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By Joshua Stevens, Faith Contributor, Valley Ag Voice

Across the world, we find members of the body of Christ joining together to sing praise and worship our creator. Members of our congregations stand on stage and lead us in worship; they choose and practice the songs we sing together. In many churches there is great care for the kinds of songs we sing. However, from time to time, there is a song that gains popularity, and in an effort to innovate, it loses the truth.

Both locally and as the body of Christ at large, we must consider what we are willing to sacrifice, if anything, to pursue innovation in our worship. For example, Cory Asbury received much criticism for his song “Reckless Love,” which describes God’s love as “overwhelming, never-ending, and reckless,” two-thirds of which would be celebrated by any Christian.

The main critique of Asbury’s song? God, a perfect and omnipotent being, cannot be reckless any more than he can be foolish or naïve. To be reckless, according to Merriam Webster dictionary, is “marked by a lack or proper caution, careless of consequences” or “irresponsible” (Merriam-Webster, n.d.) In essence, to sing this song would be to proclaim a lie about God’s nature.

Asbury, in his defense, took to a Facebook post in which he stated, “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.” (Asbury, 2017)

Unfortunately, while Asbury’s post tries to double down on his point and while it clarifies his overall point, it fails to address the real concern of his critics. God, a perfect being, is incapable of acting in a way that is “reckless. Does any Christian really believe that any part of the trinity acts in a way that is “unconcerned with the consequences of His actions?” Are we to throw away passages such as Jeremiah 29:11 where God is encouraging an enslaved Jewish people or Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane? Should we believe he didn’t actually mean, “Let this cup pass from me…?” in Matthew 26:39. It’s questionable whether Asbury means is God the Father is unconcerned with the consequences of His actions, so He freely sends Christ to die a terrible death on earth without care.

Asbury goes on to say His love is not cunning or shrewd but can be downright ridiculous, that it bankrupted heaven for you. But if God’s love is not cunning or shrewd how else might we describe a plan to bring a savior to the world thousands of years in the making? Did God just decide randomly and recklessly to send Christ to a Roman dominated world? Just happen to have John the Baptist available to pave the way for Christ’s work? Or was it, in fact, a shrewd plan that was carefully executed. Moreover, did God bankrupt heaven for our salvation? Was there a shortage of righteousness or grace? A run on the spiritual banks of heaven for any who may need mercy? Certainly not. We know God’s love is eternal from passages like Psalm 136, that Christ brings news to a woman at a well saying, “whoever drinks of the water I give them will never be thirsty again…” John 4:14. God’s grace, mercy, and love weren’t bankrupted by Christ coming to earth, and we are told repeatedly throughout scripture God’s grace is more than enough for us in places like 2 Corinthians 12:9, Philippians 4:11-13, Psalm 107:1, and more.

Of course, it would be possible for Asbury or someone else to contextualize these references in a way that would be appropriate. Yet, it is not something we see him, or our churches do when we delve into proclaiming these songs on Sunday. We should, collectively, make an effort to ensure the things we say about our Lord are not just pleasant sounds being lifted into the sky but words that are true, so we may join with all of creation in showing the world the truth of our God who was, and is, and is to come.

Will you pray with me?

Lord, as we go about our days, weeks, months, and years, let us be as shrewd as snakes and innocent as doves. With every moment of our life being done in worship and awe of you. Thank you for the breath you have given us, the homes we live in, and the lives we lead. Continue in each of us the work you have started, to make us more like you in every way. In Jesus’ mighty name, I pray,

Amen.

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