Welcome to EF 2000 – and a word about Biblical Spirituality
It is our pleasure to welcome you to EF 2000. With this issue we begin our seventh year of publication. Jon and I continue to be overwhelmed with the fine reception this electronic venture has enjoyed. In our early days we kept close track of “downloads.” In the “old days” we were first offered only on AOL and CompuServe. Soon after we were “picked up” by ICLnet, Baker Book House Online and others (some of the big commercial servers picked us up or linked to us – then dropped us when they concluded we were not bound by denominational traditions). We started offering EF on the WWW with our own sites. Now there are six web sites Jon and I operate. For several years Alan LaRue has helped us. Due to pressing church, job and family obligations he is turning that site over to us. We are so thankful for the good work Alan has done, using his own time and money to maintain an award winning site. Jon and I will meet in Florida next month and talk about the future of EF. There is little doubt in my mind how that will come out. We will continue to publish EF, try to do better in our technical skills and recruitment of good writers. We are committed to monthly presentations of clear and helpful expositions from God’s Word. Now to a matter I’ve had on my mind...
There is, in our culture, a popular, religiously-correct “spirituality” that is fashionable. You may be watching the Oprah Show or some other similar program, and hear people talk about being “spiritual,” having “spiritual feelings” or “spiritual concepts.” In all this talk there is never a word about obeying Christ, living for Him or dying for Him. Suffering for righteousness’ sake is not part of this “spirituality.” Conviction and godly character seems to have no prominence. It is a sweet, sentimental generic sort of religious feeling that is entirely subjective. It is a product of pop culture and is another illustration of appearance lacking substance.
Biblical spirituality begins with recognition of the Creator, the “one God” who is above all (Eph. 4:6). It is not self-serving but God-centered, so this disposition seeks to know and do God’s will. In the pursuit of God’s will, this spirituality involves more than mention of Jesus and it goes beyond verbal praise. Biblical spirituality means hearing and doing His Word (Matt. 7:21-27).
Displays of enthusiasm, joy and contentment may or may not reflect real spirituality. It depends upon the source of that passion and peace, the duration and expression of it. Biblical spirituality certainly has components of zeal, joy and peace – but all these are based on one’s relationship with God. They produce obedience, growth and hope.
It would be great if everybody who claimed to be “spiritual” had real, biblical spirituality. That should be our prayer and the object of our labor. To this end Expository Files begins another year.
By Warren E. Berkley
The Front Page
From Expository Files 7.1; January 2000