Tuesday, August 07, 2012


Right Idea - Wrong Words

Regular readers know my posts here are generally written months in advance. However, this post is an exception. As I read my devotional email from Mark Roberts this AM, I need to break the continuity and comment. Now, Mark is on vacation and his post is technically a repeat, but I think it is vitally important. He is reflecting on Romans 11:33:
Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!
Mark writes:
This does not mean we shouldn’t try to understand God, however. He has given us the capacity to think. He has revealed himself to us in many ways, most of all in the Word incarnate and the Word inscribed. Yet the more we understand God, the more we realize just how much he is beyond our understanding. Thus theology, rightly engaged, does not allow us to trap God in our little boxes, to diminish God by our limited conceptions. Rather, true theology leads us to worship, as we bow before the greatness of God. If you’ve ever stood on the rim of a giant canyon, you’ve experienced something like the wonder of Romans 11:33. You’re awestruck over the depth of the canyon, and realize that you’ll never be able to take in its grandeur. The more you gaze at it, the more you appreciate its details, and the more you are overwhelmed by its glory. So it is with God and his inscrutable nature. [emphasis added]
"True theology leads us to worship." Those are great words, and yet they scared me - Why? Simple, because of what the word "worship" has come to men in the popular vernacular. The meaning that Mark, I am certain has in mind, for "worship" means to humbly know that God is our king. But what "worship" so often means in this day and age is a form of uplifting self expression in which we acknowledge there is a God. The former is about God, the latter is about us - and that is a problem.

That problem is expressed most directly in the caution Mark provides, that studying theology often has us put God into "little boxes." If it is about us, then God fits where we want Him to, instead of rules all.
The road to worship is traveled not on our knees, not on the music of the electric guitar. Worship does in fact fill God with glory, but only when we have been emptied. Mark is so right here, but I think in light of modern practice and though he needs to rephrase - "True theology drives us to our knees, and on those knees we enter into worship."
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