Evangelical Love Songs (or Jesus is NOT Your Boyfriend)

A new blog post! I know, I know, shame on me. Well, sorry I’m super busy all the time – just, you know, spending time with my family, working full time, going to school, etc., etc. – and can’t blog more often. I’ve been thinking about setting up a bit of a blogging schedule once I graduate (December 7th guys! Feel free to send money! Or a MacBook Pro… whatevs.). We’ll see. I’ve got a few ideas, but they’ll have to wait until sometime around December 8th. Then hopefully I’ll get in like two or three posts a week. We shall see.

On to more important matters…

I was browsing through my news feed on Facebook today, and saw a video someone posted of a new(ish) song from Bethel Live. For those of you who don’t know, that’s one of the wildly popular worship bands out today – at least in my circles. Here’s the video:

I’ve never been a huge fan of Bethel Live. I liked Jesus Culture for a while as a teen, but not so much anymore. Musically (i.e., technically), I think they’re pretty solid, for the most part. My issue has always been with the lyrics. Here are the lyrics to the above song, for example:

Verse:
Your love has ravished my heart
And taken me over, taken me over
And all I want is to be
With You forever, with You forever

Chorus 1:
Pull me a little closer
Take me a little deeper
I want to know Your heart
I want to know Your heart
‘Cause Your love is so much sweeter
Than anything I’ve tasted
I want to know Your heart
I want to know Your heart

Bridge:
Whoa, whoa, how great Your love is for me
Whoa, whoa, how great is Your love

Chorus 2:
Pull me a little closer
Take me a little deeper
I want to know Your heart
I want to know Your heart
‘Cause Your love is so much stronger
Than anything I’ve faced and
I want to know Your heart
I want to know Your heart

Now, I’d venture to say that if it weren’t for the fact that you knew this was a Christian worship band, or you didn’t see the video ahead of time, or only saw the lyrics (without the capitalized “You”s, I might add), you would have NO IDEA this was a “worship” song. It sounds like a regular old love song!

The thing is, this type of worship is eaten up by the Evangelical community at large. I’m not saying love for God and God’s love for us isn’t something to be joyous about. But this song doesn’t sound like that. This song sounds like Jesus is my boyfriend. It’s not even that it’s weird for me, as a man, to attempt to relate to Jesus or God in this manner. It’s that it’s weird for all of us.

Creepy, right?

Forgive my bluntness, but senseless crooning about some puppy-love feeling we have for a divine being certainly isn’t warranted in Scripture. When we create this kind of expectation for worship, rather than teaching that worship is no less than living and acting in accordance with our belief in Christ and him crucified, Christianity itself becomes ultimately hollow and self-serving.

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6 thoughts on “Evangelical Love Songs (or Jesus is NOT Your Boyfriend)

  1. Sarah Erwin

    So what’s your interpretation of the Song of Solomon? Many believe is a allegory of Christ and His church.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Baca Post author

      I don’t think it’s a valid interpretation. If we follow the typical hermeneutical principles that are common to most Evangelicals and even mainline Protestants, then our first question should be, “What was the author’s original intent?” Song of Solomon was obviously written about a man and his lover, with no thought towards any kind of human-divine relationship.

      Reply
      1. Sarah Erwin

        I don’t have an opinion either way, since I haven’t studied Song of Solomon in depth myself, but I wondered if that was the perspective you were coming from. I know many people that would passionately disagree with you as well as those that would passionately agree with you. 🙂

        In my own personal walk with God, my relationship with Him was deepened and changed forever when I truly realized His deep love for me, and my love for Him changed in response…”we love because He first loved us”. I don’t think expressing that in worship is wrong. I doubt that every person that sings that song (or others like it) expresses it in a “puppy love” sense, but it’s very possible some sing it as a genuine expression of their love for God. Now, I have never heard the song, and I am not coming to anyone’s defense, including my own. I do agree some can take it too far. I would just be interested to hear your thoughts on what you think a genuine expression of love for God in worship should look like, instead of just what it shouldn’t. 🙂

  2. Christopher Baca Post author

    I would reply to your comment, but I guess the thread doesn’t allow more than two replies on an original one.

    Anyway, like I said in the post, I don’t think the issue is necessarily that we can’t celebrate the love that God has for us. The problem occurs when there is no distinction made between how we interact with that love and how we interact with love in human relationships. I commented earlier about this on my FB. If we can easily interchange the lyrics to make this song a love song to another person, is this a proper way of relating to God? Even if these songs create some kind of “meaningful worship experience,” I’m not sure that they get to the heart of Christianity, which is to participate in and help bring about God’s Kingdom on earth.

    Reply
  3. David

    I was searching for the lyrics to this song and I came across this blog.
    I don’t normally comment on people’s blogs I don’t know, but this stuck out to me because I would’ve said the same thing at one point. I used to call songs like this a “Jesus is my boyfriend song” also. (same exact words)
    I have since realized that God is not a “healthy balance.” He is 100%
    What I mean is that all human relationships are intended to be a reflection of God’s love for us. God is not mostly magestic and a little loving, or any other balance of the two. God IS love according to 1 John 4:8. AND God is completly to be feared because of His holiness and magesty.
    This seems like a contradiction to us. 1 John 4:18 says that perfect love cast out all fear, right?
    The difference I found in Psalm 19:9. The fear of the Lord is clean. God IS love. That, I realized, means that the fear of the Lord is not a fear of not being able to trust Him.
    So what then? How do we comprehend the fear of the Lord in a proper way? We have to understand His love.
    The problem is that we want to rationalize and think we can draw the boundries of God’s love and His justice. Professing to be wise, we become fools. Who can know the depts of His love? Who can stand in His presence?
    I have concluded that God wants to be in relationship with us. He calls the church His bride. To say that is not to be a puppy love relationship, is to say that once married, puppy love has no place.
    This comes from missunderstanding Him. The Knowledge of the Holy one is understanding.

    Reply
    1. Patrick

      David,

      I don’t normally comment on blogs either, but “Jesus as boyfriend” or “God as lover” is a huge problem.

      It seems you are assuming that love in “God is love” (1 John 4:8) is an eros/romantic love. It is not. It is agape. I am a father with three daughters. We have a deep love for each other. I can assure you it is not an eros love. Yes, love does have an emotional affectional component, but to assume that’s “puppy love” is a mistake. I’m confident this is not how you feel towards your earthly father. This would be a perversion called incest.

      You say, “all human relationships are intended to be a reflection of God’s love for us.” I disagree. I can’t think of anywhere in Scripture that God shows an eros/romantic love towards people. This is what we see in pagan mythology. Jesus explains that in heaven we will no longer be given in marriage, but will be like the angels. Nowhere in Scripture do we see the angels expressing anything even remotely like eros love. There are things that God has given us to experience that apparently he himself doesn’t engage in.

      1 Corinthians 13 lays out what love is. It seems it is most importantly a selfless commitment – “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son…” Likewise, Romans 12:1-2 teaches that offering ourselves as a living sacrifice is true worship.

      We must worship in spirit and in truth. God has no greater joy than to see that we are walking in the truth.

      Blessings.

      Reply

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