JESUS AS “LOVER”??

-by Andrew Strom.

Is there a problem with a “Romantic Lover” Jesus?

ABOUT THE “ROMANCING JESUS” MOVEMENT:
What does the term “Passion for Jesus” mean to you? Would it surprise you to learn that whole Christian movements are now using it to mean a kind-of “eros” love for Jesus – a ‘passion’ for Him similar to what an earthly husband and wife have for each other? (-From the word “eros” we ultimately get the word ‘erotic’). And what does the term “Intimacy with Jesus” mean to you? Would it surprise you to learn that many are now using it to mean sensual “romantic” encounters with Jesus – with Him as the Bridegroom and them as the ‘Bride’?

You may think that such unscriptural practices must be out on the “fringe” somewhere. Surely they cannot be part of mainstream Christianity? Well, look around you, because this stuff is now everywhere.

I live very close to one of the world’s largest and most influential prayer centers here in Kansas City – and it has been a major source of this “Jesus as Romantic Lover” teaching for many years. And now it is all around the world. At this center you will find hundreds of young men and women who will tell you about being “ravished” for Jesus, “kissing” Jesus and ‘swooning’ in His arms, etc. Their entire understanding of “WHO GOD IS” and their relationship with Him is being shaped by this teaching. -And it is an utter twisting of Scripture.

Why is it important to have a right concept of “WHO GOD IS”? Why does it matter so much? Well, this one thing shapes everything else about our faith and our relationship with the Lord. At the heart of a lot of cults and deceptions is a fundamental mis-apprehension of the true character and nature of God – ie. “Who He is – How we approach Him”. It really does affect EVERYTHING.

Now, imagine that there is a new doctrine that re-invents our very understanding of God – a doctrine that sweeps the world and catches up many young people. So, is this new doctrine based on a careful exegesis of the New Testament, you ask? -No! To your surprise you find that it is largely based on “spiritualizing” the SONG OF SOLOMON. Yes, that’s right. An entire re-inventing of our relationship with God based not on the New Testament, but on Solomon’s love-poetry about the body and breasts and comeliness of one of his 700 wives. -Wonderful poetry to be sure, but what kind of basis is that for such a drastic change in our basic beliefs?

(So is there no benefit to be gained from an ‘allegorical’ understanding of the Song Of Solomon? -Certainly there is! Hudson Taylor and others used it this way. But that is not the point I am making. The real issue is this:- Should we re-invent our entire understanding of “Who God is” and how we approach Him – to fit in with a tiny book of semi-erotic poetry from the Old Testament? Should this become our dominant understanding of God?)

As history shows us again and again, to the equal degree that we lose our grasp of the real character and nature of God – to this same degree we will lose genuine Christianity. You cannot have the true New Testament Faith if you have lost the true New Testament Jesus. -Which is why it is so serious when people say that in the West today we have invented a kind-of “American Jesus” to suit our self-centered, “me”-focused lifestyle. They point out that today you mostly hear of a Jesus who exists to make you “happy” rather than holy, a Jesus who is always a “friend” but never a Judge, a Jesus who does not any longer hate sin or demand repentance, but only wants you prosperous and ‘blessed’. This is a Jesus that utterly suits our selfish Western mindset, but is found nowhere in the Bible.

And the new “Jesus As Lover” doctrine is just another twist in the ongoing tale of modern Christians distorting the character and nature of God.

Does Jesus love us? Of course He does – more than words can tell. And are we to love Him? Of course! -With all our heart, mind, soul and strength! But does this mean that we are to approach Him with a sensual “romantic” love, like some adolescent schoolgirl, “swooning” and smooching with our ‘lover’ Jesus? Is that what God’s love means? Are we to exchange ‘agape’ for emotional “eros” and act like Jesus’s “girlfriend” here on earth? (-Men as well as women?) God forbid!

Of course we know that in Scripture the corporate body of Christ (particularly at the end of the age) is described as the “Bride” of Christ. But isn’t it obvious that this is talking about the ‘CORPORATE’ Body – not individual Christians? Are we each to become Jesus’s little “girlfriends” here on earth – or is it the “WHOLE BODY” that is to one day be the Bride of Christ? -Clearly it is the latter.

The effect of this doctrine on young men is particularly distressing. To describe it as “effeminate” is quite an understatement. As it is, the modern church is already known for being an “anti-masculine” zone, with its flower displays, pink walls, mauve carpets, emotion- laden music, etc. A lot of commentators point to this when discussing the low attendance of men in our churches. But this new doctrine takes this theme to undreamt-of depths.

Can you imagine zealous praying young men who relate to Jesus (ie. another MALE) as a “lover” whom they kiss and ‘swoon’ over? Can you imagine what happens when this becomes their basic approach to God? -And this is just the beginning of the gender- bending weirdness that is starting to become “normal” in this movement. (Some are in such deception that they even have experiences of “Jesus” kissing them on the mouth, etc. The movement itself warns against “sensual encounters” but their very teaching leads directly to this kind of thing. Deceiving spirits are always super-active in this kind of environment. Where do you think the famed ‘incubus’ and ‘succubus’ originate from?)

The ironic thing is that a lot of the people who are into this doctrine claim to be “seeking Revival”. They really think that this is the kind of ‘intimacy’ that God desires. It is greatly influencing the modern ‘Prayer’ movement, the Prophetic movement and the ‘Worship’ movement (-which explains the recent rash of songs with “Song of Solomon” type themes: “I kiss you with the kisses of my mouth”, “Take me into your chamber”, etc).

I find their talk of “Revival” particularly ironic, because I have studied Revival for many years, and I am aware that all the old Revivalists prayed to a God who is very different from what is being presented here. -And their understanding of “WHO GOD IS” was utterly crucial to their obtaining Revival. They prayed to a God of holiness and majesty and awe – a God of glory who hates sin, yet sent His son to die for sinners.

The God that the old Revivalists prayed to was the “throneroom” God that Isaiah described- “I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple… And one cried to another and said, Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts: The whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.” (Is 6:1-5).

This is the “throneroom” God who is described again in Revelation chapter 4 – where we are told that the four beasts cry, “Holy, holy, holy” day and night without ceasing, and the 24 elders cast down their crowns before His throne – over and over again. It is “HOLINESS” that is the chief characteristic of God! No other characteristic is ever repeated three times together in the Bible – let alone over and over, day and night! -“HOLY, HOLY, HOLY.”

And actually, the full title of the book of Revelation is the “Revelation of Jesus Christ”. So in other words, it is a ‘revealing’ of who Jesus is and what He is really like. And when John (the ‘beloved’ disciple) first sees the glorified Christ in Revelation 1, we are told that such is His terror-inducing holiness and glory that John fell at his feet “as though dead.” -This is the true Jesus – as He really is.

In every true Revival, it is the God of majesty who reveals himself. For Revival is the “Glory of God” coming down. It is His very ‘throneroom’ presence coming down amongst men. Thus, even His own children should approach Him with awe. And if we do not pray to this God, then we should not expect Revival at all. -That is one of the basic lessons of Revival history. -We must pray to the ‘RIGHT GOD’ if we are going to see true Revival.

Incidentally, the ‘Bride of Christ’ in Revelation is described as a ‘holy city’ – a “new Jerusalem” coming down from heaven. (Rev 21). So it is clearly a ‘CORPORATE’ entity that exists at the end of the age. -Not some individualized “girlfriend of Jesus” in the here-and-now.

It is a very serious thing to tamper with our understanding of ‘WHO GOD IS’ and how we relate to Him. In a lot of ways it is like preaching “another Jesus”. -It really is that bad. If you hear phrases today like ‘Lovesick for Jesus’, ‘Bridal Paradigm’, “Bridal intimacy”, “Inflamed heart”, ‘Romancing’, “Ravished”, ‘Fascinated’, etc, then you can be pretty sure that you are being exposed to this deceptive doctrine. I believe it is serious error, and I urge you to flee from it as far as you can, my friends.

READERS REPLY TO THE ABOVE ARTICLE:
“D–” writes:

I ran into this a few weeks ago at our home fellowship. A woman whom I see to be very Spirit filled, was talking to us at the dinner table about being taken into the “upper chambers” where Jesus laid her down on a bed of roses (because He is the Rose of Sharon He can do that, she said), and that He made love to her. She described to me this whole scene as if it were out of a romance novel. The thought of Jesus actually making love to me made me sick… I was actually disheartened, grieved and shocked that she was talking about this. What gets me is that her friends who were with her all agreed as if this was sound biblical doctrine.

[NOTE: The above email is not from Kansas City – but rather from elsewhere in the USA. It is a good example of what is happening as this doctrine spreads around the world. Please note that the prayer center in Kansas City does NOT teach in any way that we should have sexual or ‘physical’ encounters with Jesus. However, their teaching certainly lays the groundwork for it – and is the ultimate cause of it, in my opinion. Their claim is that it is “immature” believers who are misusing and distorting their teaching.

Well yes – of course! But they are actually preaching it to thousands of “immature” believers themselves! In fact, this seems to be their “target” audience. The hundreds of young people at their own prayer center boast an average age of 22 years, reportedly. So yes – a whole lot of “immature” believers are being greatly influenced by this doctrine. Tell me then – whose fault is this? Is it right for the KC leadership to simply wash its hands of the evil effects that this doctrine is having around the world? Isn’t this actually the “fruit” of this teaching? -Isn’t it producing “bad fruit” wherever it goes?]

“J—-” writes:

I just went to a ladies retreat two weeks ago and the theme was this same “lover Jesus” as portrayed in a book they used called, “With an Everlasting Love”… It was so Godless and selfish and full of “eros”, putting thoughts and feelings in whoever reads it that certainly did not bring glory to God… I now have the opportunity to confront the pastor’s wife about this teaching that literally every woman fell for (except me!) and was “wooed” by their sensuality as women and the need for love, that they sucked it right up.

“R—” writes:

I moved here to KC 2 years ago to attend [the Prayer Center]… I have been so confused by the whole up-sweep of the “Bridal Paradigm” and ravished heart of Jesus and Song of Solomon. I cannot relate to Jesus as romantic lover, nor do I want to!! I am trying to have clean thoughts and a pure heart. I want a Godly husband to be that for me, to model Christ’s love and headship. All my friends tell me, “Jesus is your husband – let Him be your first love and your provider”. As if I should shun men and give up on the idea of marriage.

The Editor of a Prophetic Newsletter – who follows the whole movement closely – writes:

I too have been concerned about this for a while. In particular I have seen much written about intimacy without any reference to obeying the revealed will of God. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey my commands.” The intimacy emphasis is not just out of balance, it is dangerously soulish, promising emotional experiences and opening up the way to deceiving spirits if pursued too far.

“C—” writes:

What’s amazing is how the presence of this teaching is like yeast. For a few years I was among believers who had absorbed ‘bridal paradigm’ teaching out of KC. It had a weird way of rubbing off. Even though I’d never even encountered it myself directly, for awhile I’d unwittingly absorbed some of it & had some dreams I now know came from unclean spirits. Thankfully my discernment antennaes began picking up on & rejecting the unholy nature of all this. Like many such excesses, it’s the mixture that results when deception is mingled with the pure revelation of the Spirit that’s so very, very deadly.

“L—” writes:

There is a strange message behind this Bridal Paradigm. -It was shown at the CALL in Kansas City. I was there. I witnessed this. There was a call to all those young people who were in attendance at this KC gathering and a few older – to pledge a marriage covenant right then that night to be MARRIED to Christ.

There was a Marriage Canopy held up for a marriage procession as hundreds marched under it as to become covenantly married to Christ. They made it seem so righteous and holy – So – many threw away their discernment and followed the leaders – forgetting that the marriage actually takes place in heaven at the marriage supper of the Lamb.

CBN NEWS REPORT – JAN 6, 2002:

“THE CALL” IN KANSAS CITY: A Marriage Covenant with Jesus.
By Wendy Griffith, CBN News Reporter.

Some 20,000 mostly young people packed the Kansas City Convention Center on New Year’s Eve for a wedding ceremony unlike any other… as each person who came embarked on a marriage covenant with the Bridegroom of Heaven… From noon until midnight they danced and sang, fasted and prayed, and got ready to get married to Jesus.

“There’s going to be a wedding and God is raising up friends of the Bridegroom to prepare the church, there’s going to be a wedding!”

One by one, thousands of men and women, young and old, made their vows and walked under the prayer shawl symbolizing their commitment to Jesus.

[A COMMENTATOR NOTES: The huppah is in fact an integral part of a binding WEDDING CEREMONY between man and woman; therefore what these young people were doing was getting married – but to whom? The Bible tells us that the marriage of the Lamb takes place “in heaven” and only at the Day of Redemption when all believers are gathered in. It does not take place on earth as a “preparation” for the Lord’s coming].

Continuing the CBN Report…

“Stewart Greaves, a 30-year-old, said, “I really feel like the Lord is calling young people to fall madly in love with Him. I’ve always felt that the difference between religion and relationship is intimacy with Jesus…”

Here in Kansas City, there has already been a tremendous focus on the bridal love of Jesus… where for three and a half years, a team of prophetic singers, intercessors and others have held 24-hour-a-day praise and worship focusing on Jesus as the bridegroom.
[-END of NEWS REPORT].

FROM a BOOK that is Required Reading at the School of this Kansas City prayer center:

“He [God] has given Himself to both the exhilarations and the woundings of a lovesick heart. When He gazes upon me, He sees through the eyes of love and desire. He comes before me and says, ‘I am a Man in love. I am a God that burns with desire, and I have set My affections on you. I am an all-consuming fire of love, and you are the inheritance that My Father has promised me. Will you receive My love?'” (Pg 57).

“O Gaze Eternal,
How penetrating are Your Fires
Rushing through my darkest places
With the burning streams of Desire
Leaving me naked, purged and bare
… Yet embraced…
You take hold of my weakest places
And kiss them with Your mercy
Lifting up my low grounds
With your mighty love so holy…” (Pg 52).

“She lifted her arms wide to the Lord and said with all of her strength and her love, ‘Enjoy me. Right here, right now, in my absolute weakness, enjoy me.'” (Pg 84).

[NOTE: The above book goes on and on in a similar vein for 200 pages. We remind you again that this is an officially recommended publication at this Kansas City prayer center, with a Foreword by the LEADER of the movement himself. It is “Required Reading” for the young people at their ministry School.

When they talk about a Bridal “Paradigm” – what do they mean? Well, a ‘paradigm’ is a new mindset or “world-view”. These people are now viewing Jesus and Christianity through an entirely new set of lenses, so to speak – ie. Through this ‘BRIDAL’ Paradigm. -For many, that is now their dominant understanding of Jesus Christ.]

TRUE “INTIMACY” WITH GOD
-by Andrew Strom.
With all this talk about the error of the “Jesus as Romantic Lover” teaching, I don’t want to give the impression that I am against having a deep relationship with God. The fact is – my whole ministry is devoted to bringing people into a closer and closer walk with Him – a walk of truly deep communion. But there is one very important difference. -And it is all to do with the ‘CHARACTER’ of God, and how we approach Him.

Since I was 17 years old – when I first went through a true “Revival” experience in my life – I have found myself in deep communion with God in prayer. Many times I have found myself (as it were) in the very ‘throneroom’ presence of God, where all I could do was behold His glory and majesty in awe – often with tears streaming down my face. “HOLY HOLY HOLY”. Sometimes I have been unable to speak or utter any word for hours at a time – because what words are sufficent for such things? -This is the God that I came to deeply love. -A ‘HOLY’ God. And I believe that ‘knowing’ God deeply in this way is for every believer. In fact, this is what I spoke about at our recent ‘Gathering’. -‘Personal Revival’ and coming into a state of deep communion with Him. I am totally committed to the fact that this is God’s will for every Christian. -Nothing ‘unusual’.

But there are “foundations” that must be laid to come into this. And one of the most important of these foundations is a right understanding of God as a ‘HOLY’ God. -I mean deeply and utterly “Holy”. -Holy beyond words and almost beyond comprehension. The more we get a grasp of God’s HOLINESS, the more we ourselves desire holiness, and the closer and closer to Him we become. I have seen this and I know it is true.

We all know the Scripture- “The FEAR of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.” But what a lot of us don’t realize is that it is through this reverential ‘Fear’ of the Lord that we ultimately come into a deep ‘LOVE’ relationship with Him. It is utterly crucial that we embrace His judgments and holiness – as well as His mercy and grace. And as this foundation of God’s glory and holiness and majesty is laid in our hearts, our whole approach to Him changes. We start to see Him as He really is – in all His GLORY – and we start to LOVE Him more and more. And as His holiness works its way more and more into our lives, we come closer and closer to Him – not in any “romantic” or ‘sensual’ way, but in a ‘HOLY’ way. -This is a major secret of the ‘Revived’ life: Apprehending the ‘HOLY’ character and nature of God. -That is where it starts.

Which is why I have such a problem with the “Jesus as Lover” teaching. -Because it brings God down to “our level” – a sentimental ‘romantic’ level rather than a ‘throneroom’ one. It is an awful distortion. I believe it actually ruins a lot of people’s relationship with God – rather than helping it. In many ways it is a “false Jesus” that is being preached – and the approach is completely wrong.

I know from Scripture and all Revival history that it is the God of GLORY and HOLINESS – the “throneroom” God – that we must get to know if we are to come into the deepest heart communion and intimacy with Him. The ‘Fear’ of the Lord really is the beginning of wisdom.

Through the free gift of the cleansing blood of Jesus – a FREE GIFT – we can truly and deeply become the ‘FRIEND’ of the King of Kings. -Now, how precious is that?? How many billions of dollars could you pay for that?? -We can actually become the ‘FRIEND’ of the God of all glory – Creator of the Universe. This is the God that we can come to deeply know and love. And the key is His ‘HOLINESS’.

TO SUM IT ALL UP:
I am convinced that the “Jesus as Romantic Lover” teaching is more than just an over-emphasis. It is serious error, which is producing bad fruit all over the world.

But more than that, I regard it as an utterly “anti-Revival” doctrine. If you are a seeker of true Revival, then I cannot imagine a worse way to be sidetracked than this. It promises a new kind of “intimacy” with Jesus, yet delivers only cheap ‘romance’. And it fights against true ‘holiness’ preaching (ie. Revival preaching) by bringing God down to a more earthy and soulish and sentimental level. You cannot ever conceive of it preaching “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” At the end of the day, I believe it simply preaches a ‘FALSE JESUS’.

Of course, our culture today is saturated with sex and romance, so this “Romantic Lover Jesus” doctrine plays right along with that. But are we supposed to adapt our whole understanding of God to the sick culture of the day, or are we supposed to represent the TRUE JESUS as He really is – and change the world? Clearly the latter, of course. To change our gospel to make Jesus a “wooing” romantic lover, chasing his beloved and playing “hide & seek” with her, is obviously ‘off’ in a major way. But you can see why many of our youth are falling for it.

Of course, there is another distorted teaching related to this, which is also coming out of that same group in Kansas City. It is the over-emphasis on how much God aches and desires and takes “pleasure” in us – even in our “weakness” and ‘brokenness’ and sinfulness, etc. Again, when this is distorted and over-emphasized to such an extreme, it becomes an “anti-Revival” doctrine of the worst kind. I have been studying Revival now for over 20 years, and I would say that this kind of teaching is just about the worst barrier to true Revival in existence. Instead of exalting God, it portrays Him as excessively ’emotional’, as He woos and enjoys us with His ‘inflamed’ heart – even in our ‘weakness’ (ie. sin). In other words, the seriousness of sin is down-played and “we” become the center instead of God. Again, this is in direct opposition to all true Revival preaching, and it simply amazes me that any “Revival-seeking” group would come out with it.

Of course, as we have intimated before, this “Bridal” teaching seems to distort or ruin almost everything it touches. ‘FASTING’ is another example. Here is what one person wrote about their encounter with ‘Bridegroom’ fasting: “I have had experience with some ministry that included what they call a “bridegroom fast” where they mourn in “lovesickness” for the purpose of experiencing more of divine Love. Seems to be really over-emphasizing emotional experiences.” – Yes – exactly!

So is such ‘Bridegroom’ fasting actually pleasing to God? Does He even notice it at all? And what about their ‘Bridegroom’ PRAYING? Or their ‘Bridegroom’ MUSIC? (-Of which there seems to be such an abundance!) -Does any of it actually achieve what it is supposed to achieve? Or is it all based on a completely false perception of God?

These are the questions that need to be seriously considered by anyone who is thinking of getting involved in this movement.

God bless you all.

-Andrew Strom.

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Posted in Articles by Andrew on April 21st, 2010 at 7:02 am.

1 comment

One Reply

  1. Luisa May 5th 2010

    “Eros” love for Jesus is totally crazy! It’s demonic! My God these people are totally deceived. I pray that the Lord will remove the veil from their eyes so that they can see the truth. No wonder it says in the bible that even the very elect will be deceived in the last days.

    Matthew 24:22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. 23 Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.