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An Ordinary God?


God is not a philosophical construct, malleable to our personal notions of what we would like him to be. He is a real, living being, whose attributes are not only nonconformable to our preferences, but are eternally unchanging. He is who he says he is, and to believe anything else is to believe in someone—or something—else. It is to place faith in fiction.

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A. W. Tozer brilliantly summarized the entirety of Christian discipleship when he said, “What comes into our minds when we think of God is the most important thing about us.” What the church means when it says the word God reveals everything about our worship and theological integrity If we begin with a wrong conception of God, we will misconstrue the entirety of the Christian faith. This fact is why heretics and false teachers so often begin by rejecting the doctrine of the Trinity. If we can reject God as he has revealed himself in Scripture, then we can and will reject everything else.

From the time of the apostles onward, the church has taken its stand on the phrase, Credo in Deum Patrem Omnipotentem. I believe in God, the Father Almighty. Notice, the Apostles’ Creed does not begin merely with the words: “I believe in God.” Rather, it goes beyond that simple phrase to describe the identity and character of God. The Christian faith is not established on some abstract deity or on “some god.” We do not confess, “I believe in the numinous. We are here in the name of the supernatural, the sacred, and the divine.” We do not call ourselves together in the name of the “thrice unconditioned,” or some other form of speculation.

. . .

Our hearts are corrupted to such a degree that we are ignorant without God’s self-revelation. Calvin described the human heart in its fallen state as a “perpetual factory of idols,” constantly producing and processing new idols of the imagination. Sometimes these idols take material form, but in our day, idols usually take philosophical and ideological forms.

This fact was demonstrated several decades ago when sociologists in Great Britain conducted a massive study on the religious convictions of British people—specifically of their belief in God. What the survey revealed is that even many who believe in a god do not believe that he is personal, intervenes in human history, or has anything to do with the person and work of Christ. One responder to the survey summarized this view of god quite succinctly. When asked, “How would you describe the god in whom you believe?” he said, “Oh, just an ordinary god.”

Many people we interact with in our neighborhoods and work places believe only in an “ordinary god.” Far more hauntingly, even many people who sit next to us in worship believe in “just an ordinary god.” This ordinary god is not the God of the Bible. Our concern with the first article of the creed is not with just an ordinary god or with the god of the philosophers but with the holy God who has revealed himself in Scripture.

—Albert Mohler, The Apostles’ Creed (Crossway, 2019), 3–5.



Posted 2020·01·31 by David Kjos
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Posted in: Albert Mohler · Saving Faith · The Apostles’ Creed (Mohler)

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