A recent article was written about Phillips, Craig and Dean’s song “No Matter How Long”. You will find pieces of the article below. I am not a P, C & D fan, but found some of the arguments somewhat heart-breaking. Therefore, you will see that I have shared some of my opinions in BOLD.
I understand the heart of the author. He and others want to make sure that we don’t go overboard when speaking of God’s love and leaving out His justice and judgment. At the same time, let us not forget that “God is love.”
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” ~ 1 John 4:7-12
“A quick listen to most contemporary Christian preaching, writing or singing would lead you to believe that God is gaga about humans and just longs to spend time with us. The latest dreck from Oneness Pentecostals (i.e., they believe in a heretical Jesus) Phillips, Craig and Dean, is a typical example.
“The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.” ~ Zep 3:17
No Matter How Long
I watched you as you stumbled out of bed, Rushed out the door, your coffee in your hand. And you looked so lost and lonely, I knew I had to find a way To make you understand, I wanna be your friend. So I painted a sunrise in the sky And I caused the birds to sing you lullabies, And I whispered sweet “I love you’s”. No matter how long it takes, somehow I’ll find a way Somehow My love will find a way, No matter how long it takes. I watched you as you fell asleep last night, And I trembled as I watched the tears you cried. So I splashed your face with moonlight, and I longed for your embrace.
Evangelicalism appears to have fallen into the pit of Godly romanticism. Evangelicals now present God as a love sick puppy who yearns to spend time with us. We have exchanged His loving-kindness for a gooey, romantic love.
Speaking about Israel, “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably to her (to her heart). And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came from the land of Egypt. And it shall be at that day, saith the Lord, that you shall call me ISHI (My Husband!)”
~ Hosea 2:14-16
Have we forgotten the Song of Solomon? The Song was/is regarded by many either as a typological set of songs describing of the relationship of Christ and the Church or Israel OR as an allegory of the soul’s relationship to Christ and God.
What is wrong with this song?
While I suspect the author is alluding to Psalm 19 and II Peter 3, his repositioning of theology is staggering. My comments are in parenthesis. REMEMBER, MINE ARE IN BOLD.
I watched you as you stumbled out of bed
Rushed out the door, your coffee in your hand
And you looked so lost and lonely (God does not desire to save us from loneliness, but from our sins)
Yes, He wants to save us from sin NOT our loneliness; however he does care about our loneliness:
“Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” ~ Deuteronomy 31:6
“For the LORD will not abandon His people on account of His great name, because the LORD has been pleased to make you a people for Himself.” ~ 1 Samuel 12:22
“For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me up.”
~ Psalms 27:10
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” ~ John 14:18
I knew I had to find a way (This makes God sound less than omniscient)
True, He actually is “the way”.
To make you understand, I wanna be your friend (While the Bible says we can be friends with God, it means reconciled, not bosom buddies)
Sure, but He does want to be our friend and reconcile us to Himself.
So I painted a sunrise in the sky
And I caused the birds to sing you lullabies (God gives us creation to appreciate Him, not lull us to sleep)
God is the Creator and we are to appreciate Him but also enjoy, care for, and love His creativity and Creation. The Bible speaks that His creation is a reminder to us of His love. He saw that it WAS GOOD, why would he not want us to do the same? “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” ~ Genesis 2:15
And I whispered sweet “I love you’s” (Is God our boyfriend or the Sovereign Creator of the universe?)
OK, got it. The Sovereign Creator shouted I love you by giving us His son.
No matter how long it takes, somehow I’ll find a way. (God is not thwarted by anything, let alone us)
Somehow My love will find a way, (Poor, pitiful God) No matter how long it takes. (“It is appointed unto man once to die, then judgment”)
“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” ~ 2 Peter 3:9
I watched you as you fell asleep last night
And I trembled as I watched the tears you cried.
Don’t know. He is moved with compassion and when I am moved, at times I tremble. We do know that Jesus wept (maybe trembling was involved.)
So I splashed your face with moonlight, and I longed for your embrace. (This sounds more like a Harlequin novel than Scripture)
Again, have we forgotten or ignored the Song of Solomon and those Scripture where he shares the intensity of His love for us, His creation. I do also understand however that this eros love can be fleeting. His love for us IS and our love for Him SHOULD BE much more.
Redefining the Atonement
Not a single Bible verse can be found to support the idea that we are so loveable that God yearns for us. Instead, God desires to restore children of wrath to a right relationship with Himself so that His loving-kindness can be displayed (Eph.2).
Did I misread the lyrics? I don’t believe the focus is on the fact that we are so loveable but rather that He cares for us even when lonely and we feel that no one else does.
God does not pursue us because he finds us so adorable that His heart will just break if He can’t find a way for us to fall in love with Him. He desires to save the unlovable so that His mercy can be magnified. The salvation that God offers is for His namesake, for His glory.
I agree. The song does not mention the why. But must every song we listen to or sing mention the whole gospel in its entirety?
Why have we so altered the doctrine of reconciliation? I am convinced it is because we have abandoned expository preaching and the preaching of God’s Law. The result? We have relegated God’s sense of anger, wrath and justice to the Old Testament as if He were a different God than that “nice New Testament God”.
While we do not want to end up in the “God is only angry” ditch, (Thank you) we have to find our way out of our present moat. My suggestion: we need to preach verse by verse to have a complete knowledge of the character and nature of God. We need to preach the Law to understand that we are not lovable, but loved despite what we are. (Well said, maybe the author just chose the wrong venue to present a much needed conversation?)
That is my take. What’s yours?
That is my take. What’s yours?