Posted in discernment, Uncategorized

Elyse Fitzpatrick and more on romancing Jesus (Updated)

It seems that the page in question from Mrs Fitzpatrick has disappeared. Below at the bottom, I posted a link to the cached version. I also posted screen shots of the essay.

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Jesus knew what she was doing and he welcomed it.

The above is from Elyse Fitzpatrick and I’ll get to the problem in her essay further down. But first, context.

Nine years ago, Keith Burton wrote an article in Spectrum Magazine called Jesus Is Not My Boyfriend. Why?

It appears as if some talented writers of contemporary Christian songs need a little help from theologians and etymologists when penning odes of love to Divinity. This is especially true for the influential Praise and Worship movement … My problem comes with the confusing lyrics that transform Jesus from a Brother into a boyfriend, a Lord into a lover or a Savior into a spouse.

Because unaddressed sin only ever gets worse, not only songs, but essays, blogs, and books have turned Jesus into a boyfriend, lover, or spouse. This is wrong.

(I love, I love, I love, I love the way You hold me)
(I love, I love, I love, I love the way You hold me)
(I love, I love, I love, I love the way You hold me)
(I love, I love, I love, I love the way You, the way Ya, the way Ya)
I’ve had a long day I just wanna relax
Don’t have time for my friends, no time to chit-chat
Problems at my job, wonderin’ what to do
I know I should be working, but I’m thinking of You and
Just when I feel this crazy world is gonna bring me down
That’s when Your smile comes around

Hold Me song by Jamie Grace featuring tobyMac

The lyrics like Hold Me above are not infrequent. Books like Ann Voskamp’s or Beth Moore’s that contain sensual language to describe the Savior are also rampant. And there are countless blogs doing the same- turning divine knowledge of the revealed One True God into a prom date complete with giggles and what happens at the After-Prom. Most of these are written by women.

I fly to Paris and discover how to make love to God. …God makes love with grace upon grace, every moment a making of His love for us. [C]ouldn’t I make love to God, making every moment love for Him? To know Him the way Adam knew Eve. Spirit skin to spirit skin? Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts

I also love how I could tell by the sweet tone of His silent voice whispering to my spirit that He was smiling…. I laughed with God. He laughed with me…. I am so in love with Him. I am so in love with Him. Beth Moore- When Godly People do Ungodly Things

One night I found myself leaving the warmth of our cozy chalet to walk alone in the snowy mountains. I went into a deeply wooded area, feeling vulnerable and awed by cold, moonlit beauty. The air was crisp and dry, piercing to inhale. Suddenly I felt as if a warm mist enveloped me. I became aware of a lovely Presence, and my involuntary response was to whisper, ‘Sweet Jesus.’ This utterance was totally uncharacteristic of me, and I was shocked to hear myself speaking so tenderly to Jesus. As I pondered this brief communication, I realized it was the response of a converted heart; at that moment I knew I belonged to Him. This was far more than the intellectual answers for which I’d been searching. This was a relationship with the Creator of the universe. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling

Some book titles on Amazon along these lines are: (HT Sharon Lareau)

The Wild Romancer: Uncovering the Romance Jesus Longs to Lavish on You by Brenda Cobb Murphy 2008

Falling In Love With Jesus: Abandoning Yourself To The Greatest Romance Of Your Life by Dee Brestin and Kathy Troccoli 2002

What is a person to make of a trend where perfect agape love of our HOLY GOD has been switched for eros with our prom date Jesus? Keith Burton from Spectrum Magazine explains why it is wrong-

While it is true that the Bible utilizes images of marriage to parallel Christ’s relationship to the church, two things must be taken into account.

Firstly, Christ relates to the church as a collective unit. He is married to the community as a whole and not to billions of individuals who claim to serve him–he is not a polygamist.

Secondly, the love Christ shares with his church is not defined by the Greek term “eros” from which the English word “erotic” is derived, but is expressed with the noun “agape” (pronounced ah-gah-pay) which denotes love demonstrated in deeds. Those who view themselves as children of God are not called to exercise eros but agape; they are not invited to brief episodes of self gratifying sexual intimacy but to a lifetime of social and spiritual interaction. (Jesus is Not My Boyfriend, Spectrum Magazine)

Now to the quote I opened with by Elyse Fitzpatrick. She holds a certificate in biblical counseling from CCEF (San Diego) and an M.A. in Biblical Counseling from Trinity Theological Seminary. She has authored 23 books on daily living and the Christian life. She also has a website where she blogs and is a conference speaker.

Fitzpatrick wrote a blog essay the other week titled Mary’s Wedding Vows where a biblical scene of humbly offering an anointing to the Sovereign God preceding His death, is twisted to an impetuous moment of a love-struck girl hurling herself with abandon at her lover. In order to make the verses she quoted fit her unbiblical scene, Fitzpatrick had to twist the scripture. (2 Peter 3:16). It was a theological train wreck full of doctrinal error and crass sensuality.

Sadly, a few years ago Fitzpatrick became involved in the hypergrace movement. Her 2012 book Give Them Grace seemed to reveal more antinomian stances. She was spoken of negatively in this 2015 article at Grace to You and this one in 2015. Her theological trajectory has been noted and warned against.

The invasion of such sensual imagery by these influential writers is a sad event. One would hope and pray that Christian women would have more sense and more spiritual maturity and discernment than to chase after things that are not much different than Tantric Buddhism. Anything that connects the divine through the body should be a no-go zone. The faith comes by hearing, not by sensuous feeling. It is an intellectual faith that comes in through the mind. What we know is most important.

Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary explains the word know

Know, Knowledge
The Old Testament. The Hebrew root yada [[;d”y],translated “know”/”knowledge, ” appears almost 950 times in the HebrewBible. It has a wider sweep than our English word “know, ” including perceiving, learning, understanding, willing, performing, and experiencing. To know is not to be intellectually informed about some abstract principle, but to apprehend and experience reality. Knowledge is not the possession of information, but rather its exercise or actualization.

Thus, biblically to know God is not to know about him in an abstract and impersonal manner, but rather to enter into his saving actions (Micah 6:5). To know God is not to struggle philosophically with his eternal essence, but rather to recognize and accept his claims. It is not some mystical contemplation, but dutiful obedience.

I sadly cannot recommend Elyse Fitzpatrick to you and must sadly issue a warning against using her materials. This is doubly sad because of her long experience with Biblical Counseling. But anyone who sees Jesus in such a light is seeing a Jesus that does not exist, except perhaps in her own mind.

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. (Colossians 2:8)

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on the sons of disobedience. (Ephesians 5:6).


Screen shots of Mrs Fitzpatrick’s essayin question

elyse final

https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:eGgyqS6I6E4J:https://www.elysefitzpatrick.com/marys-wedding-vows/+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

Posted in discernment, Uncategorized

The word eros is not in the Bible

How are we women to love Jesus? What is the nature of our love to our Savior? Or even of His love to us corporately and individually? Are there different kinds of love?

There are different kinds of love. In English, we use the word love in many ways, but it’s still the word love. I love ice cream. I love a short commute. I love my sister. I love my husband. I love Jesus.

In the Greek however, the language of the New Testament, there are different words to express different kinds of love. There is agápe, éros, philía, and storgē.

Storge is used in the Greek to indicate a strong familial affection. I love my family, Also, I love my country. Storge is not in the Bible.

Philia was famously used by Peter in his response to Jesus when Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me?” (John 21:15-16). Philia is a kind of strong brotherly affection. It’s where the word Philadelphia comes from. When Jesus asked Peter if Peter loved Jesus, using the word agape, Peter (ashamed) persistently used the word philia in reply.

Agape love is used in the Bible several times and it an important version of the word. Agape means love but when it’s used in the Bible it specifically means a love from God, defined by God. It is the very nature of God, “God is [agape] love”. (1 John 4:8). Agape is a sacrificial love. It’s the kind of love displayed by the Good Samaritan to the beaten and robbed man in the road. It’s the kind of love we’re called upon to love our enemies with, by the way. (Matthew 5:44). It’s God’s love, holy and good.

Eros is a sexual love, or at the very least, an intimate physical love. It’s a fleshly sensual love.

I’ve written about the romaticizing Jesus movement. This is a movement where a female “Bible teacher” teaches or sings or speaks about a Jesus where we have intimacy with Him. These women use language to indicate physical activity with Jesus is part of our normal relationship with Him. These women have taken the concept of love and twisted it. They have stretched the metaphorical biblical language in the Bible of Bride (church) and Groom (Jesus) into realms where the actual marital bedroom benefits with an actual husband on earth are also part of our heavenly relationship with Jesus.

Ladies, this should not be.

“While it is true that the Bible utilizes images of marriage to parallel Christ’s relationship to the church, two things must be taken into account. Firstly, Christ relates to the church as a collective unit. He is married to the community as a whole and not to billions of individuals who claim to serve him–he is not a polygamist. Secondly, the love Christ shares with his church is not defined by the Greek term “eros” from which the English word “erotic” is derived, but is expressed with the noun “agape” (pronounced ah-gah-pay) which denotes love demonstrated in deeds. Those who view themselves as children of God are not called to exercise eros but agape; they are not invited to brief episodes of self gratifying sexual intimacy but to a lifetime of social and spiritual interaction.” (Spectrum Magazine)

The word eros is the kind of love to Jesus and from Jesus these female teachers write about. I could post many examples from popular female “Bible teachers” who constantly express this kind of love in their lessons, or who describe their relationship with Jesus in this way, but I won’t. You know what I’m talking about.

The word eros is not in the Bible. Not once. This erotic kind of love between a woman and her husband is fine and biblical. It’s implied for example in Paul’s missive to husbands and wives in 1 Corinthians 7. Yet even when Paul alludes to marital bedroom activity however, he never uses the word eros.

So for a teacher to use the word eros between women and her Savior is not biblical at all.

Ladies, when you hear a Bible teacher saying we love Jesus like a boyfriend, we are being enfolded in His arms, and worse things relating to our body, you know this woman is not teaching rightly. She cannot be rightly dividing the word of truth when she discusses physical intimate love to & from the Savior because that kind of love is not in the Bible. So where would she be getting this aspect of love from? Her flesh. False teachers always appeal to the flesh.

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. (2 Peter 2:1-2).

We see so often depicted in this lyric by Kelly Carpenter and many other woman teachers a Jesus depicted romantically, but it’s false.

You are my desire, no one else will do
‘Cause nothing else could take your place
To feel the warmth of your embrace
Kelly Carpenter – “Draw Me Close”

As a final thought, ladies, we can know Jesus through His word and learn of His many and infinite attributes through study of it.  His character is endlessly fascinating, and it’s deeply satisfying to ponder His attributes. Why add an attribute to our relationship with Him that does not exist? We have enough in Him already. His grace alone is sufficient. He is wonderful and true and good. He is not our lover and He is not our boyfriend. He is not our cheerleader. He is the Ancient of Days, come to take His seat and make the earth His footstool! He is-

the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. (Revelation 1:5)
the first and the last, who died and came to life (Revelation 2:8)
the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze. (Revelation 2:18).

The moment you hear or read of a singer or teacher speaking of Jesus is this eros way, now you know to avoid her immediately, and why. It’s simply not biblical.

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Further reading:

Sisters, Jesus is not your cheerleader

Toning down the truth of Jesus to make him more palatable actually does the opposite—he loses all richness of flavor and becomes a bland imitation. . . . The news we get to share is so much better than ‘You’re okay, I’m okay.’

Romanticizing God

If we eroticize God, we may end up worshiping a buddy/boyfriend who bears little resemblance to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. As Nichole Nordeman said so aptly in song, “Let me not forget to tremble.”

Romance with Jesus: the Bigger Picture

A common thread here is relating to or experiencing Jesus in a specific way, through the imagination or imagery of romance whether based on human relationships or subjective, mystical ecstasy in the mind.  This places a human idea on a pedestal and exchanges something glorious for something dull. Human romance may seem wonderful when it’s between a man and woman, and it is.  But should it be our model for relating to God?  Last time (and every time) I checked, the Bible doesn’t say, “Women, love Jesus as wives romantically relate to their husbands or as girlfriends romantically relate to their boyfriends.”