Tuesday, January 24, 2017


We have to be very careful about how much we let our modern cultural sensibilities influence the way that we understand our Lord. Yesterday, we tackled the idea that God is for everybody (He's not); today, we turn to another dangerous theology that is sneaking into our churches. 

"God believes in the same things we do."

Ideally, of course, this would be true, not because God would agree with us, but because we would agree with Him. But most often when we hear this statement being made, the argument is just the opposite - God just believes in the same things we do. Often, this comes in a political context of sorts, citing the Constitution as some kind of holy document and then arguing that God, too, believes in the equality of all men, in freedom of speech and religion, in this or that social action that we have undertaken. 

But even at its most basic, this is simply not the case. God does not believe in the equality of all men; His Word is a testimony to that. From the very beginning, God was pleased with Abel's offering, but not Cain's, even though both men gave according to their skill and production. God chose Noah as the only righteous man left on the earth. The others were not equally righteous; they were unrighteous. God chose Abram, then Isaac, then Jacob, then Joseph, then Moses...and alongside all of these men, we are told, too, of their brothers. But their brothers were not equal; in many cases, the chosen would have been considered the lesser brothers.

When Israel was looking for a judge, God chose Joshua, then Caleb, then Othniel, then Deborah, and then when she was looking for a king, He chose Saul and then David and then Solomon. There was no rumor that just any man would do; not all men are created equal. 

Even in the time of Jesus, the disciples were not men created equal. The servants in the parables were not created equal. The witnesses to the churches were not created equal. At no point in the Scriptures does God declare, "All men are basically the same." All men are, yes, created in the image of God, but this does not make them equals. Not by any means! This makes every man unique, each in his own way a bearer of something sacred.

We actually lessen men when we make them equal. 

(And the same must be said, I think, of when we attempt to make women equal to men, as has become a bit of a hot topic this week. Men and women were not created to be equal, but to be complementary. They flourish only by coming together in a way that their parts create a whole. The more we try to say that women are just like men, the more we lose the very essence of what it means to be either a man or a woman.)

This is true of a lot of the arguments that we make about what God believes. God believes in freedom of speech. Does He? He set several very strict guidelines about the kinds of things we cannot say. God believes in freedom of religion; He doesn't care where we go to church or if we go to church at all. Really? He crushed the idols of foreign nations, tore down their sacred poles, and set up His sanctuary so that His people could come. Sounds to me like God had some specific ideas about religion in mind. We can't confuse "free will" with "free reign." They are two entirely different things. One is God-designed; the other is rebellion.

It's so easy to fall into these temptations because we've been taught that these are good things that we believe in. But even if you believe that they are good things, they are not God's things, and we have to draw that line very clearly. When we don't, we cheapen this thing called life. We cheapen community. And we cheapen God. 

So no, men are not created equal, God does not believe in free reign, He does not automatically condone the social actions that we take, and He does not necessarily believe the things that we believe.

Of course, our thoughts could be His thoughts, but only if we make His thoughts our thoughts. 

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