Tuesday, May 20, 2014

"He poured out His fury..."

Drew Dyck at Christianity Today reminds us that God is not tame:
We evangelicals love talking about God's love. Just drop in on one of our church services and listen. You'll hear worship choruses dripping with lyrics that border on romantic. The sermon will gush with assurances of God's affection. While such affirmations are good—we need reminders of God's love—rarely do we speak of God's majesty, let alone whisper a word about his wrath. Among young Christians, this one-sided view of God is especially striking. Jesus is a homeboy or boyfriend. God is the big guy upstairs. Talk of divine holiness is dismissed as legalistic or judgmental.

The Bible, however, describes God in sobering terms. Among the myriad titles given, he is called "a consuming fire," "Judge of all the earth," and the "Lord of hosts"—a title that portrays God poised for battle, at the head of a heavenly army. In addition, the Bible stresses God's discontinuity with humankind. "God is not human that he should..." is almost a refrain in Scripture. .... God is radically different from us, in degree and kind. He is ontologically dissimilar, wholly other, dangerous, alien, holy, wild.

When God shows up in Scripture, people cower and tremble. They go mute. The ones who manage speech fall into despair. Fainters abound. Take the prophet Daniel. He could stare down lions, but when the heavens opened, he swooned. Ezekiel, too, was overwhelmed by his vision of God. .... [more]