Monday, November 9, 2009

The Legacy of The Tower of Babel: "God Abuse"

I once had a customer ask what I thought of a particular book that she was considering as a gift for her daughter. I told her that while I had some concerns about the author's view of God I liked much of what he had to say. Her response took me back, "I don't care what he thinks about God. I just want my daughter to accept Christ." With nothing else said she bought the book. Why is our concept of God important? I'll leave you with these important thoughts by John Walton from his commentary on Genesis.

"God Abuse. By nature we are all pagans caught in the Babel syndrome. When we think we can manipulate God by praying in Jesus' name to achieve selfish purposes, our paganism is showing. When we 'claim promises' as a means of making God do what we want him to do, our paganism is showing. When we come to think we are indispensable to God because of the money we donate, the talents we have, the ministries we engage in, or the worship we offer, our paganism is showing. When we treat God as a child to be cajoled or a tyrant to be appeased, the Babel syndrome is surging in our veins. We want a manageable 'God-lite.' We want to be able to harness his power for our own benefit, no strings attached. Our society has confronted child abuse and spouse abuse, but this is 'God abuse.' "

"If we desire to prevent ourselves from settling for the paganism of a watered-down version of God, we must reconnect with God's revelation of himself in the Bible. When we read the Bible daily, it is not so we can get a mystical thought for the day. Too many of us treat the Bible as if it were a newspaper horoscope, giving clues about what we should do or should not do that day. We need to reclaim the Bible as God's self-revelation. We should be reading to find out what God is like."

"Our spiritual growth is dependent on, among other things, developing an increasingly informed understanding of who God is and bringing more and more of our lives into orbit around him. These two must work together. Someone can have a sophisticated understanding of God but refuse to orbit her life toward God. God's claims are ignored and prevented from impacting attitudes, choices, and lifestyle. Another person many have a strong view but suffer from a deficient or distorted view of God. His misinformation can leave him sincere but sincerely wrong, dedicated but misguided."

"Reading God's Word is essential to becoming informed. Purposeful engagement with God is essential to maintaining God-centered orbits in our worldview. When we read the Bible each day, the main question we should be asking is, 'What does this help me to understand about God?' instead of 'What does this tell me to do today?' or 'What decision should I make about X?' The paganism in each of us drives us to be self-absorbed. God's revelation draws us to himself. We only need to yield." (383, 386-387)

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