Tuesday, October 4, 2011



As most Western churches slide deeper and deeper into postmodern thinking, more and more decisions are based on sentimentalism rather than truth - gradually this affects all aspects of church life. Officially, such evangelicals claim to believe what biblical Christians have always believed, except that when decisions are made feelings and relationships are put before objective truth. Trying to argue from the Bible with such people is very difficult because they will always affirm the Bible, but in practice feelings come first - before God and the Bible. Most of the time, they just ignore the Bible and statements of belief and follow their feelings and personal relationships. It is quite easy for anyone including me and you to make such a mistake, but increasingly this is becoming the norm rather than the exception - by people who really should know better. Let us consider some real examples.

* DIVORCE COUNSELLING: A wife comes to a pastor at a well known evangelical church and complains about all the faults of her husband, saying she wants divorce. She gets his sympathy. Then they have counselling as a couple. The husband says positive things about his wife. Officially, this church opposes divorce except where there is adultery (which was not the case). Nevertheless, instead of quoting the Bible or repeating the official position of the church on divorce, the pastor just gives relationship counselling - sympathising with the wife who talked to him first. Eventually the wife does divorce her husband and the pastor fails to speak up against it.

* HOMOSEXUALITY COUNSELLING: A generally mixed up young lesbian comes to a church counsellor for help. Instead of using the Bible to challenge the girl to repent of her sexual sin and to change, the counsellor just listens and affirms her (in accordance with the methods mostly taught at universities). The lesbian has found some clever arguments twisting the Bible to defend homosexuality on the internet and repeats these to the counsellor. Instead of saying that this is error, the counsellor just tells the girl how clever she is. When challenged, the counsellor claims she is opposed to homosexuality. Nevertheless, it is emotional feelings and not the Bible which come out in the counselling.

* CHURCH DISCIPLINE: A senior pastor commits adultery. He pleads for mercy and argues that public exposure will damage his marriage. His associate pastors, ignoring the Bible's standards on eldership and procedures for disciplining leaders (1 Timothy 5:20), feel sorry for him and decide not to inform the congregation. They give him private marriage counselling instead. Those doing the discipline ignore the Word of God and the numerous sheep who will be harmed by the ungodly pastor. They are blinded by personal relationship and feelings for the one they are close to. He does it again and the church backslides.

- A false teacher, Graeme Codrington publishes an article teaching the heresy that it is acceptable for a Christian to practice homosexuality. Biblical Baptists strongly speak up against this. The denomination condemns the false teaching and takes steps to ensure such views are not published again. Nevertheless, postmodern pastors say they disagree with the false teaching but instead of speaking up against it, they attack the Biblical Christians saying that they have hurt the feelings of the false teacher and those who published the false teaching.
- This is also what happened when postmodernist Rob Bell published his infamous book on hell 'Love Wins', claiming that everyone would get a second change to go to heaven after death. Bell argues from sentimentality that God would never do something so nasty as send someone to eternal punishment. Brian McLaren doesn't defend Rob Bells logic, but just continues the sentimental argument that Rob Bell is his friend and that he has a duty to protect his friend and tries to throw doubt on the logical arguments of Albert Mohler against this.

* WHISTLEBLOWING A SCANDAL: There is a scandal in a church. Someone attempts to bring the truth to the congregation following Matthew 18 process. Nevertheless, the church authorities, re-frame the scandal as a personal relational issue. They ignore the scandal and say that the whistleblower must now reconcile with those he is exposing. When the whistleblower continues to blow the whistle, he is victimised for failing to reconciled.

* LEWDNESS: A professing Christian publishes a lewd photograph on the internet. A Biblical Christian asks him to remove it. A postmodern pastor, instead of supporting the biblical Christian and telling the publisher that this was wrong, instead complains that the Biblical Christian has now caused emotional upset and harmed relationship. Thus by this new feelings-based interpretation, the pro-moral person is the one mostly in the wrong.

* ABORTION: Instead of considering issues like the teaching of the Bible and the Sanctity of human life as it relates to abortion, postmodern Christians look at it from a feelings angle. They don't know the feelings of the unborn child - so that is ignored. They consider the feelings of the woman with an unwanted pregnancy and the feelings of the secular media. From this angle, pro-life protesters are hurting the feelings of women who have had abortions or are considering killing their babies. Do they win the fight on grounds of logic? No. On logic they would lose, but on sentimentality - the person who is seen trumps the person who is unseen. Given the sentimental thinking of the public, pro-lifers respond by trying to profile cute pictures of the unborn in the womb - to pull back some public sympathy - or use harsh pictures of aborted babies. Then they are attacked by the other side for being too harsh. Nevertheless, logic, truth and the Bible have been thrown to the wind and sidelined out of the debate.

A slogan used to promote this attitude is 'Follow your heart and not your head'. It is not in the Bible. Its plain foolish and unbiblical. The Bible says that the heart is deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9).

And one could give a hundred more examples following the same pattern. If your church is not very focused on Biblical truth, probably you will also find this kind of thing going on behind the scenes.

The problem with all of these examples is that the people just evade argument based on truth and the Bible as a standard for truth - while concentrating on feelings and immediate personal relationships. The result is favouritism (forbidden by James 2), where there is no objective justice or investigation of the truth. Those who have personal relationships with powerful people are favoured and those who don't lose out. The Bible is sidelined in favour of personal feelings.

This is not a minor trend or the action of a few postmodernist extremists. Most of the evangelical church has already gone this way, even if it is officially still evangelical. Only a minority are resisting it.

Really such an approach does not help personal emotions or relationships except in the very short term. In the long term, relationships and feelings are trashed on a large scale due to ignoring the teaching of the Bible, God's judgement and the natural result of cause and effect.


To win a war, one has to recognise the tactics being used by the enemy. After World War One, which was fought mostly in trenches, France prepared a line of defences against a future similar war. There never was another similar war. World War Two was different. Armoured tanks over-ran Frances Maginot Line defences in days. They were useless. In the same way, the battle for the Bible has changed. We cannot fight it the way it was fought in the last generation. We will lose if we try. We have to see the opposition is using different tactics. So many are claiming to be biblical Christians, while they are actually 'feelings-based' rather than 'Bible-based'. We have to recognise these tactics, recognise the enemy pretending to be biblical, expose them and fight back.

Postmodernists are mostly refusing to engage in logical debate based on the Bible. When cornered as obviously unbiblical, they just argue the other side is causing relational and emotional pain. The reality is that the fight for truth always has and always will cause pain. We can try our best to minimise this, but unless we want to just give up and lose the fight, there will always be pain in such conflicts.

'Feelings-based' Christians leaders who claim to be biblical need to be steered back to the Bible. Those who won't change need to be weeded out of Christian leadership. Lets remind people to follow the Bible first and feelings after that.

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