Hollow Knowledge, Empty Emotion



For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him . . . that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share in his sufferings . . .” (Philippians 3:8, 10) 


If there were an occasion in which I had to save my life by ranting on one topic for a substantial amount of time, I would choose the contemporary church’s failure to value godly knowledge. Our culture swings on the pendulum to one extreme of emotionalism and disdain for doctrine to another extreme of lifeless, arrogant orthodoxy. I have ridden this back-and-forth ride in my own spiritual life since I first assented to the Christian faith, and only recently have I recognized the need for balance in how I should offer both my head and heart in communion with my Maker.  

Hollow emotionalism about the things of God cannot redeem us; it does not offer us relationship with the God who exists outside of our desires, needs, and perceptions. However, hollow intellectualism cannot redeem us, either. We need both to be filled with the reality that we can . . . we must . . . personally encounter this God whose attributes we can list from memory and whose presence we crave an experience of. Only when we know who God is can we love Him truly. But only when we love Him as a person rather than a theological concept - and experience the transformation that naturally results - can we say that we know Him. 

“Still we may find and know God through Jesus’ company. It is those who have sought the Lord Jesus until they find Him . . . who can stand before the world to testify that they have known God.” (J.C. Ryle) 


Father, it is a wonder beyond words that I can actually call you Father. You created the Universe, yet You know my name and chose to redeem me. You delight in me and invite me to delight in You personally. Protect me from either head or heart knowledge if one is without the other. Let Yourself be found by me, personally, as I seek You. It’s in the name and hope of Christ that I come to You. Amen. 

Your Turn

Which do you struggle with more - emotionalism or intellectualism? How have you seen the detriment of it in your spiritual life? This often happens subconsciously, so it may take some pondering.