There are probably no issues as fundamental for Christians to understand– and for parents to teach their children– than, “Who is God? Who is man? And who is in control?” These three form the heart and soul of every individual’s worldview. And every individual’s worldview will determine every decision, every direction that the individual, and consequently our nation, will take.
It wasn’t that long ago that Americans knew who “God” was when we spoke about Him. When I was a little girl in school, our class began each day by standing to pray the Lord’s Prayer together before reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. (And by the way, it was a public, not private school.) But these days, my own children are raising their little ones against a very strong tide of polytheism, even in our churches, that’s become the norm in America. So often, I shake my head, incredulous that polytheism has become as dominant as it has in less than a generation. Like Paul addressing the crowd at Mar’s Hill, (in Acts 17) we must resist the accusations that we are being closed-minded, narrow, or bigoted, and we must teach our children to identify the error of polytheism, directing those around us to the One true God who governs the affairs of men and nations.
Unfortunately, it isn’t just the wicked in America who purport polytheism. Sadly, far too often evangelical Christians attempt to create a conception of God that’s based more upon Clement Clark Moore’s “‘Twas the Night before Christmas” than it is upon the Bible. From a stern and heartless old man with a long white beard, to a snuggly big black Mama called “Papa,” to a jolly old elf, Christians have continually tried to create a God that conveniently fits into a worldview in which they themselves are placed at the center. Paul himself warned the men of Athens that, “being God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is…formed by the imagination of man” (Acts 17:29) and yet that’s exactly what’s happening in America today .
As much as I appreciate that Glenn Beck has recently stirred the hearts of Americans to action, has exposed corruption in civil government institutions, and has called for a return in our nation to God and to becoming a “people of faith,” he sadly falls short when he adds, “…whatever faith it is that you believe,” and “whatever your concept of ‘God’ is.” Every time he says that, I hear him say, “It’s really, really important for everybody to have an imaginary friend. It doesn’t really matter if your imaginary friend is Polly Wiggins, or Tinkerbell, as long as you have somebody to believe in.”
It’s like the Jewish rabbi’s son on “Fiddler on the Roof” listening to Tevya’s affirming response to two opposing political positions, gesturing to each of them, “He’s right, and he’s right? They can’t both be right,” to which Tevya responds, “You know, you are also right.” Likewise, if I am putting my faith in a god who is fundamentally different from the god that you put your faith in, then we can’t both be right. Either you are right, or I am, or neither of us is. One of us, or both of us, is putting our faith in an imaginary friend, and we’re deceived to think that they are both valid.
There are not “many” Gods. Jesus Christ is not just a viable option at the table of pluralism. There are not multiple paths, all leading to the same end. There is only one God, and only one way to Him, through Jesus Christ.
“There is none else beside Him,” says Deuteronomy 4:35
“I am the Lord, there is none else,” 11 Samuel 7:22
“There is one God; and there is none other,” Mark 12:32
“Before me, there was no god formed… neither shall there be after me,” Isaiah 43:10
It’s true that it will take all of eternity for us to know the one true God. John 17:3 says, “This is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” And yet the Bible does reveal to us who the one true God is. We can know Him, and understand who He truly is as we remove ourselves from the center of our thinking and place God in His rightful position there. We will be amazed and overwhelmed by the wonder, beauty, and incredible majesty of who He is as He governs in the affairs of men and nations. But we will also find aspects of God that frankly, in our man-centered focus, we would prefer not having to deal with, like His being a “consuming fire” that purges us of sin and selfishness that cannot continue to exist in light of His purity. There are aspects of His sovereignty that go against the grain of our own personal comfort that are real, because God is real.
There is only one true God governing, and He is real. He is not merely what we choose to imagine Him to be. In her book “Universal History,” author Katherine Dang wrote, “Why is the doctrine of God’s providence, and the principle of only one God governing so full of peace, and joy, and power for you, Christian parent and citizen? Because it means that there is not one thing in either space or time that is ever outside of His control. Not one thing escapes His government!”
The implications of this for you as a mother or a parent or an individual is best summed up by R.C. Sproul Jr. who once said that he wants his children to grow up with a righteous anger for the sin that they see around them, and yet, at the same time, have an unshakable peace, knowing assuredly that God is in control. This, truly, is the wonderful reality of the government and peace of Christ (spoken of in Isaiah 9:7) that knows no end!
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