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 Re: MUST HEAR: Humanizing God by Lou Sutera

One can have emotionless passion, a great passion for the Word of God and holiness in His church - and not show it externally.

My first response to this as I read it was [i]you're kidding![/i] You may believe that nothing of what you're passionate about shows through in your actions or emotions, but it cannot be true that there is no difference between having a passion and not having a passion, in the way it affects a persons outworking of their life.

The unction of God transcends human emotion, though I agree that the effects of the unction of God can certainly spur emotions, which, in this case would be the human surface reaction to a deeper spiritual working, a burden, a passion.

Amen. I think what we are all saying, is that there can be emotional hype which does not engage the deep inner man, which can produce words and actions which are not based in a reality of engagement with God. None of us want this kind of emotional show, which as God sees the heart, finds it out of communion with Him at a deeper level.

My prayer first from a long time ago now, was that my emotional life should be like Jesus'. That how He felt about things would be how I felt. That I would care as He cared. Feel for others as He felt. [u]And[/u] that this would cause me to respond as He would respond, if He were there in Person, dealing with the same needy people.

If we take the Word made Flesh as the example of how our emotions should be engaged with our living.... this is all that I am after but nothing less either... no good British 'stiff upper lip' stuff.

I'm sure he will defend his stance and we can thoughtfully engage each other with charity and grace.

I'm sure it will be edifying for us all. :-)

 2008/1/17 12:13

Joined: 2006/6/28
Posts: 3405
Dallas, Texas


My first response to this as I read it was you're kidding!

Have you heard Art Katz, Zac Poonen, T. Austin Sparks preach - or read the tone of Paul's and Peter's epistles? If you must speak of an external show to validate one's passion, then I opt for [i]sobriety[/i] and self-control. Let these be the all-encompassing trademarks of passion for a mature saint. Not shouting, shaking, not flamboyance, not luxuriating in and stomping to dynamic music, nothing at all that caters to human emotion, whether it be ear-candy, eye-candy, or mind-candy. However, I also understand that you can have all those things I just mentioned and it be from God as well! We need to guard ourselves from over-correcting the wheel and arbitrarily judging the other side as well. I say let God be sovereign, and let us all walk in the Spirit.

The great saints of God in the past understood sobriety. The Word of God alone is sufficient without appealing to emotion to kick-start a service, and the fruit of these old saints remained, and God sent revival. Contrast this to today, where we have all kinds of emotional theatrics and dynamic functions and appeals and electric, soul-hot tantalizers for 30 years now and our present generation is as cold and compromizing as ever a generation was.

I say the church needs a long-overdue dose of honest-to-goodness Puritanic sobriety and quietitude, a return to clean, sound doctrine where the Word of God alone provides all the dynamics needed to quicken believers into a throbbing, vital relationship with God. If we have this, the emotions that result from such a vibrancy will be justified. The cries of Edward's listeners as they clung to the gallery-posts came about from a silent and sober plunge of the sword; no rock music was needed, no drum beat, no dynamic imploring from the pulpit, no emotional appeal whatsoever.

I understand that Jonathan Edwards was a very grave man in the pulpit, as were many holy saints of old in the past. A person out of tune with God might accuse such ministers as being bland, boring, uncharismatic, nothing inviting to hold youth. This is because we've been slowly conditioned by today's culture which has bled into and assimilated with the church. Today, we [i]must[/i] have something to grab the emotion, and we need this element [i]along[/i] with the Word, whereas I believe the Word alone is sufficient when it is preached from a clean conscience, with purity, sobriety, love, following righteousness with a holy fear of God.

Paul Frederick West

 2008/1/17 12:46Profile

 Re: MUST HEAR: Humanizing God by Lou Sutera

Paul said

If we have this, the emotions that result from such a vibrancy will be justified.

These [i]are[/i] the [u]only ones[/u] I had in mind. I'm assuming you attribute [i]some[/i] emotion to Jesus, and that He was never [i]too[/i] emotional for you...?

 2008/1/17 13:04

Joined: 2006/6/28
Posts: 3405
Dallas, Texas


These are the only ones I had in mind. I'm assuming you attribute some emotion to Jesus, and that He was never too emotional for you...?

Absolutely, as long as we're talking about the waves caused by the wind and not the shark.

Paul Frederick West

 2008/1/17 13:14Profile

Joined: 2008/1/11
Posts: 375
Minnesota, USA

 Re: MUST HEAR: Humanizing God by Lou Sutera

This message is on my list for this evening. I can't wait to get home! Thank you for the recommendation, brother. It sounds like it will get me on my feet and then cause me to hit my knees.


 2008/1/17 13:33Profile

 Re: MUST HEAR: Humanizing God by Lou Sutera

Hi Paul,

Sure, as long as we're talking about the waves caused by the wind and not the shark.

For the purposes of this discussion, and the way you separated the examples in your earlier post, yes we are.

I just want to bring one scripture to bear, which has blessed me many times in my deep desire to reach toward God and be apprehended by Him. I believe you will understand. This was more in line with my original thinking.... rather than that emotion is a merely superficial display unrelated to the depths of the inner man.

The wind of the Spirit catching the sails of the bark of our life is a valid picture of movement, captured in a famous hymn 'I feel the winds of God today; today my sail I lift,' but I had more in mind the heaving of a sea which didn't show any white crests, where the contours of the lengthy dips and peaks are large and pregnant with power. I know I didn't say this.... but, it is that connection between the deep knowing of God, and how it drives us to be and to become, which I had in mind, as in

Psalms 42:7
Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts:
all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.

So, you can see how our imagery was at variance, as the whole matter of [i]creating an atmosphere[/i] in which though much exhibition of the flesh, people are deceived into believing they have been connecting with God, was far from my mind, and has nothing at all to do with my response to Daryl.

 2008/1/17 13:39

Joined: 2007/6/14
Posts: 562
Indiana, US


A person out of tune with God might accuse such ministers as being bland, boring, uncharismatic, nothing inviting to hold youth.

the Lord has been speaking to me about this very thing. He showed me that the reason we seek entertainment so much is because we have become BORED WITH CHRIST. now some people will argue with that last statement, but if we were really honest about why we lack much prayer and bible reading, it is because these things do not REALLY interest us as much as they should.

when the Lord showed me how easy it was to watch sports for 2-3 hours a night, but i was only spending 30 minutes with Him a night. that's idolatry in my life. He began to break my heart and habits and since then i have been challenged to TRULY seek Him and pray for revival (mine, family, church, nation, world). and do you know what i've found? that the things that i used to watch and love have slowly faded away and my love for the Lord and His heart has so increased.


 2008/1/17 13:57Profile

Joined: 2006/6/28
Posts: 3405
Dallas, Texas


I had more in mind the heaving of a sea which didn't show any white crests, where the contours of the lengthy dips and peaks are large and pregnant with power.

Yes, amen, sister. This is the image of the sea that comes to mind. The peaceful still - but also the lengthy dips and peaks, the swells pregnant with power - as you said it so perfectly. There needn't be whitecaps erupting to demonstrate the awesome and profound power of the ocean, but in an instant there can be, as the wind mysteriously changes course and begins to blow.

The reason I think the "soulish" waves are so noticeable and make such big impressions is due to the backdrop of the sea when they occur. In the midst of a glassy stillness, a whale can suddenly jump and make a tremendous splash and everyone gasps! It's so noticeable, shocking, thrilling. Contrast this to a storm-surged sea with gigantic billows and breaking caps, cobalt spray erupting, violent waves crashing against the rocks. The entire sea is broken, the entire sheet of glass in utter chaos. Imagine now a whale jumping, or a shark's dorsal fin slicing the surface, or a submarine emerging. Hardly noticeable! Not so thrilling!

It is because of the broken backdrop, the chaotic canvass in its entirety, that these sporadic and superficial occurences no longer generate applause. This, I believe, is the difference between the waters of spirit and soul. So much nowadays, like you said, passes for spirit emotion in church, when all it really is is a school of fish stirring the surface. I know how it goes, as in the past I've preached the fish to the surface, I've whistled the whales to leap majestically in the midst of still waters, and as everyone oohed and aahed I marvelled at a storm that was not.

Brother Paul

Paul Frederick West

 2008/1/17 14:01Profile

Joined: 2002/12/11
Posts: 37704
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11


I just listened to the beginning of this sermon. He mentioned an "emotional spert", and I understand what he's talking about, but what many are trying to do is divorce emotion from revival, in that case revival will never happen. Our God and Father is not only intellectual but also emotional, not in a negative sense but is all in all that which encompasses positive emotional action. Science has proof positive that as humans we as human beings learn life lessons better when there is a proper mix of both intelligence and emotion. Remove one from the other and we will soon forget that lesson, I think the fall off is something like 60% to 75%.
We center on music and say that we don't what to manipulate peoples emotions though music, than we turn right around and try to manipulate peoples emotions through the preaching of the Word of God! I know nothing of the revival Mr. Sutura and his brother had except this, they used music for thier launching stage. The one element that is nessary for true revival is Faith, genuine Faith, what happened to repentance? Well repentance can be a work of the flesh just like so many other things, but God who see s the heart knows when real faith is present and will never let down such a one who expresses such toward Him. Wrapped up in genuine faith is things like humility and dependence, relationship and personal accountability, conscience and reason, action and result. To all who read this, God's Words can not, no must not be read with a monatone understanding, a non-emotional voice, He created us in His own image and delights in His creation!You'll find that in Proverbs. We humanize God when we limit Him and turn to our own ways and faith stops. If this generation is going to be reached it will certainly be through the emotions mixed with that rational that reaches down into the intellect where change happens and folks are changed. Quech the emotions and you've killed all that the Holy Spirit has started to do in a person, is that grieving or murder?

Brother Daryl,

I do feel strongly that the Sutera's experienced "genuine revival" and yes it was more more of a "sovereign" work that they were involved in. Now I am for and been involved in times of breaking in congregations, youth meetings, etc. I thank God for those experiences and times but I believe the Sutera's are aiming for more of a sovereign awakening to come to churches and the nation.

On the issue of music and emotion, I do not shun away from emotions that are consecrated towards God. But music enters some dangerous areas where it gets people off from a "true" picture of God. I [b]highly[/b] recommend this article by Tozer, TRUE REVIVAL will correct the problems he is painting in the article, and we won't get the revival by working using these wrong methods:

[b]The Erotic vs. the Spiritual[/b]
[i]by A.W. Tozer[/i]

The period in which we now live may well go down in
history as the Erotic Age. Sex love has been elevated
into a cult. Eros has more worshipers among civilized men
today than any other god. For millions the erotic has com-
pletely displaced the spiritual.
How the world got into this state is not difficult to trace.
Contributing factors are the phonograph and radio, which
can spread a love song from coast to coast within a matter
of days; the motion picture and television, which enable a
whole population to feast their eyes on sensuous women
and amorous young men locked in passionate embrace
(and this in the living rooms of “Christian” homes and be-
fore the eyes of innocent children!); shorter working hours
and a multiplicity of mechanical gadgets with the resultant
increased leisure for everyone. Add to these the scores of
shrewdly contrived advertising campaigns which make sex
the not-too-slyly concealed bait to attract buyers for almost
every imaginable product; the degraded columnists who
have consecrated their lives to the task of the publicizing of
soft, slinky nobodies with the faces of angels and the mor-
als of alley cats; conscienceless novelists who win a doubt-
ful fame and grow rich at the inglorious chore of dredging
up literary putridities from the sewers of their souls to pro-
vide entertainment for the masses. These tell us something
about how Eros has achieved his triumph over the civilized
Now if this god would let us Christians alone, I for one
would let his cult alone. The whole spongy, fetid mess will
sink someday under its own weight and become excellent
fuel for the fires of hell, a just recompense which is meet,
and it becomes us to feel compassion for those who have
been caught in its tragic collapse. Tears and silence might
be better than words if things were slightly otherwise
than they are. But the cult of Eros is seriously affecting the
Church. The pure religion of Christ that flows like a crystal
river from the heart of God is being polluted by the unclean
waters that trickle from behind the altars of abomination
that appear on every high hill and under every green tree,
from New York to Los Angeles.

The influence of the erotic spirit is felt almost every-
where in evangelical circles. Much of the singing in certain
types of meetings has in it more of romance than it has of
the Holy Ghost. Both words and music are designed to
rouse the libidinous. Christ is courted with a familiarity that
reveals a total ignorance of who He is. It is not the reverent
intimacy of the adoring saint but the impudent familiarity
of the carnal lover.
Religious fiction also makes use of sex to interest the
reading public, the paper-thin excuse being that if romance
and religion are woven into a story the average person who
would not read a purely religious book will read the story
and thus be exposed to the gospel. Leaving aside the fact
that most modern religious novelists are home-talent ama-
teurs, scarcely one of whom is capable of writing a single
line of even fair literature, the whole concept behind the
religio-romantic novel is unsound. The libidinous impulses
and the sweet, deep movings of the Holy Spirit are diamet-
rically opposed to each other. The notion that Eros can be
made to serve as an assistant of the Lord of glory is outra-
geous. The “Christian” film that seeks to draw customers
by picturing amorous love scenes in its advertising is com-
pletely false to the religion of Christ. Only the spiritually
blind will be taken in by it.
The current vogue of physical beauty and sparkling
personalities in religious promotion is a further manifesta-
tion of the influence of the romantic spirit in the Church.
The rhythmic sway, the synthetic smile and the too, too
cheerful voice betray the religious worldling. He has
learned his technique from the TV screen but not learned
it well enough to succeed in the professional field, so he
brings his inept production to the holy place and peddles it
to the ailing and undersized Christians who are looking for
something to amuse them while staying within the bounds
of the current religious mores.
If my language should seem severe, let it be remem-
bered that it is not directed at any individual. Toward the
lost world of men I feel only a great compassion and a de-
sire that all should come to repentance. For the Christians
whose vigorous but mistaken leadership has wooed the
modern Church from the altar of Jehovah to the altars of
error, I feel genuine love and sympathy. I want to be the
last to injure them and the first to forgive them, remember-
ing my past sins and my need for mercy, as well as my own
weakness and natural bent toward sin and error. Balaam’s
ass was used of God to rebuke a prophet. It would seem
from this that God does not require perfection in the instru-
ment He uses to warn and exhort His people.
When God’s sheep are in danger, the shepherd must
not gaze at the stars and meditate on “inspirational” themes.
He is morally obliged to grab his weapon and run to their
defense. When the circumstances call for it, love can use
the sword, though by her nature she would rather bind up
the broken heart and minister to the wounded. It is time for
the prophet and the seer to make themselves heard and felt
again. For the last three decades timidity disguised as hu-
mility has crouched in her corner while the spiritual quality
of evangelical Christianity has become progressively worse
year by year. How long, 0 Lord, how long?

SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2008/1/17 19:54Profile

Joined: 2008/1/11
Posts: 375
Minnesota, USA

 Re: MUST HEAR: Humanizing God by Lou Sutera

I tried to view the sermon, but nothing happened at all. I clicked on the link and only got a page with a big Q with a ? in the middle of it.


 2008/1/17 20:17Profile

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