May 16, 2020

True Faith Is More Than Emotion

2 Min Read

R.L. Dabney once wrote, “All true worship is rational.” In this brief clip, W. Robert Godfrey reminds us that saving faith in Christ, acceptable worship, and real revival are much more than emotional experiences that come and go.


At one point, Dabney wrote: “Worship must be an act of personal homage to God, or it is a hypocrisy and offense. All true worship is rational. The truth intelligently known and intelligently uttered is the only instrument and language of true worship. Hence all social worship must be didactic. Blinded men are ever prone to imagine that they have religious feelings because they have sensuous animal feelings in accidental juxtaposition with religious places, words, or sights. This is the pernicious mistake which has sealed up millions of self-deceived souls for hell.” That is a very strong statement, but worth pondering. What he is really saying is, there are lots of people who have just had human feelings all worked up in a church setting and imagine that that’s true faith. He is saying, that is not necessarily so. If you think just emotion is true faith, you may be bound for hell. It is a very strong statement. It is his concern that we want real revival, but real revival is not just emotional experience that comes and goes. There was so much concern about this that there was a move to produce a youth hymnal for Presbyterian youth in 1872. The committee that prepared the youth hymnal, called The Voice of Praise, said they needed this youth hymnal because the youth had been exposed to so much bad music and it was having a bad impact on the youth. It is amazing: things never change, do they? The committee that prepared this youth hymnal said why it wanted this hymnal. It said, “One of the reasons why children in the Sabbath school do not like to go to church is that they are trained to a boisterous, sensational, and effervescent style of music in the Sabbath school, and by this their tastes are so perverted that the refined and elevated melodies used in singing the songs of Zion seem insipid and dull to them.” Haven’t we just been through that? Could not that sentence have been written yesterday? So, music really is a crucial matter for the life of the church.