Struggling in your walk with Christ? Growing weary in your battle against sin? Seeing little to no progress in sanctification? Just “let go and let God” and you will soon find yourself experiencing the kind of victorious Christian life that God always intended you to enjoy.
Sounds good, doesn’t it?
This isn’t merely a catchy Christian slogan; it actually comes from a branch of Christian teaching called ‘Higher Life Theology.’
Whether you grew up in Higher Life teaching or have only heard the expression “let go and let God” tossed about in conversation or formal Bible studies, it is likely that you have imbibed some of Higher Life doctrine. I know I have.
Higher Life Theology, at basic, teaches that there is a stark difference between carnal, apathetic Christians and spiritual, victorious Christians. The way you bridge the gap between spiritual mediocrity and spiritual excellence is by experiencing a ‘crisis’ in which you dedicate yourself fully to God in a ‘complete surrender’ and become Spirit-filled.
Once this crisis occurs, you will be propelled onto another level of Christian living where your struggles to overcome sin will powerfully decrease and holiness will become much easier than before.
Perhaps you’ve never talked about it this way, but you nevertheless have taken this “crisis” approach to the Christian life. All you need is a profound spiritual experience at a conference or during a worship service and you will be able to overcome sin and speed up this plodding pace on the path to holiness. Maybe you’ve unwittingly embraced the idea that spiritual growth occurs through passively yielding rather than actively striving. Although these ideas may sound plausible, they are actually unhealthy approaches to your walk with Christ that will undermine your holiness rather than promote it.
Although it has been advocated by some godly people in recent church history, Higher Life Theology is dangerous because it can cause disillusionment and self-deception. It can confuse sincere believers when the bump up against difficulties in their pursuit of godliness, and it can trap false Christians in their unbelief by assuring them that there is such a thing as a carnal, apathetic Christian.
For these reasons and many more, I recommend Andrew Naselli’s No Quick Fix: Where Higher Life Theology Came From, What it Is, and Why It’s Harmful. It will be helpful in unearthing some of your own wrong thinking about sanctification and equipping you to serve those who have absorbed Higher Life Theology.