DiM | “The God I Know” by Love & The Outcome

disapproveCCM Radio Edition.

August 02, 2016. Today we’ll be taking a look at “The God I Know” by Love & The Outcome, which currently sits at #19 on 20theCountdownMagazine.

I first heard this song a couple of weeks ago and immediately thought, “So, who is the God you know?” as the song finally drew to an end. I was hoping it wouldn’t gain popularity, but sure enough, we find it on the top20 chart this week. The song doesn’t actually answer the question, and the official music video doesn’t help at all. Suffice it to say that this song doesn’t stand on its own, it’s a proclamation of self-made religion build around the typical “god is my boyfriend” trope. Sensual mysticism being offered as an alternative to legalism. We solidly Disapprove of this song.

Official Music Video

If you’re thinking, “what did i just watch” you’re not alone. The whole John Cuzak “Say Anything” (IMDB link) intro threw me for a loop and, frankly, it was hard to recover from. Why are we going back to this era? What’s the appeal? I’m not sure. I’m also completely confused by their use of that pool. Particularly with the warning in large letters, “Caution: Avoid Long Deep Dives”. As I listened to the song and saw the video, my mind went to, “yep… don’t dive too deeply into this song, it’s shallow and you’ll get hurt. Also, there’s no water in that pool, just like there’s no Christ in this song”. Fairly sure the artists would object to that interpretation of the imagery used in this video… but that’s what I saw in it. Let’s get to the Lyrics.

Lyrics (via KLove)

If It Was All About Religion
What To Do, What To Say, What To Wear On A Sunday
All About Perfection
Black And White, Wrong Or Right, Never Grey
Well I’d Never Make It
I’d Never Be Good Enough

I Tried To Walk The Line, Pray That I’d Find
Somethin’ That I Knew Was Real
Began To Realize, The Harder I Tried
The Colder I’d Start To Feel
Until The Moment
The Second I Met Your Love

(Chorus)
And Then I Threw My Hands Up
Worries Down
I Remember When He Showed Me How
To Break Up With My Doubt
Once I was lost but now I’m found
No Strings Attached When He Saved My Soul
I Want You To Know The God I Know
Oh, You Gotta Know
Oh, The God I Know

He Is More Than Just A Rescue
Thats Where It Starts, Not Where It Ends
Let Freedom In
More Than Just A Story
In The Sky, Wearing White, He’s Alive
In Every Moment
And Now That I Know This Love

I Can Throw My Hands Up
Worries Down
I Remember When He Showed Me How

To Break Up With My Doubt
Once I was lost but now I’m found
No Strings Attached When He Saved My Soul
I Want You To Know The God I Know
Oh, You Gotta Know
Oh, The God I Know

What was I waiting for
I came alive when I let go
All I had was a broken heart
Then He held me in His arms

What was I waiting for
I came alive when I let go
All I had was a broken heart
Then He held me in His arms

I Can Throw My Hands Up
Worries Down
I Remember When He Showed Me How

To Break Up With My Doubt
Once I was lost but now I’m found
No Strings Attached When He Saved My Soul
I Want You To Know The God I Know
Oh, You Gotta Know
Oh, The God I Know

What was I waiting for
I came alive when I let go
All I had was a broken heart
Then He held me in His arms

What was I waiting for
I came alive when I let go
All I had was a broken heart
Then He held me in His arms

Publishing: The God I Know (Jodi King/Chris Rademaker/Seth Mosley/Colin Munroe) © 2016 Word Music (ASCAP)/CentricSongs, 2 Hour Songs (SESAC) (Adm. by Music Services)/Don’t Think Less of My Publishing, EMI Blackwood Music Inc. (SOCAN) Produced by Seth Mosley for Full Circle & Colin Munroe, Co-produced by Mike “X” O’Connor for Full Circle Music
Writer(s): Jodi King/Chris Rademaker/Seth Mosley/Colin Munroe

Discussion

Oh my, where shall we start on this one. Let’s begin by giving the best possible construction on the intended purpose of the song. It’s attempting to address evangelical legalism, a version of legalism that as dated as the video seems. You know, back when evangelicals churches were worried about long hair, men piercing their ears, rock music and dancing… basically your footloose scenario. It’s a straw-man. The song is going after a straw-man of legalism. Now, don’t misunderstand what I’m saying, modern-day evangelicalism is seriously struggling with legalism today, chiefly because it has forgotten what it means to preach the Gospel to Christians. But this song isn’t targeting that real and present danger (I’m sorry, there will probably be several references to movies now… *sigh*), instead the song goes after a straw-man of legalism. And what does the song use? Sensual mysticism. This song presents “the God I know” as the Johnny Castle who came in to free baby from the corner with no strings attached. Okay, hopefully I’ve gotten the movie reference thing out of my system.

Verse 1. If it was all about Religion. Isn’t it? What’s your definition of religion if you find this statement meaningful?

James 1:26-27 (ESV) If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

James doesn’t seem to take issue with the concept of religion. The issue for James wasn’t about whether or not life was about more than religion; rather, it was about whether or your religion was True. The Apostle Paul addressed this similarly in his letter to the Colossians.

Colossians 2:20-23 (ESV) If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.

Man-made religion is worthless in stopping the indulgence of the flesh, and the flesh is hostile to the things of God; therefore, man-made religion kills. God’s Word is effective, sufficient, and the power of God unto Salvation. Christians have been given a True religion found only in God’s Word, the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. It is this Word we are to keep as Stewards and proclaim as ambassadors of reconciliation. So, there is a sense of wisdom that might be gleaned from this first line of the song, but it lacks substance and no solution is provided.

The rest of the first verse or stanza is actually correct if we are talking about the Law. The precious gem that the Lutheran church has to offer American Evangelicals is the proper distinction of Law and Gospel (C.F.W. Walther). In trying to set a straw-man ablaze, it doesn’t know how to deal with the Law of God’s Word. It IS all about perfection, black or white, wrong or right, never grey… it IS, that is the Law of God. And no, you can’t make it, none of us can, we are ALL born dead in sins and trespasses. No one is righteous, no not one. No one seeks after God. In Adam, we all surely died on that day that he ate of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. Dead. This is the Truth of the Law found in God’s Word and the purpose of the Law is to convict us of our sin and completely dismantle any hope of self-righteousness before the Creator. The song confuses the Law with legalism and seeks to dismiss the whole thing. That’s folly.

So, in the next stanza we see the fruit of works-based righteousness… despair. This is real, yes, and it is destroying the visible church. All of this self-centered inward fixation of works-based, self-made religion is crushing us under the full weight of the Law, and in some cases the extra burdens of man-made condemnation… all under the guise of “church”. The message of the gospel isn’t “if you’ll walk the line, then you’ll be okay, or If you pray hard enough, then you’ll know TRUE salvation, if you give everything you’ve got, then you’ll finally reach the goal of sanctification”… that’s all false gospel, false religion. The Message of the Gospel is that Christ, being both fully God and fully Man, lived a perfect (completely sinless) life when you couldn’t, He paid the ultimate price you couldn’t pay, and He took on your sin and granted you His righteousness by Grace, through Faith, and that isn’t of your own doing, that Faith is a Gift from God to you, for you.

Until the moment the second I met your love. What is that supposed to mean? Seriously… how is this even remotely an answer to the problem the singer is trying to address? This is that sensual mystical nonsense. After having thrown all of religion under the bus, now, somehow the singer “met God’s love” and was suddenly free of religion and doubts? Well, great… so how does that help anyone else? It doesn’t. It’s nonsense. Vapid emotional mysticism.

Chorus. So then she threw here hands up, worries down. Okay, so does this fall under the ‘what to do’ issue that was complained about in the first verse of the song? If she’s alluding to Scripture, well, we’ll just end up having to deal with more religion:

1 Timothy 2:8-10 (ESV) I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.

Yep, Religion, and it is wonderful.

Hebrews 12:11-13 (ESV) For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.

So you see, the song isn’t addressing a real problem with real solutions, instead it is countering a straw-man of legalism with mysticism. You can’t come back to the Written Word of God once you’ve generically condemned Religion.

So how did the singer realize who God truly is, beyond a shadow of doubt? Apparently, He showed her directly. Well doesn’t that just make her seem so enlightened, so special. If only I could someday see God the way she got to… then it will all be better for me, too. I’d love to “break up with” my doubts. Dating metaphors, ugh. The song is simply dripping in romantic comedy… and it’s terrible. She isn’t dating God. She hasn’t broken up with her doubts. She’s in love with a god of her own imagining, not the God of the Bible. I know that’s very blunt, but she’s awash in sensual mysticism, and it will shipwreck her faith if it hasn’t already. We do not look to our emotions to find the God of Truth, we look to His Word, God the Son, Jesus Christ our LORD and Savior.

The chorus ends with a call for listeners to know the God she knows… but she hasn’t said anything about how that is to be done, or who He is. We’re left hoping to have an experience similar to the singer and then, maybe, possibly, we’ll be as happy as she is?

Verse 2. This verse seems to be swatting at bad church clichés or something. More than just a rescue is something that can only be said seriously by someone who has no idea just how desperately we are in need of rescue. We don’t truly see the gravity of our own sin, that’s just part of the problem of sin. If we could see it clearly, we’d crumble in despair. She is right, He is far more than “just” a rescue… He is the Creator of Life. And we were dead. He rescued us from Death. Get out of hear with that just a rescue nonsense.

On the second line, I’ll counter with how Jesus referred to Himself in Revelation 1:8 (ESV), “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” He is the end, and the beginning. Our salvation begins and ends in Christ. There is no “and then”. There is only Christ.

Christ is alive, and seated at the Right Hand of the Father, interceding for us, forgiving us, and preserving us for the Day of His Return. He has sent His Holy Spirit to dwell in us, sealing us, teaching us, and advocating for us.

Bridge. We still don’t have any real answers, no Gospel, just fluff. Here, again, we get a sort of “this is what I did, can’t believe I waited so long to do it” snippet. To do what, to let go? Let go of what? Is this where we go back to “breaking up with our Doubt”? But didn’t God show up to show you how to do that? Can you share the advice? Can you please, tell me how I can be saved? Or, if I’m a Christian, can you please show me where I can find assurance of my salvation? All I had was a broken heart, then He held me in His arms. Oh, you have a special relationship with God where He did all of the work for you, but I just have to wait for Him to do that for me?
Conclusion

Dear Christian, the singer isn’t sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ in this song. She’s singing about her emotional experience of her spirit boyfriend. There is no water in this pool, don’t dive in, don’t ‘let go’ and look within, look to the Word of God. There are many places we could look in the New Testament for the assurance of our Salvation in Christ Jesus, but I also want to address what the song was trying to get at, the issue of legalism. I can think of no better place to turn than Paul’s letter to the Colossians. I strongly recommend reading through the whole letter, but for now let us read through large portions of chapters 1 & 2.

Colossians 1:3-23 (ESV)

Thanksgiving and Prayer

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf and has made known to us your love in the Spirit. And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

The Preeminence of Christ

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

Colossians 2:6-23 (ESV)

Alive in Christ

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. 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. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

Let No One Disqualify You

Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God. If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.

Legalism is error, and so is mysticism. Trust in the Written Word of God. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ (Rom 10:17). Grow in faith and knowledge, grow in the Word of God. The Christian life is one of repentance and forgiveness, in Jesus’ Name. Don’t look inwardly to the fallen flesh and its desires, look to the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, of all of your sins.

Brothers and sisters in the LORD, meditate on these Words of Christ. Find the assurance of salvation in these Scriptures, in the Promise of Salvation, in your baptism, and in the Lord’s Supper. Christ does the work, and He forgives you of all your sins, by His Word, His Blood, and His Flesh, broken and poured out for you on the cross.

Hebrews 13:20-21 (ESV)  Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

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