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The Over-Sexualization of Christ and The Heretical Bridal Paradigm

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Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. - Hebrews 12: 28 -29 (ESV)

Someone sent me some lyrics this week and asked my opinion. At first read I thought it may have been a new hit for Beyonce and Jay-Z. It was racy enough. Sexual enough. Relatively unashamed. Maybe it was the latest from Miley Cyrus the former child star gone bad or Katy Perry the former Christian gone bad. To my surprise upon googling however, it was a Christian "worship" song. Here are the lyrics:

I am lovesick, for my Beloved
My Beloved and my Friend
Only YOU can satisfy

Try as I may to chase another Lover,
I find there is, there is no other
For only YOU can satisfy

And happy am I, to live a hungry life
Blessed am I, to thirst
Disillusionment, it is my gift within
I am blessed, I am blessed among men!

To be lovesick, for my beloved
My beloved and my friend
Only YOU can satisfy

Try as I may to chase another Lover,
I find there is, there is no other

All the other Lovers fade away
Only YOU can satisfy

This is not worship of God in any sense. It is borderline softcore pornography. There are many dangerous heresies infecting the church today and one of them involves the over-sexualization of Jesus combined with a false strain of teaching known as the Bridal Paradigm. The website Gotquestions.org defines this paradigm as follows:

According to bridal paradigm doctrine, the whole Bible is the story of God's seeking a suitable mate for His Son. Jesus is pictured as a lovesick suitor who is passionately awaiting the time when He will be reunited with His beloved Bride. While the New Testament does use the metaphor of the Bride of Christ, the bridal paradigm takes the metaphor to an extreme, teaching that it is the primary picture of the Church and that each individual believer is the Bride.

This warped perversion is largely centered around a complete misunderstanding of the imagery contained in Song of Solomon and poor hermeneutics involving Ephesians:

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. - Ephesians 5: 25-27 (ESV)

There is a bride-bridegroom paradigm but it has nothing to do with each individual. The church as a collective is the bride - not each person individually. Paul goes to great lengths to show how we are all members of one body, not separate entities. This false bridal paradigm takes what is meant to be pure and contaminates it with the over-sexualization we see in the world. Just look at these lyrics! Lovesick, only You can satisfy, referring to God as a lover. The end result is a generation of confused Christians, especially young Christian women who fall prey to this sexualization all too easily. The Bible says to fix our minds on what is pure and good and noble not what is erotic, suggestive, and lascivious.

The primary culprit of this heresy is Mike Bickle, who runs the heretical International House of Prayer in Kansas City. You'll hear smatterings of this from Bickle associates like Jesus Culture, Bill Johnson and the New Apostolic Reformation but the epicenter is in IHOP. He unashamedly promotes this teaching. Calling on naive and poorly taught young Christians to view God in romanticized and sexualized ways. How much so is Mike Bickle and IHOP at the heart of this false teaching? The lyrics quoted earlier are from Misty Edwards, who has been taught by Bickle at IHOP since she was 19. In case you think it is an aberration, here is a refrain from another Edwards song:

For God is a Lover
Looking for a lover so He fashioned me
God is a Lover
Looking for a lover so
He formed my heart
God is a Lover
Looking for a lover so He fashioned me
God is a Lover
Looking for a lover...

God is looking for a lover so He fashioned me??? No beloved. God is looking for obedience. He was looking for a way to reconcile our sins so He fashioned His only Son to a tree on Calvary's hill. The key verse today reminds us of our solemn responsibility in offering worship unto God. What God deems acceptable is what is offered with reverence and awe not what is offered with lust and a triple X rating. If you hear songs like this you need to turn them off or tune them out. They only serve Satan, who is trying to deceive you into viewing God in inappropriate manners. To any young Christian women out there who has bought into these lies - there is going to be a Marriage Supper of the Lamb but you are NOT going on the honeymoon.

The church is the Bride of Christ and that imagery is used not for romantic purposes but relative to our faithfulness and fidelity to God. Not a sexual fidelity beloved. God used this same imagery to discuss Israel in the Old Testament. When they followed after false idols, they were considered adulterers. Not physically but spiritually. That may be where Mike Bickle goes so wrong. He takes things that were clearly meant on a spiritual level and carnalizes them. Run from the bridal paradigm and any attempt to sexualize God, remembering as our key verse warns - our God is a consuming fire.

Rev. Anthony

 

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