Contemporary Worship Song
Reckless Love — Analysis
The popular song Reckless Love written in 2018 by Cory Asbury has greatly impacted the westernized world of worship music. It has vamped up a lot of popularity because of its unique yet controversial lyrics and familiar guitar licks. There’s a specific line in the chorus that speaks of God’s love and refers to the parable that Jesus gave about the 99 sheep. It chases me down, fights til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine. This beautiful parable from Jesus is about a shepherd who leaves his flock of ninety-nine sheep in order to find the one which is lost.
The lyrics in the first verse of this song are very Calvinistic in nature. It describes the sovereignty of God as well as His omnipotence. The writer references the concept of God rejoicing and singing over us which is found in Zephaniah 3:17 which says, “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” This first verse also references God’s goodness and kindness which is directly attributed to His other characteristics such as His holiness and His wrath.
The song in its entirety is very much Calvinistic. I don’t know the theology of the writer, however, it would be very difficult to read the lyrics to this song and say that it’s not written from a Calvinistic perspective. “Oh, it chases me down, fights til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine, I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it..”. The chorus of this song is where most of the controversy comes into play. Specifically, the phrase “reckless love of God”. Theologians understand that the term Reckless is a poor choice of word to describe the love of God. God’s love for His children is not reckless. The only way I can try to understand why the writer chose the phrase, reckless love of God, to describe the love of God, is if the writer is referring to God’s benevolent or beneficent love, which falls on the unjust and the just. Matthew 5:45 “For He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” I can try to understand how an unbeliever can experience God’s benevolent or beneficent love and terribly mistake it for some kind of reckless love because of the fallen heart of the unbeliever. However, God’s love of complacency is a special kind of love that He has for His Son as well as for all of those that are in His Son. There’s no way a regenerated person would refer to God’s love as anything less than perfect and wonderful. My only problem with the song is the term reckless. I don’t think there’s anything else that is heretical about the song as a whole.
The second verse of the song starts off with, “When I was Your foe, still Your love fought for me”. This line of the song refers to Romans 5:8 which says, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” This is an amazing concept because it points to the person of Christ and His great love for us, that He would choose to die for His enemies. The bridge of the song says, “There’s no shadow You won’t light up, mountain You won’t climb up, You’re coming after to me. There’s no wall You won’t kick down, lie You won’t tear down, You’re coming after to me” There’s no specific scripture reference that I know of that supports these claims. However, the lyrics are very much true in their entirety. The Lord’s love for us was so great that despite our utter unworthiness of His Son’s life, He still came to die for us. On a deeper note, the Lord is ultimately for Himself, and about is His own glory. Ephesians 1:5–6 “In love, He predestined us for adoption to Himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace..”. This particular truth is often not preached in the western evangelical church. R.C Sproul says, “Each Sola is important, but the first four really exist to preserve the last one, namely, for the glory of God.”
The musicality of the song Reckless Love involves a fairly simple chord progression throughout the song’s entirety. It’s very repetitive in nature as the verses consist of the same chord progression as the chorus and bridge. It’s very easy for a congregation to catch on and sing along to. However, it is not congregationally appropriate for a church to sing this song without a proper explanation of the song beforehand. If a worship leader is an adamite on singing this particular song, he or she should explain what the song means to the church and why they’re singing it. Another reason why the song isn’t congregationally appropriate is that it allows room for heretical thinking to creep into the church. There are hundreds of better and more theological sound songs to choose from. Personally, I like the song Reckless Love, it just wouldn’t be my first choice when deciding songs for a worship set. Choosing biblically rich songs is of great importance in a congregational worship service. The church should be careful about the words of the music we sing and ensure that those words communicate truth.