Monday, October 31, 2005


Much of the Christian life is a balancing act. A spiritual and a mental experience. A relationship that involves the heart being connected to a knowable and mysterious savior. Emotions and thought. Personal experience and Biblical truth. This is highlighted in the following paragraph:
As Jonathan Edwards discovered during the First Great Awakening, the Christian life is like walking a tightrope: If we take one step to the left into undue emotionalism or one step to the right into sterile rationalism, we fall. We Baptists have a saying, that Christianity involves a relationship, not a religion. By that, we mean that we do not hold to the staid formalism or empty rituals that typify much of religious expression in our day. After all, even orthodox belief, devoid of a personal relationship with the risen Savior, is dead faith. On the other hand, revivalism is equally invalid. Spiritual ecstasy and mysticism may be exciting and psychologically fulfilling, but they are spiritual poison when devoid of Biblical content and truth. Accordingly, Edwards had it right when he insisted that true religious emotion must inexorably be linked to a sense of fear and trembling before a just and holy God and a fervent desire to repent of sins." link

Last night at a local gathering a guest speaker from Australia, Michael Frost, ruffled some feathers, and offended a few people. I agree with him in what he said. He was talking about the statement ‘God is Love’ and how his followers will be known by their love. To define what this love is and what it means to love God and love people, he defined what it’s not. Part of this involved a rather prophetic voice against what we’ve allowed ‘worship’ to become in many churches; emotional love songs. Songs about being ‘in love’ with Jesus, that could very easily be sung to a boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse/lover, by just removing the names ‘Lord’, ‘Jesus’, or ‘God’, and inserting the name of your boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse/lover. The ‘put on some candles, sit back and be intimate’ worship experience. (Back in university my friends and I called these ‘ambiguous Christian love songs’ and were convinced that if we sang such songs to an unsuspecting girl we could win her over...) Now don’t get me wrong, I love Jesus. I worship God, and sometimes even by singing. But I really think what Michael Frost spoke last night was a prophetic call to true worship. Loving God and loving others as a demonstration of that love. The two great commandments. Love God, love your neighbor. As a musician, and one who often is part of a band leading ‘worship’ at my church, they were hard words to hear, because they were challenging, but they needed to be said and needed to be heard. Frost could obviously articulate this better than me, which is why he was the one with the microphone last night, and this brief summary of just a small portion of what he said doesn’t really do it justice. It’s a lot easier to sing songs in an assembly or fellowship of believers, than to love my neighbor and sacrifice my time and energy and life for them. To be as Christ to them. He’s speaking again this Tuesday night, so come on out.

As a result, the ‘theology pub’ planned for this Tuesday will not be happening as scheduled. I’ll try to stir up an informal ‘Let’s go to the pub and discuss what Michael just said’ after the talk on Tuesday though...


Post a Comment

<< Home