Recently, several conversations have centered around unique and interesting occurrences. I have had the opportunity to participate in some of these and others, simply listen (some might call it eavesdropping but I prefer passive listening). Some of these conversations have revolved around a particular experience with Christ and the Holy Spirit while others are void of any Christian influence altogether. I am probably late to the game in this conclusion but it is interesting to note the spiritual openness of the coming generation.
It should come as no surprise. the Post-Modern world values experience and feeling above all else. Modern thinking relied almost exclusively on reason. The modern influence of the 20th century on the American church often unknowingly sought to rationalize every supernatural work of the Holy Spirit of God. Often churches were left void of power and dependent upon their own ingenuity and creativity to fuel church growth. These are certainly broad generalizations and exceptions are not rare. However, a new day is coming…
The post-modern way of thinking (in regards to spiritual openness) is having a tremendous influence on the church, both in positive and negative ways. Positively, the church at large seems to be more aware of the need of the work of the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 6 clearly explains that the battle is not against flesh and blood, whether warring with the body or with the mind. The battle is spiritual and in a realm that we cannot control nor explain. We are dependent (as we have always been) on the work of the Holy Spirit to accomplish the work God has called the Church to take on. Negatively, the next generation appears to welcome this experiential faith with less regard for doctrine and Truth. Experience trumps reason. It is the battle cry of the post-modern era. But this opens a dangerous door to heresy in the Christian Church. And it is a heresy that will deeply divide.
So what do we do? We return to the Truth of the Gospel. We become Berean (Acts 17). We embrace the next generation and encourage their faith through discipleship and mentoring. Whenever God has moved powerfully throughout history, the enemy usually acted to confuse and distort the genuine work. We can expect the same. For those raised in the age of reason, may we wake up to the reality of the spiritual realm and be moved to pray asking God to work, dependent upon His Spirit. For those embracing a post-modern world, may we remember the foundational truths of Scripture. They must interpret our experience and not the other way around. Experiences cannot create beliefs. Otherwise, we will give in to the greatest post-modern heresy believing that everyone determines what is right in his or her own eyes. Let us learn from one another in all humility, examining the Scriptures to see exactly what God has said on the issues. Finally, may we pray that this time of spiritual openness would lead others to embrace the Truth of the Gospel.