deeply concerned about the church's ability to fulfill Jude's admonition to "contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" because of a trend in the church that's getting worse.He believes that the church (especially in America) is becoming increasingly ineffective, primarily because
...there is an unhealthy hunger for ...an experience of personal revelation that has replaced our hunger for truth.And that,
We desperately want God to communicate with us directly. [and] ...We are taught more and more from pulpits all around the country that this is what every Christian can expect to have happen.He further states that such an unhealthy hunger is evidenced by three traditions in modern evangelicalism,
1. we go to our Bibles not to study the text for its truth, but to look for private, personal, individualized messages from God to us. 2. we think that God has put His will in code and we must decipher in order to find "God's will." 3. we think that a vital part of a real relationship with God is learning how to receive private, personal, special revelations from God.The problem, as Koukl sees it, is that we've placed too much importance on the aspect of experiencing God. In our culture, feelings seem to be so much more relevant, and valid, than mere academic knowledge. That which entertains, or titillates the most, is deemed that which is most important. Is it no wonder, then, that many of our evangelical churches emphasize the fact that one can experience God when one enters into a personal relationship with Jesus? Is it any wonder that such an experience is considered to be the cornerstone for our Christian faith and the means through which our maturity occurs? Instead of hearing and learning about God, we end up hearing catch phrases such as, lives are being transformed, or, people are experiencing God's Spirit. Instead of hearing and learning about God, we are told that we, as a congregation, must be about connecting at deeper and deeper levels. The idea, so it goes, is that if people could just experience God, then they'd not only connect at deeper and deeper levels, but they'd also yearn to learn more about God. But is that what really happens? Do we see those people that have experienced God (supposedly) striving to learn more about Him? Or do we simply see them striving to get more of the experience? Yet, Koukl's concerns run much deeper than that of experiential, illiterate Christians. You see, when we elevate experience over revealed truth (i.e., the personal revelation of experience over the general revelation of Scripture), then we run into the problem of relativism. For example, if one person reads a verse and receives a personal, individualized message, then that verse has a different meaning for that person than it does for either you or I. When a static passage of text can mean one thing to you, another thing to me, and yet another thing to someone else, then that text is being viewed in a relativistic manner. And that is no way to view the revealed truth of God. Update: Joe Carter links us to Signs: I'm Weary of Weird Christians, by The Internet Monk. An excerpt,
I am tired of hearing people I work with say that God is talking to them like He talked to Moses at the burning bush or like He talked to Abraham. I'm weary of people saying God speaks directly to them about mundane matters of reasonable human choice, so that their choices of toothpaste and wallpaper are actually God's choices, and therefore I need to just shut up and keep all my opinions to myself until I can appreciate spiritual things. I'm tired of people acting as if the normal Christian life is hearing a voice in your head telling you things other people can't possible know, thus allowing you a decided advantage.Read the whole thing.