Props to the Pastor

A pastor from our church shared this quote from a book with me and it’s rather convicting:
In American religion, there is almost no sense of God’s difference from us – in other words, His majesty, sovereignty, self-existence, and holiness. God is my buddy, my inmost experience, or the power source for my best life now. God is not strange (that is, holy), and he is certainly not a judge. He does not evoke fear, awe or a sense of terrifying and disorienting beauty. Furthermore, all the focus on making atonement through a bloody sacrifice seems crude and unspiritual…The God of America is not the God before whom Isaiah said, “Woe is me, for I am undone!” (Isa 6:5), or before whom Peter said, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man” (Luke 5:8). Instead, American religion exchanges the strange and often troubling God of Israel for an idol that never really judges and therefore never really forgives.
Instead of believing in God’s free decision to make his home with us in the world He created, we believe we are at home with God already, in the stillness of our inner self and away from all entanglements…It is not surprising news that God loves us. After all, God is always our friend, never our enemy. God cannot help but like us – both because of who He is (Love) and because of who we are (lovely)…This characteristically American approach to religion, in which the direct relationship of the soul to God generates an almost romantic encounter with the sacred, makes inner experience the measure of spiritual genuineness. Instead of being concerned that our spiritual leaders faithfully interpret Scripture and are sent by Christ through the official ordination of His church, we are more concerned that they exude vulnerability, authenticity, and the familiar spontaneity that tells us they have a personal relationship with Jesus.
When push comes to shove, many Christians today justify their beliefs and practices on the basis of their own experience. Regardless of what the church teaches – or perhaps even what is taught in Scripture – the one unassailed authority in the American religion is the self’s innermost experience. This means, however, that it is not only one’s relationship with Jesus but Jesus himself who becomes a wax figure to be molded according to whatever experiences, feelings, and felt needs one has decided to be most decisive.
“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

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