A Religion of Sentiment
Ours has been described as a culture of feelings. Simply put, people are
dominated by affections rather than thoughts. So what we have is a
Theology of intellect has given way to a theology of feeling. The conscious force of
the church has given way to domestic affection. Popular religion is little more than a
sentiment or affection of the heart. It consists largely in performing simple and
blameless tasksa matter of personal application and experience. The toughness,
sternness, and virility of revival preachers like George Whitefield and Jonathan Edwards
has all but disappeared. Now a gentle, feminine Jesus has triumphed over a stern Jehovah.
Cloaking the holiness of God, and focusing on His love to the exclusion of wrath has
resulted in the unsettling of the entire moral landscape.
Men are not governed by reason, but by emotion. Intellect is sacrificed for good
intentions. The relational supersedes the propositional. Conversion is no longer
mans acceptance of God, but mans acceptance of himself. Countless ministers
have mastered the technique of maternal influence. Emphasizing nurture and
unconscious growth has eliminated the need for a sudden, painful, and violent
religious awakening. Conversion amounts to little more than an ever evolving mutual
assimilation of two similar beings.
A Religion of Influence
God instructs the wives of unbelieving husbands, Wives be in subjection to your
own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the
conversation (behavior) of the wives (1 Pet. 3:1). In the case of wives, it is the
example and unspoken influence that ministers grace to their husbands, not direct
The last century saw the ministers role in liberal churches reduced to that of a
woman. The pastor was content to wait on his congregation rather than
lead it. The message was implied rather than stated. In the pulpit he sought
to influence only by example, rather than persuade by arguments. His congregation
consisted of those who were feeling rather than thinking. Unassertive, retiring,
saccharine, weakly, passive, sickly, and homebound, these ministers were the opposite of
What goes around comes around. Countless ministers today are little more than
cultural custodians. Their specialty lies in maintaining the status quo. These
hirelings are not leaders. They belong to the community only because they embody the
shared feelings and aspirations of the group. Operating totally by consensus, these
unassertive pastors become a mere emblem of influence. Much like the man who had involved
himself in a movement with gross doctrinal error, he said he was participating so he could
lend an influence to the movement. By that he didnt mean he was going to
confront the leadership with truth. Somehow he felt his presence was going to exude an
unconscious influence on the direction of the movement. HOGWASH!
The Religion of Influence has a wrong view of God. Those who espouse sentimental
religion have shifted from a paternal, authoritarian God to a god that is fundamentally
maternal and affective. God is no longer expressing hatred for sin in the sacrifice of His
Son, but His love of man. God ceases to govern by the imposition of His will and begins to
sway by the influence of example. However, wrongheadedness about God and Christs
sacrifice are not trivial concerns!
This imaginary Christ of Influence meets men on mortal terrain by shaping himself to
human needs. He offers himself only as a model, not as a governor. He courts those he
favors instead of overwhelming them. Sensitized and feminized in image, the liberal Jesus
is interested in tapping the unconscious. He prefers to prove his power of infiltration
rather than test his capacity for onslaught. The feminized Christ is not dependent on his
followers ability to perceive objective truth, but on their capacities for
Silly Putty Religion
When I was growing up Silly Putty was extremely popular. You could take this elastic
marvel from its egg-shaped container, press it flat on newsprint, and it would absorb
whatever image it contacted. Roll it back into a ball, press it flat again on another
page, andBINGOit would pick up the exact image you placed it on. Another
unique quality, in addition to its mirroring ability, was its amazing adaptability. You
could form it into any shape, fit it into any nook or cranny, and adapt it to fit
virtually any context.
Church members who have grown accustomed to soft, therapeutic religion have forgotten
how rigorous religious life used to be. Fluid has displaced the solid. Weak and watery
belief has replaced rock-solid conviction. Feminine has usurped masculine. A metamorphosis
has taken place from an eagle to a dove. All this is the result of left-leaning pastors
who dilute their doctrine to suit the taste of their hearers. Lacking energy, direction,
and proper foundation sermons have become like horoscopesYou will want love
this month, but you may not find it; trust your old friends. These
fortune-cookie-like messages are designed to fit any set of circumstances, but the
corrective bite is gone. Lines of demarcation have steadily been erased. Black and white
have blended into pastel shades of gray.
Since people are less willing to accept a demanding God, popular Christianity has
turned to a god we can use, rather than a God we must obey. Most people claim to be
religious, but most are not comfortable with those whose faith is strong enough to affect
their public behavior.
In his book, God in the Wastelands, David Wells notes how Evangelicalism has emptied
itself of serious thought, discarded theology, and won cultural acceptability. Few of the
pragmatic practitioners are willing to sacrifice near-term gains for long-term benefits.
Consequently, every distinctively Christian moral position has suffered steady erosion.
The consensus among Christians today is that there is no consensus. The mega-church
gurus who speak at the Crystal Cathedral one week are invited to speak at conferences for
Bible believers another week. Everything appears to be negotiable and very few
question anything. If anyone does raise a question about a dubious practice, people get
upset with the one who raises the issue instead of those who compromised. It has been
noted that the 19th century minister became the only professional, other than the
housewife, who ceased to overtly command, much less monopolize, any special body of
knowledge. Any preacher who doesnt strive for mastery of one Book ought to quit and
get an honest job!
The nature of God, sin, man, and the atonement are not issues that can be glossed over.
Doctrine-free preaching will not only swell church rolls, it will also populate hell. The
time has come for the trumpet to sound a certain sound.
Some years back the psychological community announced the amazing discovery of
left-brain, right-brain differences. Under this theory the left hemisphere of the brain
contains and controls the ability to think, reason, analyze, and make logical deductions.
The right hemisphere of the brain, on the other hand, holds the capacity for emotion and
feeling. The astute researchers remarked how that men tended toward left brain-dominance
and women to right-brain dominance.
This research was distorted to advance the radical left-wing agenda. Then came the push
to reverse the natural and normal differences between men and women. The liberals wanted
women in combat and desired that men get in touch with their feminine side.
The left-brain, right-brain paradigm gave the neutering of America a strong push, and the
rest is history.
Feminine religion is fiercely anti-intellectual, and that out of necessity. That which
is masculine smacks of domination, decisiveness, and demarcation. Feminine is
characterized by absorption, affection, and assimilation. The devotional had to overtake
the doctrinal. The demise of theology was inevitable because right-brain religion cannot
undergo the scrutiny of serious examination and analysis. The demise of theology was
imperative. Emotion triumphed over the intellect.
In her book, The Feminization of American Culture, Ann Douglas notes how dogma gave way
to fiction. The liberal ministers of the 19th century had jettisoned truth. In their
sermons people were not encouraged to observe or act, but feel. The men left their
churches and church membership consisted largely of women. Liberal ministers romanticized
their sermons to appeal to their female congregations. Feminine fiction became a
substitute for religious faith. Douglas comments, A novel pervades without argument,
without labor: it suggests a credo of leisure. Orville Dewey in 1830 articulated his
conviction, Novel reading is the pursuit of idle ladies and men who are fast
becoming effeminate as a result. Concerning fiction William Peabody
stated, It is to the mind like drinking is to the body: it intoxicates and destroys
the power of the mind for any strong and useful exercise. I guess Mr. Peabody
didnt think it was good for men to get in touch with their feminine side! Today we
have the stealth approach to reach people. The idea is to subliminally disguise the
gospel. In other words, sneak the message in between the jokes and songs so no one knows
what they hear or when they hear it. The appeal is not to the mind, but to the heart.
Sentimental religion over-emphasizes camaraderie, connection, and involvement. It
conveys its instinct for inclusion, rather than separation. This is critical to the New
Church world view. All standards must be collapsed if this new-found sense of one global
Church is to be maintained.
Tocqueville writes, One of the most ordinary weaknesses of human intellect is to
seek to reconcile contrary principles and to purchase peace at the expense of logic.
This is the only explanation for the Evangelical/Catholic/Charismatic axis. You have to
leave your brain (at least leave the left-side!) at the door to enter into the spirit of
Denominational Reconciliation is a prime example of right-brain religion.
It is both irrational and anti-Scriptural to seek unity apart from Truth. The Los Angeles
Times reported, ASSISI, ItalyCarrying olive branches and offering prayers, Pope John
Paul II and the representatives of the worlds religions, including a Crow Indian
medicine man from Montana and an African animist witch doctor, pledged Monday to work for
peace. As 60 religious leaders joined the Pope in this picturesque medieval hill town
where St. Francis preached 700 years ago, governments and rebels throughout the world put
down their arms briefly in response to a papal call for a cease-fire and a day of prayer.
Other religious leaders were present including the Dalai Lama (the exciled Buddhist,
god-king of Tibet), fire worshippers, snake worshippers, Hindus, Muslims, and spiritists.
Apparently, the Pope thinks that prayers to Allah, the moon god, and other pagan deities
are just as effective in this moral battle as prayer to the God of the Bible. Or more
likely, as Dave Hunt notes in his video, the Pope said they were all praying to the same
god! This is but another example of the Pope leading the greatest ecumenical movement in
all history to unite all religions under Romes leadership.
And they want us to accept Roman Catholicism as a legitimate expression of
evangelicalism!?!?!? Its impossible to reconcile truth and error, right and wrong,
light and darkness, Bible Christianity and apostacy. Ours is a feminized culture. Religion
has followed suit and become feminized. But God commands, yes commands, that men love the
Lord their God with all their hearts, soul, strength, and minds (left-brain included!)
The disconnect between the intellectual and emotional must go. If someone doesnt
rock the boat soon, before long there will be no boat left to rock!
He that hath ears to hear, let him hear!