Thursday, June 19, 2008

Our God is Not User-Friendly

I remember taking Church history courses in seminary. I found them very interesting (I'll confess...I'm a history nerd), but also a little frustrating. Every generation of the Church had some glaring theological blind spot, some belief or practice that made me think, "How could they do that? Weren't they reading the same Bible I am?"

I am certain our generation has its share of blind spots, too. I sometimes wonder what future generations will say as they study 21st century American Christians. I suspect one criticism they will have is that we have defanged our deity. We have made God into a doting, generous grandfather-figure who never gets angry with us, never punishes us, and never wants anything but our comfort and happiness. Future generations will hear that in our songs and sermons, read it in our literature, and track the results of this unbalance view of the Almighty. It doesn't take a seminary degree to see that such an image isn't biblical.

Of course, God IS a God of grace. Hallelujah for that! Yes, He loves us infinitely. But that infinite love is balanced by an infinite holiness. The author of Hebrews reminds us, "It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." And that holiness produces some stories in the Bible that are downright scary.

We'll look at two such stories in our series, "The Difference Maker" this Sunday. The first takes up much of 2 Kings 1. The second is found in 2 Kings 2:23-25. I've never heard a sermon preached on either of these passages, so pray for me...I'm going where angels (and far better preachers) fear to tread.

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