The Problem of Superstitious Christianity

“Mingled vanity and pride appear in this, that when miserable men do seek after God, instead of ascending higher than themselves as they ought to do, they measure him by their own carnal stupidity, and neglecting solid inquiry, fly off to indulge their curiosity in vain speculation. Hence, they do not conceive of him in the character in which he is manifested, but imagine him to be whatever their own rashness has devised…With such an idea of God, nothing which they may attempt to offer in the way of worship or obedience can have any value in his sight, because it is not him they worship, but, instead of him, the dream and figment of their own heart.” (Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 1.4.1)

Clearly Calvin had in mind non-Christians when he penned these words. And he was right, for “the world did not know God through wisdom” (1 Cor. 1:21) “for although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools” (Rom. 1:21-22).

However, the sad reality is many in our churches have such a shallow understanding of God as revealed in Scripture, that their “Christian” theology might be better referred to as Christian “superstition.” Every Sunday, we rub shoulders with men and women who have professed faith in Christ, but continue to hold a “vague and wandering opinion of Deity” (Institutes, 1.4.3) that just happens to include Jesus.

Every pastor can probably relate to having someone in their church enthusiastically sharing with them what the “Holy Spirit” has taught them, even though it has zero resemblance to biblical teaching, even, at times, outright contradicting it. This is truly a sad and dangerous place for the Christian to live. J.I. Packer wrote, “To follow the imagination of one’s heart in the realm of theology is the way to remain ignorant of God, and to become an idol-worshipper – the idol in this case being a false mental image of God, ‘made unto thee’ by speculation and imagination” (Knowing God, 42). Considering that “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24), superstitious Christianity is dangerous both to the life of the individual Christian and to the life of the church as a whole.

Causes of Superstitious Christianity

Continue: https://ftc.co/resource-library/1/3604

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Podcast – “Do You Have the Power?” (Acts 4:1-22)

https://bellatorchristi.com/2017/08/03/podcast-message-do-you-have-the-power-acts-41-22/

Your Spiritual Gift is the Gift of the Spirit

https://lifereference.wordpress.com/2018/04/15/sunday-sermon-notes-april-15-2018/

Are You Creating Room for the Holy Spirit?

Are You Creating Room for the Holy Spirit?

When it comes to worship, we are obsessive about the atmosphere. 

The pad creates an atmosphere. The guitar swells create an atmosphere. Every intro, transition  and altar call is about the atmosphere it provides.

But the tension happens when the planning of the atmosphere doesn’t leave space for what the Holy Spirit wants to do. Of course, God can [and does] work through Spirit-led, intentional, well-researched, well thought-out planning.

The time and energy you invest in staying ahead and well-planned is never in vain. However, how do we plan and create an atmosphere where the Holy Spirit can operate?

I don’t know about you, but I want more than man-made plans. I’m hungry for more than just being awed by incredible talent on stage. I’m not interested in just being moved by a charismatic speaker. I want the Holy Spirit. I need the Holy Spirit. We need the Holy Spirit.

I definitely don’t want to be in the business of getting in the Spirit’s way. Or drawing too much attention to myself. I don’t want to create a fanclub of churchgoers while the Spirit watches from a distance.

What about you?

Read rest: https://churchleaders.com/worship/worship-articles/305725-creating-room-holy-spirit-david-santistevan.html

Pray for . . .

Pray-holiness

If Jesus, So You: The Spirit And Jesus And You

This article is part of the “Open Letters” series.

Dear friend,

We all love it when life leaps into forward gear and we make all kinds of progress. Problems just seem to fall away. Perhaps in your life you’ve had a season like that, a season when your life seemed to shine and flourish. Maybe it was when you first became a believer or during some period when you were very well nurtured by good community and wise input.

Then there are those seasons where things go very slowly. You wonder, “Is this all there is? Why do I keep struggling with the same old things? I keep losing my temper, or feeling anxious, or being clumsy in relationships . . . ” What vision does God give us for what our lives are supposed to look like, especially when we’re dealing with the long, hard struggle part of being a Christian? Let me say two things.

First, often when we hear the words sanctification, growth, and transformation, we have an idealized image of what that might look like. Though each of us may picture slightly different things, I doubt for most of us that the image includes three quarters of the book of Psalms which portray life where faith and hope happen in the midst of honest struggles—hard struggle, a sense that “I need God to hear me.” Psalm 28, for example, says, “If you don’t hear me, God, I will die!” It is not unusual for life to be difficult. We bump up against things in the world around us that are intimidating or overwhelming or discouraging. We see things within ourselves that we wish would change, but we keep failing in some way. The Psalms are about that. They’re about struggle with hard things in our world and in ourselves. And the Psalms are a window into the heart of Jesus Christ himself. If sanctification means becoming like Christ, then the way we struggle is as much a part of our sanctification as some idealized image of what we hope that we would become. Struggling honestly, actually needing help, is what the Psalms are about.

The Lord is enough. You can go through hard things and not lose your faith.

Read more at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2018/04/03/if-jesus-so-you-the-spirit-and-jesus-and-you/#tpf2e7yI1CIKPjfl.99

If Jesus, So You: The Spirit And Jesus And You

I contend many don’t really think Jesus needed the Spirit or depended upon the Spirit; I contend, too, that those who think that also don’t think (they may not say so) we need the Spirit.

If with Jesus, so also with us.

The New Testament Gospels are not like the other gospels that didn’t make it into our Bible. For example, there is a story about Jesus as a boy making mud birds in a puddle and then, to dazzle those around him, swished his hands and off the birds went flying. That tale didn’t make the cut. It doesn’t portray the real, human Jesus of the four Gospels.

However, we know that the human Jesus had to learn mathematics; he had to learn the names of friends; and he had to grow in wisdom and knowledge like the rest of us. He also had emotions. In fact, the Gospels let us in on how Jesus felt: he was exasperated, he wept, he wailed, he got angry with other people, and he even cried out in despair. But he also expressed victory and triumph….

Read more: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2018/04/03/if-jesus-so-you-the-spirit-and-jesus-and-you/