Friday, February 10, 2006

falling in love again...?

Is it me or am I allowed to be disconcerted at the current trend for worship songs that use "falling in love with Jesus/God" terminology? I just don't get it. Quite apart from the male thing about being uncomfortable with anything too intimate, it just doesn't feel right. I can't think of any point in Scripture where Christian discipleship is described with those terms, and I can only conclude it's some kind of extrapolation from the Church as the Bride of Christ. Either that or some dubious reading of the Song of Songs.

Saying you love Jesus is one thing; saying you are in love with him is something else. I have heard a passionate mainstage talk on this at a big Christian festival in the UK - we must all fall in love with Jesus to know fullness and all that. Wonder what Dietrich Bonhoeffer would have said - something like to follow Christ is to die, I suspect. Hmmm
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St said...

I think the English language might be the problem:

Jesus: Do you love me?
Peter: Yes Lord you know I love you.
(Repeat three times)

We lose the subtlety of agape becoming phileo the third time.

Christian love songs mix up their agape, phileo, eros and the fourth one I can never remember (storge?)

Let's write a song.

First verse:

Jesu you're my best mate
You're the one I think is cool
I'd tell you that I love you
(I don't do that as a rule)

Mike said...

Point taken. The problem for me is that I am happy to say I love God, love my children, love my dog, love my friends, but I'm only in love with my wife.

Mike said...
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Mike said...

Here's my next verse

Jesus we get on well
You seem to understand
That when I say I love
I don't want to hold your hand

Mike said...

that should read

Here's my next verse

Jesus we get on well
You seem to understand
That when I say I love you
I don't want to hold your hand

Chris said...

Not sure if anyone will pick up on this comment now. Ho hum...

I also struggle with many of the usages of "love" in some recent worship songs. I recognise there are different words for love used in the Bible. Can you explain each of the ones mentioned above?

I often wonder what meaning the song writer is intending when he / she / they wrote the songs. Do they have dodgy theology? Are they meaning one particular type of love and we assume they mean another? It's a difficult one. I tend to steer clear of choosing songs to use that I'm not sure about the exact meaning of! I also try to find out more about the song, but often this proves difficult.

Mike said...

Hi Chris

Good to have you on board.

The following is rule of thumb, and the definitions overlap.

philea - love between friends

eros - sexual love

storge - familial love e.g. parent-child

agape - almost unique to the New Testament. Sacrificial love. The divine love shown to us, expected in fellowship and hoped for by God from us (Jesus asks for agape in John 21, but Peter is only prepared to offer philea

There is a wikipedia entry on Gk love words with all the usual wiki health warnings!

Also CS Lewis, The Four Loves addresses this too.

Basically I think "in love" in English = eros in Greek, which is the one word that is inappropriate for our response to God. Our love for God should be agape / philea / and even storge.

Hence I would go for worship songs that say we love God, but not that we are in love with God.