You should read Paul Miller’s article, “I’m Still Here: Back online after a year without the internet.” I have a couple of thoughts and I’m interested in yours.
I’ll stop there, but I’m very interested in your thoughts.
All too often, we sacrifice truth for experience, and this is a growing, dangerous trend in the American church. Out of the desire to avoid doctrinal arguments, we rely only on our own life-story to explain Scripture.
Rather than proclaim Christ incarnated, crucified, risen, and seated (1 Cor 15:1-11), we talk about how the church has improved our lives, broken our “bad habits,” or made us better people. These things are true, but they are not the center of the Gospel. In fact, other groups often do these things as well or better than many churches (see AA, Mormonism, counseling, Neighborhood Clubs, Peace Corps, etc).
Such an attitude towards evangelism and discipleship reduces Christianity to another form of self-fulfillment. It acts as though the Gospel is all about us. I think that such an evangelistic approach springs out of an over-acceptance of the claims of postmodernism. While postmodernism is correct in emphasizing our subjective experience of objective truths, it often over-reaches–valuing such experience (which is limited in scope and context) over objective reality (which is not limited).
So, churches, seeking to avoid division over doctrine, begin to emphasize experience first. This feels good–we’re naturally bent towards narcissism–and it pushes us further away from doctrine and further into ourselves. Eventually, we have divorced ourselves from the Word, from clear truth, and ultimately from the hope that the Gospel gives to those who know the depth of their sin. For such people, hope is not found inside or in our experience. For such people, hope is found in the truth of Scripture. But if the church has abandoned such truth in favor of experience, then the church has nothing to offer hopeless sinners.
The linked article is a helpful discussion of this problem: http://www.pastortullian.com/2011/07/05/the-subjective-power-of-an-objective-gospel/
So Happy that Christ is Always True,
In Genesis 3, the serpent did a couple of things: (1) He turned the focus of Adam and Eve inward, away from God and his goodness; (2) he de-emphasized the need to esteem the gracious and life-giving words of God.
Adam & Eve also did a couple of things: Read more…
I’m teaching on Isaiah 59:1-15 this Sunday as the second part of a four part series on the Gospel. Last week, we looked at Genesis 1:26-31 to discuss what it was that God created us for–I argued that he created us to glorify Him as His image bearers, in harmonious relationships to creation, to each other, and to Him. This week, we’re looking at what the problem is–why we aren’t enjoying harmony with each other and intimacy with God. I think Isaiah 59:1-2 makes it pretty clear that it’s not God’s fault.