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What is deophobia?

deophobia, deophobicaudio
Question: "What is deophobia? What does it mean to be deophobic?"

Deophobic is a term popularized by the Christian musician John Cooper for the song “Savior” in Skillet’s 2003 release Collide. The song is written from the point of view of Jesus, who is calling someone to trust in Him for salvation. Deophobic was coined from the Latin deo for “god” and the Greek phobia for “fear.” Deophobia, then, is an irrational terror of God. This is not the same thing as the biblical “fear of God” (Proverbs 1:7; Deuteronomy 10:12), which is properly understood as a reverential fear, an awe of God that motivates you to obey His commands.

In the context of the song, the deophobic character is afraid of what will happen if he trusts Jesus. He knows his life will change dramatically—“crash and break”—and is holding on to a measure of control in hopes that he can avoid that change. The Bible confirms that following Jesus will bring change. In Matthew 10:34-36, Jesus explains that devotion to Him can result in strained family relationships, and in John 15:18-19, He warns that the world will hate His followers. The song’s lyrics go on to show the foolishness of trying to maintain control, pointing out that God knows every thought (Psalm 94:11), man cannot save himself (Ephesians 2:8-9), and Jesus alone can save (Romans 6:23).

The gist of the song involves the irony behind deophobia. The character Jesus speaks to is afraid of having his secrets revealed, when God already knows them all. He’s afraid of losing control, when he really has no control. And he strives to escape and prove his own worth, when salvation requires nothing but surrender. Deophobia is driven by pride and a desire to control. Peace comes to those who humbly give themselves to God (Matthew 5:3).

Recommended Resource: Knowing God by J.I. Packer

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