We ran in to the buzzsaw of the tolerant last week when we commented on statements made by the author of the popular worship song, “Reckless Love”. Cory Asbury of Bethel described God’s love as “reckless” because he sees God as someone who “puts himself out there” on the “off-chance” that us humans “might love him back.” But is that really who God is? Is His love so much like human love that he could be the sad dude at the door with a rose hoping for a prom date?

His comments, and the resulting controversy, really got us thinking about what worship God demands of us and how we can worship God in a way that is concerned first and foremost with how God has commanded us to worship Him.

Then we move on to our Feminist of the Week—a woman who, in just one tweet, was able to exemplify the absurdity of atheism. It was truly impressive. 

Episode Navigation

 

6:30 The spark that made us want to talk about worship music.

 

14:15 Why is it so important that we write and sing theologically accurate songs?

 

17:00 Joy points out the pendulum swing of high liturgy to emotional rock music that’s taken place over multiple decades in the American church, and a potential reason as to why that has happened.

 

19:39 What does it mean to worship God “in Spirit and truth”?

 

23:00 Why is what Asbury said ABOUT “Reckless Love” more bothersome than the lyrics of the song itself?

 

31:45 Does caring about worshipping God rightly automatically make you a Pharisee?

 

38:10 How should we choose worship songs to be sung in corporate worship?

 

46:45 The most joy you’ll ever have is in glorifying God because you were CREATED to glorify God.

 

50:00 Summer introduces the feminist of the week and the absurdity of atheism.

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20 Comments

  1. Nick

    I’m definitely on the same page with you both regarding this song and worship in general. One of the things I struggle with though is how to reconcile in my own heart when my church sings songs like this and from these artists during corporate worship. You mentioned that you first heard this song at your church. How do you deal with that? I’m currently looking for a new church and I find myself wanting to avoid any local church that sings Bethel, Jesus Culture, Hillsong, or Elevstion Worship music to name a few. I’m also in Sacramento, CA so there’s a big Bethel and Jesus Culture influence here. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Trina Riepe

      Nick, I’m in Placerville but know of several solid churches in Sac and surrounding areas. Feel free to pm if I can be of help.

      Reply
  2. Katie Smith

    Good episode! The word “reckless” made me uncomfortable from the get go. Would you please post a link to where Corey Asbury made these statements? I can’t find it.

    Reply
    • Nick

      He shared a Facebook post explaining the meaning behind the song. This is what he said:

      “Many have asked me for clarity on the phrase, “reckless love”. Many have wondered why I’d use a “negative” word to describe God. I’ve taken some time to write out my thoughts here. I hope it brings answers to your questions. But more than that, I hope it brings you into an encounter with the wildness of His love.

      When I use the phrase, “the reckless love of God”, I’m not saying that God Himself is reckless. I am, however, saying that the way He loves, is in many regards, quite so. What I mean is this: He is utterly unconcerned with the consequences of His actions with regards to His own safety, comfort, and well-being. His love isn’t crafty or slick. It’s not cunning or shrewd. In fact, all things considered, it’s quite childlike, and might I even suggest, sometimes downright ridiculous. His love bankrupted heaven for you. His love doesn’t consider Himself first. His love isn’t selfish or self-serving. He doesn’t wonder what He’ll gain or lose by putting Himself out there. He simply gives Himself away on the off-chance that one of us might look back at Him and offer ourselves in return.

      His love leaves the ninety-nine to find the one every time. To many practical adults, that’s a foolish concept. “But what if he loses the ninety-nine in search of the one?” What if? Finding that one lost sheep is, and will always be, supremely important.

      His love isn’t cautious. No, it’s a love that sent His Own Son to die a gruesome death on a cross. There’s no “Plan B” with the love of God. He gives His heart so completely, so preposterously, that if refused, most would consider it irreparably broken. Yet He gives Himself away again. The recklessness of His love is seen most clearly in this – it gets Him hurt over and over. Make no mistake, our sin pains His heart. And “70 times 7” is a lot of times to have Your heart broken. Yet He opens up and allows us in every time. His love saw you when you hated Him – when all logic said, “They’ll reject me”, He said, “I don’t care if it kills me. I’m laying My heart on the line.”

      To get personal, His love saw me, a broken down kid with regret as deep as the ocean; My innocence and youth poured out like water. Yet, He saw fit to use me for His kingdom because He’s just that kind. I didn’t earn it and I sure as heck don’t deserve it, but He’s just that good. Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God.

      #recklesslove”

      Reply
      • Meredith Hall

        Exactly Nick! And to say that the God Cory Asbury sang about is not the same God is really pushing the envelope. When I worship, I am acknowledging WHO God is and praising Him for it and as a result, God shows me more of who He is and into an even deeper understanding of His Glory and Holiness.

        Reply
  3. Lydia

    I agree 100% with you,and while I didn’t get the same response s that y’all got when I mentioned it I could tell that peop!e thought I was trying to be holier than thou by speaking against it. I’m not but God is. Our church plays this song a lot though and I usually sing perfect instead of hopeless. I feel like our generation is so full of ourselves that we need songs like this that make ourselves the center of everything when we are supposed to make everything about Him.

    Reply
  4. Jaeson

    It is really difficult these days to find any good worship music. The worship has become so man centered and focused, it isn’t on God anymore, and therefore isn’t actual worship. It is all “give me, ” “I need/want,” or “I will x, y, z.” I used to attend the “sister church” of Bethel, I didn’t see anything wrong with their music at the time. They only sang Bethel/Jesus Culture songs. However, I always felt uncomfortable with the way they spoke about the Spirit of God, as if He was something that could be conjured. It was disrespectful many times. I left the church, and it was as if a veil had been removed from my eyes. I soon saw that most of the music is re-hashing their theology. I had a bunch of Bethel & Jesus Culture music, and when I went back to listen to it, all I could hear was the latter-rain ideas, dominionism, and general mystical theology integrated into it. The casual listener might not notice, but it is a tool to reinforce their strange ideas. It also is a way of capturing the non-denominationalist into their web of bad teaching. You think, oh this music sounds so good, wonder what the church is like, and then you are exposed to it.

    Reply
  5. Michael Merichko

    This is great! You all are just being girls being funny at the beginning, then the Fear of YHWH comes out against this false doctrine of “bridal mysticism.” I grew up in CCM style music, the fluffy Jesus of evangelical Christendom, where as Voddie Bauchum calls this a “sissified needy Jesus.” I’m so glad I have studied the doctrines of grace. This puts everything in perspective! Thanks Sheologians!

    Reply
  6. Bibliotecaria

    In that feminist of the week comment, it sounds like she is elevating nature to a god.

    Reply
  7. Diana

    I agree with you guys. I remember when I first heard the song at the high school winter camp I went to and felt that it was almost like singing a man-centered gospel. In all honesty, I did not say anything and tried to convince myself otherwise, because I felt like a bad Christian for not liking the song lol. You guys articulated what I was thinking so well! Worship is about praising God for who He is! I find myself selfishly making it about me at times, but when our worship is true it is such a beautiful thing. Thank you for being women rooted firmly in the Word of God and sharing His truth in your podcasts!

    Reply
  8. Sheri

    Thanks for this episode! I was genuinely wondering why the relative principal for worship was not discussed, and how it relates? Thanks!

    Reply
  9. Julian

    I’ve started to have this issue with songs i never thought about in that way before. Your Grace Is Enough is one of them, and its just one line, “you wrestle with the sinners heart”. And i’m sitting in my car like mmmmmm, does God struggle to overcome my heart really? And then i think am i just being a stickler or does this matter? Loved this episode.

    Reply
  10. Roshin

    Thank you so much! I’ve been battling with this song for a couple of months. Everything is perfectly clear now. God bless you guys!

    Reply
  11. Matt Cook

    I would push back to most of both of your dissents. I’ve only listened to the critique through once, but I think the majority is based on simply a reformed theology and not a lack of Biblical support on his part, for the most part. You both didn’t express that which is disappointing if you’re wanting to be accurate in your critique. It was a bit of a humanist straw-man (he does say the song was inspired by reading a Brennan Manning book) rather than the actual lyrics in context of the greater song within the greater context of him talking about it. If you sing and hear the song in light of the parables of the lost sheep, lost coin, lost son, in light of Rev 3 (I stand at the door and knock; whoever opens the door, I will come in), in light of who so ever believes (John 3), in light of narrow is the way of Life, in light of Jesus in the garden praying, in light of Father why have You forsaken Me, in light of God becoming fully man and fully God, I can think of scripture to support this worship expression. Apart from exiting orthodoxy, from reading the Psalms, I take a wide scope from David in communicating human expression and worship emotion to God.

    Now all that to say, obviously Cory chose words that were toeing the line. He said something to the tune of being “downright ridiculous”, which I’m not sure how you make that mean something different than the common understanding. So I would push back on him there. I would pushback on him saying God “bankrupted heaven”. I don’t see how that’s true. But I understand in context, his use of reckless to mean extreme. And like I said apart from exiting orthodoxy and reviewing worship songs once through for that orthodoxy, I find analytically scrutinizing songs rather than letting them frame an emotive worship space (because we are body, soul, and spirit) is unfortunate and ineffective in my opinion.

    Anyway, that’s my thoughts. Thanks for reading. Push back if I’m wrong. Love you all’s work. Bless you both and rock on.

    Reply
    • Debbie Mullaney

      May I push back? I’m not reformed (far from it), but I was disturbed the first time I heard it. The very word reckless implies something unintentional and out of control, and God’s love is neither. You’re correct in pointing out the other unscriptural lyrics of the song. As worship leader, I read carefully the lyrics to any potential songs before choosing them. The reason is two-fold. First, our songs should be scripturally sound. If our purpose is to worship God, we should represent Him accurately. Secondly, people may not remember a sermon, but they will remember songs. The lyrics become like scripture to them, and therefore their “truth.” They begin to believe that scripture says God’s love is reckless.

      Reply
  12. Dave

    I would point out that, in the Bible, the only time a word is translated as “reckless” is when it is describing a sinner or a fool. To me, that seems to be a pretty good reason not to use this word to describe God’s love.

    Reply
  13. Colleen Woodcock

    I couldn’t have said it better you made me understand clearly why I cant stand this song.

    Reply
  14. Dakota Searles

    Have you ladies heard John Piper’s response to this song? From my estimation of what John says, he would allow the church to sing songs with questionable lyrics (as long as your conscience allows) if you can put a new meaning on them – i.e., defining “reckless” in some way other than Cory Asbury does. Though he admits he doesn’t know Cory’s explanation of “reckless”, he understands Charles Wesley’s intention behind terms in his classic “And Can It Be” (intentions which he strongly disagrees with), yet is still willing to sing that song.

    An interesting add to the conversation.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbhz2GkU2zs

    Reply

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