Monday, September 17, 2007

Thriller Theology

Been to a theme park lately? Last summer, Dianna and I went to Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom with my brother and his family. We spent all day walking around a big fenced-in area just having a blast. We’d ride one roller coaster, get our thrills from it and then head toward the next one, hoping it was bigger and better. Thrill after thrill, each one topping the previous one, we went all the way through the park. At the end of the day, you’re beat. In fact, you grow a little weary of the rides. You’d just prefer to go home, turn the AC up, and sit on the couch for a while.

There are some in the body of Christ who view Christianity as though it’s a spiritual theme park. Six Flags over Jesus we could call it. Some enter and wander around for a bit, just taking it all in. Then they hear about a ride they just have to experience.

“If you want to go deeper with God, then you’ve got to try this worship experience.”
“You can really sense the power of God when you speak in tongues.”
“Get slain in the Spirit and you’ll never be the same.”

These are powerful, emotional, thrill-producing, chill-inducing moments for people. But they never last. You’re always waiting for the next biggest thing. So you go to this revival service or that camp meeting, hoping it will propel you to the next level with God.
Some very dear brothers and sisters in Christ are wandering about, drifting from thrill to thrill. Once the high wears off, they’re out searching for something better. And, oh, the false prophets who prey on these poor souls! One preacher has a “fresh word” for you. The prophetess down the street claims she has “a new revelation” from the Holy Spirit. Apostle so-and-so touches people with his “special anointing” from above. (Of course, you’ll have to sow a big seed before benefiting from any of this.)

My concern for the Thriller Theologians is twofold:
(1) At the end of the day, you’re beat.
You grow weary of all the hype. I know countless people who have spoken in tongues, received a second blessing, been slain in the Spirit and are now nowhere to be found. They got tired of it all because it never satisfied them. Sure, they had some wild stories to tell, but it never changed their lives. So they left. This kind of theology leads to frustration, burnout, and departure.

(2) You’re trying to find excitement in something other Jesus.
You’re addicted to these spiritual sensations. They’re like drugs for you. They provide quick fixes to your needs. They thrill you! They amaze you! You just can’t get enough. But, friend, you’ve replaced Jesus with experiences. You’ve stopped worshiping God and begun worshiping the chill bumps. They’re what you live for; they’re what you long for. You’ll never be satisfied by these. You don’t need them. You need Jesus… just Jesus. You can’t get any deeper than Him.

All that thrills my soul is Jesus. He is more than life to me.
And the fairest of ten thousand in my blessed Lord, I see.

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