Sam Renihan introduces and comments on Isaac Watts’ consideration of rationalism, emotionalism, anti-intellectualism, anthropocentrism, cage-stage-ism, fundamentalism, and Osteen-ism.
There is nothing new under the sun. The errors of our day are the errors of days gone by because the common thread that runs through every age is the sin of the human heart that lies within us all. Isaac Watts provides some helpful critiques of these common errors.
On one side, many Christians are content with a “dead orthodoxy” in which all that matters is intellectual accuracy. For others, all that matters is what feels right. But the reality is that true doctrine will produce true doxology. What are the dangers of an imbalance in this area? When our emotions are in control, we pursue Christian celebrities. And this in turn can cause us to identify the worth of a sermon with our emotional loyalty to the preacher. Instead of coming to hear the word of Christ from the ministers of Christ to the people of Christ, we come to hear So-and-so who tickles our fancies.
Our emotions can cause us to think that the right worship is that which makes me feel a certain way. How can it be bad when it feels so good? Ask Uzzah.
We may love the singing more than the song (the words). This is an interesting insight coming from so worthy a hymn-writer. If that’s the way we operate, we will begin to innovate according to our whims. And many, carried away by their emotions, become very poor testimonies for the truth because they are only babies spiritually speaking but they desire to walk and run and talk as adults.
Still others will read anything that pleases them. The internet is very good at satisfying such theological prostitution, but sadly even “christian” bookstores are sources of plentiful emotional fluff.
Read Watts’ insights here: The Best Preachers, Sermons, Worship, and Books EVER! | Particular Voices.