Saturday, February 07, 2004

Emotionalism in Religion - Part I

   There is a definite fire that comes with preaching. No one can doubt that.
   Growing up in the south, I have become accustomed to the fiery sermons and passionate pleas of pastors on Sunday, revivals, etc. There is a definite need for this type of preaching, there is no doubt.

   However, there is also a danger in getting caught up in the "emotionalism" aspect of the whole "experience." Preaching to "amen" corner of the peanut gallery serves no spiritual purpose. I have sat through services and heard sermons that had to be crafted in order to elicit responses for the hearers. Sometimes preachers get so caught up in pleasing man, that he forgets why he is there in the first place: to relay God's message to His people and most importantly to feed the sheep.

   It is an important part of worship to "leave changed." There are a few different greek words used in the New Testament to describe worship but the 2 that are used the most are: Proskuneo and Therapeuo.

1. Proskuneo - is used 54 times in the NT (22 in Revelation). It's main definition is "to kiss the hand to (towards) one, in token of reverence." Meaning to kiss, like a dog licking his master's hand)

2. Therapeuo - is used 43 times in the NT. It's main defintion is "to heal, cure, restore to health." (38 of the 43 times used). It's where we get our word Therapeutic.

   Knowing the definition of worship is important both for Christians and for pastors. What are we there for?
To kiss the Hand and receive healing.

   It is definitely an important part of worship to get fired up about serving God. But in the long run, preaching is more than a pep talk. Emotions fade, excitement wanes, and then what?
   This is not to discount the emotional aspect of worship and there may be some that do not understand what I am trying to say because. I'm not sure I even do. We are to love the Lord and worship Him with our emotions, intellect and will. yet the most important thing in the long-run for everyone is the feeding of the sheep. As a servant, we're there to do service to the King and to receive healing. Spiritual healing. We don't worship based on feeling. At least I hope not or I'm in trouble. I don't always "feel" like worship. But I do need healing, whether I feel like it or not.

Dead church/Christian = no emotion
Fake church/Chrisitan = all emotion
True (healthy) church/Chrisitan = emotion with service (emotional preaching with substance)

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