Our culture focuses on personal fulfilment. Advertisements work on our desire to feel wanted and feel good. In so many ways our lives revolve around how we feel. And in some ways this is a good thing. Feelings prompt you to action; they help you know what is right and what is wrong. However, feelings do not necessarily acknowledge one thing, truth.
As a Christian I try to base my life upon truth, which strongly relates to my chosen profession as a neuroscientist. In science we try to assess whether an idea (the hypothesis) is true by experimentation. Science is in a very real way the search of truth. In post-modern society we are encouraged that there is a personal truth. That what may be true for one person may not be true for another. This attitude has created a dilemma in society and is in direct contradiction to the Bible.
Teaching in churches today is sometimes based upon feelings. Music, song, and emphatic preaching help to create emotional highs. This isn't a problem by itself; our relationship with God is relational and thus should involve emotions and feelings. But if it is the foundation of teaching, it can only prove to be a shallow experience and understanding of God.
Unfortunately too many people do not understand the difference in Feeling the presence of God and Knowing the presence of God. Feeling the presence of God changes, but a Knowing of the presence of God does not.
If faith is based upon only feelings, then that faith is fragile. When something terrible happens and/or being Christian is no longer convenient for someone, their faith often evaporates into thin air. This is because teaching and faith based upon predominately on feelings is literally self-centred and does not acknowledge the persistent truth and the existence of God.
Why do people so often take a post-modernist approach to God and the world around them? The post-modernist approach is appealing for several reasons. Firstly it requires no long-term commitments. It is this non-committal nature that allows for changes in lifestyle and attitude as it suits the person. A common example of this is sex before marriage; the Bible clearly states that this is living in a state of sin (e.g. Exodus 22:16-17), yet so many young Christians live in this lifestyle without repentance. In particular, this attitude allows for hedonistic excesses that a permanent understanding of the Bible does not afford.
In this way feeling-based post-modernist Christianity is Christianity of convenience. When the costs of Christianity become apparent, the costs are either not paid or Christianity is abandoned. Often when the costs of Christianity outweigh the immediate benefits, many carnal Christians fall because their faith is based upon what Christianity does for them.
The Bible has much to say about truth. It is stated in John 1:17 that "...grace and truth came through Jesus" in the same way that in Psalm 25:10, "all paths of the LORD are mercy and truth". Simply put, the way of Jesus and God is truth.
Furthermore Jesus, God and the Word are eternal and are responsible for all things in existence, (John 1:1-3) "1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made." This means that for those who hold to the authority of the Bible, the truth of God, Jesus and the Bible, and everything in existence is eternal!
I hold to this authority of the Bible.
I am arguing that there is truth independent of feelings! In science the speed of light does not change depending on how you feel. In the same way God exists whether you feel he does or doesn't! Furthermore the truth of the Bible is independent of who you are, how you are, or what you believe. As such preaching should at all times be focused on truth.
We should not water down our teaching to lectures on how to be happy or wealthy! But we should teach about the truth contained in the Bible, and more importantly, the truth of the Saviour's love for us.
Confident that the truth of the Word is eternal, we should forever live our lives based upon this confidence. We should always seek truth because that is the way of God. As such our journey as Christians is a journey seeking to know truth. We should then explain to each other the evidence for our faith (known as apologetics), because His love never changes, and his word is TRUTH.