A High View of God

One of my criticisms of The Shack by William P. Young was that it portrays God as less than Who He is. The god of the shack is Nanny-god, regular-Joe god, or ethereal-sister god, but not the High and Holy God revealed in Scripture.

Sadly, others professing the name of Christ also have a low, though different, view of God. I’m thinking particularly of the name-it-and-claim-it crowd that rally around such works as Joel Osteen’s Your Best Life Now or Become a Better You. I found it interesting that one of the main criticisms in the Publishers Weekly review of Best Life was this issue of how the book portrays God:

Many Christian readers will undoubtedly be put off by the book’s shallow name-it-and-claim-it theology; although the first chapter claims that “we serve the God that created the universe,” the book as a rule suggests the reverse: it’s a treatise on how to get God to serve the demands of self-centered individuals. … Theologically, its materialism and superficial portrayal of God as the granter of earthly wishes will alienate many Christian readers who can imagine a much bigger God. (emphasis mine, here and in the following quotes)

This skewering of who God is evidently is not new. A.W. Tozer wrote about a growing low view of God within the church back in 1961 in his book The Knowledge of the Holy. Today his words seem prophetic:

The message of this book … is called forth by a condition which has existed in the Church for some years and is steadily growing worse. I refer to the loss of the concept of majesty from the popular religious mind. 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. (p. 6)

What I find particularly interesting is what Mr. Tozer identified as the effects of a low view of God:

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. (p. 6)

Ironic. Mr. Young claims that Man’s greatest need is relationship with God, but by stripping God of His awe, of His justice, of His holiness, he is putting forth ideas that countermand the very thing he advocates.

Mr. Tozer goes on to say

What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us … Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God. For this reason the gravest question before the Church is always God Himself, and the portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like. (p. 9)

How important, then, that we look at God’s revelation of Himself rather than at some men’s imaginings of Him, be they hopeful and entertaining or not.

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