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"It may well be that the worst sin of the church at the end of the twentieth century has been the trivialization of God." So wrote Donald McCullough in his 1995 book, The Trivialization of God. I agree wholeheartedly. A perhaps unconscious, but almost universal, trivialization of God explains, more than anything else, the pitiful, precarious state of our churches and country today.

What people believe influences how they behave. The doctrine they embrace goes a long way in explaining their deportment. “A person’s creed,” it has been rightly said, “will determine their conduct.”

All this begs the question, "“What concept do people have of God?” Even more importantly and pointedly, since the Bible says, "Judgment must begin at the house of God" (1 Pet. 4:17), the question must be asked, "What concept of God is held in many if not most churches and in Christian circles todayeven those considered to be conservative, evangelical, fundamental, etc.?" The reality is disturbing and heartbreaking.

The. concept of God, held by much of professed Christianity in America appears to range between that which is very weak to that which is very wicked. This can be seen in what often goes on under the pretense of public worship, much of which is flesh-driven, man-centered, biblically unsound and spiritually unsatisfying. Decency and order, appropriate for public worship is replaced by inordinate attention given to creating the “atmosphere” for services via, adjustments in lighting, platform backdrops and manipulative music. Announcements nearly as long as the sermon precede sermons and militate against a sermon-ready mindset in the congregants.

Spiritual songs and hymns that speak to hearts and enable us to teach and admonish one another (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16) have been replaced by spiritually vapid, essentially secular music thinly disguised with a bit of religious verbiage here and there. Even more tragic, Bible-rich, passionately delivered preaching, the cause and effect of which is obviously the work of the Holy Spirit is rare and precious. . Far too often, sermons are a blend of the psychological, comedic and canned, the delivery of which either reeks of vulgar showmanship or is as dry as the proverbial "last year’s birds nest." (The list, legitimately could go on and on). What kind of God-consciousness is behind this?

Many Christians and churches today seem not to know, or care to know, much about the Person and work of God as He is made known in the Bible in terms of His attributes and character, what He loves and what He hates; that He demands to be worshipped in the beauty of holiness, regarded with reverential fear and is worthy of our highest praise, loving service and absolute trust (Ps. 96:9; Ecc. 12:13-14; Ps. 48:1,2; 1 Sam. 12:24; Prov. 3:5, 6).

Sadly, many with "eyes to see and hears to hear" (Matt. 13:15-17; Rev. 2:7a) will witness this Lord's Day during public worship how off-base churches have become in their concept of God. Throughout the week the same lowered concept of God will be on display in millions of individual Christian lives.

Yes, "It may well be that the worst sin of the church at the end of the twentieth century has been the trivialization of God." It is a most consequential sin too. "These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes" (Ps.50:21).


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