Monday, June 15, 2009

The Disappearance of God

The Disappearance of God: Dangerous Beliefs in the New Spiritual Openness by R. Albert Mohler Jr. 2009. Multnomah. 194 pages.

I liked this one. (I loved some chapters though.) The book addresses a handful of issues including the emergent church (seeker-friendly) movement and the newish trend of "open" theology. Of course, these two topics are just a few of the things discussed in Mohler's newest book. (Others include the doctrines of sin and hell, postmodernism, and post-post-modernism, etc.) Essentially, he's asking readers to be smart about their beliefs, to become biblically grounded in the faith, in the essentials, and to stand firm in those beliefs. If you accept that the Bible is the Word of God, that it is inspired and God-breathed...that it is infallible and absolute, then you'll have no trouble discerning truth from lies when it comes to popular and "new" preachings and teachings. Mohler doesn't hide the fact that there is a lot of false teaching and preaching, a lot of false theology in our modern-day culture. In a way, this isn't new. Not at all, every generation faces false teachers. False teachers generally peddling the same old thing as the newest and greatest next big thing. But it can spread faster these days. And with people lacking a grounding in the Word, it is easier for people to be deceived. And it is harder to make a stand, in a way. I think it has always been hard to take a stand. (Today, we may feel embarrassed or uncomfortable. That is a lot different than feeling like you're life was in danger.) He does argue that it is important for Christians to be able to know what is essential to the faith, and what isn't. He preaches that it is important to recognize danger signs. If a preacher never, ever, ever preaches about sin and hell. If they never let listeners know that they need to be saved, that they're in desperate need of a Savior, if they just preach happy storys about how to live happy little lives in their happy little worlds, then that's a clue that something is off. He argues that preachers should not be acting as pyschologists and therapists, they should be preaching from the Word of God. And as such, they need to preach from all of it--the good news along with the bad news. After all, the "good news" isn't "good" unless you have the whole story, the whole message. Without the contrast, there's nothing to make it vital and life-changing. There must be bad news before there is good news. Going along with this, he argues that universalism is dangerous. If I had to sum it up, I would say that this book argues for the God of the Bible and warns against people making and creating a God of their own choosing and making. You can't pick and choose what God is and isn't. You're not the boss, God is.

Dreamybee asks, "How is Spiritual Openness defined and what are some of the dangerous beliefs that it encourages?" Open theology simply put asserts that God is not sovereign and omniscient. God has limited knowledge, limited control, limited power. God is helpless in what he can do. And he's waiting around--like all of us--to see how it all plays out. God is finding things out minute by minute, day by day. The God of open theology can't know the future because the future is ever-changing. The God of open theology is slave to humanity. On the one hand, this "God" can't be blamed for suffering and evil. Because he's subject to it too. He's powerless to act, he's passively watching things play out and hoping for the best. Essentially this makes every statement about the God of the Bible null and void. It calls everything God is into question and creates a new rule book of what God can and can't do, and who God is. It's dangerous because people are creating a God according to their whims and playing around with things they have no business with. They're fooling themselves and trying to fool others into following them.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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