[Rector]

Enjoying God

 

Christians tend to adopt the culture of the surrounding dominant secular society. The reason we do this, is that it is difficult to remain a counterculture. This process is called syncretism. The best example in the scriptures is Israel's constant flirtation with the fertility cult of Baal.

The dominant philosophy of our age is humanism. With this social philosophy the focus is on humanity as the source of meaning, rather than on nature (and particularly God). That is, the focus is subjective rather than objective. When a Christian church adopts a humanist outlook it tends to no longer be worship oriented. Members loose their God centerdness. Being man centered prompts us to shape our services and programs so as to affirm human needs. They must make us feel good. The package, rather than the content, becomes the important factor. The drift is then toward entertainment. Even evangelism can be person and needs centered. In fact, we can proceed with evangelism as though God needs us, as though he is not completely self sufficient.

In progressing a person-centered (humanist) pastoral theology three tools are employed, much in the same way as Israel used the Asherah pole (a phallic symbol) in the worship of Baal. The tools are technology (media and mediums), psychology and management principles. The tools are used to enrich the life of the church and our personal lives.

Yet, the simple truth is that only God can fulfill all our desires. He is totally self sufficient. His approach toward us is completely of grace. His delight is to give us everything that he possesses, and to do this freely without any strings attached. What delights God is our acceptance of His free gift in Christ. As John Piper puts it in his book "Desiring God", "God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him." C.S. Lewis once commented that he felt that the problem with most believers was not that they were selfish, but rather that they were not selfish enough. Our problem is that we do not seek our happiness in the right source. God is most glorified when His people are delighted in Him.

So do you see the problem? A little shift from God to man, and we are lost. For example, ask yourself why you come to church? Do we come out of duty - because He says so? Do we come for others - helping God out with Kingdom business? Do we come for self-preservation - keeping on His good side? If God works on our behalf and not because of His need, and freely offers the gift of His presence when we gather, then our motivation for coming should be to delight in Him.