For awhile I’ve avoided writing this. I wanted to be sure and I wanted to make certain it wasn’t going to be my own bias or opinion dictating the article. I never want to write something that may lead someone astray. However, I feel obligated to write this as there are many good people currently being very misled. And all in the “name of Jesus.” By the way, if you don’t believe in Jesus and think it’s all just a bunch of hog-wash, this may not mean much to you. Although, if it isn’t true, then it won’t hurt to read or take into consideration what I’m about to say. And if you’re one of those questioning what Christianity is really all about and what the heck is the right version of it, then I hope this series may provide you with some clarity and insight.
The Jesus Culture and the Jesus Experience. Have you ever met those people who are super pumped as if they’re on steroids – yet not? The ones that just can’t help smiling and laughing (uncontrollably and hysterically at times), even though you mentioned that your dog just died? I mean, they’re just so full of joy, well, how can you expect them to be anything else, right? They’ve got Jesus, man. Yet, I’m pretty sure the Jesus of the Bible that I know wept at times and definitely empathized in situations of sorrow. He wasn’t happy or pumped on steroids all of the time.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 – There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.
So, what’s it all really about? Is this really a “God thing”…or something else? Truthfully, I believe it’s more along the lines of Something wicked this way comes and it’s called Progressive Christianity. It’s the belief that what we “feel” trumps all other fundamental truths. It’s all a bunch of wishy-washy feelings mixed in with a little bit of truth. These “feely” Christians are taking the world by a storm. And why wouldn’t they? This emotional based religion offers what you can only gain through drugs, intoxication, and any other sort of high: it offers an experience. Yet how true is this experience?
I’m quite frankly disturbed because these people with good intentions are quite literally convinced they are experiencing God while discarding His Word as second best to what they feel. As it were, the Bible clearly tells us to be discerning and wise as ‘The heart is deceitful above all things” [Jeremiah 17:9]. Furthermore, these folks genuinely believe that they are building a relationship with Jesus by simply experiencing and soaking Him in. Which is interesting, because I never see the Jesus of the Bible building His relationship with the Father by “soaking” in Him. He did indeed fast and meditate in prayer, but then again, prayer is an active form of communication between an individual and God. It’s not a sole existence or momentary experience with God. In fact, there’s not one mention in Scripture of anyone having a “God experience.” What people had was an active, intentional relationship with their Father. Which they had to actively strengthen, build, pursue, and invest in. Within the Old Testament, this was direct and often audible communication with the Lord; in the New Testament, this was direct communication and relationship with the physical Christ in addition to communion with God; and in our modern day, this is a spiritual relationship with Jesus via prayer and the Word of God.
Folks, our churches are sick. They’re full of good intention-ed people who aren’t intentional in their beliefs. And in all honesty, they really don’t know what in the good Lord’s world they actually believe. These are a lot of people tired of the rule based church and looking for the real life relationship with Jesus. Which isn’t a bad (or wrong) aim. People are tired of hearing about a God that just wants to punish or cast them into hell-fire and brimstone. I understand. I get it. It is exhausting to constantly be told you’re going to hell if you do anything apart from eating sliced bread and living like a monk. It seems to be one extreme or the other. Unfortunately, we as people tend to to screw things up as usual. Instead of actually looking to God’s Word to discover what He intends for us and how we are to seek and build a relationship with Him through the Son, we’ve decided we’ve got this whole experience thing down. It feels good, so it must be right…. right? Actually, not right. Just because it feels good doesn’t make it right. A lot of things that feel good are pretty bad and detrimental to and for us.
But why is this mentality so dangerous? I believe that the sole goal to gain an “experience” is at the expense of knowing, valuing, and acting upon the truth of God’s Word. There is a lack of value for the inspired Word given to us those two thousand years ago. Many of these people don’t believe that it’s relevant or needed because they can hear and feel Him today. But if it’s not relevant, then why’d He give it to us in the first place? If it isn’t the infallible Word we are to base our lives, decisions, and actions upon, then why did God Himself think it important enough to survive several thousand years and still be the most printed book to date in history? If we base what we think, choose, and do on our “feelings” then arguably anything could be a voice from God and we can come up with an entirely new religion and theology justified on the fact that God spoke it to us. There are so many accounts in history of “good intentioned” people doing the most evil and terrible of things because God told them so. Take a look at the Aztec human sacrifices, the Catholic Inquisition, the Salem Witch Hunts, the Islamic Jihads, and then in more recent history the Jonestown massacre where nearly every resident drank the Kool-Aid in obedience to a man who had initially spoken under the pretense of spiritual authority. All done in the name of what “God” said to them.
Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that God still communicates with His children today. That still small voice, the unexplained burden on our hearts, and through other believers in our lives. However, all of this must never contradict, must always be backed up first by Scripture, and must be founded upon and in it. We need to be so careful about declaring that we know exactly what God wants for us based on what we feel or what He’s spoken apart from His original and infallible Word. Because there is a good possibility that it’s either our own voice speaking… or something else (and that something else ain’t God.)
To be continued...