Double Standards in Fundamentalism Today, #2: Emotionalism

Another scenario based on observation; observation which is by no means confined to any one region of the country.

“I heard of this liberal church down the street,” said Charlie. “They’ve got a praise band. When they start singing, everyone’s raising their hands and closing their eyes like they’re about to catch a football.  Don’t they realize that music is sacred? Don’t they know that when you’re singing about God, you don’t ‘get into it’? It’s all about emotions with them.” 

“I agree,” replied Hector. “When someone in our church sings, they are instructed to look straight ahead, with hands in front, shoulders back, and sing from their diaphragm.  They don’t shake their head or close their eyes. That’s for neo’s. And if you like what they are singing, you may say Amen. Other than that, it’s to be a solemn time. No emotionalism gets in the way of our service!”

Church is about to start in five minutes, and Kathy comes over to chime into Charlie and Hector’s conversation:

“I really like coming to this church, guys. I love the excitement! My old church was so dead. The pastor would just stand behind the pulpit, with his hands in front of him, his shoulders back, looking straight ahead when he preached. Boring! Since I’ve been here, I’ve seen the preacher really get into it! Standing on chairs, waving his handkercheif, yelling, turning red, I mean, it’s great! Finally, some emotion! And I love how the church memebers get into it! They eat it up! I’ve seen at least four people run around the aisle, and I’ve only been here three weeks! Can’t wait for tonight!”

Hector and Charlie gave each other a quick stare. Charlie broke the silence:

“Yup. You’re right Kathy. When someone preaches the Word, it’s not time to be dead. We certainly need to put our emotions into our services.”

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2 comments so far

  1. Brian Allison on

    Well, I think the scenario you’ve presented is pretty accurate. I am bothered by the lack of emotion in a lot of Baptsit churches during the singing time also. While I believe that our emotions should be stimulated by truth, I do believe they are a God-given gift to be exercised for His glory. What’s wrong with a shout or an uplifted hand during “The Old Rugged Cross?” That’s actually more biblical than doing nothing at all.

    Let me offer the other side of the same coin. One of the double standards I’ve noticed is that in churches where there is a lot of emotions during the song service, there seems to be absolute silence during the preaching. One of three things will happen: 1). The preacher will give a weak sermon meant to make people agree rather than point out God’s truth 2). People will fall asleep or act thoroughly bored during a truly doctrinal sermon 3). People will act horrified when the preacher raises his voice or waves his finger.

    I think what God wants is a place that knows how to enact their emotions while adhering to truth. But that’s what we should all be striving for, right?

  2. Brian Allison on

    By the way, thanks for keeping me on the blogroll during this time of uncomfortable disagreement between us. :-) I’m sure we will resolve our issues and be better friends for it in the end. After all, we did love debating each other in college, didn’t we?


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