The Privatization of the Religious Experience

In commenting on the privatization of the Religious Experience, Professor Jerram Barrs:

…there is the privatization of religious experience. What do I mean? It is in the area of religious truth. I have become my own authority. My private experience is all that matters. We can see this in the New Age movement. People just drift around from one New Age group to another, mixing and swapping ideas, beliefs, and practices as they like them. It is what makes me feel good or what makes me feel spiritual that matters.

All of you have seen articles in magazines, newspapers, and programs on television where they will ask the question, “Who is God?” Then they will give you the views of 50 celebrities, and they all have their different views of God. Well, who cares what they think? What difference does it make? Their private opinions about who God is do not tell us anything about who God is. God decides who He is. That is how He revealed Himself to Moses: “I am who I am has sent me to you. This is who you are to say that I am. I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God who is faithful to His promises, the God who is holy and righteous and just.”

We cannot decide who God is. It would have been absurd through most of the history of this nation to have an opinion pole or to ask celebrities who they thought God was — not because the nation was Christian, that is not my point. It is not a sensible thing to do to ask a series of actors, actresses, musicians, novelists, and politicians to tell us who they think God is. “Who is your God?” That is how the question is put, as if we have God in our pocket and can decide who He is. But that is the culture in which we live, and it can become that way in the church very easily as well — that my religious experience has more authority than anything else.

The above is from Lecture 5 of Professor Barrs’ Apologetics and Outreach course taught through Covenant Theological Seminary. Listen the entire lecture here or read the transcript here.

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~ by toddbumgarner on June 10, 2008 11:51 am.

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