I’m currently engaged in a discussion which has touched upon the low view of God that is prevalent in so much of the Church in our day. It has been said, and I agree, that a key step to curing many of the ills of the Church, and churches today is to return to, and/or encourage our people to a higher view of God.
How do we do that, practically speaking? Beyond the surface cliches and platitudes and knee-jerk responses … how does one go about a pesonal redirection, and even more broadly, how do those in leadership effect the re-direction of our people? I tend to think that it would be helpful to know when and where we “lost” a high view of God. Perhaps it would be helpful if we can can identify the causal elements.
The following is an apt description of our current situation:
“The church has surrendered her once lofty concept of God and has substituted for it one so low, so ignoble, as to be utterly unworthy of thinking, worshiping men. This she has done not deliberately, but little by little and without her knowledge; and her very unawareness only makes her situation all the more tragic. This low view of God entertained almost universally among Christians is the cause of a hundred lesser evils everywhere among us. A whole new philosophy of the Christian life has resulted from this one basic error in our religious thinking.
With our loss of the sense of majesty has come the further loss of religious awe and consciousness of the divine Presence. We have lost our spirit of worship and our ability to withdraw inwardly to meet God in adoring silence. Modern Christianity is simply not producing the kind of Christian who can appreciate or experience the life in the Spirit. The words, ‘Be still, and know that I am God,’ mean next to nothing to the self-confident, bustling worshiper in this middle period of the twentieth century.
This loss of the concept of majesty has come just when the forces of religion are making dramatic gains and the churches are more prosperous than at any time within the past several hundred years. But the alarming thing is that our gains are mostly external and our losses wholly internal; and since it is the quality of our religion that is affected by internal conditions, it may be that our supposed gains are but losses spread over a wider field.”
The startling thing about that quote is that it was written by A.W. Tozer 35 years ago! (The Knowledge of the Holy)
Apparently, a low view of God is not a modern ailment in the Church … but it certainly has a cumulatively deadly and debilitating effect on the ministry of the Church and churches today. If we are serious about a cure (short of the personal return of the Lord which will give a jolt of reality to all of us) what is the needed prescription? What are the specifics of how to go about it? Isn’t it time we stop talking about it and bemoaning it and actually do something about it? What do you think? I’d be interested in knowing your thoughts … please leave them below!