A man questioning his fundamentalist upbringing, part 2


I am curious about the healing you said you are seeking. If God responded just the way you like, how would he do it?

One of the most comforting texts of Scripture for me during a doubt storm is where Job (Job 23) is proclaiming that he cannot see God anywhere. He is saying, “I wish I could argue my case before God, but I can’t find him.” His comfort did not come when God appeared. His comfort came when he understood that, while he could not see God, God saw him (23:10).

You asked for something personal… My upbringing was likely similar to yours in that I stumbled over some of the external trappings of Christian fundamentalism that I thought would bring me sanctification. Developing a very feelings-based view of my relationship with God, I decided that I could find those feelings in a variety of settings (e.g., feeling after answered prayer = feeling of a babe who thinks I’m cute). I clung to the shallow theology I knew, but did what I pleased within self-appointed boundaries (don’t take God’s name in vain, witness to others once in awhile). I know there may have been a number of Pharisees in our church, but I’ll chalk the rebellious behavior of my teen years up to the hardness of my own heart.

Bible college was a good experience in that I was challenged to develop my worldview based on the Bible. You may know people who interpret information based on the views of a Christian leader, a famous philosopher or which direction the wind of public opinion is blowing. I was still greatly influenced by my teachers, but learned that it was O.K. to challenge them if I had God’s thoughts behind me.

I wound up pastoring a tiny church in northwest Wisconsin when I was twenty-four, far from the Bible college "plantation" and its pressures. I made many foolish errors (and still do), but studying Scripture gradually brought me to a better understanding of grace. I came to understand what the framers of the Westminster Confession of Faith understood three hundred years earlier when they articulated that man’s primary purpose is “to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.”

I am progressively learning to seek a “truth-based” existence rather than a “feelings-oriented” existence.


  1. C'mon, you know no babe ever thought you were cute!

    I do have a question: In your quest for being truth-oriented instead of feelings-oriented, have you considered what role, if any, music has in shaping our emotions, feelings, and affections?

  2. Perhaps that is for another post at another time.

  3. I know that so much of the methodology of evangelicalism is feelings-oriented and see that reflected in the music being created. However, I will run to the Piper and C.S. Lewis thinking and say that our trouble is not the emotions ("pleasure-seeking") but that our emotions are stirred but such pitiful things. Instead of fifty minutes of "Jesus is my boyfriend" music followed by a sermonette, give me an assembly of believers not afraid to get white-hot in the way they respond to 50 minutes of exposition.

    BTW, babes in my dreams thought I was cute.

  4. Where did Lewis and Piper get it?

  5. Must have been a church growth seminar.

  6. lol

    Have you read much Jonathan Edwards?

  7. I just finished wading through The End for Which God Created... He is deep and rich--a mind far beyond mine.

  8. I hear ya! Have you taken up "Religious Affections" quite yet? Or "Freedom of the Will"?

    have you been to jonathanedwards.com or ccel.org?


What do you think?