Evangelical Christians in America today often drive cars with bad wheel alignment. They find themselves driving into the ditch on either side of the road.
One ditch leads to the ultra-conservative types who are insistent to the point of shrill-ness about orthodoxy, often getting paranoid about new teachings that "may lead to denying doctrine x." These risk putting their faith in propostitions. "I believe x about a certain topic, so I'm going to heaven." Their faith is not in a Tri-une God, but in their beliefs. I believe doctrine needs to be valued more highly in most churches than it presently is, but we do not "believe in" a confession or a creed. We may agree with it, as it faithfully reflects Scripture.
The ditch on the other side of the road is the experience-based person, who goes to church for the inspiration he receives, who judges his spiritual life based on his feelings. They are paranoid about empty ritual and boring services that don't keep them interested (using similar criteria to judge bad movies that don't entertain). "If I don't feel it, it must not be real." Talking with one young church-goer once, he said about a church he left because of its mundane worship service, "I just didn't FEEL anything there." These risk putting their faith in themselves - what's going on in their own hearts and the goosebumps on their own skin.
How do you evaluate and diagnose your spiritual life? By your brain? By your feelings?
Better to ask, "In whom/what do I trust?
What am I relying on to be right with God? My head, my heart, or my Lord?
"I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ..."
Why do you go to church? For a pick-me-up to a bad week? For a theology lesson?
Better to be fed by God's Word, in fellowship with His people.
Sometimes kids at the table don't want to eat everything on their plate, either, but God gives us what is best for us and what we most need. Hear His voice calling you to worship Him again this coming Lord's Day...
This post inspired by reading chapters 13 and 15 in Jeffrey Meyers' "The Lord's Service (Canon Press: Moscow, 2003)."