The Glory of God 5

Acts 17:22 So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. 23 “For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you.

All errors in theology or in practice in the Church come from a false view of God. Regardless of a person’s stated beliefs or even the professed creedal beliefs, a church will have errors in theology and/or in practice if they have a false idea of God. This is far from saying that we must have perfect ideas of God in order to worship, but it is saying that perverted ideas of God will inevitably lead to idolatry and false worship. True worship must be in spirit and in truth (John 4:24) and apart from that worship being in spirit and truth all else will be false worship. A.W Tozer has written about how men can have a creed and yet their real beliefs of the heart can be hidden from them, and apart from a real and perhaps painful searching of the heart they will remain hidden to the people themselves. This is frightening, yet also true.

Regardless of the creed that a person claims to hold to and perhaps even have a love (of sorts) for that creed, a low view of God leads to a high view of self and that is idolatry. It may be that the greatest form of idolatry within even conservative professing churches in our day is a low view of God combined with a high view of self. When people seek high views of self they will inevitably end up with a lower view of God. Worship then becomes about their own enjoyment and of how it makes them feel. Worship is to be focused on God and His glory and there may be joy that arises from that, but He is to be sought rather than anything else. A creed can be believed out of self-love and a desire to be safe or even exalted by a belief in the creed.

If our view of God comes from fallen self, true knowledge of God is not possible (Psalm 50:21). True views of God come through His revelation to us. This is utterly vital and when that is tied with the previous paragraph, we can see that what we believe about creeds is far more than an agreement to certain facts about God. Everything we read is interpreted in accordance with our fallen self or in accordance with the light that the Holy Spirit gives. Our creeds can give us an external idea of the truth, but when we view them and interpret them according to our sinful hearts and natures we will twist those truths into errors.

False theology and false practice cannot be separated with wrong ideas about God. This is something that should be written in stone and put inside and outside of every professing church. The standard of correct theology and biblical worship is not my own heart and desires and is not what makes me feel good about myself, but instead God is the standard and all is to be help up in the light of His glory. If what we believe and do is not in accordance with His character and glory, then it is simply false and an attempt to fit our theology and worship to that will be idolatry from beginning to end. Knowing God is not an option and yet we must be careful of how we strive to know God. All of our striving can lead to error in theology and worship, which is that the Pharisees ended up with. It is also what afflicts so many today.

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