Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Here are two great quotes from my reading today. They’re both quoted in Carson, The Gagging of God:

Why do people choose the substitute over God himself? Probably the most important reason is that it obviates accountability to God. We can meet idols on our own terms because the are our own creations. They are safe, predictable, and controllable; they are, in Jeremiah’s colorful language, the “scarecrows in a cucumber field” (10:5). They are portable and completely under the user’s control. They offer nothing like the threat of a God who thunders from Sinai and whose providence in this world so often appears to us to be incomprehensible and dangerous … [People] need face only themselves. That is the appeal of idolatry (from David Wells, God in the Wasteland, 53).


Having imbibed a humanitarian and therapeutic gospel, ordinary German civilians “knew” that basically good human beings could not do such a thing. One of the great ironies of our century must be that in the era in which more “hell on earth” has occurred than ever before, doctrines such as sin, hell, and the wrath of God have lost their meaning in the church on an unprecedented scale (Harmon, “Correspondence,” ExpTim 105 [1994]: 247).


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