The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. –1 Cor. 2:14
Rationalism is the frame of mind that most Americans are in, whether they know it or not. It is the perspective that was advanced in the 1700s through France and England, and eventually brought over to America through founding fathers like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. It is basically the view that all of reality can be fully understood and measured by the five natural senses: sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. So, it also leads to another perspective called empiricism or scientism or naturalism. “I believe in science,” is basically the idea of scientism: only that which can be “scientifically proven” is what the rationalist is willing to believe.
Although Franklin was a contemporary and even a “friend” of George Whitefield during his Great Awakening, Franklin was not a Bible-believer. It is astonishing that a man could be in the presence of such a powerful prophet, under whose preaching thousands were moved by outpourings of the Holy Ghost—and yet we find Franklin unpersuaded to become a real Christian! Such is the darkness of the rationalist mind. Franklin goes down in history as a scientist, inventor, founding father, politician, postmaster, and even economist—who wrote the first “success” manual: The Way to Wealth. But nevertheless, I’m sure Franklin is in Hell right now, because he refused to repent and believe in the Gospel. A tragic case of rationalism.
There are so many Americans that are under the influence of rationalism! The spirit of Franklin lives on in them as they occupy their minds with education for lucrative careers, economic performance, and the hobbies of politics, TV, sports, and tourism. God is not in it. Most of them, although they are not atheists by name, could might as well write their own biographies of what it is like to live your life without God. They don’t want God; and they resist His Spirit; they are so without understanding of the benefits of experiencing the Holy Spirit, that they think God is a killjoy. Because they don’t know Him! Sure, many of them go to church:–but that is beside the point. The point is that they don’t know God or experience the Holy Spirit’s activity in their lives! Or witness angelic interventions. At best, most of them are practically deists:–“I believe in God,” they say. At least they are not atheists, they think. They are smart enough to believe God created the world. But “even the demons believe,” James 2:19 notes; and they are not saved! “Faith without works is dead” (2:26).
Church-going Americans need to realize they will NEVER be saved from an eternity in Hell unless they REPENT (turn away from their sinful lifestyles) and BELIEVE in the GOSPEL! (Mark 1:15). Being a “believer in God” is not good enough; it’s too vague and general. You have to become a Christian—a Christ-follower in order to enter the New Covenant of salvation by grace through faith in the cross of Jesus Christ. Or else: you will go to HELL!
Secondly, people will never experience life with the Holy Spirit and help from God’s angels unless they REPENT and trust the CROSS. In this way, we have “boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus” (Hebrews 10:19). And the angels are “ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation” (Hebrews 1:14). Do you lack evidence of the supernatural manifestations of God in your life? Then REPENT FROM YOUR SINS, PLACE YOUR FAITH IN THE CROSS, AND LIVE A HOLY LIFE!