Someone Should Write a Book About This Phenomenon

Lily Fowler, at describes the QIRE very well. She sees what many Christians are unable or unwilling to see: “But Promise Keepers also offered something different from a church: an unmediated relationship with God. [emphasis added -rsc] The stadium rallies produce an intimate, almost frenzied relationship with God that create a high—which even an alcohol-abstaining Christian man might seek out. But for how long? The P.K. experience that might have created an ecclesiastical euphoria the first time might not bring the same high the next time. Bartkowski thinks that to continue to bring men back, to sustain the high, P.K. needs to present something new—always. This year, at least, that something new comes in the form of women and Messianic Jews.” (HT: Zrim at the Confessional Outhouse)

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  1. Hi Scott,

    Maybe you can bring clarity to my confused thinking. When I hear “an unmediated relationship with God” I think of something contra 1 Tim 2:5 – “there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” However, I don’t think PK is saying that their participants can come to God apart from the mediatorial work of Christ.

    However, in the context of Fowler’s comment, she must mean that the church is in some sense a mediator, and PK is either replacing this or denying it. When I hear this, I think of the reformation objection to the necessity of priestly (papal) mediation.

    Can you clarify the similarities/differences regarding Christ’s being Mediator and how mediator is used to describe the church’s role?

    FWIW – I have read RRC but acknowledge I read most of it while on a business trip to Las Vegas so can’t vouch for my assimilation; an appropriate citation to RRC might be sufficient.

    • Hi Bill,

      Have you read RRC?

      I discuss this at length there.

      The choices are not between “unmediated” and “sacerdotal.” There’s a third, confessional, Reformed, biblical alternative.

      In Reformed theology, we speak of the “due use of the ordinary means of grace.” The root for “means” is “medium,” which is related directly to “mediated.”

      In Reformed theology we do not confess that we have the sort of unmediated access to God as described by the QIRE and as described by the account of PK. We confess that God has mediated himself to us in Christ, in his Word, and in his sacraments.

      I understand your concern but we believe in priesthood. Not the Romish, false priesthood (!) but we believe in Christ’s, perfect, high priesthood and intercession and Christ our high priest has established a visible church through which he operates, by the Spirit, to effect his ends (the justification and sanctification of his people).

      Check out RRC.

  2. Harvard Psychologist Gordon W. Allport wrote:

    “ Religion is touchy ground in the personality, for in probing it we not infrequently run into a kind of deep-seated bigotry. The point can be illustrated with the story about a hard-bitten Baptist who was violently anti-Catholic. One day he felt ill and went to see his physician. The doctor told him reluctantly that he hadn’t long to live. The man went home to think over the startling news. After a time he returned and asked, “Doctor, how much longer do you think I’ll live?”
    The doctor said that he didn’t know, but maybe only a month or two.

    “Well,” said the patient, “in that case I have only one desire—I want to become a Roman Catholic.”

    The physician was surprised since he knew the man’s prejudice. He said, “Well, perhaps it can be arranged. But will you kindly tell me why you want to become a Roman Catholic?”

    The man said, “Because I’d a lot rather one of them would die than one of us.” His religion, like that of many, is badly blended with prejudice.[1]

    1.↑ The Student Seeks An Answer: Ingraham Lectures in Philosophy and Religion at Colby College 1951-1959, John A. Clark (Ed.), Colby College Press, Waterville, Maine, 1960

    Allport’s views, I believe, have been judged somewhat simplistic by later scholars (caveat emptor: I’m not a psychologist and I’ve yet to analyze these works as deeply as I could). See here:

    I think the problem may be related to the fact that Dr. Clark and Dr. DGH have demonstrated no signs of religious bigotry in their works. Few of us are so advanced. And that excludes me since I’m a recovering religious bigot who does not want to be governed by false feelings of hate or contempt.

    When I see jerks (academic as well as ministerial) unfairly criticize Dr. Clark on this blog, more often than not I suspect that there goes another unrepentant religious bigot, spewing his or her unchecked hate.

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