Above All Earthly Pow’rs – Part 2

The House or the Journey?

Continuing from my previous post, let me share “two images of contrasting spiritualities in America” that David Wells points out in his book; and they are “house” and “journey.” He explains:

A home is a fixed place with clear, unmistakable outer boundaries, and established internal routines, roles, and expectations. The spirituality of the home – what has been called ‘religion’ – is one that includes public worship, a set of doctrines, a fixed worldview in which God is unchanging, and in which truth and morality are unaltered by time or circumstance (pp. 119-20).

However, “a journey” on the other hand, is an image of postmodern twist of “Christianity” that is opposite to traditional Christianity (i.e., “home”). According to Wells, a postmodern version of Christianity have the following characteristics:

There are no boundaries, no internal rules and routines, there is no ultimate sense of right and wrong, no ability to understand when the road is leading in the wrong direction, no sense as to what the destination is, and no ultimate accountability (p. 123).

It is my observation that many of these churches or “emergent churches” interestingly do have their church names with “journey” in them. Although “journey” is a descriptive term found both in the Bible (Hebrews 11:13; 1 Peter 2:11) and John Bunyan’s classic Pilgrim’s Progress, there is as Wells points out “stark and jarring differences between the way Bunyan understood this spiritual journey and the way that postmoderns are thinking about it” (p. 120). According to Wells:

A spirituality of journey in this [postmodern] sense does not begin with what has been given by God, or with what does not change. Rather, it begins with the self. It begins in the soil of human autonomy and it gives to the self the authority to decide what to believe, from what sources to draw knowledge and inspiration, and how to test the viability of what is believed. The result is that this kind of spirituality is inevitably experimental and even libertarian. Its validation comes through the psychological or therapeutic benefits which are derived (p. 132).

As a pastor how many times have I witnessed individuals who missed out on the blessings of God due to their unsubmissive self? Tragically, there are too many to count.

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