Thoughts on “feel good theology”

Lately I have had kind of a backlash against “feel good theology,” the kind of biblical teaching that talks about all the good and happy blessings that will pour from the sky when we live a good life as good Christians. I’m not sure why it’s been so on my mind lately. Just as I study the bible and preach on Sunday’s I realize that our promise from God is not riches and fame falling from the sky, it’s pain and suffering that we’ll continue to suffer as “exiles” here on Earth. It’s the truth that we have been, and will continue to be, jacked up sinners (albeit with grace and forgiveness when we accept into our lives what Jesus accomplished on the cross). This morning as I was driving to the office I was reflecting on this and thinking about the depth of truth in this reality and then I thought, “Why doesn’t this depress me?” Logically it seems we seek spirituality and religion to find peace and happiness in this life, but all I seem to think about lately is how screwed up we are and how life will be tough even as Christians. But I’m more excited about my faith than ever, I’m more focused on God than ever. What’s going on? Then it occurred to me, there is a whole lot of freedom in acknowledging, being honest and coming to terms with who we are. Have you ever experienced confessing something that you had been hiding and feeling like a weight was lifted? It didn’t change what you had done, but there was freedom in being honest. That’s where it starts with our faith. Just being honest with who we are, good and bad brings freedom. Then within that honesty is a God who loves us right there, right there in our jacked upedness (new word I invented, but it’s a good one). He knows exactly who we are, while we were still sinners He sent Jesus for us. That’s real joy, being loved for EXACTLY who we are. The pitfall of “feel good theology” is there is always this feeling of not adding up, if you’re not as blessed as the next person it’s because you’re not good enough yet, you haven’t done enough yet, and in that is condemnation, not freedom. Quickly, I’m not saying we don’t dig into growth and discipleship, I’m talking about a different thing. Also, I’m not saying we don’t strive to be more like Jesus, that we can continue to be flagrant sinners and bask in the “freedom in Christ.” That’s not biblical either, but being honest about who we are and then discovering the love and acceptance available to us even while we continue to struggle and perhaps face incredible hardship in this life brings freedom and unexplainable joy. Because we’re loved and accepted by the Creator of the Universe. That makes me feel good!

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4 thoughts on “Thoughts on “feel good theology”

  1. Justin Estrada says:

    I abso-total-utely (see I can make up words too) agree with you. You have no idea how much I’ve been thinking this exact same thing! We love what God loves and hates what God hates… that’s what makes us suffer on this earth, because the world rejects us for that very fact. We revel in it!

  2. Justin Estrada says:

    I abso-total-utely (see I can make up words too) agree with you. You have no idea how much I’ve been thinking this exact same thing! We love what God loves and hates what God hates… that’s what makes us suffer on this earth, because the world rejects us for that very fact. We revel in it!!

  3. The “feel good theology” pitfalls in many areas. Mainly because the Bible does not teach it.

    1) 34And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. (Mark 8:34-35)

    2) For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake,(Phil 1.29)

    I could go on for days on this issue, but it seems Paul, Peter and the other writers of the Bible had a ‘Liedentheologie’, a theology of suffering. As a lady said, “Acceptance of the gospel, is at the same time acceptance of suffering.”

    Let us truly grasp the TRUE GOSPEL and realise that it is not bed and roses or prosperity like most make it out to be.

    “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Tim 3:12)

  4. JimmyH says:

    hi, Ben… i’ve been checking out both your blog & the church’s website over the last couple weeks, ’cause my wife & i are considering a move to Charlotte… i’ve been applying for positions & have some good leads, so we’ll see what happens.

    i really resonate with a lot of what you have to say [especially this post; if you haven’t already, you should check out Erwin Mcmanus’ stuff – like “The Barbarian Way”], and that encourages me ’cause my little family knows 0 people in Charlotte… so, finding community right away will be a huge priority.

    if i ever come to town for an interview [before we actually move], it’d be great to grab coffee or lunch.

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