Friday, July 30, 2010

It is Easy to Do This

I don't believe roller coasters are something Christians should participate in. Even those who enjoy them confess there is a fear factor involved, a "thrill" if you will. God has given us this natural fear sensation for our good, not our amusement. (We certainly don't have any indication in Scripture that Jesus pursued entertainment of any kind.) In addition, the Bible says that God has not given us a spirit of fear and that perfect love casts out all fear. To cultivate fear then, especially for something as frivolous, for the purpose of reveling in fear is spiritually perverted. Given all the suffering in the world, including that endured by our Christian brothers and sisters, riding roller coasters at the very least seems like a poor use of precious time, an obvious violation of Philippians 4:8.


Jared said...

Most of my readers will know this post is an illustration and not a real reflection of my views.

I do hate roller coasters, actually, but I don't think they are sinful. ;-)

Please see my point (the title of the post is meant to help in that regard) and don't flame me. :-)

Jonathan said...

I literally laughed out loud! Awesome post.

Jennet said...


I don't get it. I love roller coasters, but don't see them as fearful - just fun. Can you use a different illustration, or elaborate your opinion/thought a bit more? Maybe I'm lost because I don't get how the title fits in, are you saying it's easy to cultivate fear for fun? Not trying to flame, trying to understand.


Doug said...

AAAH! Heretic!


Point well made...just a little "pastoral advice" and all of a sudden, you're going beyond what is written, and binding consciences where Scripture hasn't. And yeah, it's tragically easy to do...

Good post, thanks!

Trevor said...

I'm glad I read your comment because I was thinking you went for a ride on the legalism...dare I say it...legalism rollercoaster.

Oh the wonders of sarcasm and literary form!

Jared said...

I believe God created rollercoasters to illustrate a couple of verses. First, "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." - John 16:33. What better way to know trouble than on a rollercoaster? But if we fix our eyes on Jesus during the "tribulation" of the ride, we will have His peace.

Second, "For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison," - 2 Cor 4:17. Most rollercoasters are short 2-3 minute rides but seem even shorter when riding. For fearful people, is there a moment more glorious than getting off the ride once it's over?

So there you go, Biblical proof of God's creation and continued use of rollercoasters. Now go!

Anonymous said...

a missuse of the preaching ministry? Right?

Bob Kauflin said...

Brilliant post, Jared. You had me going in my Google Reader, so I had to go to your site just to make sure I wasn't missing something. I was. Your comment. Thanks for consistently, courageously, and compellingly drawing our hearts and minds to the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ.

Jared said...

Just a note: The commenter Jared two comments up (8:34am) is not me. Just to avoid confusion.

The post is sarcasm. I don't believe anything in it. The title means that it is easy to craft a rational justification for legalism. I am sorry for the confusion.

I'm sorry I don't understand your comment. Are you saying this post is a misuse of the preaching ministry? Or that legalism is?
I can't tell if you "get" what I was doing or not.

Jared said...

LOL, should I post as fakejaredcwilson? I didn't realize my post was so diviant that you needed to distance yourself from it. :P

Jared said...

It wasn't deviant. Just didn't want anyone to confuse two Jareds. :-)

Rich said...

Maybe you should have used a less subtle title, like "Here's an Example of Legalism." I'm thankful I'm not like all of those people who didn't get it.

Hey, look at that! Pride is an even easier trap than legalism.

Pete Scribner said...

I enjoyed your post and appreciate your cautions against legalism.

I'm curious what your thoughts would be though if we made a slight change to the original post. Let's suppose that instead of saying, "I don't think Christians should ride roller coasters...," I say, "I don't feel I should ride roller coasters..." for the identical reasons you mentioned. What would your thoughts be regarding such an attitude?

To be clear, once more, this is not my attitude. I not only ride roller coasters, but have recently encouraged my children to do so as well! Thanks again for your wisdom and for your love of the gospel.

Jared said...

Pete, if you replaced the "you" with "I" and made it self-referential, I might would try to talk you out of thinking roller coasters were objectively wrong, but not for very long. (Mainly b/c I don't ride them myself; not b/c I think they're wrong, but because I know they're wrong for me. Because they scare the crud out of me.) I would commend you for applying the Word to your Spirit-led conscience.

In other words, I would not want you to feel yoked by something that the Bible does not call a sin, but I would also not want you to violate your own conscience.

If more Christians would obey what the Spirit says to their conscience without trying to bind the consciences of others to the same obedience, our churches would be so much more fruitful. (And of course we should all abstain from everything the Bible calls sin.)

Good question.

Rob and Mary said...

I used to hate roller coasters. I was full of fear. But, I found in my older years, no reason to fear. I have been through so much that it is just fun.
That is what happens when you experience truth, your outlook changes forever. Mine has.
I understood the legalism referrence and how easy it is to try and justify it.
I thought you were going to go down a James 1 referrence in the post about being tossed to and fro, but you missed that obvious one.

Pete Scribner said...

Well put, Jared: Obey what the Spirit says to your conscience without trying to bind the conscience of others, submitting ultimately to God's word.

nhe said...

Jared - I knew as soon as you said "Jesus didn't seek entertainment" that you were being see way too many movies to play that card! :)

Also - I really like this actually, because I've often thought that Philippians 4:8 is the most misinterpreted and abused verse in scripture.

Lazaro said...

Jared: My post was: a Missuse of the preaching ministry = Legalism

Jason said...

This made me smile. :)

Phil Cotnoir said...

The next step of course is the classic "I don't know how anyone who calls themselves a Christian could... [fill in the blank]"

I guess the brutal part is that, it's so easy to see it when other people do this, especially when it's something ridiculous like rollercoasters, but then I know for myself that there are certain things, certain people, that trigger my heart and I'm doing this exact thing in my mind.

Praise God - Christ died for legalists too.

co_heir said...

I didn't think that sounded like your usual writing. :) It's amazing how legalists can find proof texts to justify anything they come up with.

Patrick Peringer said...

@Phil. I agree! It's scary when people confuse personal preferences with biblical belief. It's not that hard to find an out of context verse to 'prove' your point. Yet I do the same things in my mind already forgetting that I have struggled with probably the same things.

So thankful for grace.

Great post Jared!

Mark Heath said...

Amen. Roller-coasters are of the devil. Besides, the safety calculations were done by structural engineers who spent the vast majority of their time at university drunk and naked. I wouldn't entrust my life to any of their contraptions.

David said...

"I don't see how anyone who call themselves a Christian could... consistently be indifferent to Jesus Christ and refuse to follow Him as their Lord and Savior."

I hope that is not considered legalism but truth from His Word.

I get what you are saying and totally agree that there are little corners people try to paint others into but it is not conscience that is our guide like our own built-in Jimminy Cricket, it is His standards. It would seem we must make sure we understand the Reality of His standards.

Good thing when we are pounding on legalists, we are not being a type of legalist!!! (sarcasm)

I have really enjoyed the posts on your blog, Jared, and the commentators affirm much of what the Lord has shown me.

I would gently send a loving warning from my own experience that the spiritual hypocrites we see around us are sometimes the easiest to not love. One day in 1984 I realized I had become what I hated most. He showed me that love leads to compassionate prayers.



Jared said...

David, thanks for your comment.

When I refer to "conscience," I typically use the phrase "Spirit-led" or "Spirit-formed" conscience. I certainly don't mean some internal, "natural" compass, still less Jiminy Cricket. I'm referring to the same conscience Paul does in 1 Corinthians 8 and 10, in the discussion related to Christian liberty.

Also: One reason I have titled the post as I have is to indicate how easy it is for any of us to slip into this type of thinking.
In my neck of the woods, I encounter many non-arrogant legalists, by which I mean, well-meaning Christians who are not pharisaical or rude or hypocritical, really, but fuzzy on the gospel, assuming that outward adherence to standards the Bible does not command are the indications of holiness for themselves and others. Paul was very emphatic on the utter deficiency of that kind of thinking (in Galatians, for instance).

Sherry said...

We have just personally experienced this kind of legalism in our church, and it can be very hurtful and destructive, even when applied by "well-meaning, fuzzy" Christian brothers and sisters. Now we are caught between abjuring "roller coasters" (and whatever next things these legalists find to outlaw) for no good reason or offending our brothers and sisters in Christ. We could give up "roller coasters", but what's next, and where do we draw the line?