Sunday Citation

“Traditional Christian faith holds to the outside God who stands over against us. He is known not because we have discovered him, but because he has made himself known in Scripture and in Christ. We are not left to piece together our understanding of him. He has unveiled and defined himself for us. He has broken his concealment. He has come into view and has told us who he is and how we are to live.

“The inside god of this contemporary spirituality is different. He emerges out of the psychology, the inner depths, of the seeker. He is known through and within the self, and we piece together our knowledge of him (or her, or it) from the fragments of our experience coupled with our intuitions. In so many ways this god, this sacred reality, is indistinguishable from how we experience ourselves.

“The key difference between spirituality and religion is this. Religion that is about the outside God is religion that makes truth claims about that God. Spirituality in this contemporary, cultural sense does not. Its ‘truth’ is private, not public. It is individualistic, not absolute. It is about what I perceive, about what works for me, not about what anyone else should believe. And this ‘truth’ is verified psychologically and therapeutically. The test of its truthfulness is simply pragmatic.

“Those who are on this spiritual journey – and that is the most popular metaphor – have no destination in mind. This is the exact opposite of the way the Bible pictures the Christian journey. This journey, biblically speaking, has a clear destination. It is, in Bunyan’s language in Pilgrim’s Progress, the Celestial City.”

-David F. Wells in The Courage to be Protestant (2008)

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