Lights, Camera, God’s Presence

I read this comment on a report that caught my attention and made me consider some important issues regarding worship and connecting with God.

The sensory experience in many Charismatic churches is amazing.  Special lighting,
smoke, amazing sound and musicians, and video feeds showing beautiful scenes accompanying our worship songs help our senses to focus on the Spiritual realms of God. These things help stimulate our emotions as well as endorphins in our brain that release pleasurable sensations.  Our emotions should be aimed at, and help us experience God.  Yet there can be a downside to this if we don’t equip people to connect with God beyond the meeting and the sensory helps.

Understand that I am not an old naysayer who is advocating old or traditional ways of
worship from yesteryear. As a recently saved college student who was raised in a secular home (who attended my share of rock concerts), I helped lead a church into new expressions of charismatic worship.  I was a drummer, and we helped a church transition from singing traditional hymns from a songbook with one old piano, to a full blown charismatic worship band leading great worship services.  I loved it and have never looked back.

That type of worship was rare in those days with only “new” churches experiencing it.  Now it seems as if everyone has jumped on the Charismatic worship style bandwagon. There is a wide proliferation of media and the arts being expressed in them which is wonderful.   If you want to be an “in church” you need to incorporate Charismatic worship styles, loud music, great lighting, video feeds, and trendy music.

I love all those things but am also aware of a potential deficiency.  If those external sensory helps are the only way someone can experience the “tangible presence” of God then we are missing something important. Connecting with God in a real way must transcend all those external helps.  Worship and connecting with God is something that must go beyond the sensory and emotional sway of great music, lights, technology, and even coffee (Yikes!).  Emotions are emotions, but our connection with God and worship must be founded in Him alone.

Consider what the writer of Hebrews says about it our connection with God.

Hebrews 13:15-16 Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. (16) Don’t forget to do good things for others and to share what you have with them. These are the kinds of sacrifices that please God.

Note the attributes of worship from this passage:

  • giving thanks from our lips in all circumstances
  • doing good works in serving others
  • sharing with those who have needs

This type of connection says nothing about our senses being stirred.  Of course it doesn’t mention loud music, smoke machines, video feeds, or special lighting to help us “feel His tangible presence.”

We must realize that sometimes our emotions don’t tell the truth.

I love it when my emotions are on board with praising God and sensing His presence.  I love it when I am motivated to serve others and feel a sense of satisfaction in doing so. But sometimes my emotions are not on board with those things, and sometimes they are even against it.  If this even happens occasionally on a Sunday morning, what about the rest of the week?  I can’t call for a couple of hundred people, a loud worship band, video feeds, and smoke machines to orient my senses to God.  My life of worship must be bigger than that.

Consider some of the Biblical heroes of faith.  Abraham probably didn’t feel much of the “tangible presence of God” when he climbed the mountain as he contemplated sacrificing the promised son for whom he waited so long.  I am sure his emotions were all over the map, but he obeyed as an “act of worship” (Gen 22:5).

Great men and women of God were not guided by their emotions, instead they guide them like David did.  “Why are you cast down, O my soul and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” (Psalm 42:5, 11; 43:5)

Job probably didn’t feel very tingly with God’s presence when he was sitting in the ash heap, scarping boils with pieces from a clay pot as he reflected on the children and possessions he had lost.  I am sure his emotions were running in different directions while rebutting his wife’s suggestions “are you still trying to hold onto what you believe, you integrity, your principles, curse God and die (Job 2:9).”  Yet Job trusted and obeyed as an act of worship with the mindset “though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.”

How about Paul when he was beaten 5 times with 39 lashes, spending a night and day in the ocean after being shipwrecked, or in all the “frequent dangers” (2 Cor 11:24-33)?  There was no worship team, special lighting, or loud music to help him “feel God.”  Yet he continued in faith, offered the fruit of worship both in giving thanks and living as a sacrifice.

Let us make sure we are pursuing a connection with, and worship of God that is not dependent on all the sensory help.   This includes pursuing a life of worship and prayer that goes way beyond an hour or two in a corporate gathering with all the external sensory help.  Cultivate and discipline yourself for that connection in your private prayer life with God.

Romans 12:1…because of God’s great mercy to us I appeal to you: Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him. This is the true worship that you should offer.

PS:  There was a great sociological research study released by Katie E. Corcoran titled “God is like a drug” that describes the sensory phenomenon in a positive light.  It is worth a review.

 

 

 

 

Enter the text or HTML code here

Share

An Important Element in God’s Atmosphere of Discipleship

If I had only one sermon to preach it would be a sermon against pride.-GK Chesterton

How dare they bring that up? Who are they to point that out to me? I thought we were friends.  I bet I could come up with hundreds of things that they are doing wrong. As a matter of fact what about that issue we had to bring up with them a few months ago? Jesus wasn’t even in the picture of their life then. How about the continual things they struggle with?  They bring this up to me, no way!

All of us who live around the house of the Lord have probably had thoughts like this cross our minds or have heard them from others when we are challenged about something. This is especially true if you live around a church environment that is serious about spiritual maturity.

One of the things we know about God’s design for his house is that there should be an atmosphere of growth and maturity. None are perfect, but we are all in the same boat.  Jesus is working in us to bring about a mature bride (Eph 5:26-27).  Hebrews 13:20-21 God equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ..

A Family of Disciples

The church is God’s House and it is to have a family atmosphere, but we must not lose sight of another important aspect of that atmosphere.  We are a family of disciples.  The clear call of the Matthew 28 Great Commission is, “go and make disciples… teaching them to observe everything I’ve commanded you” (Mt 28:19-20). Our calling is to both make, and be made disciples (followers are learning to obey Jesus).  If we are moving in that calling the church will have an environment of discipleship in the context of family.

We see this very clearly in the church at Antioch. Acts 11:26  And they were with the church there for a year, teaching the people; and the disciples were first given the name of Christians in AntiochThe church was a family of disciples who were given the name Christian.  God’s family is not just a family of Christians, it’s a family of disciples. If this is embraced as a important foundation, then an overriding characteristic among it’s members is a motivation grow up to please Jesus in every aspect of life.

The church should be known for discipleship in the context of family.  This has a wonderful side of it in which we are encouraged, affirmed, loved, and valued.  We have the wonderful security of a family that accepts us and loves us for who we are in spite of our many imperfections.

The other aspect, that is just as important, is that there are fellow family members who walk beside us and sometimes bring faithful challenges. This is what the Bible says Proverbs 27:6  Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.  Many great men and women of God in the Bible where the recipients of this side of God’s grace through fellow family members such as the 12 disciples from Jesus, David from Nathan, and Peter from Paul. 

Many times in my own life I have been challenged by the fellow family members in areas that I initially found unpleasant yet necessary.  Why does God choose to do it that way?  Why can’t it be just between me and Jesus?  After all I have a real personal relationship with God.  Why does someone else have to get involved? 

An Important Thing God is after in Relational Challenging

It was pride that changed angels into devils–Augustine

There is something very important that needs to get cemented in our mind that will help us be more open to embrace the challenges from friends.  One of the deadly traits that was created in the heart of Satan when he was part of God’s family was called “pride.”  Pride was the thing that caused him to be removed. “Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee” (Ezek. 28:15). This beautiful, powerful, intelligent, and gifted being fell from his perfect state when his heart was lifted up (aka pride) because of his own beauty and brightness (v. 17). No longer was he willing to be a servant to the Creator. Staggering pride in the heart (the propensity towards “I will”) was to blame for the tragedy in heaven. “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! … For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne … I will sit also upon the mount … I will ascend above the heights…I will be like the most High” (Isa. 14:12-14).

Since that event he has tried to generate his nature of pride inside of everyone. This made angels into devils (Rev 12:3-9).  Pride is the root nature of the Satan, and the root nature of every sin.   It is the direct opposite of the root nature of God’s kingdom that Jesus says is humility.  “Blessed are the humble for theirs is the kingdom” (Mt 5:3).  This is why God clearly says He hates, and is opposed to pride in every form.

  • Proverbs 8:13  To fear the LORD is to hate evil. I hate pride, arrogance, evil behavior, and twisted speech.
  • Proverbs 6:16-17  Six things are hated by the Lord…  (17)  Eyes of pride
  • James 4:6  Therefore it says, “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.” (1 Pet 5:5).

When God sends his faithful challenge through fellow family members, besides the issue there is a corresponding challenge to any pride that has gotten inside of us. There is a degree of humility we have to embrace to receive the challenge and not react in a childish, self-centered, and prideful way. The nature of pride is self exalting competitiveness with others. In the faithful challenging of family members God is both correcting behavior and challenging pride.

In the faithful challenging of His family members God is both correcting behavior and challenging… Click To Tweet

Local churches are to live out a discipleship environment in the context of family.  It is a good thing to remember when you receive both the encouragement and the challenge of friends that God is not only correcting things, but also rooting out the nature of enemy, pride.  We are the body of Christ and as such we are to display the nature of Jesus through our lives.

Enter the text or HTML code here

Share

What about Mondays?

When I see people heading for the parking lot after Sunday services I wonder if they will see any connection between the service they just attended and the other 98% of their waking hours?  Do they see any connection of the Kingdom of God they just touched on Sunday to the same Kingdom they are to carry to their places of employment, school, or the marketplace on Monday?

If not an age old problem called “dualism” can capture our thinking.  Dualism is the tendency to see your life in sections (spiritual, social, and natural etc.) that have no bearing on each other.  Dualism causes people to think the Christian life is what we do for a couple of hours on Sunday or Wednesday but has little bearing on the rest of our life.  God’s design is much greater than this.

There is a mandate that began at creation in the garden of Eden that continues through His church everyday.  Genesis 1:26 contains the mandate “Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth.”  God continues these three ideas through Christ body, the church

Eph 1:22-23... At the center of all this, Christ rules the church.  (23)  The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The church is Christ’s body, in which he speaks and acts, by which He fills everything with His presence.  

Contrary to the idea that God is only trying to rescue people out of the earth, He also wants to fill the earth with His glory through His people.  I like the theologian Abraham Kuper’s comments on Psa 24:1,  “There is not one square inch of this universe that God doesn’t say “mine.”

As we walk about this earth in our everyday life we need to look at it through the eyes of God’s desire.  He wants to fill every square inch of it with His glory, and He likes to use His people in the process.

One of the great motivation robbers is when we see our everyday spheres of life (2 Co 10:13-16) as a drudgery that we have to endure rather than “square inches” of God’s earth that are to be filled with His life.

We need to seek God for creative ideas and expressions to fill “His square inches.”  It includes good works, words, but also works of power.  We need to pray for people, lay hands on them, and help break and heal the demonic influence in their lives and homes.  One Scripture I would encourage all of us to incorporate into our prayers for this coming year is 2Th 1:11  To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will count you worthy (make you fit) of your calling, and  fulfill every desire for goodness and the works of faith with power. 

At our everyday workplace

One of the main areas we spend a majority of our waking hours is our places of employment (work and school).  We want to be fruitful, multiply and fill these areas.

What are some of the Biblical ways we can embrace at our workplace or school?

Col 3:22-24  employees, obey your bosses according to the flesh in all things; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers, but in singleness of heart (heartedly), fearing God.  23  And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.

  • Work in a way that respects and honors your bosses and teachers knowing they carry authority from Christ and you are first and foremost serving Him (Romans 13).  1Tim 6:1-2…regard your own masters (bosses) as worthy of all honor so that the name of God and our doctrine will not be spoken against….Teach and preach these principles.  This even extends to those bosses who are unreasonable, or perverse  (1 Peter 2:18-20).
  • Work wholeheartedly, not halfheartedly, because you are serving Christ.  I remember hearing a quote written on the wall of a break room:   Sometime between starting and quitting time, without infringing on lunch periods, coffee breaks, rest periods, storytelling time, holiday planning, and the rehashing of yesterday’s TV programs, we ask that each employee try to find some time for a work break. Don’t be like a coworker I once had who used to come to work and before his shift sit in a chair with his feet up and declare his intentions, “they pay me minimum wage and they are going to get minimum effort.”
  • Don’t gripe, complain, or backtalk, but give blessings instead (Phil 2:14-15).   Your source of life comes from something greater than the job.  Always be thankful (1 Thes 5:18) and that will make an impact on a hopeless culture around you.
  • Be trustworthy (Titus 2:10) and dependable ( 16:10).  This tends to make an impact at our workplace, especially in the cultural climate of entitlement all around us.
  • Express the Biblical attitude of contentment with finances and freedom from the love of money (Lk 10:7, 1 Tim 6:6-10  Heb 13:5).   In a greed filled culture this will have a great impact.
  • Bless your co-workers and fellow students through caring, serving, and praying for God’s power to touch their lives (Lk 6:28, Rom 12:14).  One guy I know who worked part time at Pizza Hut was so faithful to care and pray for his coworkers that he received a special award from His bosses and co workers called “God’s Healer Award.”  With this attitude toward coworkers you will be surprised at the opportunities to bring the Kingdom to bear in their personal life.
  • Seek God’s wisdom, insight, and gifting to help your company to prosper.  Many of the saints in the Bible like Joseph and Jacob gained insight to help make the place they were employed prosper which ended up prospering God’s people.
  • Join with other Christians to pray over your workplace.  

 

 

Enter the text or HTML code here

Share

Living Out The Important Things

God didn’t love from a distance, but loved up close. He calls us to do the same.  

“You have meant so much to me and my family, like the time…”  His voice began to crack as he remembered events and shared them with appreciation at his 50th birthday party.  People began to grab tissues and the floodgates of emotions and testimonies began to flow.  During this time of year when I encounter these types of events I can’t help but think of what the angel Clarence said to George Bailey in the movie It’s a wonderful life. “Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”   

During the holiday season we celebrate the fact that God didn’t just send a message, a podcast, a tweet, or a Facebook post.  He sent His Son in flesh and blood to demonstrate what He is like, and show how much He cares.  It’s called the incarntation.

Jostrange-isnt-ithn 1:14 The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, liIke Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish. 

Taking on flesh and blood and reaching out with real life is God’s nature.  He is the light and has given His church the commission to continue to demonstrate that light. Matthew 5:14  “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.  His church isn’t a building, meeting, or program, its the family of God demonstrating His life, and offering the good news to the world around them    It happens with life on life interaction which is the way Jesus did it.  1Jn 1:1  That which was from the first, which has come to our ears, and which we have seen with our eyes, looking on it and touching it with our hands, about the Word of life.

Incarnational Living

We learn to live incarnationally from Jesus who took the time to regularly sit with people whom the religious community deemed unworthy of their time or attention.  Eventhough His time was in demand, He stopped long enough to speak with people, play with children, and eat with friends.  Most of his Kingdom work centered around these types of interactions.

This is often called incarnational living.  It is laying down your life to enter into, and reveal God’s life to others.  It is laying down your life to relate with, and serve people.  It is a pattern of dying to self in order to live to God.   

It is unfortunate but often the things we are most concerned about, and strive to achieve, have little to do with incarnational living with others.  As a matter of fact, many times what we pursue destroys the valuable relationships with people around us.   How many marriages have disintegrated because one of the spouses was married to their career and sacrificed close relationships to pursue it.  How many children grew up not being around people who should have shown them they were loved and important but instead took a secondary place in their lives.  What emotional holes were left because people didn’t live incarnationally.

The most valuable fruit in our lives comes not with power, wealth, or material things but with the gift of our presence.  It is life on life relationships with people.  In the end, the meaningful things that really matter come from loving relationships.

There was an interesting little quiz I came across a few years ago that highlights this truth.  It was attributed to Charles Schultz and it contains perspective about the important element of life on life relationships.

  • Name the five wealthiest people in the world. 
  • Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
  • Name the last five winners of the Miss America contest. 
  • Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer prize. 
  • Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress. 
  • Name the last decade’s worth of World Series winners.

The facts are, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday.  After the applause dies, the accolades are forgotten, and the youtube videos are no longer played they are forgotten. How about these questions?

  • List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
  • Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time. 
  • Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile. 
  • Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special. 
  • Think of five people you enjoy spending time with. 
  • Name half a dozen heroes whose stories have inspired you. 

The lesson is clear.  It is the life on life relationships with people that make the greatest difference in our lives.   It is not the ones with the greatest achievements, the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards.  It is the ones who sacrificed, took and interest in, and cared about our life.

Jesus said this many times to help keep our focus on the most valuable things.

Mk 12:29-32 you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your strength’. The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself’. No other commandment is greater than these.”

Pursuing this type of living is simply about entering into another’s world by learning to listen, sympathize with, and to be present and available.  Then we do everything we can to bring God’s comfort, healing, deliverance, and care.   This is how Jesus lived.  The gospels are full of accounts of Jesus’ interactions with individuals – Matthew, Nathaniel, a prostitute, Nicodemus, a blind man, a Samaritan woman, and many others.  When the rich young ruler came up to Him, Jesus “looked at him and loved him.”  He listened.  He was never in a rush or distracted in His value of people.  At the end of the day that is where the greatest influence comes into people’s life. 

Enter the text or HTML code here

Share

Identity, Expectations, and Experience

Jesus wasn’t looking for members to casually join an organization. He was looking for people who would “lay their life down to follow Him together with others.”  He wanted imitators not admires,  followers not consumers, fellow family members on mission, not casual meeting attenders.

Our identity affects both our expectation and experience.  Legend has recorded a story about Alexander the Great, one of the greatest military generals who ever lived. One alexandernight during a campaign, he couldn’t sleep and left his tent to walk around the campgrounds.  As he was walking he came across a soldier asleep on guard duty – a serious offense. The penalty for falling asleep on guard duty was, in some cases, instant death; the commanding officer sometimes poured kerosene on the sleeping soldier and lit it. 

The soldier began to wake up as Alexander the Great approached him.  Recognizing who was standing in front of him, the young man feared for his life. “Do you know what the penalty is for falling asleep on guard duty?” Alexander asked the soldier. “Yes, sir,” the soldier responded in a quivering voice. “Soldier, what’s your name?” demanded Alexander. “Alexander, sir.”

Alexander repeated the question: “What is your name?” “My name is Alexander, sir,” the soldier repeated.  A third time and more loudly Alexander the Great asked, “What is your name?”  A third time the soldier meekly said, “My name is Alexander, sir.” Alexander then looked the young soldier straight in the eye. “Soldier,” he said with intensity, “either change your name or change your conduct.”

A Two-Tiered System

Colossians 2:6 You have accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord. Now keep on following Him.

Unfortunately under the umbrella of Christianity we have created a divide between salvation and discipleship.  Yet the Great Commission calling of Matthew 28:18-19  was to “make disciples (followers), teaching them to practice everything I have commanded.”  Being saved without following Jesus is a completely foreign idea in the New Testament.

“All who are called to salvation are called to discipleship, no exceptions, no excuses!”
Bill Hull

This can create alternative (not Biblical) categories of Christians.  One in which people decide to believe and receive Jesus as savior which guarantees heaven when they die. The hope is that later before they pass on they submit to Him with their whole life. The second is people who receive Him as “both Lord and Savior” (Acts 2:36) and begin to follow and obey Him. The first group is casually waiting for heaven while the second is serious about their faith as they follow Jesus. 

Expectation usually affects experience.  This two-tiered system leaves room for a group that will never bear any real fruit of following Jesus or multiply thirty, sixty, or a hundred fold (Mt 13:19-23).  With that expectation churches create various programs in hopes that Christians will eventually take steps towards discipleship.  If churches too strongly appeal to be involved in discipleship activitities like studying the Bible, praying, obeying Jesus, walking in real relationship among His people, or serving, it can be interpreted as legalism so they tone down expectations to avoid the stigma.   

Contrary to toning down expectations, Jesus was very clear about following Him as disciples. 

  • Joh 12:26  “If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.
  • Jesus called people to “follow Him” 25 times in the Gospels while calling them to “believe in Him” only 4 times.  Even James despairingly says that “you believe God is one, that’s fine, but even the demons believe that and tremble” Jas 2:18.
  • In the 25 calls to follow He includes the expectation that we deny ourself and forsake other things in order to follow Him.  (Mark 8:35, Matthew 10:39, Luke 9:24, Luke 14:33, Luke 17:32-33, Luke 18:22 Matthew 16:25, Mar 10:21, John 12:24-27, John 13:37-38 John 21:17-25, John 15:12-14)
  • The New Testament refers to God’s people as “disciples” 269 times while it uses the designation “Christian” only 3 times.  One of the 3 says, “the disciples were first called Christians at Antioch” Acts 11:26.  The Biblical identity and expectation is clearly discipleship.

Maybe what Alexander said would help in both the expectations and experiences of God’s people. What if instead of asking or answering “are you saved” or “are you going to heaven,” the question was, “are you following Jesus?” What about using the Biblical terms used to describe His people “followers, disciples, slaves, co laborer, and servants of Christ?”  Maybe a change of identity will change expectations and experience.

Colossians 2:6 CEV You have accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord. Now keep on following Him.

Enter the text or HTML code here

Share

Real Discipleship: Feelings, Culture, or Scripture Alone

 

I remember hearing a story of a dad reading Matthew chapter 7 to his 4 year old son.  While reading the son began to snicker and then broke out laughing.  The dad was somewhat serious and wondered what was up.  His son imagined in his mind the preposterous picture of a man with a big beam in his eye trying to remove a speck in someone else’s eye.  The little boy instinctively knew a big beam couldn’t fit into someone’s eye and just the thought of it caused him to laugh.

While humor and sarcasm can be hurtful, used in a right way they can make excellent points.  Jesus used both humor and sarcasm.  This is contrary to the picture people often present of Jesus walking on the earth as an emotionless Zombie (except for anger) who lacked any sort of personality.  Jesus often used sarcasm to both offend the self righteous as well as making points of truth.

I had the great privilege years ago of inheriting a book from my wife’s grandfather that is no longer in print called “The Humor of Christ” by Elton Trueblood.  He did a masterful job of showing both the humor and sarcasm used by Jesus to make important points.  It is a pretty ridiculous picture to see a camel on it’s knees trying to squeeze through a small opening in the city wall of Jerusalem “the eye of a needle” (Lk 18:22-27, Mt 19:24, Mk 10:26).  How about “choking on a small bug while at the same time trying to swallow a camel (Matthew 23:24)?

Jesus also used offensive sarcasm when directly confronting religious people who were trusting in their own version of what it means to be right with God.  He called them names like “brood of vipers, snakes, devils, blind guides, whitewashed tombs, and murderers” Mt 3:7, 12:34, 23, 16:23).

A satirical evangelical Christian website, the Babylon Bee, released a humorous article that strikes at the heart of a problem among self identified Christians.  It was aimed at Christians who think following Jesus and living according to His word is somewhat optional.  Simply believing in Him and living by one’s own version of what is right is good enough. This is in contrast to the 25 clear calls by Jesus in the Gospels to “follow Me and live according to My word.”  He only called people to “believe in Me” 4 times. There is a clear emphasis that real belief entail’s following Him and seeking to obey His word.

John 8:30-31  As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him.  (31)  So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word (believe and live by it), then you are truly disciples of Mine, and you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.

“Jesus of Nazareth always comes asking disciples to follow him–not merely “accept him,” not merely “believe in him,” not merely “worship him,” but to follow him: one either follows Christ, or one does not. There is no compartmentalization of the faith, no realm, no sphere, no business, no politic in which the lordship of Christ will be excluded. We either make him Lord of all lords, or we deny him as Lord of any.” Lee Camp 

The website reported on a fictitious meeting in which progressive evangelical leaders met to affirm a doctrine of “Sola Feels.”  It was an obvious spoof of the great doctrinal truth that came out of the protestant reformation from the Latin phrase “Sola Sciptura.” It means God’s word is our only objective basis of faith and practice above traditions or our feelings.  “Sola feels” means that our feelings are the only proper way to interpret what is true which is how our culture, even many self identified Christians live their lives.  The article puts it humorously well.

“Quite simply, ‘Sola Feels’ means that all spiritual truths only become true once they’re filtered through and accepted by our feels—all the feels,” popular author and speaker Jane Hansen told reporters after the meeting. “Thus, things that make us feel bad, those are wrong. The things that give us all the happy feels, those are true, right, and good.”

What is true is what feels right more than what God says is right in His word.  This is the current mantra both of our culture as well as many self identified Christians.  The word of God is optional and subjected to what our feelings and/or the culture around us dictates.  Anything that opposes “feels” is seen as oppression.

The movie makes a point

There was a satirical movie in the late 70s, Monty Python’s “Life of Brian”  that had a scene that was a very revealing about some of the current cultural confusion as well as that among self identifying Christians regarding “Sola Feels.”  The story line of the movie is almost prophetic as it was about someone who was mistaken for Jesus then attempted to start a Christian movement around this falsehood.  Sounds like believing but not following or obeying Jesus’ word (John 8).  It is an alternative Christianity that often favors things Jesus clearly said He is opposed to.

There is a great scene in the movie called “Loretta” that is eerily similar to some of the confusion today (I don’t recommend the whole movie as it has a couple of bad parts in it).  The scene is about whether they are going to give place in their movement to a man who wants to be a woman and have a baby.  The point is debated among 4 followers and the last line is prophetic as one person says it’s, “a struggle against oppression,” while another man says it’s really, “a struggle against his reality”  (God’s design).  For disciples it has to be “Sola Scriptura” not “Sola Feels.”

 

Enter the text or HTML code here

Share