In one of my classes Hillsdale Free Will Baptist College one of the books we were assigned to read was by a man named David F. Wells called God In The Wasteland. Overall it was a good book and a very challenging one. In the book Dr. Wells made a comment that was burned in my mind and has haunted me every since. He said. “It is one of the defining marks of Our Time that God is now weightless. I do not mean by this that he is ethereal but rather that he has become unimportant. He rests upon the world so inconsequentially as not to be noticeable.”
That seems like a rather harsh statement but the world around us demonstrates its accuracy. While the number of Americans who classify themselves as atheists is growing, the vast majority of Americans claim to believe in a divine being of some sort. The majority out of that group claim to believe in the God of the Bible. A huge percentage of them would go so far as to classify themselves as born again Christians. Despite these claims the vast majority of people “…consider [God]less interesting than television, his commands less authoritative than their appetites for affluence and influence, his judgment no more awe-inspiring that the evening news, and his truth less compelling than the advertisers’ sweet fog of flattery and lies. That is weightlessness.”
Dr. Wells argues, convincingly I might add, that part of the reason for the weightlessness of God is that we have “caged” God. We have taken the sovereign God of the universe and have tamed Him. There are several characteristics of this tamed God. First is that He is a God who exists to meet our needs instead of our existing to serve Him. Think how few people who profess to believe in God, see Him as the sovereign ruler of the universe to whom we must surrender the rights to everything, even our very lives.
A second characteristic of this tamed God is that He is a God who can become indebted to us instead of the Holy God against whom we have all sinned and His every act of kindness toward us is mercy and grace but never merit. We see this in those who turn against God during the hard times of their lives because God has failed them. In their minds they have kept their end of the bargain and therefore God is indebted to them and owes them a life that is basically free of trials and hardships.
A final characteristic of this tamed God is that He exists to help us in our time of need and make no inconvenient demands of our lives instead of Him being the King of kings and Lord of lords who not only expects obedience and submission from us but a loving obedience and a willing submission to His will. This is most clearly seen in those who really take no thought of God during the good times of their lives but become very devoted to Him when things get hard. This would be great, for often God does send hard times in our lives to turn us back to Him, except that their “devotion” to God only lasts as long as their hard time does. Once the hard time has passed, then they once again go back to taking no thought of God.
The sad fact is that these sorts of views of God are almost as common in the Church as they are outside the Church. Many within the Church today live as what one pastor calls Christian atheists. A Christian atheist is someone who professes to believe in God but lives as if God doesn’t exist. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they live wicked, sinful lives. It can but it doesn’t have to. It simply means that God, His will and His want for them, bears no weight on their lives. There is virtually nothing in their lives that is guided by God’s will and want for their lives. They never really focus on living every aspect of their lives for the glory of God.
For these people the Bible is seen as the inspired Word of God that is to be highly esteemed. Most often they will treat their Bibles with the utmost respect and very often keep them in places of honor in their homes. Despite the way they profess to view the Bible it is rarely read and seldom obeyed. With their mouths they profess to believe the Bible but with their lives they demonstrate that it bears no weight on their lives. Their attitude toward the Bible is simply an extension of their attitude towards God. So what kind of weight should the Bible bear on our lives? That is what I’m going to write about this week.