is not lost because it got a little turned around. Sheep that escape the flock are rebellious and will even attack the very shepherd rescuing it when it's found. Here's where the shepherd's rod comes in, when a lost sheep is found, its legs are broken so it can't run away again, but then it's carried on the shoulders of the shepherd until its legs are healed. Yeah, not such a pretty picture is it?
There is no place in all of creation that we can go to escape from God. Thus He does not leave the church to find a lost sinner. He is with us AND He pursues the lost. I think the author of the song may have attempted to convey this, as much of the song contains a lot of sound doctrine in it, but should have used better wording if that was his motive, such as the "overwhelming, never ending, SELFLESS love of God." And quite honestly, you can't say that God thought nothing of Himself when He went to the cross. Hebrews tells us that it was for the joy set before Him that He endured the cross. What was that joy? Many believe it is the joy of saving us. It might have been, but in looking at the Gospels I believe that it was more than that. I believe it was in large part the joy of bringing the Father glory, and the Father glorifying the Son. Jesus seems to speak much to this in the Gospels. I think we tend to think more highly of ourselves than we ought and we make the mistake that everything God does and every decision He makes revolves around us. He loves us, but He is God and we are extremely not. He works all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes, but this brings Him glory! He gives us gifts, and this brings Him glory! He suffered in our place on the cross, and that brought Him glory! So, why don't we seek to glorify God starting with the complete truth of Scripture without tainting it with our own personal perceptions of who we want God to be.
As far as accusing me of judging you for calling your taste in worship music wrong, to say such a thing does nothing less than validate the truth of what I'm saying. To think I'm judging you means you have conviction stirring in your conscience and you don't want to deal with it. Guess what, that means you have sin and you need to repent!
While attempting to avoid the so-called "bad songs" and only playing the "good ones" sounds noble enough to keep everyone happy, you're only allowing Satan's lies to infiltrate your church body. This is exactly how the Devil gets his deception inside the church where it not only is believed, but actually defended and protected. He is willing to advertise 99.9% truth with a tiny little lie worked in. "Oh the overwhelming, (alright, that's fine I guess) never ending, (still true) reckless (wait, what?) love of God..." And as you're processing that point, the song continues to play, so you are forced to either stop singing and face church flogging or deal with it later and never actually do. Then it's stuck in your head all stinkin' day! Do you really think Satan only plans to bombard the church with persecution from the outside? Do you think his deceptions are all so obvious that anyone can pick it out? Of course he's going to look as good and holy as possible and wait to slip the lie in after it passes by detection.
I was trained as a chef back in the day, which means I worked with a lot of produce over the years, which also means I had to occasionally deal with rotten produce. In those situations, it was usually less than 1/4 of the case would be rotten, but it nevertheless corrupted the other 3/4 so badly that I would more often than not just throw the whole case away. I can't put it any other way guys, Bethel's music is that case with mostly rotten produce. You can't pick through it without compromising the quality of the whole.