In the modern cathedrals of pop-Christianity, where the beats of “worship music” resonate just a tad louder than doctrinal integrity, a new portrait of Jesus has been painted—one that bears less resemblance to the God revealed to us in Scripture and more to a Shakespearean Romeo. Yes, it seems that the Almighty Savior, who upholds the universe by the Word of His power, is now being serenaded as though He’s about to engage in a moonlit waltz. The shift in worship culture isn’t merely a stray note—it’s a dramatic departure from the profound reverence and awe that God demands.
Enter: Hillsong’s “Forever Reign.” Its lyrics resonate with countless churchgoers, drawing them into a seemingly passionate moment of worship. Yet, those “heartfelt” lines—”running to your arms” and “nothing compares to your embrace”—make one wonder: Are we singing to our Holy and righteous, omnipotent Creator or crafting lines for a Nicholas Sparks novel?
Of course, it’s not merely about the lyrics themselves. A song may be written with words that are technically accurate, yet when coupled with particular theatrics and vocal stylizations, it transforms into an emotive spectacle, mirroring secular love ballads more than hymns of profound theological depth. The slow crescendos, the emotive key changes—some could be forgiven for thinking they’ve stumbled upon a recording session for the next big Netflix romance.
This isn’t just a musical trend; it mirrors a greater theological drift that’s infiltrated Christian literature as well. Take, for example, Ann Voskamp’s infamous quote in her book 1000 Gifts, where she ventures so far as to say that she flies to Paris and discovers how to “make love to God.” Such language is not just poetic liberty—it’s a scandalous distortion. And one that sadly, many women in our churches who are not led by godly, discerning shepherds are taken in by. Jesus is not some long-lost lover waiting in Paris, London, Sydney, Australia, or anywhere else. He’s the majestic King of the entire world, the creator of all things.
Join Us and Get These Perks:
✅ No Ads in Articles
✅ Access to Comments and Discussions
✅ Community Chats
✅ Full Article and Podcast Archive
✅ The Joy of Supporting Our Work 😉
Yet, this trend paints Him less as the sovereign ruler of the universe and more like a divine partner in a cosmic rom-com, always there with a comforting word, a box of spiritual chocolates, and a shoulder to cry on. This romanticized deity provides constant affirmations and, heaven forbid, scarcely whispers about the weighty matters of sin and judgment. Essentially, He’s cast as the “better half” in this peculiar drama between God and His bride.
Yet, Scripture is clear: God is not in negotiation with humanity. He isn’t swiping right, waiting for us to reciprocate with a well-timed worship chorus. He doesn’t exist to offer endless affirmations or to improve our life’s narrative. God is not our co-pilot or a shoulder to cry on in the narrative of our life. He is the Author, Director, and the Center.
Jesus’s primary goal isn’t our comfort or even our happiness—it’s His glory. And often, that glory comes through the discipline, the trials, the refining fire that reshapes believers into His likeness. His love is immeasurable, yes, but it is not devoid of justice, demands, or discipline.
What we’re witnessing is the byproduct of a culture awash in emotive, self-affirming sentiments—a culture that has, unfortunately, tiptoed its way into our congregations. Churches, influenced by an overtly feminized cultural wave, have let feelings dictate theology rather than the other way around.
In chasing after this emotional high, many churches have forsaken the hard truths of the Gospel. The narrative isn’t just about God’s love—it’s about His sovereignty, His righteousness, His justice. Romanticizing Jesus diminishes His unparalleled authority and majesty. By reducing Him to a divine “boyfriend” figure, we’re robbing Him of the reverence He’s due and setting ourselves up for a shock when faced with His all-consuming holiness.
The Apostle Paul didn’t write about sprinting into Christ’s open arms for a comforting cuddle. He spoke of a God who saves but also of a God who demands. A God who loves, but also a God who judges. It’s time our worship reflected this complete picture, not just the conveniently palatable bits. Because when we replace the genuine, awe-struck worship of the one true God with feel-good, romantic ditties, we’re treading on perilously thin ice.