“Emotional blackmail” was a term used on this site in a comment a while back referring to a preacher’s style.
I recently made a comment on another blog that I thought that semi-Pelagianism was the state of the Evangelical church in America (as well as Roman Catholicism), because preachers don’t know about the law/gospel paradigm and how to properly distinguish the law from the gospel in their sermons.
Another big problem is the lack of the external Word (which includes the Sacraments) which comes to us from outside of ourselves. This, I believe, is why so many preachers resort to enthusiasm. These emotional displays naturally work to stir up the law in people, that they too, would have the proper ‘feelings’ with respect to proving the fruit of their faith.
Feelings and emotions are a good thing (or can be), but they ought not be tied to one’s assurance of faith lest they become just one more aspect of the law and a way for one to know that they truly are saved.
I know that this is the second time in a month that I have highlighted the negative aspects of a popular Christian’s preaching and teaching. I don’t plan to make it a regular feature here on this blog, as it was pointed out to me how divisive it can be. I don’t plan on dwelling on it, but this is just another instance where I believe good intentions have gone awry.
I didn’t even mention that we (Lutherans) don’t agree with the doctrine of ‘total depravity’, wherein someone would tell their kids that “they are bad”, no matter how well they are behaving.