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  • Eric Kampmann

Some Very Religious People

Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among

the nations what he has done . . . Remember the wonders he has

done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced.

—Psalm 105:1, 5

One weekend several years ago, I was invited to speak to a group of people who were very spiritual. They spoke of the “spirit,” but the spirit they talked about seemed foreign to the Holy Spirit as given to us in the Bible. When they tried to explain their beliefs, they would ultimately default to the Almighty Self as the source of all their joy, their hopes, and their faith.

It was as if, in rejecting the religion of their youth and in pursuing the desires of their own hearts, they were afraid to reject God entirely, and so, hedging their bets, they made up a new faith that spoke to their individual needs and aspirations. In fact, the believers were so various in their beliefs that it seemed as if I had entered some kind of spiritual super market.

I was struck by the sense of sheer desperation underlying this spiritual mélange because their faith seemed to be built on subjectivity as if to say that: “God is real if he/she is real to me. I am the author of my own life, and it is my right to define God in any way that I want to. Furthermore, I love everyone, except those I believe are enemies.”

I was reminded of Paul in Athens (all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas): “Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD” (Acts 17:21–23).

Apparently, it is possible to be both religious and idolatrous. I witnessed it. I was gratified that so many people I met at that meeting were on a “spiritual journey,” but I was troubled that so many of these same people had rejected the truth of Scripture for a very personal definition of spiritual reality and well-being.

—Eric Kampmann, Signposts

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