I Can Feel It!

It was another bright morning in the tranquil village where Jeremiah and Ezekiel lived. The two old friends had planned to meet at the local café, a small, cozy place run by a cheerful couple who made the best coffee in town. The café was a favorite spot for locals to gather, share news, and debate the issues of the day.

Jeremiah arrived first, as usual, and found a table by the window. He waved at the barista, who knew his order by heart, and settled down with a sigh. He had brought along a copy of an article by Robert Turner that had recently caught his eye. As he skimmed through it, Ezekiel walked in, his face lighting up as he spotted Jeremiah.

“Morning, Jeremiah!” Ezekiel called out, making his way over. “What’s the topic of debate today?”

Jeremiah grinned, holding up the article. “Ah, Ezekiel, have a seat and prepare yourself. We’ve got a real gem today: ‘All Feeling, No Proof’ by Robert Turner. It’s all about the rise of emotionalism and subjectivism in the church.”

Ezekiel’s eyes sparkled with interest as he took his seat and ordered his coffee. “Sounds fascinating. So, what’s Turner’s main argument?”

John 7:38 “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”

Jeremiah adjusted his glasses and began reading aloud. “He talks about how emotionalism and the search for ‘genuine worship’ have led some churches astray, relying on feelings rather than scripture. He mentions mood music, dimmed lights, and other props that are used to create a spiritual atmosphere, which he dismisses as ‘devotional clap-trap.'”

Ezekiel chuckled. “Clap-trap, indeed! So, Turner’s arguing that this emotionalism is a departure from true worship?”

Jeremiah nodded. “Exactly. He emphasizes that true worship involves emotions that come from a knowledge of God’s will and a desire to serve Him, not from artificial stimulants.”

Ezekiel leaned back, stroking his chin thoughtfully. “You know, there’s a point to be made there. Romans 10:17 says, ‘So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.’ If our faith and worship aren’t rooted in scripture, they’re just feelings.”

Jeremiah smiled. “Precisely. Turner also warns against the dangers of subjectivism—relying on our own feelings and experiences rather than on the Bible. He quotes I John 4:6, ‘We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.'”

Their conversation was interrupted by the arrival of their coffee. They paused to thank the barista, who beamed at them, pleased with their appreciation.

Ezekiel took a sip of his coffee and sighed contentedly. “So, where do you stand on this, Jeremiah? Do you think there’s a place for emotion in worship?”

Jeremiah chuckled. “Oh, there’s always a place for emotion, Ezekiel. But it must be grounded in truth. Take Ephesians 3:3-5, where Paul talks about the mystery of Christ being revealed by the Spirit to the apostles and prophets. It’s not about personal feelings or revelations, but about the word of God.”

Ezekiel nodded. “Agreed. But let’s not dismiss all feelings outright. After all, Galatians 5:22-23 talks about the fruits of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience. These are deeply emotional experiences, but they’re also the result of living in accordance with God’s will.”

Jeremiah leaned forward, a mischievous glint in his eye. “Ah, but here’s where Turner’s point comes in. He argues that when we rely too much on our feelings, we risk straying from biblical authority. He even mentions Pat Boone, saying that God communicates with him in a way that’s ‘inwardly and in a spiritual way.’ Turner calls this subjectivism, a dangerous path.”

Ezekiel laughed. “Poor Pat Boone, always getting dragged into theological debates. But Turner has a point. We must be careful not to elevate our feelings above scripture.”

Jeremiah raised his coffee cup in a mock toast. “To balance, my friend! May we always find the right mix of heart and head in our worship.”

Ezekiel clinked his cup against Jeremiah’s. “Hear, hear! So, how do we address this issue in our own congregations? How do we ensure that our worship is both heartfelt and scripturally sound?”

Jeremiah took a thoughtful sip of his coffee. “Education, Ezekiel. We need to teach our congregations the importance of grounding their faith in scripture. As Turner says, the problem often starts with a superficial knowledge of the Bible. We must go deeper.”

Ezekiel nodded. “And we must also model this balance in our own lives. Show them that true worship is passionate and informed. It’s about knowing God’s will and letting that knowledge transform our hearts.”

Jeremiah smiled. “Well said, Ezekiel. And we mustn’t forget the importance of community. Hebrews 10:24-25 reminds us to ‘consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another.'”

Ezekiel grinned. “So, less mood music and more Bible study?”

Jeremiah laughed. “Something like that. But maybe we can keep the coffee.”

Ezekiel joined in the laughter. “Agreed. Coffee stays.”

As they continued their discussion, their banter filled the café with warmth and laughter. Despite the seriousness of the topic, they found joy in their shared quest for truth and their deep-rooted friendship.

“Jeremiah,” Ezekiel said suddenly, a twinkle in his eye, “do you remember that time we tried to introduce a ‘new’ worship style with mood lighting and soft music?”

Jeremiah chuckled. “How could I forget? The congregation was confused, and old Mrs. Thompson nearly had a heart attack when the lights dimmed.”

Ezekiel laughed. “And then Brother Martin stood up and said, ‘Are we having a seance or a worship service?'”

Jeremiah wiped a tear from his eye. “Yes, and we quickly learned that gimmicks don’t substitute for genuine worship.”

Ezekiel nodded. “True. But it was a good lesson. Worship should be about substance, not style.”

Jeremiah took another sip of his coffee, his expression growing serious. “You know, Ezekiel, Turner’s article makes a good point about the dangers of looking inward for authority. When we prioritize our feelings over the word of God, we’re on a slippery slope.”

Ezekiel nodded thoughtfully. “Yes, and it’s a reminder for us to stay vigilant. We must continually return to scripture as our ultimate authority. As Ephesians 3:3-5 says, the mystery of Christ is made known to us through the Spirit, but it’s grounded in the word.”

Jeremiah leaned back, a satisfied smile on his face. “Indeed. And while we might disagree on some details, we both agree that scripture is our foundation. That’s what keeps us grounded.”

Ezekiel raised his coffee cup again. “To scripture, and to keeping each other grounded.”

Jeremiah clinked his cup against Ezekiel’s. “To scripture, and to the joy of debate.”

They sat in companionable silence for a moment, enjoying their coffee and the morning sun streaming through the window. Their debates, while sometimes heated, were always rooted in a shared love for God’s word and a mutual respect that had grown over the years.

Ezekiel broke the silence with a grin. “You know, Jeremiah, despite our differences, I always enjoy our discussions.”

Jeremiah smiled warmly. “As do I, Ezekiel. Iron sharpens iron, after all.”

They continued to discuss, laugh, and occasionally disagree, but always with the understanding that their shared faith was the foundation of their friendship. And as the morning turned to afternoon, they knew that no matter how heated their debates might get, their commitment to each other and to the truth would always bring them back together.

For in the end, their friendship was a testament to the balance they sought in their faith—a balance of heart and head, emotion and scripture, laughter and serious study. And as they left the café, walking side by side down the sunlit street, they knew that their journey was indeed worth it.