I’ve said before on BreakPoint that if your God never tells you to do anything you don’t want to do, your god is probably you. If there were an Americanized translation of the Apostle’s Creed for today, it would be something like this: “I believe in God the Father, Almighty, who always supports my feelings.”
In our zeal to defend the Holy Spirit, we sometimes run the risk of defending wrong behavior. My recent op-ed and podcast talking about different people in the charismatic community brought a variety of feedback, as did a sermon I preached a few years ago. With over 110,000 views, the positive and negative emails flowed in for many months.
I’ve learned a lot from Glenn Sunshine, the longest-serving faculty member of the Colson Fellows Program, and a professor of history at Central Connecticut State University. Glenn not only gets history, he also really gets worldview and, even better, how worldview and history are related.
Anyone who’s ever been verbally bullied can tell you that the old saying “sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me” is nonsense. Words are powerful things. They can harm people. In fact, words can create whole categories that confuse men and women into a twisted understanding of their bodies and souls, and can even wreck their lives.
Patrick Henry, an American orator and statesman, and a leading patriot of the American Revolution, is often credited with saying, “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
If you think of American Christianity as a pendulum, we’re currently at the opposite extreme from the First Great Awakening. When Jonathan Edwards preached his famous sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” he compared human beings with spiders, dangling by a thread over the fires of God’s just judgment, upheld only by His mercy. Accounts from the time tell of listeners who clung to the pillars of their churches, lest they fall through the floor into the Lake of Fire. Like I said, we’re no longer in this territory these days.