Friday, March 27, 2009

How Great Is Our God

One theme repeated throughout the Old Testament is the condemnation of graven images. The second commandment explicitly forbids the making and the worship of images. The prophets preach against it and condemn it in no uncertain terms. Yet Israel constantly succumbed to this temptation during the centuries of living in the land, from the time of the Judges until the time of the Babylonian exile.

It is not just Israel that had this problem. Throughout the world religion after religion makes images to bow down to and worship. From simplistic animistic religions of tribal people, to the complexity of a religion like Hinduism; even some forms of Christianity produce images to be ‘venerated.” Why is there such an attraction to images?

While many postulate that man simply needs a physical object to fasten upon, and that most are not truly worshipping that object, I believe that there is a much deeper thing going on here.

Creating an image to represent God is an attempt to reduce God to a manageable level; to “cut God down to size;” to put God on a plane where man can understand him; to control the deity.

Most Christians do not worship images. That is one of the commandments that seems to be a moot point in our modern and now postmodern era. Yet I think that we often violate the principle behind this command. We, in our attitudes and too often in our practice limit the infinite immensity of God. We limit the time that we ascribe to him, worshipping at only certain specified times, Sunday mornings or our devotional time in the morning. We limit the places we worship him, only in a church building. We limit our concept of him, thinking of him as a problem solver and only calling on him when we are in distress; or we think of him as a lawgiver, one to be obeyed or we face consequences.

He is all this and so much more.

We must meditate on the immensity of God, on his infinite being. We must marvel at the freedom of God, no one can rule him. We must bow before the majesty of God, he is more glorious than all creation. We must wonder at the might of God, the sovereign over all rulers. We must bask in the love of God, he sent his Son as the Savior. We must continually seek to know him, the unknowable, in a deeper and more intimate way.

C. S. Lewis reminded us that he is “not a tame lion.” We cannot contain nor control God, we can only worship him.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Book Recommendation

I am currently reading and reviewing The Case for Life (Equipping Christians to Engage the Culture) by Scott Klusendorf.

Scott has written a very readable guide to what is truly at stake in the debate regarding the lives of the unborn. His book is divided into four parts that address different needs for Christians: clarifying the debate, establishing a foundation for the debate, answering questions persuasively, and teaching and equipping.

I am about halfway through the book and will post a complete review after I finish it.

In his preface and throughout the book Klusendorf strongly advocates graciousness in any debate regarding life issues. When pro-life people answer questions regarding abortion policies they should do it in a “winsome and attractive matter.” We must remember that as Christians we are ambassadors for Christ, we are his representatives in this world. That lays a deep responsibility on us to be gracious and polite even as we refute deadly arguments.

Klusendorf suggests a very simple strategy in debating with both abortion advocates and with those who are unwilling to take a definitive position. He calls it “trot out the toddler.” That is substitute a toddler for the unborn in any argument that advocates abortion. This puts the debate on the different plane than most abortion advocates want to be.

He then marshals the evidence that life begins at conception. This is a key point for the debate as it helps us see what is truly at stake.

Throughout the book Klusendorf gives examples of using these strategies in a gracious, kind, yet determined way. I highly recommend this book for all Christians to read and evaluate so that they can understand and respond to the culture that we are part of.

I will post a full review of this book later.
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