Correct concept of God central to Christian life, Mohler says in chapel

Communications Staff — August 29, 2007

Only a worldview that pictures God as both personal and almighty is faithful to Scripture and can sustain a healthy Christian life, R. Albert Mohler Jr. said in chapel Aug. 28 at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

“What comes to your mind first when you think of God is the most important thing about you. What the church has on its mind, what the church has in its heart, in its soul, in its consciousness as it says the word ‘God,’ as it names God—that is the most important thing about us. Everything else necessarily follows,” Southern’s president said.

“If we begin in the wrong place with the wrong conception of God, we will misconstrue the entirety of the Christian faith,” he continued.

Preaching the second in a series of sermons on the Apostle’s Creed, Mohler explained how Christians today must echo the early church’s belief in “God the Father Almighty.”

Nature testifies to the one true God, but because of their sinfulness, humans create idols and worship them, Mohler said. He added that sinful humans are dependant upon God to reveal Himself in Scripture.

“We would be absolutely ignorant but for God’s self-revelation,” he said.

Christians must confess that God is a personal God and not merely a force or higher power, Mohler said. Calling God Father is a confession of God’s personal nature, he explained.

“The first thing we know when we declare and when we confess that God is Father is that He is a personal God,” he said. “He has demonstrated Himself to us, revealed Himself to us in personal ways. Thus the whole idea of an impersonal God becomes an oxymoron over against the faith of the Bible.”

Calling God Father does not imply that He saves all people regardless of their faith commitments or religious beliefs, Mohler cautioned, adding that we know God the Father only through a relationship with His Son.

Some object to calling God Father on the ground that such a title makes belief in God difficult for people whose earthly fathers treated them poorly, he said, but this objection fails to recognize that calling God Father actually sets the standard for human fathers.

“God as Father must define what a human father must be like,” he said. “Human fathers do not define what God is like.”

Modern attempts to rename God the Father with more politically correct titles, such as “mother,” dishonor the God who calls Himself Father in Scripture, Mohler said.

“To tamper with this is not merely to be creative in worship,” he said. “It is to create an idol. To rename God is to worship some other deity—an idol, not the God who is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

In addition to being the personal Father, God is also almighty, he said. Believers should not see God as the personal Father without also seeing Him as holy and sovereign, he said.

“Let me ask you quite honestly: Is this the God that is worshiped and confessed in our churches around the globe? Or do we have so many people who, when they hear the word God, think … of just an ‘ordinary’ God?” Mohler

He concluded that recovering the biblical vision of God is vital to sustain healthy churches.

“This is the great corrective to all false conceptions of God,” he said. “This is the great summary of what the God of the Bible reveals Himself to be and Who the God of the Bible reveals himself to be. This is the starting place of true worship. We believe in God the Father Almighty.”

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