Carl Trueman

Divine therapy: On the doctrine of God and expressive individualism

[…] As the course progresses, what is striking to me is how the students come to realize that so much of what passes for Christian teaching and worship in the Church today is little more than the concerns of our wider culture expressed in a Christianese idiom. One case in point, which I look at in detail, is the Lauren Daigle song You Say, which won the award for Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song at the 2019 Grammys. When juxtaposed with the glorious reflections on the mystery of God’s being found in Nazianzus, the students see it for what it is: a song in which God is nothing more than a therapist or a reassuring friend. He is a small god, no more than a boyfriend who is always there and who never says a cross word.

And as they see the contrast between You Say and the classics of Christian spirituality, they also see that the gospel is not about being affirmed for who we are, but about being transformed by God’s grace into that which we should be. Heaven is not personal happiness; it is eternal communion with God the Father through union with his Son via the work of the Holy Spirit. And the human problem is not that we do not feel psychologically happy. It is (morally) that we are sinful and (existentially) that we die. That vision is so much greater than the vision of God as Friendly Therapist, with which our own contemporary Christian culture is often so satisfied. Read the full article by Carl Trueman.