Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Emotional Christianity Revisited

One of the most problematic aspects of emotional Christianity is the lack of learning of actual Biblical doctrine. Far too many churches focus on the feel-good aspects of Christianity at the expense of true teaching of doctrinal Biblical principles and truths. Too many churches are too worried about not offending people, or how many people they can get in the door, or how much tithes are collected. They feel that if they can focus on making people feel good, all those aspects will improve. And who doesn’t like to feel good? And (as I discussed in previous posts) people don’t particularly like to work, and think and learn.

What has become of the hymns with four or five verses with serious depth? Am I saying choruses aren’t correct or are inherently wrong? No. I’m saying that compared to the old Hymns they are anything but equal. It is a small example of some watering down. Without a doubt the choruses are catchier than the hymns. They’re more up to date. Less old fashioned.

But sermons are also extremely important. It is here where there is found the meat. If this is watered down, what is ever learned (short of self-study)? The pastor is charged with teaching and guiding the people of the church. This is not accomplished by simply making them feel good.

There are serious consequences with this approach. One of the most serious is that it breeds ignorance. If one does not know what the Bible teaches or says, or has no understanding of Biblical doctrine, what chance will the person –or community- have of warding off false teaching? There are many ways Satan tries to lead us astray with false teaching. Even veteran pastors having been through seminaries fall prey to this. If this is so, what chance does a churchgoer have if they never learn anything? Well, they’ll be ignorant, but at least they’ll feel good about it.

The Bible says what it says. Often it can and does create an emotional response, but that’s from the depth of the truth as it is understood and realized. But if one is truly learning the Bible there will be a lot that we do not like either. Things that go against our natural inclinations and desires. But that doesn’t matter. It’s still true and demands our attention.

This wave of feel-good teaching is not only shallow. It’s dangerous. It’s so very easy to undermine a church of this nature, because no one knows otherwise. Unless America returns to a truth inspired learning of Biblical teaching, our culture will continue on its course of deterioration.

For the record, there are a lot of good churches out there, one of which I have the pleasure of attending. This is meant to draw attention to the others.

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