A common theme on this blog is to describe what it is we are becoming and what it is we are currently.
In this case, I truly believe American Christians have replaced God with the Self as the primary focus of worship.
13-35 year-olds are the “Me Generation” (and that could keep expanding, based on what I see from our youth). From day one, we are told we can be anything we want to be; we are free to choose our destiny; what’s right is what feels good; we are not defined by our outcomes (and always perfect); that we deserve happiness and freedom, no matter the cost.
The “Me Generation” is all about self-esteem. Concurrently, it’s all about the Self.
This has permeated into faith and the life of the Church as well.
What do you do when you find a church that doesn’t fit your style and make you happy? You find another.
What do you do when a church isn’t speaking positively to you? You leave!
Theology has been replaced by therapy.
The Gospel has been replaced by Pop Psychology.
Church is becoming eerily similar to Dr. Phil and Oprah shows.
The problem with the idea that the Self is just a perfect vessel waiting to be unleashed into prosperity, progress, and success is that it goes against the entire Biblical message. In the Bible, I read that the self is twisted, that it is in rebellion, that it is in desperate need of help. No amount of unleashing the self or boosting esteem can change that.
Only God can.
In the words of my brother Ryan, “We don’t need more self-esteem. We need more God-esteem.”
We don’t need more self-focused sermons, self-focused books, self-focused therapy sessions inside the church.
What we need is more Cross-centered sermons, more Gospel-centered books, more God-focused theology.
As David F. Wells has said, “We’ve abandoned doctrine and truth in favor of life…”
Although it’s not a popular buzzword or choice of action these days, I see only one way forward: More Biblically solid theology. More God-centered conversations. More Gospel. Not more self-focused 5 ways to Happiness sermons. More balance of dignity and depravity. More balance of grace and truth.
Who is going to win in American Christianity? The Self or the Cross? I can tell you who is going to win in the end, but I want to know who is going to win in 2010…
“Lead me to the cross, where your love poured down. Bring me to my knees, lord I lay me down.”
We don’t need motivation to do it ourselves.
We need to be brought to our knees to God can carry us home.