Friday, June 7, 2013

Pop Theology: Love vs. Obedience

A friend of mine was asking me what I thought about the lyrics to a particular song here recently. It was one of the many songs I have heard over the years that pushes the metaphor of the Church as the bride of Christ to the extreme. While not as overt in the song he wanted me to look at, as I got in my car just a couple of minutes later and turned on the local Christian radio station, this is what started playing:

Give me rules
I will break them
Show me lines
I will cross them

I need more than
A truth to believe
I need a truth that lives
Moves and breathes

To sweep me off my feet, it's gotta be

More like falling in love
Than something to believe in
More like losing my heart
Than giving my allegiance

Caught up, called out
Come take a look at me now
It's like I'm falling, oh
It's like I'm falling in love

This is the first verse and chorus from "More Like Falling In Love" by Jason Gray, and it is a perfect example of the effect of the post-modern worldview on the Church. Western society has long since abandoned God and the Bible as the source of truth. Modernism tried to replace that with science and reason and a belief in mankind's ever-bettering of itself, and remnants of that still exist today (e.g. evolution taught as "fact" in our schools, etc.). 

But as science and reason failed to make mankind better in the eyes of popular culture, as we experienced horrific war after horrific war, the moral relativism of post-modernism became the norm. The only absolute truth is that there is no absolute truth. "God is not the truth, and science is not the truth. I can only trust what feels good and right to me in the moment." Do you see that in the lyrics above? The essence of this song is this: "Don't give me rules to obey. What I need is something that makes me feel good, like a giddy school girl with her first 'true love'." This song is theological garbage, the product of a worldly culture infecting the Church.

What does the Bible say? 

1 John 5:2-3a This is how we know that we love God’s children when we love God and obey His commands. 3 For this is what love for God is: to keep His commands.

John 14:15 If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

To love God is to obey God, plain and simple. It is an act of your will, something that you do. If you have been married any length of time, raised a child to adulthood, or maintained a life-long friendship, you know that love is not about a feeling. It is a commitment to the other person no matter what happens. True love is not a helpless response to overwhelming emotion. Do we ever see that from God? Did God's emotions overtake Him to the point that He just had to send His Son because He had no other choice? Of course not. God chose to love us, and He continues to stay committed to that choice. 

Do you want to respond in kind? He has told you how. "For this is what love for God is: to keep His commands." You won't always feel like it, and it won't always be easy. But as I continue to reiterate because I see it everywhere, God has not called you to a life that is easy and feels good. He has called you to a life of sacrificial obedience to Him, just as Jesus demonstrated for you.

Romans 5:8 But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!

Philippians 2:8 He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death— even to death on a cross.

Popular culture wants to tell us that knowing God is about love vs. obedience, or relationship vs. religion. God tells us that knowing Him is about love through obedience. Who are you going to listen to?