September 6, 2009

Could We Lose the Doctrine of God?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Neil @ 7:00 am

Russell D. Moore writes these thought provoking words in How to Teach Open Theism at Vacation Bible School: Three Ways the Evangelical Church Could Lose the Doctrine of God:

Today’s Sunday School and Bible study lessons, for adults as well as for children, often seem to use
God as a prop for what is seen as the higher pursuit of “Christian values.” The story of Jesus’ multiplication of the loaves and fishes is taught not primarily as highlighting the identity of Jesus, but as a lesson on sharing. The calling of the twelve apostles is not communicated as Christ sending forth His appointed messengers to the ends of the earth with the gospel of grace. Rather it is reduced to a moral example, “Jesus had friends.”

There is much in Scripture about Christian morality and life in the Spirit. But this behavior is
contingent upon the people of God knowing the attributes of their God. Solomon understood that God’s
command for Israel to reflect righteousness and justice was “so all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God: there is none else” (I Kin 8:60). Likewise, the New Testament asserts that the makeup of the church dramatically pictures to the watching world the moral attributes of the God who called the assembly together by His Spirit (I Pet 2:9-12).

Too often in our preaching and teaching, we fail to communicate to our people the preciousness of
knowing the God who has redeemed us in Christ. Instead, we seem to refer to Him in order to move on to
the “more important” priorities of seeing our children share their Play-Doh, our teenagers sign their “True Love Waits” cards, and our adults support the building fund.

If we reduce God to a means to these ends, then His sovereignty and wisdom are negotiable after
all. If we market the biblical God merely as the answer to life’s questions, then the day may come when the “open god” answers a few questions of his own. The open view might seem psychologically beneficial to the grieving divorcee. “Free will theism” might seem to answer the questions the visiting college student keeps asking. We might move on to build the new “Family Life Center” and start the new divorce recovery workshop, but we will no longer believe in God.


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