Over the past year, I have come to see, more than ever, the two sides of Christian theology. I have been to churches that love the Word and speak directly from it week after week. I have also been to and seen online churches that supplement the sermon with Scripture, but mostly go by what the Spirit leads them to discuss.
The two have differing views, but both, I believe, truly do seek the Truth of God; their methods are just different.
But the struggle I face with both of these is that there is a lack of balance. It seems as though if the love of the Word is there, the Spirit is quenched. Or if there is the love of the Spirit, the Word is forgotten.
Before I continue, I realize there is no perfect church. We are a bunch of imperfect people, and when you get a bunch of imperfect people all together…it will create a big imperfect group. I am not seeking to criticize any church theology or beliefs. I am simply writing about an observation I have made, and wish to discuss.
In my experience, both sides believe they are more correct in their theology. There is this huge division between the two sides and both view the other as being “extreme” or “misled.”
So this is what I want to say:
Pastors and churches of America,
I am tired of having to pick a side of theology. I am tired of hearing about what you think. I want to know what the Bible says. I want to hear about my Savior. I want to worship in a place where the Word is loved and studied, yet the Spirit is free to move and lead. My soul longs for the Bride to be balanced as the Word tells us to be.
I don’t need the musical productions, the entertaining jokes, or the trendy creative videos. I don’t need a comfortable laid-back atmosphere. I don’t need fun social events so I can meet other people my age. I don’t need tips on how to save money or get healthy. I don’t need a nice building with comfy seats.
I need my heavenly Father. I need Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I need the Holy Spirit.
That is what we are seeking. My generation doesn’t need anymore of our culture than we already get. We need our Savior. We need to be read the Word, reminded that we are not entitled, righteous, or worthy. That nothing we do could ever be enough. We need to be reminded to repent, daily. We need to be reminded that the ONLY reason we can be called righteous or worthy is because of what JESUS did. Not what we do.
I don’t need you to make me feel good about myself. I need to feel and realize the total depravity of my soul without God. I don’t need to be coddled and comfy. I want to be challenged and convicted. I don’t need to be swooned or entertained.
I need to be taught.
I may feel loved and special after a sermon…but that feeling won’t get me through the valleys of depression, anger, sorrow, or defeat. I need to know His promises in the WORD. I need to know TRUTH. What does God say about me? Show me in scripture and then I will believe you. Don’t tell me what you think about me, or what you think God thinks about me. Show me. Because when it boils down to it…that’s the only absolute truth I can believe in.
But I don’t just need the Word. I need His Spirit. I can read Scripture over and over, but if I don’t have the Spirit of God in me, I will grasp nothing. Show me how to draw near to God. Show me how to not quench the Spirit with my constraints and fears. Show me how to not put the Holy Spirit in a box, but warn me against trusting my feelings and thoughts. Teach me how to discern between the Spirit and false spirits that come to destroy distract my soul.
Show me how to live in the Spirit by example. Show me that you don’t put God’s Spirit on a time schedule; that you trust the Holy Spirit enough to forgo your 90 minute service constraint. Show me that you are willing to put aside traditions and routines to allow the Spirit to move in your congregation. Show me that the Spirit is not to be toyed or joked with. Show me reverence for the Gospel and His Spirit.
Teach me how the Spirit will never speak or teach something that is not already in Scripture. Teach me that God does not contradict himself. Ever. Show me that whatever the Spirit does or says is in direct correlation with the ministry of Jesus and the Father, shown in Scripture.
In John 4:23-24, Jesus says, “Yet a time is coming, and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and His worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
This is what we are hungry for! I long to see the Bride worship together in spirit and in truth, with the Word and the Spirit.
The two should go hand in hand. You cannot understand one without the other.
I want to worship my God in a place of freedom. No more constraints, no more distractions. I don’t come to church to encounter a good show or emotional entertainment. I come to church to stand beside my brothers and sisters and worship at the feet of my King.
My generation is hungry, starving, for the presence of God. Nothing else. We are looking for a place where we can put aside the trends and distractions of our culture, and simply pour our hearts out to our God.
We don’t need anything else. We just need our Savior. We simply need his Word and his Spirit. It is not complex theology.
It is Him.