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Thursday, August 03, 2006

 

Voting for Jesus

I read on Frank's blog that he was reading the Quarterly Essay "Voting for Jesus" by Amanda Lohrey.
I had bought the essay, but not yet read it.
His post encouraged me to pick it up and so far I have finished the first chapter.

Lohrey begins by talking to three teenage girls who attend Hillsong's Youth program. Their responses to her questions are what I would consider to be fairly average for young people from that denominational background.

At the end of the chapter she speaks to Philip Almond, professor of Comparative Religion at the University of Queensland. He describes "the three arms of religious belief as reason, the Word and religious feeling." (p10)

This got me to thinking about myself, the young people I know and the wider youth church community.
Evangelical churches, of which the Salvation Army is one, would place primacy on the Word as the main arm of religious belief.
Pentecostal churches (of which Hillsong is one) would usually claim the Word as the important arm of religious belief, however in practice (and sometimes stated) religious feeling is held most important.

Musical worship is a classic example of this. The aim of a good worship leader is to create an atmosphere that will produce the desired feeling in the congregation.
Another gripe I have (not just with Pentecostal churches) is the lack of Biblical preaching (see my previous posts on this).

Finally I wonder, how much does Reason have to do with the religious belief of young people in Australia today?

In our Bible study, we have been encouraging the young people to read the Bible (Word) and use Reason to understand what it means.
I think I have been most encouraged by the young person who has found this process the most challenging because I can see this person using their Reason.
The struggle to match Reason and what the Bible says is a constant struggle for disciples who are serious about both.

The reliance on religious feeling amongst young people today is the main reason that they 'loose their faith' as they mature.
A faith built soley on religious feeling is going to be lost when the feeling is lost.

A faith that encorporates Reason, the Word and religious feeling will Reason that 'loosing the feeling' is part of the faith journey. It will turn to the Word and see that we can be encouraged that others too 'lost the feeling' but perservered (Job and David just to name two).

What do you think?

Comments:
Ive been encouraged too liam.

we need to be careful not to place too much emphasis on reason.The Bible like u said is the ultimate authority and we need to be careful not to put words in the Bibles mouth!lol i know u agree!

one thing that is missing from wesleys theology thingymajig is the impotance of tradidtion or history in theology.

itd be great to have this emphasis in these massive seeker service type churches like hillsong because finney, wesley etc relied on the conviction of the Holy Spirit and not a religious feeling.How can people repent if theyre not convicted?when people respond at the end of the sermon at hillsong or planetshakers or elsewhere,what are they responding to?a promise of a happy life, of healing?a religios feeling?of course its doomed!

Jesus died for our sins,the barrier between us and God!Get rid of the barrier and we get closer to God.Too many people drift away as u said because of their religios feeling they call their relationship with God.

talking wayyy toooo long. james
 
p.s how cools the ad thing? im clicking away for ya!
 
You have made some good points James.

About putting words into the Bibles mouth, I remember reading yesterday that people who exegete (look to understand in greater depth) the Bible can be looked upon with suspicion by those who mearly quote it.
The danger is reading what we think the Bible says, rather than grappling with what it really says.

As Captain Rick Zelinsky on the Rubicon commented about the church being the body. The point is not the Salvation Army is the part of the church body that reaches the poor. This is a misreading of the passage.

I agree with the importance of tradition, both our own denominational tradition as well as the wider church tradition that has existed for 2000 years, which we Salvos often forget.

With regard to conviction and repentance, I agree with the need for these two. I still haven't worked out how they work best.
In Acts we see conviction and repentance, but it didn't come with the music setting the mood. It came after a reasoned argument on a number of occassions.

Just the beginnings of some thoughts.
 
About music setting the mood,perhaps the trouble is that music is setting the mood and not the Holy Spirit.The two can often be muddled up probably because God does move in powerful ways when He is being worshipped,and music is a good way of worshipping on God...

I would also say that the 'reason' the apostles used in preaching would have been nothing without the Holy Spirit.I strongly believe that it was the Spirit that made the words come alive, similar to how we understand God speaking to us in His word...I dont believe only a reasoned arguement will do the trick...

running late for church... comment again soon tho

james
 
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