External Gains, Internal Losses

17th June, 2013 - Posted by Claire Larsen - No Comments

Is the church today getting better or declining? According to A.W. Tozer in his book The Attributes of God: Volume 1 the church is gaining in externals and losing in internals. Tozer who was making this assessment of the church in the first half of the twentieth century writes that though religion is more popular, the churches are filled, and the seminaries are producing educated clergy, the church is losing in that which is the most important –”the awareness of the divine Presence and the concept of majesty.”

The churches are full, but is God present at the services? The music is lively, but is an air of reverence and solemnity of a holy God missing?

It is nearly impossible for us finite human beings to grasp what God’s perfection means. The words excellence and perfection and infiniteness are not even sufficient because the nature of those words implies a comparison. This is perfect, and that is flawed in some way. This is excellent, and that doesn’t measure up. God is perfect, and most excellent, and totally infinite, but He’s even bigger and vaster than those words can convey.

Why do we cringe when we hear the word “theology?’ It sounds academic, boring, complicated, and unnecessary to daily life. But theology is the most beautiful of all studies for theology teaches us about the beauty of God. Theology is the mind thinking, pondering, meditating, and being amazed at the being of God.

Tozer’s solution is this: “We need to improve the quality of our Christianity, and we never will until we raise our concept of God back to that held by apostle, sage, prophet, saint, and reformer.”  God needs to be in His proper place in our minds, our worship, and our lives.

A couple other quotes from Tozer got me thinking hard about how I think about God.

“What good is all our busy religion if God isn’t in it? What good is it if we’ve lost majesty, reverence, worship — an awareness of the divine?”

“If I have a low concept of God, my religion can only be a cheap, watery affair. But if my concept of God is worthy of God then it can be noble and dignified; it can be reverent, profound, beautiful.”

I know this is true in my own heart. I need to have a deeper reverence for God, a deeper understanding of what is means to worship together with God’s people. I need to pay attention more on Sunday mornings and not be distracted by the people around me and my own thoughts. How do I do that?

As believers and worshippers of the true God, we need to help each other learn how to worship. Do you have ideas of how we can honor the majesty and beauty of God more effectively? Please give me your thoughts. Let’s make our awe of an Almighty God our goal is all our worship.

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