All theological issues with Will Galkin’s James 4 message aside (he, as do most, ignores the basic fact that this is a single letter and no chapter or verse can be carved out on its own), the overall theme is clear. We must take it upon ourselves to fix our issues and get rid of our sin before we can approach God and have any sort of fellowship with Him. Period.
There is no mention of the deepness of the relationship … no attempt to empathize with young people (this was a college crowd) who may feel alone … noting except a 68-minute guilt trip. And it ends with … you guessed it … a call to raise your hand if you have some secret sin you want to get rid of. Yep, we’ve heard it all before and it relies little to none on Grace and every bit on your and my ability to “be better” and resist.
John Eldridge, in his great work titled “Epic” talks about God’s great, continuous story that stretches out before and after time. We each are part of that story as well. But he also makes the point that we tend to ignore another party, one who is hell-bent on destroying us. Instead of crying out to God in a genuine way, we get mad at ourselves which leads to the attempts to “fix” our flaws the way Galkin says we need to do it. In doing so, as I see it, we ignore what God has done and how freely He extends Himself to us. That’s at the heart of the story I know and love … not some formula for trying to be better.
Galkin freely uses stories designed to drive home his part. I don’t know if they are true or not. The one bout the young girl, if it is, should have never been told as it could too easily be traced back to a minor. The one about the young man near the end of the message sounds so much like a slanted version of the Prodigal that I have to doubt it’s voracity. In both cases, they were more than illustrations … they were scripted to evoke a response. And we aren’t talking a response to God either. They were there for a response to Will Galkin, Evangelist.
I struggle with this type of person greatly. By his own admission, he has been in the evangalism game for 15-16 years … meaning that, given his age, he has never pastored a church, never been a consistent member of a church … just an “evangelist”. Frankly, that’s a pretty narrow point of view.
In the end, it’s what I would expect from the situation – all guilt and zero grace. And I still want that hour of my life back, Chuckles.