We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Friday, August 7, 2015

The Experience to Crave

Passion and emotionalism are often and easily confused in the modern church.  The Christian life runs the full range of emotions: joy, peace, delight, love, sorrow, grief, concern, etc.  Ours is a faith not only of the head but also of the heart.  As a result it is right and proper to desire spiritual experience.  The problem is that many Christians cannot tell the difference between enthusiasm for God and manipulation of the moment.  Entertainment can look strangely like worship; fun can masquerade as joy; fleshly excitement can be perceived as divine encounter.

Part of our problem today is that out of the free-love (that is, drugs and sex) revolution of the 1960s has sprung an insatiable desire for experience.  Experience has mounted the throne and barks out orders to a doting constituency that has lost patience in a world that does not make sense.  If we cannot understand life, if in fact life makes no sense, at least we can enjoy ourselves.  If it feels good, it may not be right, but it is better than nothing.

This attitude — called postmodernism by those who like to coin phrases — has also crept into the church.  Christians want an experience that makes them feel good.  So dominating has this desire become that truth has increasingly taken a back seat to a good time.

We should be ever mindful that the Word — not experience — is our authority.  True delight in God should emerge from biblical truth.  Next we should take a good look at the Psalms.  There we find the writers absolutely in love with and excited about God.  Psalm 36:7-9, for example, reads:
“How precious is Your loving-kindness, O God!  Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.  They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, and You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures.  For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light.

Here is a man (David) finding great joy in his Lord.  He is not wrapped up in the side issues; he is not drumming up feelings; he is not being whipped into a mood.  He is simply reflecting on his God and his heart can hardly contain what it views.  This is the spiritual experience we should crave.

Gary E. Gilley and M. Kurt Goedelman, “I’d Like to Teach the Church to Sing,” Personal Freedom Outreach’s The Quarterly Journal, July-September 2015 (Vol.35, No.3), ppg.18-19.


Anonymous said...

Good point.

All too often, we put our faith in those who call themselves authorities of the Bible/Scriptures and allow them to fill us full of their interpretations, philosophies, and marching orders, instead of reading, studying, and meditating upon the Holy Scriptures for ourselves, allowing God, the Holy Spirit, to teach and lead us in all truth. And at the end of the day, when we give praise, glory and honor in learning a truth, we praise this man or that woman with the revelation knowledge instead of our LORD.

We puff up our religious authorities all the while Jesus stands at the door, humbly waiting to seek His place in our hearts and minds. Oh, how the ways of Jesus are so different that what is orchestrated in this day and age.

Steven Kozar said...

Great little article!!

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Actually, that is the "Conclusion" of the cited article. Somewhat lengthy, but quite good. Over the past week I've posted citations from it.