The Fear of God-has the Church Lost It?

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mattrose
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Re: The Fear of God-has the Church Lost It?

Post by mattrose » Wed Apr 12, 2017 11:52 pm

TK wrote:I don't believe the speakers in the clip were talking about fearing God in the sense of being afraid of Him, but rather in the sense that he is God after all and should be approached with reverence and awe.

A complimentary statement would be that the Church has lost what it means to be holy. The church is so much like the world that there's barely a difference, which of course might explain the state of our society. Nobody understands holiness or when they hear the word they get a bad taste in their mouth, despite passage after scripture passage that makes holiness a priority. Like I have heard Ravenhill say, American Christianity has millions of gospel tapes and books and hundreds of seminars per month and gospel preaching on TV or radio 24/7 but 95% of so called Christians are spiritual babies.

I agree with Chan that if we truly know God we will not fear him in the sense of being afraid. But if we truly know him the last thing we would ever want to do is hurt Him- not out of fear of what He might do to us but rather out of fear of what we are doing to Him.
Keep in mind, with my comments in this thread, that I come from a 'holiness' denomination. We had more of a tendency to make God out to be a constantly disappointed father b/c we never live up to all his rules. This mentality, I think (for many in our denomination), produced an unhealthy kind of fear (fear of constantly disappointing God and constantly being afraid of losing one's salvation).

I think a lot of present day Christianity is a reaction against the bad aspects of the rigidity of the holiness movement. At its worst, the holiness movement provoked ONLY fear of God... no sense that God is love. At its worst, present day Christianity reacts to this by so focusing on God's approach-ability that one actually becomes quite casual in that approach and leaves (leaves!) unchanged.

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TK
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Re: The Fear of God-has the Church Lost It?

Post by TK » Thu Apr 13, 2017 6:20 am

I think a lot of present day Christianity is a reaction against the bad aspects of the rigidity of the holiness movement. At its worst, the holiness movement provoked ONLY fear of God... no sense that God is love. At its worst, present day Christianity reacts to this by so focusing on God's approach-ability that one actually becomes quite casual in that approach and leaves (leaves!) unchanged.
Exactly.

Singalphile
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Re: The Fear of God-has the Church Lost It?

Post by Singalphile » Thu Apr 13, 2017 6:47 am

I agree with 21centpilgrim that the fear of God is a theme in the Bible. (I don't know if I would call it a "primary theme", but no matter.)

And I don't think the fear should be limited to just awe and reverence. When Jesus told His own disciples to fear the one (presumably God) who can cast a person into Gehenna, to destroy both the body and soul (Luke 12 & Matt 10), I think His point is pretty clear. God is our judge, and He created us and He can destroy us.

I don't think there is anything necessary schizophrenic or two-faced about that.
... that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. John 5:23

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mattrose
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Re: The Fear of God-has the Church Lost It?

Post by mattrose » Thu Apr 13, 2017 11:09 am

Singalphile wrote: And I don't think the fear should be limited to just awe and reverence. When Jesus told His own disciples to fear the one (presumably God) who can cast a person into Gehenna, to destroy both the body and soul (Luke 12 & Matt 10), I think His point is pretty clear. God is our judge, and He created us and He can destroy us.

I don't think there is anything necessary schizophrenic or two-faced about that.
'Reverence', to me, includes reverence for His authority as judge. My point was, He's not a bad judge. He's not a loose canon. He's not an angry judge. He's a just judge. He's a good judge.

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jasonmodar
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Re: The Fear of God-has the Church Lost It?

Post by jasonmodar » Thu Apr 13, 2017 11:12 am

Singalphile wrote: And I don't think the fear should be limited to just awe and reverence. When Jesus told His own disciples to fear the one (presumably God) who can cast a person into Gehenna, to destroy both the body and soul (Luke 12 & Matt 10), I think His point is pretty clear. God is our judge, and He created us and He can destroy us.
I think this may line up with Matt's understanding when he said, "We should fear not so much the LORD (though it can be phrased like that), but the consequence of rejecting the LORD. We should fear what happens when we reject the source of life itself."

Gehenna, then, would be the consequence of rejecting God.

Singalphile
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Re: The Fear of God-has the Church Lost It?

Post by Singalphile » Fri Apr 14, 2017 7:14 am

mattrose wrote:'Reverence', to me, includes reverence for His authority as judge. My point was, He's not a bad judge. He's not a loose canon. He's not an angry judge. He's a just judge. He's a good judge.
Other than that He might at times be an angry judge, I'm not aware of any Christian school of thought that teaches that God is a bad judge or a loose cannon. My own point, which has been said in many ways, is that a person (any of us) ought to be afraid of rebelling against God (and I'm not talking about stumbling from time to time).
jasonmodar wrote:I think this may line up with Matt's understanding when he said, "We should fear not so much the LORD (though it can be phrased like that), but the consequence of rejecting the LORD. We should fear what happens when we reject the source of life itself."

Gehenna, then, would be the consequence of rejecting God.
That's fine, and I see that one could phrase things like that. I'm not sure why we would make much distinction between a) fearing God and b) fearing the consequences of rejecting God. They're often (not always, I'm sure) much the same, I think.
... that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. John 5:23

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mattrose
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Re: The Fear of God-has the Church Lost It?

Post by mattrose » Fri Apr 14, 2017 8:38 am

Singalphile wrote:My own point, which has been said in many ways, is that a person (any of us) ought to be afraid of rebelling against God (and I'm not talking about stumbling from time to time).
Yes, I have agreed in a number of ways as well :) I like your phrasing here of 'afraid of rebelling against God'.
That's fine, and I see that one could phrase things like that. I'm not sure why we would make much distinction between a) fearing God and b) fearing the consequences of rejecting God. They're often (not always, I'm sure) much the same, I think.
The reason I think the distinction is important is because "A" CAN (not must) have the connotation that it is actually God who will go ballistic on the wicked. This conjures up what I would be inclined to consider inappropriate images of a God who is love. I think it is more accurate biblically and theologically to speak of fearing God in the sense of fearing the consequences that come from living in relational distance from God.

But I get the sense no one in this thread is more than a hair's breadth apart except for some verbiage.

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TK
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Re: The Fear of God-has the Church Lost It?

Post by TK » Fri Apr 14, 2017 4:31 pm

I think this lack of the "fear of God" is demonstrated by the great majority of christians who give little or no thought to God when they go about their daily life and choices. We do what we want and hope God doesn't care, or notice.

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21centpilgrim
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Re: The Fear of God-has the Church Lost It?

Post by 21centpilgrim » Thu Apr 20, 2017 2:30 pm

Here is an example of the fear of God , Joseph questioned God's promise through the angle Gabriel, Gabriel responded with a rebuke/wake up call- Then the angel said, “I am Gabriel! I stand in the very presence of God. It was he who sent me to bring you this good news!

What response do you think this prompt in Joseph? I mean he had all those months of being mute, how was his life changed?

Was this a healthy /good thing for him?

thanks
Then those who feared the LORD spoke with each other, and the LORD listened to what they said. In his presence, a scroll of remembrance was written to record the names of those who feared him and loved to think about him.

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TK
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Re: The Fear of God-has the Church Lost It?

Post by TK » Thu Apr 20, 2017 5:05 pm

Great example-- but i know you meant to type "Zacharius."

I have always been struck by Garbriel's differing response to Mary and to Zacharius-- they both asked almost identical questions:

Mary: “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”
Zancharius: “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.”

As my Dad would say, "watch your tone."

Mary was truly asking for information; Zacharius was expressing doubt (likely in his tone of voice- I can hear him now.)

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