Does Scripture teach Jesus is our individual Husband and Lover? We have seen enough posts about this idea from the girls on the World Race to know this is exactly what they are being taught by Adventures in Missions.
What is this Bridal Paradigm being taught among NAR teachers? “According to bridal paradigm doctrine, the whole Bible is the story of God’s seeking a suitable mate for His Son. Jesus is pictured as a lovesick suitor who is passionately awaiting the time when He will be reunited with His beloved Bride. While the New Testament does use the metaphor of the Bride of Christ, the bridal paradigm takes the metaphor to an extreme, teaching that it is the primary picture of the Church and that each individual believer is the Bride…Teachers of the bridal paradigm place a heavy emphasis on their highly allegorized interpretation of the Song of Solomon. In their view, the book is more than a depiction of sensual love between a husband and wife; it is a metaphor of Jesus and the individual believer…”
How does this work for the men?? We haven’t yet seen a post where a male Racer claims Jesus as Husband and Lover. For this we should be thankful. There is the potential for this of course. Here is an article sharing our concerns about this romantic Jesus,
“Can you imagine zealous praying young men who relate to Jesus (ie. another MALE) as a “lover” whom they kiss and ‘swoon’ over? Can you imagine what happens when this becomes their basic approach to God? -And this is just the beginning of the gender- bending weirdness that is starting to become “normal” in this movement. (Some are in such deception that they even have experiences of “Jesus” kissing them on the mouth, etc. The movement itself warns against “sensual encounters” but their very teaching leads directly to this kind of thing. Deceiving spirits are always super-active in this kind of environment….It is a very serious thing to tamper with our understanding of ‘WHO GOD IS’ and how we relate to Him. In a lot of ways it is like preaching “another Jesus”. -It really is that bad. If you hear phrases today like ‘Lovesick for Jesus’, ‘Bridal Paradigm’, “Bridal intimacy”, “Inflamed heart”, ‘Romancing’, “Ravished”, ‘Fascinated’, etc, then you can be pretty sure that you are being exposed to this deceptive doctrine. I believe it is serious error, and I urge you to flee from it as far as you can, my friends.”
This horrendous, blasphemous teaching diminishes Christ as Holy God and exalts us. This is not the biblical Jesus, but rather an idol of their own making.
Considering most of the young women on the World Race are single, surely they are struggling to remain pure. Living in close quarters in tents, houses, and buses while sharing bathrooms etc. likely makes it even more difficult. This unbiblical “romantic Jesus” could certainly be what the powers of darkness would use to lure these young women into deception and even sin.
While we point out what these Racers have written, it is evidence of the faulty teaching they are getting starting at Training camp. The Racers are then sharing these ideas through their blogs and also with those they meet to serve while on the Race. They bear responsibility for what they teach without testing it against Scripture. However, we lay the initial and heaviest blame with AIM leadership.
This Racer shares how she changed her thinking after being under this teaching,
“For the last few months on the race it seems like all the girls on my squad have been talking and writing blogs about their marriage to Jesus which made me very uncomfortable… I listened… I read… I played along, but all along in my head I scrunched up my brow and walked away from their weird ideas. God is my father… The idea that God could both be a husband and a father to me is very strange thus I shut that idea down… Until… God didn’t let me ignore this part of Him anymore.”
The teaching she received changed her mind, “ That is why God not only is Leah’s Father but also her Lover… her Husband…My Father… My Lover… My Husband… “
This Racer’s post is a good example of how they consider Jesus as Lover, (If you believe our link from purity temptations and this romantic Jesus seem farfetched, other posts from this same Racer written a few months later tell us we are not far off.)
“The past few days, I have been completely blessed by my new Husband (still so weird to say that – but I am loving seeing this facet of God). He has just be romancing me with sweet little blessings. He has been answering the tiniest of my prayers, and truly showing me that He is listening – to ME.”
She does not share a Scripture for this idea at all in this post. The Church is the Bride of Christ, not each individual. This Scripture should be our starting point and could not be clearer.
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of His body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. Eph 5:25-32
The Racer continues, “Although I have felt God’s love for me, I have been struggling with my self image a lot this month… “
Clearly most young girls struggle with this. The key, however, is not to turn inward and focus on our own esteem, but rather to keep our eyes fixed on HIM. Scripture informs us that “God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Rom 5:8. He loved us in spite of our sin and unworthiness because He IS love. We worship and serve Him out of gratitude. Our value is in HIM, not within us.
Continuing she says,
“All of that may have played into my date with Jesus the other night. As y’all know, I am beginning a multi-faceted relationship with my Creator in order to try and delve even deeper into Him. So, of course I am “dating” Him. I do so using an exercise I actually learned at training camp for the world race. In one of our many break out sessions, It was focused on having an intimate relationship with Jesus. I suggest everyone at least tries this exercise. I did it last month with a group of high school/college students in Zimbabwe and it was rather fun.Essentially you are just going on a date, in your imagination, with Jesus. Once you do this exercise a couple times it gets easier. Your mind has more fun with it, and it truly adds another layer to your relationship with Christ.”
This is unbiblical. Scripture does not instruct us to do this. This is not missionary work.
She goes on to describe having tea with Jesus…
“I feel like that date with Jesus is Him romancing me even more than He has been this month. Him trying to tell me that even if I don’t feel beautiful right now – He sees His creation and says it is Very Good. He created me exactly how He desired me to be. From the color of my hair, to the height of my stature – He planned it.
Out of all that He created, when He looks at YOU and I – He says it is very good. When He looked at Victoria Falls, He said it was good. When He looked at the sunset, or the ocean – it was only good. When He looked at all the stars in the sky, the sun, and the moon – it was good… But, when He looked at YOU and I – that is when He caught His breath and said this is VERY good.
Genesis 1:31 “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.”
Who am I to doubt the wonders of His creation? Who am I to think that I am not beautiful just because I don’t have piles of man made gunk on my face?”
Truly, we understand the need for a girl to feel beautiful. The enemy surely knows this weakness and he uses it to tempt us to despair. We are absolutely made in the IMAGE of God. The subtle missing information here is that because of Adam’s sin, we cannot be described as very good any longer. “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.” Rom 5:12
Just a few chapters later in Genesis the ENTIRE “very good” creation was proven to be corrupt and God destroyed it in the flood, saving eight people found to be obedient.
Gen 6:5-6 “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.” “for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth.” Gen 8:21 (see also Jer 17:9, Rom 3:12)
She continues, “…You were made to stand out, because you are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Psalm 139:14 “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
You are worthy. You are special. You are beautiful. You are strong.”
Here is the problem: David was not giving himself a pep talk, he was PRAISING GOD, because HIS works are wonderful. This is praise of our Creator and His character. It describes His omniscience (vs 1,2), His eternality (vs 5), His incomprehensibility (vs 6), His omnipresence (vs 7-9), His self-sufficiency (vs 10), His self-existence, His omnipotence, His sovereignty, His immutability, on and on. It is a psalm written to create awe of God, not awe of ourselves.
“Whenever you get one inch above the ground
in your own esteem, you are that inch too high!” Spurgeon
We are only found worthy if we are covered by Christ’s robe of righteousness, otherwise we have nothing lovely about us. If your sins are covered by His blood, focus on the object of your faith, Christ, and stop focusing on you. Otherwise it is a never ending cycle of disappointment.
“…I went on another date with Jesus a couple days ago. I think He is still trying to romance me, which I am absolutely loving. Here is our date:
Jesus and I headed out for a picnic…He sat facing me. I asked Him “don’t you want to sit where you can see the falls?” He replied “no, I am looking at what I think is the most beautiful”. To that I blushed, then He said “I love it when you blush”. He pulled out mashed potatoes, chicken breast, and Frank’s Red Hot sauce for our meal. I smiled, as I thought – He knows me so well. I asked Him “how are you?” He replied “I am great, I am spending time with you”. I thanked Him for spending time with me and told Him that I appreciated it. I stated that I couldn’t imagine how busy He was. He told me that “I have all the time in the world, and I am not spending time with you just because you want to spend time with me. I am spending time with you because I want to spend time with you”. “
In these two dates, Jesus wanted me to feel loved. He wanted me to know how beautiful He knows I am, and He wanted me to realize that He loves spending time with me. It isn’t an obligation!
This was all in her imagination and uniformed by God’s Word. Each one of us has much too high a view of ourselves. She has not referenced that she learned this about God from Scripture, but from the false teaching at training camp. There seems to be no recognition that God is to be feared with reverential trust. It is all about ME.
Isaiah responded properly to an ACTUAL vision of God. How does her imaginings compare?
Recognition of guilt. Is 6:5 “I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”
Receiving His Grace Is 6:7 “And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”
Response of Gratitude and Service 6:8-9 ““Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”
God is love, (1 John 4:16) but if Jesus said in Matt 7:11, “If you then, who are evil…” and we learn in Mark 10:18 that no one is good but God. Then it must be loving for Jesus to say that as truth. While His character is love the Bible also says, “God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day.” Psalm 7:11
“The Christian life can be explained only in terms of Jesus, and if your life as a Christian can still be explained in terms of you—your personality, your willpower, your gift, your talent, your money, your courage, your scholarship, your dedication, your sacrifice, or your anything—then although you may have the Christian life, you are not yet living it! … True Godliness leaves the world convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that the only explanation for you, is Jesus.” (Major Ian Thomas)
“I moved here to KC (Kansas City IHOP) 2 years ago to attend [the Prayer Center]… I have been so confused by the whole up-sweep of the “Bridal Paradigm” and ravished heart of Jesus and Song of Solomon. I cannot relate to Jesus as romantic lover, nor do I want to!! I am trying to have clean thoughts and a pure heart. I want a Godly husband to be that for me, to model Christ’s love and headship. All my friends tell me, “Jesus is your husband – let Him be your first love and your provider”. As if I should shun men and give up on the idea of marriage.”
“I too have been concerned about this for a while. In particular I have seen much written about intimacy without any reference to obeying the revealed will of God. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey my commands.” The intimacy emphasis is not just out of balance, it is dangerously soulish, promising emotional experiences and opening up the way to deceiving spirits if pursued too far.”
“There is a strange message behind this Bridal Paradigm. -It was shown at the CALL in Kansas City. I was there. I witnessed this. There was a call to all those young people who were in attendance at this KC gathering and a few older – to pledge a marriage covenant right then that night to be MARRIED to Christ.” (Gary Black from AIM is connected to this)
“There was a Marriage Canopy held up for a marriage procession as hundreds marched under it as to become covenantly married to Christ. They made it seem so righteous and holy – So – many threw away their discernment and followed the leaders – forgetting that the marriage actually takes place in heaven at the marriage supper of the Lamb.”
There is no individual marriage for those who are redeemed in Christ here on earth. The marriage supper takes place in heaven as the church of all the redeemed of history are presented to the Lamb who took away our sins.
Rev 19:1 tells us this scene is in heaven…vs 6-8 “Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,
“Hallelujah! For the Lord our God
the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult
and give Him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself
with fine linen, bright and pure”—for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.
There is no hint of romance or praise of us here, all the Glory goes to Christ and the Father that sent Him to save us.
The verses just before this marriage say, “And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshipped God who was seated on the throne, saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!” And from the throne came a voice saying,
“Praise our God, all you his servants,
you who fear him, small and great.”